Upland Products

Snake Chaps Product Review

Turtleskin SnakeArmor Snake Chaps

Turtleskin Snake Chaps

This time of year I field a lot of questions about snake chaps and snake gaiters. Poisonous snakes are nasty creatures and, knock on wood, I hope I never encounter one in the field. We used to live in Texas and I hunted south Texas quail many times. I always wore snake protection, and always had half an eye out for rattlers.

But even if I don’t encounter one, I will always be prepared in the event that I do. While snake protection can be expensive and/or uncomfortable to wear, it’s great insurance and a lot cheaper than the medical bills from a snake bite (assuming you survive to get medical treatment).

As far as snake protection goes, there are 2 basic styles: snake chaps and snake gaiters. There are also some snake pants on the market, but I no longer carry them on Uplanders.com – I found the quality lacking so decided to not carry them.

Historically, there was only one option for snake chaps – a Cordura-type outer material with polycarbonate (hard plastic) panels sewn into the legs of the chaps. This type of snake chap has been on the market for many years now and there are a few different manufacturers that make this same type of snake chap.

Turtleskin Snake Chaps

Turtleskin Snake Chap belt loops & buckle detail

A few years ago, a new company entered the snake chap market with a product called Turtleskin SnakeArmor snake chaps. Turtleskin invented a proprietary material that is extremely puncture resistant. Apparently this material was developed for some sort of air bag/cushioning system for NASA spacecraft, but they soon found other applications for it – including snake chaps. Pros and cons of the Turtleskin Snake Chaps are:

Turtleskin Snake Chaps Pros:

• Extremely light weight (only 1.45 lbs for the pair of Total Protection chaps)

• Breathable – much cooler than the traditional style snake chap, especially in warmer southern states

• Flexible – they aren’t bulky or binding, leading to increased comfort as well

• Washable

• 3 color options: tan, sage or camo (a ‘briar’ camo pattern – not like your typical Mossy Oak-type pattern)

• Made in the USA

 

Turtleskin Snake Chaps Cuff Detail

Turtleskin Snake Chaps Cons:

 

• Price is higher. There are two styles – total protection chaps and knee-below protection chaps. Turtleskin forces retailers (like myself) to show their MSRP price of $230 on the total protection chaps and $147 on the knee-protection chaps. However, if you order with me by phone (800-701-2761), I can give you a pretty good discount.

• I have had a couple of these returned for repair because the cuff material can fray with heavy-use. That said, Turtleskin has repaired these chaps in every instance at no additional cost to the customer. Turtleskin has good dealer support and they stand by their product.

• The facing material that covers the snake-proof layer is a regular fabric and can rip/tear or can be cut by sharp objects (like a stiff briar barb). The snake material doesn’t get penetrated, but the outer fabric has been cut in a couple cases I know of. Again, Turtleskin has repaired these couple chaps that have had this problem.

I have also included a video here from Turtleskin that shows their SnakeArmor in action against a rattlesnake. Pretty impressive stuff!

Crackshot Snake Chapz

Crackshot Snake Chapz

I mentioned previously that the snake chaps that have the Cordura-type outer material and hard plastic panels sewn in – what I call traditional snake chaps. For this type of chap, the brand that I like best – the one that I carry and sell on Uplanders.com – is called Snake Chapz (manufactured in Oklahoma by Crackshot Corp.). Here are some of the pros and cons of the Snake Chapz:

Snake Chapz Pros:

• Very heavy-duty and durable – 1000 denier nylon (Cordura-type material)

• Fairly light-weight (2.9 lbs for a pair of Snake Chapz)

• Low cost (only $79.95 on my site Uplanders.com)

• Available in 6 different sizes and 7 different colors

• 100% guaranteed snake proof (backed by $1 million insurance)

• Made in the USA

Snake Chapz Cons:

• Due to the nature of the material and construction, they can be bulky and binding to wear (not terribly comfortable)

• These snake chaps don’t breathe well and they get very warm, humid environments

 

Crackshot Snake Chapz

JT’s Two Cents:

 

Of the two types of snake chaps, I sell a lot more of the Turtleskin snake chaps – and within Turtleskin, I sell a lot more of the “full-protection” snake chaps than I do the “below-the-knee protection” chaps. While the Turtleskin snake chaps are more expensive, the comfort is unbeatable. Most people I talk to that are buying snake chaps are active – either hunting or hiking or working on the ranch, etc. Many times, comfort becomes a priority over cost when the level of activity is factored in. And most of the snake chaps I sell are in the southern and western states, which get pretty warm during snake season, so breathability and coolness become pretty important as well.

About JT

JT is an avid upland hunter and the business owner of Uplanders Warehouse (www.uplanders.com). He is passionate about birds and bird dogs - and having the right gear to make your hunt more successful. While JT lives and works in Bozeman, Montana, he makes regular trips to Texas to hunt bobwhite quail and South Dakota and Kansas for pheasants. He travels with his 2 german shorthairs - Gracie and Cora, and any other friends he can find to split the gas with him. If you're an avid bird hunter, or have strong opinions about your upland gear, feel free to send JT an note.

Discussion

28 thoughts on “Snake Chaps Product Review

  1. Do you have any recommendations for snake chaps for a small framed woman?
    The product needs to be lightweight, breathable, and effective against snakes and cactus/briars. Thanks!!

    Posted by jan | June 20, 2010, 12:46 pm
    • If it needs to be lightweight and breathable, you should definitely go with the Turtleskin chaps. I would recommend the “Total Protection” version of their chaps if briars are an issue (that typically hit you in the thigh area). The fit might be an issue. They do come in a “short” version, but the inseam is still 27-29″ (adjustable up to 2″ with the straps that connect to your belt). The link to these chaps is below:

      https://www.uplanders.com/home.php?dr=products&fn=product_details&pr_id=CHAP-49-5

      You’ll notice these are a bit pricey. We do have a “phone” price of $199.95 (and they ship free) if you call to place your order by phone (don’t ask, it’s a funny manufacturer restriction).

      They may be a bit baggy if you’re a small-framed woman (25″ thigh circumference), but if you have any sewing skills, I bet you could take these in. They are made of a flexible fabric material. Just a thought.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, or if I can help you with anything else.

      Thanks -JT

      Posted by Jared Tanner | June 20, 2010, 7:31 pm
      • If they are highly puncture resistant material as advertised, how would anyone using a home sewing machine “take them in.” ??? Wouldn’t the sewing needle bend or break?

        Posted by D. | May 10, 2011, 5:28 pm
      • Good point :)

        I know they are sewn by Turtleskin when they are manufactured, but I don’t know if they use any heavier equipment (either machines or needles – or both) to do it. -JT

        Posted by JT | May 11, 2011, 11:20 pm
      • HI
        I wonder if you could provide some advice to a couple of nervous English people who will be visiting Yellowstone in later September/ early October. I cant find any information on the web that advises about snake activity and safety at this time of year in this area. You seem to know what you are talking about and I wonder if you would be kind enough to advise me. We are keen bird watchers and of course would want to see the amazing animals you have in Montana / Wyoming area. We are however worried about snakes. Do they hyberanate or are the about this time of year. IF so could you advise where we could buy some snake gaiters – we will arrive in Bozeman and will only have a few hours there in teh morning to buy some food and then make our way to west yellowstone – later to move to Gardiner. Will we be abole to buy some in the town or would we need to buy some before we come – they arent a big selling item in the UK.

        Any advise would be most welcomed.
        Best wishes
        Ann

        Posted by Ann Ellis | April 29, 2012, 7:17 am
      • Ann,

        Snakes can be a concern in certain areas of southwest Montana (including parts of Yellowstone Park). Snakes in our area (southwest Montana) are still active in September and October – depending on the weather. On colder days in early fall, they’ll be a bit sluggish, but you can still find them out. If we have a warm fall, they definitely could be out and active. If you want to stop by after you land, our business is located in Bozeman, and we’re open 8am to 5pm – our address is 32D Shawnee Way, Bozeman, Montana. We have the Turtleskin gaiters in stock), or we can easily ship them to you in the UK before your trip. These gaiters work as great brush protection as well even if you don’t see a snake (hopefully you won’t).

        Here’s another link that might be helpful to you regarding rattlesnakes in Montana:
        http://fieldguide.mt.gov/detail_ARADE02120.aspx

        Let me know if you have any questions, or if we can help you with anything else. -JT

        PS – if you do want to order the Turtleskin gaiters ahead of time, let me place the order for you. Our “phone” price is $114.95 – you’ll save a little compared to the price we have to show on the website.

        Posted by JT | April 29, 2012, 8:46 pm
      • Many thanks for your reply. I will have a think about teh gaitirs and get in touch with you before we come to the USA. Sounds a bit scarey
        thanks Ann

        Posted by Ann Ellis | April 30, 2012, 2:14 pm
  2. I have only used snake proof gaiters before, and I’ve wanted to try the chaps out, but I’m wondering if the weight is a considerable difference? I’m not the strongest person in the world and I have always had a fear of the chaps being too heavy for me.

    Posted by jakemosterio | August 23, 2010, 11:58 am
    • I wouldn’t worry about the weight at all. The chaps are extremely light-weight and I would be surprised if you had any issues with them feeling or being too heavy. As with any product we sell, if you’re not satisfied with it, we’d be happy to refund your purchase or exchange it for something else. Give us a call or shoot me an email if you have any other questions. -JT

      Posted by JT | August 28, 2010, 5:36 pm
  3. I own a pair of the TurtleSkin below knee gaiters and used them once so far.

    As far as comfort, I have no complaints. They were hardly noticeable and I did sweat some on the lower legs but not bad enough to complain. Due to their stiffness, they also remain upright as advertised without any external support. I also liked that I was able to roll them up for my pack as advertised and then unroll them for use as needed.

    As for the protection, I question the design. They leave you exposed at the ankle and below. If your hiking boots are not adequate protection from snake bites, you’re going to get a bite injury. The front side tongue also was not long enough, in my opinion, to offer good protection for the top of the foot… but then I have big feet.

    I also dislike the disclaimer that came with them in that the manufacturer warns you MUST depend not only upon the gaiters but also upon heavy snake proof boots. That wording made me think that the gaiters, alone, would not offer 100% protection. Maybe it was just how I read that warning but it sounded odd.

    Posted by D. | May 10, 2011, 5:26 pm
    • Any gaiter or chap style snake protection (not just Turtleskin) needs to be worn with footwear (preferably boots) that are snake resistant as well. Almost all snake strikes occur around the ankle or on the foot itself – so your footwear needs to be snake resistant too. For example, a light-weight trail running shoe, or even hiking shoe or boot with mesh on top would not be sufficient. Most leather boots will provide adequate protection – they don’t necessarily need to be “snake proof” boots.

      As for the gap you speak of around the ankle, I recommend using the 3 grommets on the tongue of the Turtleskin gaiter to strap it under your boot to keep the gaiter down lower and more snug around your ankle. D., you are correct – the gaiters will not offer 100% protection for areas they don’t cover – primarily the foot and heel – so wear appropriate footwear in combination with your gaiters.

      Posted by JT | May 11, 2011, 11:30 pm
  4. I was thinking that these Turtelskin chaps being this tough,light weight and waterproof could be used for all situations in the field not only when in snake country. Like why would you need any others. Whats you thoughts on that idea?

    Posted by Tommy W. | July 16, 2011, 9:49 pm
    • Tommy –
      I agree, and in fact sell a lot of these chaps to general bird hunters who are more concerned with comfortable brush and briar protection than they are about snakes. The only issue is the price point – you’re paying a premium for snake protection if all you’re using them for is brush and briars. Most guys think they can get adequate brush/briar protection a lot cheaper – and they can – but they do sacrifice features like waterproof, breath-ability, etc. But if money isn’t a concern, these do make great all-around hunting chaps. -JT

      Posted by JT | July 20, 2011, 12:08 am
  5. These look like nice snake chaps. One thing I have found is that when looking to buy snake proof chaps, you need to make sure they offer snake protection for the entire length. Many, mostly the less expensive models are only snake proof up to knee. In that case you are ahead to just wear snake gaiters which are a lot less restrictive and warm.

    Posted by artifact | September 5, 2011, 11:11 am
  6. Hi – do you have any recommendations on gaiters versus chaps? Normally I’ve either worn gaiters or no snake protection at all except leather boots. I work in California where it gets pretty hot in the summer (100s to 115) and so gaiters would have the advantage there, but that extra comfort won’t mean so much if I were to get bit in the thigh. It would be great to get your two cents. Thanks.

    Posted by Pete | June 19, 2012, 6:04 pm
    • Pete,

      I’ve heard that 90%+ of snake bites occur around the foot and ankle. However, you should also factor in terrain. For example, if you’re hiking or climbing up a slope, and the snake is above you elevation-wise, it could strike higher than your ankle. I’m not sure what your environment is like – or if this would even be a consideration for you.

      I have heard stories of “jumping” rattlers – snakes that strike higher than your knee, and while possible, it seems highly unlikely – or at least a rare occurance.

      Assuming terrain isn’t an issue, my opinion is that the Turtleskin snake gaiters would be the best option for you. -JT

      Posted by JT | June 19, 2012, 6:15 pm
      • Thanks! That gives me something to think about. I spend a decent amount of time on hillsides… And one time in the Mojave, a rattler struck at my mom and aimed at her thigh. Fortunately she jumped back in time. That thing struck from near her feet and definitely aimed high.

        Posted by Pete | June 19, 2012, 6:24 pm
  7. Hi Pete,

    do you ship those Turtleskin Full Protection chaps to Canada? What would be the costs and delivery time?

    Thanks,

    Jack

    Posted by JackGo | August 27, 2012, 4:04 pm
    • Jack-
      Sorry for the delayed response on this – just now saw it. Yes, we do ship these to Canada. Based on prior shipments, I’m estimating the cost would be around $25-30 USD. We would ship these to you via USPS and charge you the exact postage – but I won’t know what that is till we actually process the shipment. Give us a call or shoot us an email (service@uplanders.com or 800-701-2761) if you’d like to order these. -JT

      Posted by JT | August 30, 2012, 9:24 am
      • Sorry Pete, I ordered Yesterday from another outfit. Too bad, pretty sure you had a better price.

        Jack

        Posted by JackGo | August 30, 2012, 9:46 am
      • Hi Jackgo – I’m just another customer/poster here, JT is your guy. Sorry Jackgo and JT, sounds like your wires got crossed and I didn’t help clear it up. From my research I think you’re right that JT has the best prices on these.

        Posted by Pete | August 30, 2012, 10:04 am
    • Just to make you feel bad ;) I’ll let you know our “phone” price on these gaiters is $114.95 which includes free ground shipping to the continental US. Hopefully you didn’t pay too much more. -JT

      Posted by JT | August 30, 2012, 10:47 am
  8. This sounds like a great investment for my 2 older boys! However I am looking for snake protection for 2 younger ones also. They are 5 & 7. Do you have any suggestions on what to get for them? We recently purchased land that unfortunately seems to have an abundance of cotton mouths & copperheads!

    Posted by Leslie Harwell | August 28, 2012, 2:34 am
  9. JT, a quick opinion if you please. In the fall I’m planning a trip to SC to hunt deer. Coming from a Northern state, I have no experience with venomous snakes. This will be a one time event which I’d prefer not to be impaired by a snake bite. In your expeience, what would be my best and least expensive protection.

    Posted by Kenneth | July 5, 2013, 6:02 pm
  10. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through some
    of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found
    it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

    Posted by Milton | April 1, 2014, 3:48 pm

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