Investing in a reliable pair of snake chaps and other forms of clothing to protect yourself against snake bites is critical if you spend a considerable amount of time outdoors.
According to the Center for Disease Control, venomous snakes bite between 7,000-8,000 people in the United States every year. Fortunately, the number of deaths resulting from snake bites is meager, thanks to medical care that is now available.
However, suffering from a snake bite can be incredibly painful, and depending on the type of snake, someone could have permanent disabilities as a result. If you spend a considerable amount of time outdoors, having the proper clothing to help protect yourself is critical.
We’ll discuss the most common types of clothing to help protect yourself from snake bites, including snake chaps. Additionally, we’ll share some other helpful tips you can follow for even more protection against snake bites.
Snake Chaps, Gaiters, and Other Forms of Protection
Clothing is your first layer of defense against snakes when you’re out in nature. Wearing the appropriate forms of clothing and following other safety tips can help you enjoy your time outdoors while staying safe.
First off, to determine what kind of clothing you’ll need to protect yourself from a snake bite, there are a few questions to keep in mind when browsing various types of clothing:
What needs protection? While most snake bites occur around the ankles and calves, don’t forget about the other parts of your body where you may need protection. For example, your feet, thighs, hands, and arms.
What are the materials? Not all materials can withstand a snake bite. You’ll want a combination of strong materials and several layers for the best protection.
What other needs are important? Not only selecting the appropriate clothing that will help protect yourself from a snake bite is essential, but other factors like comfort and flexibility are important.
Now that you have a better idea of what you may need let's look at the available clothing options.
1. Snake Chaps
Snake chaps are similar to other kinds of chaps. The word chaps comes from the Spanish word chaparehos, which translates to “legs of iron” since you wear chaps over your pants for additional protection of your calves and legs while still maintaining flexibility.
Chaps can protect for various reasons. For example, cowboys wear chaps to protect themselves from rope burns while dealing with animals. And snake chaps are designed is to be a thick layer of protection that helps block a snake's fangs from penetrating during an attack.
Materials for Snake Chaps
One of the most popular and reliable materials for snake chaps is Codura nylon. This is a highly heavy-duty synthetic fiber used for snake chaps and other popular items such as luggage, backpacks, and military clothing. You can also find snake chaps made from heavy duty nylon, as well as a mix of nylon, polyester, denim, and heavy-duty ballistic fibers.
Not only is the type of material important, but also they have a tight weave and several layers. The more layers, the harder it will be for fangs to penetrate. However, you also have to keep in mind comfort and flexibility depending on your activity.
Sizing for Snake Chaps
When you're shopping for snake chaps, getting the right size is crucial, so you are both protected and comfortable.
Length: Measure 2-3 inches shorter than your regular pant length. Ex: If you wear 30 inches in length, you'll want 28-inch long snake chaps.
Thigh thickness: Measure the largest part of your thigh while wearing a pair of jeans. Once you have your measurement, then add 2-3 inches.
Inseam: Measure from your crotch to the ball of your ankle. Drop down to the next smallest even number if you land on an odd number.
2. Snake Gaiters
Snake gaiters are protective garments that you wear over your pants, covering your shins and calves. Looking very similar to armor, most snake gaiters (low gaiters) will cover the top part of your shoes and your legs up to just below the knee, while some versions do extend up past the knees. These are called high-waist snake gaiters or leggings.
Materials for Snake Gaiters
Like snake chaps, you can find snake gaiters made from heavy-duty nylon. You can also find gaiters made from plastic, leather, polyester or a mix of all materials. And just like snake chaps, the tightness of the weave and the number of layers are essential for better protection from snake bites.
For example, there are usually at least three layers for snake gaiters. The top layer protects against briars and scratches, the second layer is the ultra-tough material that blocks most of the snake bite, and the third layer blocks any venom from reaching your skin.
Sizing for Snake Gaiters
Most snake gaiters are “one size fits most” because they are designed to be adjustable based on the person. To be sure a pair will fit you, measure your calves while wearing a pair of jeans and make sure the snake gaiters can adjust to your size.
3. Thick Socks and Heavy Boots
Wearing thick socks and heavy boots go hand-in-hand when completing your snake-proof ensemble. A heavy-duty, sturdy pair of boots made from thick leather or heavy-duty construction rubber will add more protection. Ideally, boots that cover a few inches above your ankle are best so that you have even more protection in the danger bite zone (your ankles and calves).
Keep in mind that some snakes can still penetrate leather and rubber. That's why it's essential to pick a pair of boots that are labeled as heavy-duty, so they are thicker than everyday leather and rubber boots.
And pairing heavy-duty boots with a thick pair of socks provides an extra layer of protection. Plus, thick socks offer additional comfort as they help keep your foot in place. Of course, you want a pair of boots that won’t cause any rubbing or discomfort, so when selecting a pair be sure to account for a thick pair of socks.
Avoiding contact with a snake should be the ultimate goal, but if you like to be prepared for any situation, then having a pair of heavy-duty gloves with you is a great idea.
The skin on your hands is thinner than other parts of your body. So, just like snake chaps and gaiters, you can find a pair of heavy-duty gloves made of durable and tightly woven nylon. Thick leather gloves can also be a practical option.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself Against Snake Bites
As we shared previously, wearing the proper clothing is your first line of defense against snake bites. Most snake bites occur because snakes act out of self-defense when they feel threatened. So there are other tips you can follow to help you avoid an angry confrontation with a snake.
1. Educate Yourself About Snakes In Your Area
The first step is to familiarize yourself with the snakes native to where you live or where you plan to visit. You can learn which snakes are venomous and non-venomous, so you can be better prepared outdoors if confronted by a snake.
For example, venomous snakes have very distinct, triangular-shaped heads, while most non-venomous snakes have more rounded heads. You can also observe their behavior to determine if they are venomous or not. For example, poisonous rattlesnakes will rattle their tails as a warning.
If you have an unfortunate encounter with a snake, venomous snake bites will typically leave two fang marks, while non-poisonous bites leave behind four fang marks.
2. Avoid Tall Grass and Brush
The ideal situation is to stay on clear paths and trails when you're outside. However, due to the nature of being outside, that may not always be possible. Snakes are intuitively drawn to tall grass and weeds because they like the coverage and protection from predators.
So when you do have to walk off the path or trail, try your best to avoid overgrown grass and brush. If you don't choose and have to walk through the area, grab a long stick and carefully probe around before stepping in. If any snakes are hiding, they will attack the stick first.
3. Use Caution Around Lakes and Rivers
If you love to swim in lakes or perhaps go wading in rivers, it's wise to keep snakes at the top of your mind. Depending on the region, there could be water snakes nearby.
Water snakes might be more out in the open after heavy downpours because, most likely, their hiding spot is flooded. But other times, be careful around muddy water or water with lots of vegetation around. These are the perfect hiding spots for water snakes.
Snake Chaps and Clothing at Stone Creek
Snake chaps and outdoor clothing are our specialties at Stone Creek. We are a family-run business providing reliable and durable clothing and hunting dog supplies for the past 15 years.