Most people are scared of either spiders or snakes and rare is the person very scared of both or of neither. Weird how it works that way, but I’m willing to admit which side of that argument I fall on: I’m terrified of snakes. Almost stepping on a big rattler when you’re 8 will do that, though I don’t remember a time when snakes didn’t freak me out a little bit. But because of how much I loved hiking and going to the backcountry, I wanted to know if there was any way to protect myself from venomous snake bites.
The most effective pieces of snake proof clothing are Snake Gaiters, which have been tested many times to block venomous snake bites of even the largest rattlesnakes, with snake boots coming in second. Other snake proof clothing has had mixed results, as have boots that were not put under the same quality control tests as those manufactured directly in the United States.
That said, there are plenty of options that give ranchers, farmers, and outdoorsman who need to do work in snake country options for protecting themselves from the unexpected and potentially deadly venomous snake bite.
Read on as we give not only the quick pick for getting good protection right now, but we review all your options for snake proof clothing, the pros and cons of each option, and the best option for every type because we all have preferences – but that doesn’t mean we don’t all deserve the top protection when it comes to making sure an ornery rattler or cottonmouth doesn’t end up putting us in the ER.
Quick Pick: The QOGIR Snake Gaiters
If you don’t care about the details and just want our pick for the best “Buy Now” option, then based on the current market it’s hard to argue with the QOGIR snake gaiters.
They are versatile, comfortable, and cover both the front and the back of the leg, which is crucial since you can never be 100% sure of where the snake strike is coming from.
They are tested for common North American venomous snakes and can prevent the fangs of even very large rattlesnakes from getting through, and if it will stop the bite of a Western Diamondback, you don’t need to worry about Water Moccasins or Copperheads.
If you want the details or are looking specifically for snake proof boots, snake proof chaps, or other protective clothing then read on below as we cover all of your available options.
Snake Proof Boots Vs Snake Proof Gaiters
There’s been a debate for sometime on snake proof boots vs snake proof gaiters, and it’s one that I’ve watched a lot because of my own vested interest in being able to hike or explore off trail without having to worry about a “Game Over” snake bite miles from the nearest trailhead.
Just the peace of mind that would come from having my lower legs protected if I happened to not see a bite-happy snake would make them well worth the price to me.
There are undeniable issues with snake proof boots, however. Not all of them are tested to the same standard. While Chippewa still has no problem throwing down and proving in live demonstrations in pits full of rattlesnakes (which is crazy to me, btw), not every other company does that or offers any proof whatsoever of effectiveness.
Obviously when we’re dealing with potentially life-altering injuries like those that can come from a venomous snake bite, that’s a problem.
Effectiveness must come first.
While many people prefer snake proof boots over gaiters, snake gaiters are also great for people like me who have oddly shaped feet and/or often need custom shoes or boots. This makes all footwear expensive to begin with and that’s even before getting into the fact that many hunting boots, hunting gear, or snake proof gear makes it even more expensive.
Because of that sometimes the Gaiters are just the only viable choice if you can’t find a good boot fit without going the custom route. I have unusually wide and big feet, so this is a problem I’ve run into before, so it’s one that can tip the scales over from boots to gaiters so that way you can wear boots you know fit and have the protection of gaiters all around (assuming the toes of your hunting boots are solid – which is a viable concern).
Best Snake Proof Gaiters: The QOGIR Snake Gaiters
There are several great options when it comes to snake gaiters, but there’s a reason that QOGIR started dominating once they appeared on the market. They’re comfortable, they’re made from high quality materials, and not all gaiters have a full back wrap or cover but these do. I also appreciate the fact that they didn’t skimp on back material: this is as well built to keep snake fangs out in the back as at the front, and the adjustable range is quite good, making them a very adaptable pair of snake gaiters.
The QOGIR snake gaiters are not only our choice for the best overall option for snake protection but obviously they are the best gaiters on the market, as well. According to the company they have been tested against copperheads, cottonmouths/water moccasins, and rattlesnakes. That’s a crucial thing for us as we don’t want to take anyone’s word on it or assume “because X material is strong enough the gaiters should be snake proof.”
This isn’t the type of thing to make assumptions on and QOGIR’s design makes them adjustable whether you have skinny beanpole legs or squat weight lifter’s calves.
That is something I noticed immediately because I have had trouble with finding a good fit in the past – but that was no issue with these. I also appreciated the quality of the materials. These kept thorns and brambles at bay, and as someone who has caught plenty of thorns that went right through the denim jeans in the past, this was a welcome respite.
These are available in multiple colors including Mossy Back camo, so whether you’re hunting or spending time on the ranch, you can have the common look that you’re looking for.
These are also priced in the normal range for gaiters, if not slightly on the inexpensive side, meaning there isn’t a reason to have a “best cheap option” because there aren’t any that save more than a handful of dollars and those generally don’t come close to the same level of quality. This is one of those rare great times where the best overall option should be affordable to all budget levels.
Best Snake Proof Boots: Rocky Men’s Lynx Waterproof Snake Hunting Boot
While many major brand names have come and gone when it comes to quality boots and quality snake protection (RIP Chippewa) Rocky is one of those names that has been rock solid for over 15 years when it came to making quality snake proof hunting boots, and they are still one of the best names out there. In fact, when looking at various options as to what the best options were, there were multiple options from Rocky’s.
It turns out for my personal money I would take the Lynx over the Pull-On or Knee High hunting boot models that also came out from Rocky under the snake proof clothing line. The Rocky Lynx Waterproof boots are just the top – not only for Rocky but for my money they’re the best snake proof boots out there on the market.
Rocky snake proof boots have long been some of the best on the market and the Rocky brand remains a strong outdoor brand known for providing really top notch outdoor gear.
The Lynx Boots are comfortable, waterproof, look good and mix in with any camo setup a hunter has, not to mention the most important part of all: it offers exceptional protection from venomous snake bites.
This is in addition to being very reasonably priced, as they are far from the most expensive hunting boots out there. Rocky again delivers quality above and beyond the price point, and this long-standing style of snake boot remains one of the absolute best out there.
The Rocky Men’s Lynx Snake Boots are some of the most reliable out there. While many other companies have quietly gone cheap or discontinued their line, Rocky continues to make really good hunting boots that don’t take the cheap legal way out of being “snake resistant” (which means nothing, by the way) they continue to test their boots against venomous snake bites and make the type of hiking boots that you absolutely want while hunting in areas where you can stumble upon (sometimes literally) venomous snakes.
Off most online retailers like Amazon sizes range from 8 to 13 Wide, which will fit the far majority of hunters. I called the company’s customer service and was informed that sizes up to size 15 can often be ordered directly from the site, and I get the sense even when that option is greyed out you can call their customer service number (800-442-4908) and get help locating nearby seller which may have the larger sizes.
These are comfortable for hunting boots with a good insole that holds up well compared to the standard expectations you have for hunting boots, offer full protection, and personally I’m a fan of the laces.
There’s a reason these are consistently among the highest rated hunting boots out there and even on my first outdoor blog over 15 years ago Rocky Lynx Boots were on the top list of snake proof options and now they remain alone on top of that particular mountain.
So Why Do I Personally Believe in Rocky Men’s Snake Boots?
This isn’t an outlier opinion, either. Many of my friends who measure time of year by hunting season as opposed to the actual seasons and who live in swampy wetland areas where snakes are a genuine concern have mentioned Rocky Hunting Boots more than any other, and the pictures they sent me were more often Lynx boots than not.
When all your hunter friends from snake country are using the same boot, then it’s usually a pretty good idea to take their advice and go with that one. It’s the equivalent of your own trusted group of friends doing field testing for you.
There are several reasons why I personally really like Rocky’s snake proof boots. Some of the main points from my own personal experience are:
- Comfortable – Which with someone with extra wide feet like mine (abnormally so) is incredibly hard to pull off
- No price gouging – The price of these boots didn’t shoot up 40% when “inflation” hit. Hunting boots are expensive, but Rocky’s Hunting Boots are actually on the low side of the average price range, which again, as an outdoorsman on a budget, I appreciate.
- Actually tested – I don’t believe in making assumptions. Especially when my safety and potentially massive medical bills are what happens if I’m wrong.
- They look good – This doesn’t matter as much as the other points, but it does matter. These aren’t the ugly rubber pull-ons that you wonder if they’ll really be as good as advertising. These boots look good, feel good, and I have no problem lacing them on for any type of outdoor activity in snake country.
- Lace up boots – I just like lace up hunting and hiking boots better than any other style. The Lynx are lace up hunting boots and the laces aren’t cheaply made in my experience. I’ve broken many hiking boot laces, but have yet to rip one of these in half.
The fact they have so many positive reviews, overwhelmingly so compared to most other snake boots, just further reinforces both my own personal experience with the Lynx Hunting Boots from Rocky Boots, as well as those of many trusted friends who are out there hunting year after year, and are quick to (word that rhymes with “itch”) endlessly on the phone when a once trusted company starts cheaping out on materials and making the quality of their products plummet as a result.
What Happened to Chippewa Snake Boots?
For years Chippewa was the easy go-to for best snake boots and it helped that they had the (in)famous testing video we embedded below where a man wearing the boots walked around a boarded in area filled with pissed off rattlesnakes and let them strike at the boots over 40 times to see if the boots actually held up or not.
This was a video that caught a lot of attention, and made it really easy to recommend these snake proof boots at a time when there were some very iffy brands trying to pass themselves off as “snake proof” when they probably weren’t.
So why don’t I have Chippewa snake proof boots in my top 3 anymore? Aside from the fact that they have stopped advertising hunting boots as snake proof (a red flag if there ever was one), the quality of their construction has gone down and at the same time this video is now over 10 years old with no updates…because as far as I can tell they don’t do this anymore.
If it was that easy to go viral with a new video and prove you’re better than the competition, why wouldn’t you do it?
Trigger Warning: If you have a phobia of venomous snakes, might want to skip this video. It’s not even the strike so much as the sounds – the non-stop rattling sound can really set your nerves on end even if you don’t have a snake phobia per se.
That video was a very convincing close to any outdoorsman scared of rattlesnakes and unsure of which books to pick up – but it’s not 2000, 2008, or even 2014 and that means things have changed.
And unfortunately when it comes to Chippewa snake boots the changes were not for the better and there’s a reason they don’t have a huge market share now.
This video is an incredible look at why even many of Chippewa’s most famed and popular boots failed, and he does it by taking multiple similar boots and slicing them open with knife and saw to show what materials are made, how they’re constructed, and why they don’t hold up. While these aren’t snake boots, these were also supposed to be “premium” work boots and the results of the video give a pretty good indication of why Chippewa has tumbled.
So for questions as to what happened to Chippewa snake boots – that’s the answer. We just simply can’t recommend them anymore as there are much better, more reliable, and more comfortable options that are still designed specifically to offer as much protection as possible.
Chippewa snake proof boots used to be the standard by which you compared all competitors but those days are now long gone.
What Is the Difference Between Snake Chaps and Snake Gaiters?
Snake chaps are a bigger version that are meant to be worn over the pants. Instead of strapping around the lower legs like snake gaiters, they have more of a wader appearance and cover most of the leg all the way up the thigh. The simplest way to tell the two apart is this:
- Snake gaiters go up to the knee
- Snake chaps go up the thigh
It is worth noting that there are many companies that use these two terms interchangeably even though they are technically different types of clothing. Use any pictures in gear guides or online pages to tell the difference between the two so you actually get what you’re looking for.
There are far fewer examples of full snake proof chaps versus snake proof gaiters and that makes sense because of demand. All that said, if you do want the full chaps you should look at specialists like Dan’s Hunting Gear, LLC or HuntArmor. These are some of the better reputable companies and are smaller – but that just means there’s more focus on the quality of the product they put out, which is always a good thing.
These are the two names that have come up again. Quogir also makes snake proof chaps but they don’t have the same quality reputation as the gaiters, which although strange, is something we have to take into account.
Can Denim Jeans Stop A Rattlesnake Bite?
The short answer is no, denim jeans are not enough, especially if they are tight fitting. Denim is a solid material that can help with scrapes, but a decent sized rattlesnake can puncture regular blue jeans. If the blue jeans are baggy it might result in the fangs not getting all the way through to skin, but that’s not exactly the type of “defense” I want from a snake bite.
So the short answer is that while the jeans are better than nothing, and certainly better than shorts or a thin material, at the end of the day if you are relying on them alone you are really rolling the dice on that one.
Denim jeans are great for a lot of things, but you need more than just that if you are going to keep yourself from being the victim of a venomous snake bite.
Related Article: You can learn a lot more about this and see the evidence in more detail in our Can Denim Jeans Stop A Rattlesnake Bite? Article which does far more in-depth into this question.
What About Snake Bite Kits?
This is near the top of my article about Outdoor Myths That Need To Die, and there are always random Internet doctors talking about that cousin or that experience, but the truth is that this has been tested many, many times and snake bite kits just don’t work. They’re good for removing a bee stinger or something like that, but they should never be used in treating a venomous snake bite.
The biggest reason some people claim anecdotally that these work is probably due to dry bites. It’s important to keep in mind a few facts which include:
- 25% of all rattlesnake bites are dry, meaning there is no venom
- Studies have shown that warning bites/strikes (the most common in people) often have very little venom compared to bites that come after extended irritation or in defense
- Barring another health condition or allergy (or other extreme conditions) a rattlesnake bite is very very rarely fatal and not quick, meaning there’s usually way more time to get treatment than most victims think.
The speed with which venom goes into the bloodstream, and with which blood travels in the body, makes it impossible for these to actually suck venom out of a snake bite wound. It doesn’t just sit there waiting for you, it’s already in the system.
Put a constrictive band above where the bite took place, do your best to be calm, and slowly walk yourself to a place you can rest and be picked up by medical professionals or can drive yourself to the nearest clinic or hospital to get anti-venom.
Snake Bite Injuries Are Expensive
While I’ve heard people complaining about spending $50 on Snake Chaps or $150 on Snake Boots, honestly their logic kind of baffles me. Even taking into account the fact that the chance of a snake bite being fatal in the United States is incredibly low, that doesn’t change the fact that it will be both unbelievably painful and incredibly expensive.
And that’s assuming treatment is fast, there are no complications, you aren’t allergic at all, and everything goes extremely smoothly. Even then you are maxing out $10,000+ deductible on insurance easy, and God help you if you don’t have insurance, have to go out of pocket, or have follow up complications of any kind…which is actually extremely common after suffering a venomous snake bite.
In other words, spending less than a hundred or even a few hundred dollars up front could save you five figures worth of bills later not to mention an amazing amount of pain, suffering, and weeks of recovery on top of it.
I don’t know about you, but when I see those two clearly weighed against each other on a scale, I’m going to go ahead and make a purchase before I start trudging through the swamps or the long grass during mating season.
Protect Yourself from Snake Bites
While the overwhelming majority of venomous snakes want to be left alone, and would rather run or hide then bite, sometimes accidents happen or sometimes you’re just wrong place, wrong time, and you don’t see or hear the danger until it’s a bit too late. Having the right type of clothing or gear on you can go a long way towards offering you protection in even the most hairy of situatins.
There’s no reason to let a few of snake bites keep you from enjoying all the truly incredible things the outdoors have to offer. Just get the right snake proof clothing to protect yourself, and whether for work, hunting, or pleasure, get out there and explore in confidence!
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