Duct Tape Hiking Gaiters





Introduction: Duct Tape Hiking Gaiters

These Hiking Gaiters are easy to make and are perfect for hiking in snowy, wet, or grassy conditions.

Step 1: Supplies

Supplies: old t-shirt, duct tape (2 rolls), 2- 18" separating zippers (heavyweight), thread, ruler, marker, sewing machine, sewing machine oil, Q-tips, and straight pins. 

Step 2: Forming the Gaiters

Cut the t-shirt down the middle and also through the top part of the sleeves.

Wrap the t-shirt around the calf and over top of shoe. Tape enough to hold in place.

Start adding strips of duct tape to leg. 6"-8" strips work best. Smooth onto leg overlapping itself and work up the entire leg. Make sure to cover shoe tops. You can cut away excess later.

Step 3: Cutting and Edging the Gaiters

Trim the bottom to shape over the shoe.

Use the ruler to draw line down the side seam.  Carefully cut through the t-shirt/tape on the line, this will be where the zipper is placed.

Once off the leg, trim top and bottom to neaten and wrap all edges with duct tape.  Trim away any excess t-shirt from the inside that will be flopping around.

Step 4: Attaching the Zipper

Pin the zippers in place.

In order to straight pin the zipper onto the gaiter, soak a Q-tip in sewing machine oil and rub the pins.  This will allow the pins to easily slide through the glue on the tape.

You will also need to rub the oil from the Q-tip on the sewing machine needle repeatedly to be able to sew through the duct tape without gumming up the needle.

Sew the zippers to the gaiters.

Step 5: Adding the a Zipper Flap

The last step is to create an overlap with tape to cover the zipper.  This will help keep moisture out.  Cut a strip of tape the length of the zipper.  Fold onto itself so there is only 1/2" of glue edge showing.  Place the strip to the front edge of the zipper opening and reinforce the flap with another length of tape.

You now have a pair of windproof, waterproof, and foxtail resistant gaiters!  It also helps protect pants from Poison Oak on hikes!

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    Just finished walking five miles in the rain. Great projects. Here are my adjustments.

    1. Wearing my usual hiking clothes and boots I wrapped everything from knees down with plastic wrap.

    2. Space about 5-6 bandsof clear adhesive tape horizontally around my calf and foot (with the adhesive side outwards).

    3. The inner layer of the gaiter is lengths of duct tape from insole up to knee (with the sticky side outwards). The clear tape keeps it in place until you've circle your calf and foot. This would have been easier with an assistant.

    4. The outer layer of the gaiter is horizontal bands of duct tape placed from foot up to knee, like shingling a roof (sticky side down).

    5. With blunt scissors I cut down the length of the gaiter along the inside of my calf. I was afraid I'd cut my hiking pants so I slipped a trimmed margarine tub lid between the plastic wrap and my pants.

    6. Once removed from your calf/boot peel away the plastic wrap and clear tape and discard. This leave you with a two layered waterproof gaiter from knee to insole. Inner layer is vertical strips of tape, sticky side out, Outer layer is horizontal bands moving upwards, sticky side against the inner layer's adesive.

    7. Carefully squeeze both layers together so water doesn't leak into any gaps between the layers. Add patches of tape as needed.

    8. Build up one (or both) sides of the vertical cut so the sides overlap.

    9. Trim the top and bottom. Mine go all the way from just below my knee cap down to the soles of my boots.

    10. Adhere heavy duty hook-and-loop tape along the vertical cut. If you buy from Joann Fabric always pull up a coupon on your phone for half off. Only one side of the adhesive hook-and-loop actually had double sided tape so I had to buy heavy duty two sided tape at Home Depot.

    11. Add a strip of tape to any cut edges to give them a clean finish.

    12. I probably didn't need to, but I taped a large hook (threaded onto parachute cord) to the inside of the boot to catch my laces. I think this is overkill, not sure yet.

    In driving rain, my boots stayed bone dry. My pants were damp, but that was from sweating during the hike.

    Once everything dries out, I'm going to put a hook-and-loop piece at the top of the front of the gaiter and the mate to it on the inside of my ponch to keep my poncho from riding up over my knees.

    Thanks for the great Instructable that launched my efforts.

    1 reply

    Sounds great! I like that you used a margarine lid to cut against, that is a great tip.

    I mostly made them for hiking through wet grass and weeds, where water will drain off. As long as I wear boots that come up to my ankle, the gator is long enough that water doesn't come up into the boot.

    I made mine out of clean pop cans and duct tape. I put them under my pants and velcro to hold them together. I just wear long socks almost up to the knee and mine is made to ride on the knee like a piece of armor. I glued a piece of foam in the cup so my knee doesn't rub against the duct tape. Just think they look to tacky to be worn on the outside of my jeans. Also want to add. I tried your ible b4 I made mine. Works but I like using my mods over all. Hope you got some more ideas to share with us. I have yet to make my own ible, but I been working one. Anywho good luck.

    I made a set of these and they're pretty great.

    Did mine a little differently. I had to use a zipper that doesn't separate because that's all the store had. I left out the T-shirt because I wrapped my leg with the tape backwards (sticky side out) first. I was also able to sew the zipper by hand (with the help of pliers).

    They did a great job out in the swamp a couple of weeks ago.

    In general I think that all of the duct tape stuff here is kind of wasteful, but I kind of like these ones. Gaiters are a necessary hiking item when wet and brushy, the construction on these ones is good, plus they're custom.

    I would suggest to tape lower inner part higher up. If that shirt gets wet, it 's game over.
    Anyway gaiters are very useful fore hiking, top 5 on gears list.

    you could make a variation of this if you live in an area with alot of snake but you still like to hike, you could put either cardboard or actual pieces of wood in the design so that a snake could not bite you.

    Such an awesome idea! I'm afraid of sticking duct tape through my sewing machine though. Is there anyway I could just do it with the duct tape?

    3 replies

    well, you could make a series of small holes going down the 2 seams, so you can lace them with either shoe string or something, this would take no sewing and you could use a metal ring to make it so the fabric/tape does not rip. you would also want to make it over lap.

    Thanks! You could definitely close the sides with a long strip of tape. Just make sure you take off the tape in the direction that doesn't peel off the layers of tape below. Also, I bet that snaps would work great. You would need to create an overlap and underlap with tape to make the gaiters still fit.

    I can imagine that some other sort of fastening system such as velcro or those little snap things would work.

    Mine didn't go so well :(. It was a disaster and I threw them out. I used black duct tape and it looked like a garbage bag on my foot. I cut my pants trying to get them off too. I think the problem was I was doing them on myself and it was too hard to manage to be in a good working position and fit right while doing it.

    1 reply

    I still think its a great idea though! Just a note for other people, be sure to do it on someone else, not on yourself, also black is not the best color. :)

    goood job you must need a lotttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttof duct taoe

    Yet another reason to bring duct tape everytime I go hiking. Is there anything it can't be used for?

    1 reply

    Yes, Beth, but I don't think it's appropriate for a mixed audience. ;)

    Oh snap, that's useful! Especially in a place like Georgia... too bad I don't get to hike... (or technically, too bad I never hike)