Snake Gaiters -worth it?

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kenjacobsen
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Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by kenjacobsen » Feb 24 2019 6:17 pm

Anyone ever try Snake Gaiters like these, and if so, are they worth the trouble?

https://www.farmandlandaccessories.com/ ... e-gaiters/

Personally I've almost stepped on a rattler a couple times now, so I'm wondering.

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SpiderLegs
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by SpiderLegs » Feb 24 2019 7:28 pm

Unless something has changed, not a single person on this website has been bitten that I know of since 1996 when HAZ started. Plus we tend to be the hikers that go off trail, on seldom used trails or generally bushwhack around the state. If anyone was going to get bit, it would be from our ranks.

What I've been told by an ER nurse at the big hospital in Tucson is that most snake bites are on arm between the hand and elbow. Generally in the demographic of men ages 18-30 and alcohol is involved. So think "hold my beer and watch this".

My answer is save your money and the trouble.
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kenjacobsen
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by kenjacobsen » Feb 24 2019 8:52 pm

That's great to know.

I'm almost always bushwacking to some extent and I've nearly stepped on one on two different occasions.
I only knew because they set off their rattles as they slithered off, and I didn't see them in either case because they were under bushes/grass.

Has that sort of thing happened to anyone else here?
Last edited by kenjacobsen on Feb 24 2019 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RowdyandMe
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by RowdyandMe » Feb 24 2019 8:55 pm

@SpiderLegs
Wow were do rattlesnakes get their alcohol?
Last edited by RowdyandMe on Feb 24 2019 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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nonot
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by nonot » Feb 24 2019 9:55 pm

@kenjacobsen
Yes, I've almost stepped on rattlers, and on one occasion, headbutted one when crawling through some thick manzanita. One struck at me when I had no choice but to jump over it.

For the most part, snakes are scared of you. Show them respect and give them a wide berth. On a surprise encounter if they aren't rattling they may not see you either. Or at least, they are smart enough to know that you don't intend to hurt them.

Watch out for the baby snakes, they tend to strike at everything.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 25 2019 5:41 am

I do know a hiker who was bitten on the Finger Rock Trail by Tucson. She had to be airlifted out because she was rendered immovable pretty quickly. After that, she still hiked the Finger Rock Trail, but never wore snake gaiters. She just watched more carefully. My ex's coworker was bitten while hiking near that same area, foothills behind his home in Tucson. Both people's bites were to the leg. Both took a long time to recover.

According to Google, about 350 people per year are bitten in Arizona. Here's one from a couple years ago, for the Darwin awards:
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/rattlesnak ... tching-it/

But none of this info is going to convince me or any other hiker I know to wear snake gaiters. Just watch where you put your feet and hands. When it's cold you have far less to worry about.
Last edited by azbackpackr on Feb 25 2019 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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SpiderLegs
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by SpiderLegs » Feb 25 2019 7:46 am

I don't worry about snakes, I'll take my chances. But after a killer bee attack a few years ago I'm pretty jumpy still if I see anything yellow fly past my head.
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CannondaleKid
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by CannondaleKid » Feb 25 2019 8:37 am

@kenjacobsen
As a consequence of tons of off-trail hikes over the years I have had at least two dozen close encounters (a number of them documented on YouTube) as well as one when I inadvertently actually stepped on a rattler in a bush (I have the sound and fury aftermath of it on video), I still feel no need to do anything but be aware, and definitely no need to wear confining gaiters for snake-bite prevention.
SpiderLegs wrote:I don't worry about snakes, I'll take my chances. But after a killer bee attack a few years ago I'm pretty jumpy
Agreed!
Although I have no bee allergy I've been exposed to numerous attacks, and IMO they pose the most likely hazard while hiking, followed closely by hornets/wasps, mainly because a single one can sting numerous times... I know that from experience!

Rattlesnakes?
I fully agree with nonot, you are not their prey so snakes are scared of you, if they rattle they feel threatened, so just leave them alone. If they don't rattle, don't give them cause to feel threatened and you'll both be fine.
And don't pick it up as though to kiss it... it may very well oblige you! (More than one inebriated Darwinian has been known to do just that)

Baby rattlers?
From research it is theorized they haven't yet learned to save venom for offensive attacks on their prey and not use it for defensive 'go-away' strikes. They give it everything they have, every time.
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DarthStiller
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by DarthStiller » Feb 25 2019 12:30 pm

I had a close encounter with a rattler in 2003, then I bought a pair of snake gaiters. They were heavy, chafed the skin, and made my legs sweat under my knees, which would roll into my socks. My feet were always soaked afterwards. I bought a lighter pair after a while, still had the same issues to some extent, although less. Never had a close encounter with a rattler again, but anytime I would walk through high grass or bushwhack where I couldn't see the ground, there was a mental comfort. The last several years, I hike in long pants all the time. I figured that would be enough protection from a strike since if they do strike, it's only in defense.

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Alston_Neal
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by Alston_Neal » Feb 25 2019 12:59 pm

If I were you I'd buy the snake gaiters just so you don't have the dubious distinction of being the first HAZ member to get nailed.
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friendofThundergod
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by friendofThundergod » Feb 25 2019 1:20 pm

@kenjacobsen
I'm almost always bushwacking to some extent
I do a lot of bushwacking too, so to mitigate the danger of snakes, if I am with a group, I will casually let some lead and sneak to the second spot in line through the thick brush. Or if I am by myself, I will let my dog go first through the bushes..

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big_load
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by big_load » Feb 25 2019 1:41 pm

DarthStiller wrote:They were heavy, chafed the skin, and made my legs sweat under my knees, which would roll into my socks.
This has always been a deal-killer to me. I've had enough to make me think about it, but not enough to make the discomfort seem worthwhile, especially considering how favorable the statistics are.

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hikerdw
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by hikerdw » Feb 25 2019 2:11 pm

@friendofThundergod First hiker goes by the snake gets agitated, second hiker goes by and snake strikes :)

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chumley
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by chumley » Feb 25 2019 2:20 pm

SpiderLegs wrote:
Feb 24 2019 7:28 pm
Unless something has changed, not a single person on this website has been bitten that I know of since 1996 when HAZ started.
[ Colorado Hiker Dies from Snakebite ]
As a frequent chainsaw operator, I will admit that this didn't sound like a particularly pleasant experience.

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CannondaleKid
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by CannondaleKid » Feb 25 2019 4:34 pm

hikerdw wrote:First hiker goes by the snake gets agitated, second hiker goes by and snake strikes
While Tracey is always the second hiker, many times I neither see nor agitate the snake so she ends up telling me (more like YELLING at me) look at what you just stepped over!
Last edited by CannondaleKid on Feb 26 2019 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Oregon_Hiker
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by Oregon_Hiker » Feb 25 2019 8:29 pm

I often wear snake gaiters for off-trail hiking. These are the ones I use:
https://www.amazon.com/d/Shoe-Gaiters/T ... ikearizona

They're expensive, don't breath, and require some ingenuity to attach. But they're light weight and flexible. I tie then on using Dyneema cord passing below my arch under the boot. Every other type of cord I've tried wears out after a couple of hikes. The Dyneema lasts for ever. These gaitors tend to ride up above the back of medium height boots and funnel dirt into the boot so I now wear them with 8 inch high boots. The back zipper can be a real pain to zip. For total snake protection you will still need snake proof boots. All the extra weight on the ends of my legs definitely cuts down on my hiking endurance. Despite all this I've worn them for several years and am on my second pair.

I've never had a snake strike. I'm slow and noisy so snakes are usually retreating by the time I get to them or buzzing loudly to warn me off. I wear the gaiters more for protection from thorns, sharp broken ends of manzanita branches, etc. These gaitors are completely cats-claw proof but don't protect above the knee. They probably saved me from fairly severe shin injury when I fell on a sharp rock directly hitting my shin.

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BrettVet
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by BrettVet » Feb 26 2019 9:36 am

I was bitten by a rattlesnake in the ankle while using a chainsaw on my ranch. Couldn’t hear it and stepped backward into a bush. What saved me was that I was in the ER in less than 10 minutes. I drove very fast. I quit counting antivenin vials at 20 because I was in a morphine fog. Very painful. They thought I was having a seizure, but is was shooting pain. Felt like someone was stabbing my bone with an ice-pick. Spent 3 days in the ICU. The thing that did the most to save me was my car keys and getting the antivenin started right away. My wife bought me a set of gaiters to use with the chainsaw. Still ion the package. What are the odds of getting bit twice by a rattlesnake?

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kenjacobsen
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by kenjacobsen » Feb 26 2019 12:37 pm

Yeah, it occurs to me that if wearing these things saves me from having to pull cholla spines out of my calves again, that alone would be worh it!

Plus, I'm not keen on finding out if I can survive several hours hiking back to somewhere with cellphone reception after a rattler bite.

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Pivo
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by Pivo » Feb 26 2019 1:11 pm

Snake Gaiters Check, and what about Lions, Tigers, and Bears? Oh My!
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friendofThundergod
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Re: Snake Gaiters -worth it?

Post by friendofThundergod » Feb 28 2019 6:29 pm

A mountain biker landed on one today and was bitten. :doh:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/offbeat/ ... ar-BBUdP3c

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