I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I don't know what I was expecting.
There are a lot of dirty girls out on the Pacific Crest Trail.
In fact, I have witnessed more dirty girls on the PCT than I have seen collectively in the rest of my life.
Having toyed with the idea of employing dirty girls in the past, and having ultimately resolved to forgo accepting the trend, I became increasingly aware of the error in my judgement as the trail wore on and I continued to see some amazing looking dirty girls. Day after day I saw hikers with their dirty girls, and eventually I decided: I needed some dirty girls of my own.
Luckily, it would just so happen that dirty girls had already taken an interest in me, and that soon I would find a pair of said dirty girls wrapped around my ankles.
THE DIRTY GIRL ERA
One fateful day I received an email from Dirty Girl Gaiters offering me some of their finest product.
Now I was not completely sold on “gaiters” (for all those unfamiliar with these pieces of equipment, they are used to keep dirt, rocks, snow, etc. out of your footwear), but I have never said no to a dirty girl before and I wasn't about to start now. However, with close to 100 varieties of dirty girls to choose from I was a bit overwhelmed.
But I persevered and I finally made my decision (rainbows and stars FTW), and my gear list grew by one.
Dirty Girl Gaiters are incredibly lightweight and comfortable, and they made a considerable difference in the amount of filth that made its way into my shoe over the course of the day.
From the Dirty Girl website (which could use some updating and layout help):
This soft, comfortable four-way stretch spandeXy uniseXy gaiter weighs less than two ounces. It hooks under the front shoe lace and secures to the back of the shoe with a self-adhesive velcro strip. They are dirt cheap for $20 per pair.
Now I wouldn't exactly call $20 “dirt cheap”, but if you can make your pair last, then they are worth the investment.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The worst thing about Dirty Girl Gaiters is putting on your socks and shoes and then realizing that you have neglected to put on your gaiters (which requires that your shoes be off, and yes, you will do this multiple times).
POST-DIRTY GIRL ERA
Unfortunately, like my relationship with KEEN, my relationship with Dirty Girl Gaiters also ended (although I still support the use of Dirty Girls and I would rock them again (though not for $20)).
Having been originally designed for long-distance endurance races, Dirty Girls have some trouble holding up to the stress of the PCT. Eventually, holes wear through the inside of the gaiters, allowing debris to once more find its way into your sacred shoe (I met only one person who managed to use the same pair the entire trail).
I am not too sure what Dirty Girl's stance on replacement gaiters is (I requested a replacement and never received one), but I am sure with some persistence you will have no problem getting a replacement pair (as a thru-hiker, that is).
Find out more about Dirty Girls, or grab a pair of your own from their website: DirtyGirlGaiters.com.