Cactus Outdoor has a singular focus on making durable gear. Not surprisingly then, the Instigaiter is the heaviest gaiter reviewed. Built from C600 canvas uppers with C1000 canvas on high wear areas, it trades breathability and grams for protection and durability.
The Velcro front opening is easy to use and provides additional shin protection when bush-bashing, doing battle with Spaniard grass or plugging steps in crusty snow. The gaiter is stiff enough to ensure it won’t slump down the leg. The top closure cinch cord provides additional support and protection from the elements.
The webbing under-straps are replaceable and aren’t limited to a proprietary strap as with many other gaiters. You can order more webbing from the company, but you can equally use any rock-climbing webbing you might have lying around. Unfortunately, the straps aren’t coated in PU and consequently will need to be replaced more often.
The gaiter features a lace hook, which toggles up and down on an internal strap to give added adjustability and to allow the gaiter to fit both tramping and bulky mountaineering boots.
The Good: Hard-wearing, excellent protection for off-track tramping.
The Bad: Heavy, not breathable.
Verdict: If durability and protection are what you are after, the Instigaiter is hard to beat. The gaiter will suit heavy users and those who spend a lot of time off-track but are perhaps overkill for infrequent trampers, or those who consider weight above all else.