I am designing a new Gaiter for 2012 and want ...

I am designing a new Gaiter for 2012 and want to take you through the development process to give you the insight of how I go from concept to product. As we go through this process together I look forward to receiving your input and comments to help refine this product.

Why Develop a KUIU Gaiter?
Lance Kronberger has challenged me to develop a new gaiter for sheep hunting. He currently uses the Outdoor Research Crocodile gaiter and will go through 3 sets a season. We have taken a hard look at the failure points of these gaiters and how to improve up on a great product.

The problems Lance was experiencing with the OR Gaiter.

  • Seam Failure at the horizontal seam where the reinforcement scuff guard and the upper Gore-Tex were sewn.  The Gore-Tex fabric being thinner and not reinforced failed after extended use. A big problem when this happens in the middle of a hunt.
  • Velcro closure at the bottom front of the gaiter failed and became useless overtime.
  • Noisy, especially before they were broken in
  • No stretch
  • No gasket at the bottom of the gaiter to seal for stream crossings.
  • No shaping around the boot or leg. Fit could be better

Fabric choice is the foundation to a successful KUIU product. We tested a Schoeller fabric on Kodiak, the Chugach gear performed better. After Kodiak, I worked with Toray to develop a new Primeflex 3-layer fabric for the new gaiter. I have seen the sample, it is quiet, tough, waterproof, breathable, 4-way stretch, 3-layer, Kudos DWR treated and relatively light weight because of their patented Primflex spiral yarn technology.  I am really excited about this fabric.

How the KUIU Gaiter will address the problems:

  • Eliminate the horizontal seam at the reinforced bottom of the gaiter
  • Use 3 vertical seams to eliminate the horizontal seam which will continue to be a stress point
  • Create a more ergonomic shape of the boot and leg for a better fit.  The 3-vertical seams will allow this gaiter to fit better.
  • Bond the reenforced scuff guard to the inside of the gaiter to eliminate the need for a seam.
  • Tape the inside scuff guard seam with a stretch tape to assist with stress versus sewing
  • Eliminate the velcro closure at the bottom of the gaiter
  • Use Toray’s new quieter 4-way stretch fabric.  The quiet face fabric and stretch will significantly reduce noise.
  • Add silicone or rubber type gasket at the bottom and top of gaiter to help seal the gaiter for water crossings.

Once these problems are identified I make my marking on the OR gaiters to reflect these design changes.  This also helps flush out any design or construction issues.  Once these are finished I type a supporting notes page and ship these off to be mocked up and CAD drawn by my design and development team.  I will receive a list of questions and we will typically go back and forth in an exchange of emails to make sure we are all on the same page with my comments.

Once this is finalized we move into creating mock ups for sizing, fit. When the mock ups are finalized we ship them and the supporting drawings to the factory development room for prototyping.

We are at this stage in the development process. I am expecting to receive the first prototype from the factory before  I leave on my sheep hunt later this month. I will test, review and make a list of changes for the next revised prototype sample.  I will share the testing of the gaiter with you when I return from my sheep hunt and the changes to be made to the prototype.

There is a waiting list for this new Gaiter.  If you are interested in owning a set please email service@kuiu.com and we will put you on our wait list.  Please put Gaiter Wait List in your email title.  There is no obligation and it will guarantee you to receive yours from the 1st shipment this Spring.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments on this process and the development of the gaiter.


This article has 94 comment(s)

  1. Cory Benge

    Send me mine now…I’ll pay express shipping 🙂

    • Jason Hairston

      LOL! With that goat tag I am sure you could use them and I would love to get you in a set.


  2. Mike P

    This is one of the products I have really been lookiong forward too. I currently use the OR gaitors as well and seem to go through a set every 2 years. They work ok but I’ve had the same issues as stated above, noise, seam failure and fraying.

    Looking forward to the KUIU ones.


    Mike P

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Mike! I look forward to getting you in a set.


  3. Kendall

    email sent. Most interesting design. I would have gone with a higher seam between the upper and lower fabric based on the failure point. Just curious to know why you think a lower seam joint between the scuff guard and upper fabric will be stronger or less rip resistant?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Kendall,

      Great question!! There in essence will not be a seam just 4 way stretch tape so we have a clean junction on the inside of where the bonded reenforced cuff meets the upper section of the gaiter. The vertical seams allow us to build 3 full length panels, thus no seam from top to bottom. It will be a very clean design. This mock up in the photo is used for sizing and shape. The proto will be the design I am describing.


  4. Tom Ryle

    Excellent, I can’t wait to see the first article design. One detail you should consider with vertical seams – be sure the folds face forward so your boots don’t have an “edge” to catch as you hike. This will be an instant wear point. Better yet, create these as reinforced flush seams.

    Good luck on your sheep hunt, Jason (no repeat of last fall, ok?)


  5. Kevin Dill

    Email sent!

  6. Ray

    Look forward to getting my hands on a pair! I emailed to be put on the list!!

  7. Armosino

    Just put my name on the list for my sheep hunt next year!
    I am using the Ali Gaiter from Swazi, Kevlar/poly body, steel cable boot stay, they have held up well, fit very well, great in the snow – just an FYI.
    Looks like a great product Jason.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Armosino,

      Thank you for the input on the Swazi Gaiter, I will take a look at this design as well for influence. Glad to hear you got on the list. It grew quite a bit today.


  8. Richard Wooster

    Awesome, Jason. Put me down for a pair, to go with the rest of my KUIU gear. I will put them to the test on my fall 2012 Wyoming mule deer/ antelope hunt.

    Richard Wooster

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Richard, glad to hear it. Did you email customer service, service@kuiu.com, and let them know?


  9. Cameron Meier

    Looks good to me. I think the three vertical seams will be the biggest thing for the fit. Didn’t you say there will be no horizontal seam? Looks like there is one to me on the picture. Do you think they will be under $80? 😉 The only gaiters I have used are the kenetreks and they have a replacable bottom strap. Was that never a failure point on the pair Lance uses? Oh and they look awesome by the way!

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Cameron,

      Thank you very much for your comment! The mock up is for sizing and fit, not for construction. The next prototype will have the vertical seam and there will not be a horizontal seam in these. The bottom strap has not been an issue for Lance. I will be reviewing this while testing.


  10. Kevin Dill

    Would add: I owned the Sitka gaiter but returned it almost immediately due to (my perception) extreme stiffness and noisiness in brush. I know that’s not an issue for firearms and longer range hunting. For close-in bowhunting it’s absolutely critical. I hope the KUIU gaiter works out to be a lot quieter. Boot top and under-foot attachments are critical. Nothing worse than a gaiter you have to fiddle with every hour. Someday the perfect gaiter will be created…is this it? 😉

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Kevin,

      I understand your concerns with the Sitka Gaiter. This will be designed quite a bit different and my goal is to develop the perfect gaiter for sheep hunting. I cannot guarantee a soft fleece type gaiter with this one, but it will certainly be quieter than most and withstand the abuse of big mountain hunts. The perfect gaiter?? I hope so.


  11. J.R. Young

    Pretty sweet looking so far. I’d be happy to volunteer to test a set for you next month in Northern BC. Afterall, my Kennetrek Real Tree Gaiters, kind of clashes with my KUIU Vias coat/pants/merino.

    I’ll be putting myself on the waiting list for sure. If something would be good enough for Lance for a season, I’m sure it will last me a lifetime.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks J. R., I am sorry you will be clashing. I sure wish I could help you out this season. Glad you got on the list today.


  12. Matt


    1st of all, your starting with the best currently available and tweaking it. I look forward to the end product! Sign me up for a pair!

    Not sure what the technical term is for the strap that goes under the boot, but it would be nice if the KUIU gaiter allowed for replaceable straps somehow. So far that is the weak link on my OR Crocodiles. I am assuming these will be offered in solid colors as well?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hey Matt,

      Very well noted on the replaceable strap. I will make sure this happens. This Gaiter will be available in solid colors for sure.


  13. Alvaro from Spain

    Right on the head of the nail, Jason.

    My main issue against gaitors has always been their lack of fit, always so loose around the leg that one would noisily rub against the other…

    I am in!

    Camino Real H. C. SL

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Alvaro,

      Thank you for your comment! This design will allow us to shape this gaiter to have a much more tailored fit. Add in the 4-way stretch and it will be incredibly comfortable.


  14. Joe Castinado

    One thing that keeps bothering me with my Kenetrek gaiters is the top cam lock buckles. When moving through thick sage, berry bushes, alders, etc the buckle/clip sometimes comes un-done and although the gaiter doesn’t slip down any, it no longer is a snug fit against the top of my calf and can allow dirt, water and twigs to work their way down from the top. I think your idea of a better seal for water crossing is a good one and hopefully can help to eliminate or create a better seal at the top of the gaiter as well.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Joe, I will be sure to take a look at the top closure. I appreciate your input here.


  15. Bryan aka TradRag

    I’ve responded to be on the list. Was hoping, like Cory, to get them early but I guess I can wait. 😉

    Guess that means I can go HARD in my current set of gaiters knowing they are soon to be replaced! Yippee!!!

    • Jason Hairston

      LOL, thanks Bryan for the support!


  16. Jeff

    Will you make a shorter below the calf version of the gaiter as well as the above calf version? I will be interested in reading your review on this new product after your sheep hunt.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hey Jeff,

      Tell me more about this short gaiter you are interested in? This would be an easy addition to develop. Let me know what you are looking for.


  17. Pedro Ampuero

    Thanks! Finally the gaiters are here. My father and broke quite a few of them, dont know how many set we have got. hope this is the good one. Will make a brainstorming session with him to note all the weak points o the gaiters we have used over the years.

    One question. How are you going to assure that no snow is going inside the gaiter from the bottom? Are they totally waterproof?

    By the way, I am now just missing a set of waterproof set of durable working gloves.

    Great job!!! I am excited to hear about your hunt! Let us now your preparation process also, its really cool!

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Pedro, please let me know your dad’s lifetime experiences with gaiters. Both of your insight will be very helpful. As far as the snow at the bottom, this gaiter will stretch, which will allow a better fit around the boot and we will be adding a silicon type rubber along the bottom to assist with a tighter seal.

      Your gloves are already in development:) I think you are really going to like what I am developing. I will tell you more soon.


  18. TERRY

    Sounds Great!!! I also use the OR gaiters and go through a pair each season. Can’t wait to get a hold of the Kuiu ones.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Terry! Get on the waiting list if your interested. It is filling up quite a bit already.


  19. J_Bird

    What sheep hunt are you going on this year? Is this a replacement for the hunt from last year? Good luck.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hey J_Bird,

      I picked up a cancellation hunt with Arctic Red River Outfitters for Dall Sheep at a price I could not turn down. Thanks for the wish of luck. I am certain it will turn out better than last seasons.


  20. Michael

    Sign me up for one! I have a pair of the OR gaiters in coyote. I anticipate the KUIU version greatly as I have all their new items..

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks for the comment Michael. Make sure you email customer service and get on the list.


  21. Rod Billett

    Nice – Thanks for the insight into the development process.

    One comment on the design – on your boot strap – would there be any way to get the boot strap to terminate inside the gaiter so there is nothing outside to catch on brush? I can see that nylon webbing loop getting ripped of in sagebrush or oak brish pretty quickly and then the tag end of the strp is just flapping around.

    From my use of gaiters in late season snow here in Colorado – 3 things that annoy me with the gaiter is:
    Snowballs – I really hate it when the damp snow starts balling up on the strap that goes under the boot. Cotton laces are real bad, but nylon strap does it as well.

    Tight Calves – Most gaiters do not have a large enough calf diameter, and the ones I am able to find fit real tight. The tight fit is kind of an annoyance.
    Weak Toe Hooks: The toe hooks on most gaiters end up breaking/bending after I wear them a little bit and I eventually have to make up my own loop out of some paracord..

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Rod,

      Your comments are very well noted and I will work on addressing all of these issues with this Gaiter. Thank you for taking the time to share your insight. This type of input is incredible.


  22. Michael

    I mean I anticipate all their (KUIU) items. I certainly do not HAVE all of them as much as I would like to…

    • Jason Hairston


  23. Steve Alderman

    They look Great! Keep up the great work!

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Steve!!! Good to hear from you as always. I hope all is well in Boise.


  24. Scott Engel

    Jason, how tall are the new gaiters going to be? Any chance for two sizes? I prefer shorter gaiters than the full length ones that nearly reach my knees…
    Any estimate on cost at this point?

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Scott,

      Tell me more about this short Gaiter you are mentioning. I am interested in developing a short version. I do not have pricing for you. This will come in a few months.


  25. Ron

    Looks good so far……there is a lot of room in the gaiter market for improvement, I’m glad your tackling it. Any way the gaiter could be incorporated into the attack pant? Built into the pant legs maybe on some models.

    • Jason Hairston

      I am not sure, but will take a look at this.


      • GUTPYLZ

        I own a few different type of gaiters. I do like the light ones that let my calves breath. I hunt the deserts of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Most have fit well, but the problems I’ve had are the metal buckles breaking. Stirrup strap alway breaking. I wish someone would make them in a shade of brown that is compatible with other camo patterns. (still want to wear out my old stuff) 🙂

  26. Andy Bacigalupo

    Been pondering which gator to get recently, mine are much too noisy.
    These look fantastic.
    Guess I can stop looking now.

    • Jason Hairston

      Andy, make sure you get on the wait list.


  27. Bob

    All the boots that I have had leak, all leaked at the flex point created by the toe box/lace area. The constant flexing of saturated leather forced the water thru the Gore-Tex liner. I would like to see a model with a toe cap that would protect that flex point.

    • Jason Hairston

      Well noted Bob. Thank you.


  28. chris stone

    man i was so ready to get my credirt card out and i saw it said for “2012”,,,killin me 🙂 if you need anyone to t&e a pair let me know ill be in montana soon….. otherwise i cant wait and now i have to decide whether or not to buy apair until 2012 and i need some for september. once again very impressed jason!

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Chris. Good luck this fall and please let me know how you do.


  29. Don Carpenter

    I have the OR crocodiles too and my biggest complaint is the straps (boot and top closure). Both sets of straps constantly get caught on brush. I like that the prototype has a fabric stay for the boot strap but I think if the fabric was made longer and closed at the top, something to the effect of a channel opened at one end so the excess strap could be controlled and still be waterprrof. The same for the top strap. Looks like an awesome product Jason, thanks for keeping us geardo’s in the loop.


    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Don for this input, it is VERY helpful and well noted. I will certainly take a look at this during development. Glad you find this type of information interesting.


  30. Chuck and Lou

    Check out the OR heavy duty snow gaiters. They have a heavy plastic piece under the fabric that covers the top part of your foot. Totally waterproof. And they have a 3/4″ belt-like strap that goes under the foot to secure the gaiter. I used them winter hiking in 6-8″ of snow here in Eastern Washington last winter. They are snug and stay in place well. The leg portion of the gaiter is similar to most other heavy duty gaiters. I think they were about $40.00. The cover portion that is on top of the foot also has a hook that attaches to the first lace of your boot. OR sales in Seattle said a lot of snowboarders were using them. And no, I have no interest in OR. I just like some of their products. I wear some short gaiters of theirs this time of the year to keep cheat grass off my socks, and stickers. They are very thin, not waterproof. A new gaiter which is shorter, but waterproof and tough would be my next purchase. Most of the time hunters don’t need gaiters that go up to below the knee. A 6″ gaiter would be plenty.

    • Kendall

      I agree with the 6″ gaiter being adequate for most hunting situations. I’m sure walking in Tundra all day every day on a sheep hunt is different, but a shorty gaiter that is bomber is a need for most guys I hunt with as the tall ones are overkill.

      • Jason Hairston

        Thanks Kendall for this insight. I will take a look at developing a 6″ model. Any input would be very helpful.


    • Jason Hairston

      Thank you very much for your input. It is well noted and I will certainly take a very close look at this OR Snow Gaiter you mention. As far as a waterproof scree gaiter, this would be a fairly easy addition to add to the development list.


      • David Casaceli

        I too, like short gaiters for early season, non-snow work. The 6-8″ range sounds like a good size. The short gaiters I’ve used can be difficult to stay up though as they don’t come over the widest point of your calf.

        • Jason Hairston

          Well noted David! Thank you.


  31. Cyril

    My order of priority for improvements to the OR gaitors that I currently own: 1. Ability to “seal” at bottom for stream crossings (not sure I’m a fan of a gasget seal at the top…a lot of mountain guys have thick calves, myself included, my concern with the gasget at the top is that I would still like the gaitor top to be easily adjustable like the ORs – having an adjustable top also comes into play when you have more layers on in late season dealing with snow)
    2. Tighter fit around the lacing of the boot (between ankle and mid-calf)
    3. Quieter outter material
    4. I’m presonally not sold on the wide velcro front closure. I’ve seen ones with a zip closure and a small flap with a narrow strip of velcro (the zipper helps ensure the velcro is lined up perfectly) – that seemed like a better way of doing it.
    5. Maintain light weight

    • Jason Hairston

      Your comments are well noted. The top will be adjustable, with a silicon or rubber coated section that allows for a tighter seal.


  32. Gina

    I with I had a pair for my up coming sheep hunt! Is the stirrup going to be replaceable? That is a feature I like in gaiters.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Gina,

      We certainly can make it replaceable. From the feedback so far it is a much have on this new Gaiter.


  33. Jerry V

    Been waiting for this one — email sent !!

    • Jason Hairston

      Glad to hear this Jerry.

  34. Mike P


    Will they come in solid colors as well as the camo?

    I’m also a fan of a bit shorter gaitors, 8 inch would be about right for most apps that we run into around here.


    Mike P

    • Jason Hairston

      Well noted on the 8″ Mike. Yes they will come in non-camo. Any suggestions on color you like?


  35. Jay B

    Would love to see the under the boot strap be replaceable. When wearing a lighter flat soled trail running shoe I have noticed that the bottom strap will break. If I wear them only with a boot that has a heel and the strap can tuck up in front of the heel then I don’t have issues. I would also be a fan of seeing a debris type gaiter for trail running type shoes that is lower on the leg and ultralight.

    • Jason Hairston

      Hi Jay, your comments are well noted! Thank you for sharing.


  36. Jerry Gowins

    I had just started researching gaiters to use for caribou hunting. This is an awesome development, Jason! The e-mail will be there shortly. These will be a great addition to my KUIU gear for my caribou hunt next Fall.


    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Jerry, as usual I always appreciate your input.


  37. jstarck1

    This is the one item I have been waiting for and will complete my KUIU checklist. Can’t wait.

    I have had good luck with OR Crocs with the exception of the Velcro closure tab. Improving the seal around the boot and something a little quieter would be nice. I commend you for trying to improve on the durability of the OR Croc…I consider them quite durable. Something that gets as much abuse as gaiters do are going to wear out over time.

    FYI…I would rather buy a gaiter in Guide Brown or Charcoal rather than in Vias.

    • jstarck1

      Add: I like a full height gaiter, at least as tall as the OR Crocs.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Justin for your comment. The colors are well noted and you will have the choice of solids and camouflage.


  38. Jordan

    I to have to OR’s right now, and like most mentioned the replaceable strap that runs under the boot is a really nice feature. I saw someone else mention snow balls or ice developing under your boot between the strap too, some sort of non cotton strap is a must. Love the idea about the gasket around the boot/foot area. The only areas I have noticed failure on my gaiters is the inside ankle area and the clip that holds them to your shoe or boot. Looks like your on the right track Jason, I’m on the list and can’t wait to order a pair of KUIU gaiters.

  39. Lloyd

    Jason will they zip up the front or back? I actually like the front zip in the dark it easier to do. I hate the Velcro strap that closes over the zipper by the end of a elk season mine are full of seeds and the Velcro is about worn out and will only close in half the places, due to debris in the Velcro?



  40. Craig Germond

    I already emailed and put my name on the waiting list. These will work great on the Utah late season archery deer hunt. Do you know what they weigh yet?

  41. keith peter

    Are you looking at making a below the knee version? Will it be made of waterproof quiet material? What kind of attachment will be used to hook it in front to say the laces. Will the bottom part that goes under the boot be elastic, leather, and will this part not allow snow to adhere to it so it doesn’t feel like you are walking on snowballs?

  42. Casey S.

    I didn’t read all the comments so this question/comment may have already been covered. First off this will be my first season to try gaiters but, I just bought the OR flex-Tex gaiters and they will work I guess but I want someone to make something that stretches tight so they pull everything out of the way and for bow hunting has to be quite. These I have now make a lot of noise and I’m afraid they could cost me an animal. Its hard i’m sure to make a waterproof gaiter etc that is quite but that would be my choice if I could build one. Make it fit tight, stretchable and quite. Good luck with your work, looking fwd to what you have to offer.

  43. Scott Engel


    Talk with the Elk Reaper about the short gaiters- he prefers them as well. Good luck with this- as with all of your gear, this looks great!

  44. Larry Schwartz


    Ditto on checking with Aron (Elk Reaper), he has done his own research into gaiters a year or so ago so he might have some insights for you and your development team.


  45. John

    Watching with great interest about the efficacy of the water seal. I like to keep my boots on when crossing/wading a shallow river. At present I use neoprene rock guards, they’re fairly heavy and bulky to pack, but they keep the water out.

  46. Richard Wooster


    Why does Aron prefer the short gaiters? I know he hunt in all sorts of nasty terrain.


  47. Jeffrey

    Hi Jason,

    From looking at your photo of the Kuiu gaiter it looks like you used a metal snap at the top above the velcro. If you are going that route may I suggest a directional snap. This way it won’t come undone accidentally, it will take a lot of pressure off the velcro, and is strong as hell.

  48. ben tompkins

    great post! looks like you are working hard jason and the new product looks really cool. It’s great to see a company be so transparent and take people through their development process. really enjoyed reading this.

  49. Wild Bill

    Hey Jason,
    I will be (im)patiently waiting for these to hit the ground.

    Quick question. Will the toe clips cover to the end of the laces?
    Right now I have gaiters from MEC and when I pair them with my Hanwag boots the clip catches about half way down the laces. I put a twist of machine wire between the bottom 2 D rings to hook to but as of now it doesn’t work for me.
    Keep up the great work (Can it really be called work when you love what you do?)

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Wild Bill for the comment. Do you want the toe clips to cover the end of the laces? I am not quite clear exactly what you are describing here. I want to make sure so you do not have to use wire with the KUIU gaiter.


  50. Wild Bill

    Maybe I’m missinformed on the positioning of the gaiters. I thought they were supposed to reach the end of the laces. I just put the wire across so the clip would hook onto it instead of the laces. I’ve found that clipping to the laces wears them out faster and then you can also leave the bottoms a little looser but still have your gaiters tight and they stay hooked.

    • Jason Hairston

      Thanks Bill. Now I understand. Good point here on the design.


  51. JR

    I use OR gaiters and the weak points for me are the buckles and straps on the bottom. I bend and break the buckles and the webbing wears through or cuts on shale very quickly. The strap and buckle are sewn on and can’t be replaced. If you could make it replaceable it would be great. Or just bulletproof would be better.

  52. Louis Brown

    This is great news Jason!

    I’m looking forward to seeing how the prototype performs. I also use the OR gaiter and think that a waterproof zip may be a better option than the velcro that wears out and is not very water resistant.

    Another consideration is the material of the strap buckle as I have broken the thin aluminum ones when the weather gets cold on late season sheep hunts and the material gets brittle. The tougher the underfoot strap the better, to avoid balling up of snow, and abrasion resistance in shale, and as I think you have well noted, replaceable.

    Silicone seal is a great improvement – all around these gaiters sound like the sheep hunter’s criteria have been answered!