My wife and I have been very fortunate in our long distance hikes - we've never been rained on except for our last day on the way out. So, while we have rain jackets that we pack, we've never packed rain pants or anything like that. We do have waterproof (Gore-Tex) boots.

Recently we were day hiking in the rain and our pants got so wet that our socks started wicking moisture out of the pants and into our boots. So we need a way to fix this.

It seems like gaiters or rain pants are the two fixes for this. Our pants are quick dry so I'm not as concerned about them getting wet. Gaiters seem like something we could wear all day if the weather seems iffy (under our regular pants but over the boots and socks) while rain pants would be something we put on when the weather starts to get bad. Is one of these a superior choice? Are there other alternatives we should consider?

  • Is the problem warmth or comfort?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 14:35
  • 100% comfort, plus the health/safety issue of walking in wet boots (blisters and stuff)
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 14:37
  • Are you double socked?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 14:38
  • Single socked, wool.
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 14:56

3 Answers 3


GoreTex Gaiters are what I've always worn, and I've never had a problem with wet socks before. The GoreTex is nice and light, and breathes so you don't overheat or get very clammy underneath. You can get different sizes of gaiters from gaiters that barely cover you ankles to gaiters that go all the way up to your knees.

Another route you could go is to get waterproof socks. Rocky Socks and Sealskinz socks are 100% waterproof but are still breathable, so you never have to worry about wet feet when you're wearing them. With the waterproof socks you can also wear whatever footwear you like. Even if you wear a light dayhiker that isn't waterproof, your feet will still stay dry.

Gaiters for dry socks, also an option: Full body jumper rain suit. enter image description here

  • 2
    I've used Sealskins of two different different designs, while it's true that I can stand in a puddle with them and have dry feet, if water drips down my leg I still end up wet feet. What's even worse, the water is even more trapped in there... Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 21:53
  • @LamarLatrell This is true, which is why you can get sealskinz from ankle socks all the way up to knee socks. Size your socks appropriate to your adventure.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 18:56

If you don't need the full rain pants, then gaitors should do the trick. I would wear the gaitors over the top of all of your other layers, and just wear them when you need to, as otherwise you will get wet from your own sweat. They are also useful if you have to go through vegetation after it has rained.

On the other hand, you can get really light rain pants, and they would keep your pants and socks from getting wet and you probably wouldn't need gaitors at all.

My personal strategy is to use rain pants first and if it is really, really raining then use gaitors as well.


Not perfect but double sock. First layer (liner) is a smooth thin sock designed to slide. Outer sock is the thicker insulation layer.

liner sock

  • 4
    how does this prevent the situation OP describes where the socks wick water into the boots?
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 20:47
  • 1
    @Mr.Mindor Deal with and prevent are not the same.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 2:57
  • ok, how does this help deal with the situation then?
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 14:31
  • @Mr.Mindor "a smooth thin sock designed to slide"
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 14:43
  • yes I read that part, but that does what for people with wetness in their boots? (I'm not arguing that it won't help, I even know how this works in general from scouts when I was younger, but if I didn't have that prior knowledge, this answer doesn't provide it.)
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 14:52

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