Back in 1980, Ron Gregg was climbing Denali when his climbing partner suffered extreme frostbite in part due to poorly designed gaiters. Snow had been pushed between gaiter and boot, worsening an already nasty situation. After his friend was airlifted to safety and the expedition over, Ron searched for a solution to keep this situation from happening in the future. The result was a functional, insulated gaiter — the X-Gaiter — which held snug and was versatile enough to fit a variety of boots. From this original inspiration and its resultant innovation, Outdoor Research was born the following year.
Now, almost 40 years later, the X-Gaiter is back. This time, taking advantage of further insulation innovations to create a gaiter than is ideal for use in the high mountains and in extreme cold, for several days on end.
The new X-Gaiter uses Primaloft Gold Aerogel insulation — the same insulation used in OR’s Bitterblaze and Ouray Ice gloves coming out this fall — around the toes and forefoot for added warmth in extreme cold environments.
If you recall, aerogels are the lightest solid materials available, as well as the most effective insulators. A highly porous, low-density structure forms a thermal blockade to lock out cold in extreme conditions.
The X-Gaiter fits both mountaineering and ski touring boots, even while wearing crampons. A neoprene edge with silicone strap that goes underneath seals the lower edge of the gaiters to the boot and prevents slipping.
The OR X-Gaiters weigh 392 grams for a size large. The expected retail price is 199 euros with most likely a similar price in dollars.
I can see the new X-Gaiters coming in handy for those -40 degrees C ice climbing days in Canada. I am curious as to the exact amount of warmth they add — for example, could you add these to a 6000 meter boot in order to climb 8000 meter peaks?