The chances of encountering a venomous snake in the backcountry or wilderness are low. The odds of getting bitten by one are even lower. But, and I always say that, why should you play with the fire and tempt fate? When you are exploring the wild or doing fieldwork, there’s no set timetable for when a snake will inflict a bite on you. No wonder gears like snake gaiters, chaps and leggings are hot-selling articles worldwide.
As a passionate hiker, my peers always ask me, can snakes bite through gaiters? My answer is, Yes and No. Whether the gaiters will work depends on their type and the kind of snake you encounter.
I discovered surprising facts during my research, which I am going to share in the article below. So, stay tuned and keep scrolling down.
Can Snakes Bite Through Gaiters?
There’s no straightforward ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer. The effectiveness of the gaiters mainly hinges on their fabric and use. The type of snake you are up against also determines whether the gear will work or not, albeit to some extent.
The usual gaiters that the hikers use are not for the purpose of snake threats. They are made of leather, nylon or other materials with a waterproofing layer to help you fight weather elements. The only things they can protect you from for sure are thorns, briars and ticks.
Gaiters that Protect against Snakebites
The gear you can rely on for protection against snakebites is snakeproof gaiters. These are specially composed for protection against threats like snakebites, scorpion stings etc. They use specific materials such as Cordura with PVC or polypropylene laminates and waterproofing layers to keep you safe from hazards you are likely to face in the open, including fangs, stinging insects, thorny bushes, water and weather. I call them impenetrable armor for lower legs.
The best of all are those that use turtle skin technology. Gaiters built from these materials can effectively block all kinds of cuts and needles, even the sharpest fangs. They go the extra mile and test their products on live rattlesnakes. You should know that rattlesnakes belong to the pit vipers family, the most venomous snakes native to North America.
Long story short, if you wear such a pair of snakeproof gaiters, you will be safe from the stinging bites of snakes.
Snakes You Need most Protection from
As I said earlier, the species of snake you run into could also affect the effectiveness of your gaiters. The fangs are needle-sharp and can easily pierce through fabrics, especially when attacked with full strength.
Generally, the size and strength of fangs vary according to the type of prey snakes prefer to hunt. Snakes that mostly hunt soft-skin animals have long fangs and strike with less intensity. Alternatively, those who prefer thicker skin prey have shorter but stronger fangs. Both are as sharp and pointy as a needle and can easily pierce through sturdy materials, including jeans.
The snakes you should be wary of are rattlesnakes. They have some of the sharpest and longest fangs and can strike and retreat in a fraction of a second. Another scary fact about pit vipers is that they can lunge as high as 2/3rd of their length to strike. That implies they can easily land a nasty bite between your knee and thigh.
Other snakes you shouldn’t take lightly are copperheads and cottonmouth snakes. Their venom can put you through helluva pain.
Hence, if there is even an ounce of possibility that you might run into a member of the pit viper family, you must not go out without putting on heavy gear with maximum protection. For instance, your clothing choice for the day should include a thick pair of denim jeans, reliable snake chaps or gaiters and one of the sturdiest pairs of long snakeproof boots. Simply, the more and thicker layers you have, the lesser the odds of snakes puncturing your skin.
Note: When choosing pants, pick baggy pants because it widens the gap between your legs and pants; it is a known fact that snakes release venom the second they pierce an object. When the fangs attack your denim-clad leg, they release the poison in the dead air – the space between the fabric and your flesh.
Gaiters that Effectively Protect against Fangs
To eliminate the chances of investing in the wrong pair of gaiters, I decided to share a short list of products that guarantee safety from snakebites.
- On top of the list is TurtleSkin Snake Armor gaiters. They rank at the top because of the previously-discussed turtle skin technology.
- Crackshot Snake Guardz
- Forverlast Snake Guard Shields
- Gaiters by the brand Bell Rangers
All of these are not just good at protection, but they are also lightweight, comfortable, long-lasting and economical.
The chances of snakes striking you are meagre because they are as wary of humans as we are of them. The odds go down substantially if you wear protective gear like snake gaiters, boots, chaps etc. Remember, only the gaiters that feature snakeproof materials can shield you from snakes because they use fabrics and technologies that can resist the intensity of needle-sharp fangs. Other types that hikers often wear offer protection only from thorns, small insects, water and weather. Besides, additional layers of thick garments will further reinforce your safety, particularly from intimidating enemies like rattlesnakes.