Kahtoola NAVAgaiter Review: A Gaiter For Any Terrain

When I first began snowshoeing, I didn’t think gaiters were necessary. I thought that perhaps they could be useful, but not something I would go out of my way to obtain. However, after getting snow into my shoes on a few occasions, I now feel frustrated when I forget to bring my gaiters with me.

Thus, gaiters have now become an essential part of my snowshoeing gear. They help keep snow/debris out of my socks and boots and keep the bottom of my pants dry while out on the trail.

I love being on the lookout for new gaiters, too. Luckily, I had the opportunity to review the Kahtoola NAVAgaiter GTX.

I have now owned these gaiters for over two years and have tested the NAVAgaiter GTX in various snow conditions. Even when not in snow, though, they are helpful in high grasses and backcountry terrain. During my test, I’ve noticed a few qualities of the NAVAgaiter.

woman standing in the snow on snowshoes under blue sky

My NAVAgaiters are a regular part of my gear no matter where I’m snowshoeing. Photo: Paul Wowk

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Benefits of the Kahtoola NAVAgaiter

The NAVAgaiter has several advantages, including its durability, grip, and waterproof material.

Durable

These gaiters are incredibly durable. After more than two years, they still look like new. Ballistic nylon comprises the bottom half of the gaiter, which lessons the unfortunate event of punctures and tears. The top half of the gaiter is made using a three-layer GORE-TEX fabric. For those new to GORE-TEX, it’s an incredibly lightweight, breathable, and waterproof fabric.

The durability provided by the combination of materials in the NAVAgaiter makes these gaiters a solid choice when navigating backcountry trails with unpredictable terrain.

With that said, these gaiters are best, in my opinion, for early spring, fall, or winter outings. The same material that makes them durable (ballistic nylon) impacts their breathability in the late spring and summer. Kahtoola offers additional, more breathable gaiter options such as the INSTAgaiter or LEVAgaiter for warmer weather.

man and woman on snowshoes on Boreas Pass Rd, Breckenridge

The NAVAgaiters are durable, comfortable, waterproof, and don’t slip! Photo: The Wowks

Comfort

Once I zip up the NAVAgaiters, I tend to forget I have them on. The zipper is an Asymmetrical Aquaguard zipper, which allows the ankle to flex and maneuver around. The zipper holds the gaiter securely but without pressing into the foot. So as far as gaiters go, they’re comfortable. I have, on several occasions, forgotten to take them off after my snowshoe outing, to the laughter of my husband.

Grip

One reason I find the NAVAgaiters comfortable is that they don’t slip. The elasticized drawcord at the top of the gaiter ensures a secure fit. Thus, not once have the gaiters slid up or down my ankle or calf. I have a pair of Merrell Moab hiking boots that I wear with these gaiters regularly, and the zipper fits over my shoe easily as well.

Waterproof

Choosing a waterproof gaiter is imperative while snowshoeing. Nothing can ruin an outing faster than wet socks or pants. Luckily, the NAVAgaiters are waterproof, even in several feet of snow. On my snowshoe outings, my socks remained dry, and I never needed the extra pair of socks in my daypack. Even when I kicked up snow from my snowshoes, I didn’t have any flakes seep into my footwear.

Read More: Gaiters for Snowshoeing: A Buyer’s Guide

Consideration of the Kahtoola NAVAgaiter

Despite the excellent advantages of this gaiter, I found one flaw while using this gaiter on snowshoeing adventures: the in-step strap.

On my first attempt to wear the NAVAgaiter, I fiddled with the instep strap for almost 10 minutes. I initially had trouble slipping it underneath my hiking boot. So I tried to undo and adjust the instep strap but to no avail. It took some maneuvering to get it finally undone, and once I did, I couldn’t re-adjust. So I ended up removing the straps completely from both gaiters.

Luckily as I mentioned above, because of the elasticized drawcord and snug zipper, I had no issues with the gaiters slipping off my ankle or calf, even without the in-step straps attached.

I will say, too, that after owning the NAVAgaiters for over two years, they have been more stretchy with time. They still don’t slip because of the drawcord, but there is more room between my boot and the gaiter than when I first started using them.

snowshoeing with Gobi Heat Ridge Hoodie

The NAVAgaiters are great in deep snow, especially! Photo: Paul Wowk

Overall

The instep was the one flaw I found with these gaiters. However, I regularly wear the NAVAgaiters without the in-step strap and haven’t had any problems with them. I would recommend these gaiters if you’re looking for a durable, waterproof gaiter that is excellent for changing backcountry conditions, whether in snow or other terrains.

As a bonus, the gaiters come with a small bag to store them when not in use. They can be folded very small and put into the bag for fun snowshoe outings to come!

Have you used the Kahtoola NAVAgaiter? What are your thoughts and recommendations? Please share with us in the comments below.

The manufacturer provided the product reviewed in this post to the author at no cost. The views and opinions expressed in this post are, as always, the author’s own. This article was first published on October 9, 2019, and was most recently updated on January 6, 2022.

Read Next: Walk on Ice with Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction

Author

  • Susan has owned Snowshoe Magazine with her husband, Paul, since 2015. In late 2018, she became involved in writing and editing content and now is the lead editor of the publication. A true winter lover and avid snowshoer, Susan looks forward to traveling to new locations and opportunities to snowshoe and break trail every season!

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