Three Things to Consider When Buying Snake Guards

Not all snake guards protect or fit everyone equally. Here are three choices, each with specific advantages.

Scary yellow snake
Planning a hike or a hunt in rattler country? You should wear snake protection.Natasha Ong/Unsplash

Anyone who lives, works, or plays in snake country knows how important it is to always look where you’ll be putting your feet before you actually take those steps…and how easy it is to not see a snake when it’s right there. That’s why it’s crucial to protect your legs and feet from a bite by a rattlesnake, copperhead, or water moccasin. Snake boots provide protection, but such tall boots aren’t always practical in warm weather, or comfortable to wear. They also take some time to put on and take off, which might prevent someone from wearing them when they really should.

That’s where snake guards, which fit on your legs over your boots and pants legs, come in. Three are many examples on the market, but these three types offer advantages that many other snake guards don’t.

1. Snake Guards for Big-Snake Country.

SKOLD USA Venom Snake Gaiter
Protect your knees as well as your lower leg and ankle with Skold’s Venom Snake Gaiter.Skold USA

Snakes can strike a distance of two-thirds of their total length. Western diamondback rattlesnakes can grow to 6 feet or more. The math isn't hard to do here. While you would need to be standing close to a big snake in order for it to strike you high up on the leg, you need to see or hear it first in order to avoid being so close…and snakes are well camouflaged. Many gaiter-style snake guards come up to just below the knee so that you can walk in them comfortably, which may not give you enough peace of mind in regions where big snakes are common. If that's the situation with you, go with a snake guard that offers knee protection. The better models flex enough so that you can walk in them comfortably.

2. Snake Guards for Active People.

TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Snake Gaiters
TurtleSkin SnakeArmor snake gaiters weigh less than 6 ounces each, making them easy to wear on long treks through snake country.TurtleSkin

One downside of snake guards is that they are warm, and many are heavy, which may prevent you from wearing them when they should. This is especially true if you're doing something that calls for a lot of walking, like upland-bird hunting or long-distance hiking. If that's you, look for a lightweight, comfortable pair of snake guards that you won't mind wearing.

3. Snake Guards for Kids.

Crackshot Snake Chaps for Kids
Kids need snake protection above the knee, which these Crackshot youth-size snake chaps provide.Crack Shot

Kids have shorter legs than adults, so gaiters that cover the area below the knee don't offer enough protection. If you want peace of mind for a child who's going to be outside in snake country, a pair of snake chaps is a smart choice. These cover the leg from ankle to thigh and are made of material that will repel a venomous snake's fangs.