What is the best neck gaiter?
Neck gaiters are finding themselves on a lot of outdoor enthusiasts’ packing lists. They are versatile, and outside of comfort, they also help with temperature control and avoiding harsher elements. Neck gaiters are also very affordable, which makes them ideal for just about anyone who spends ample time outdoors, especially in very hot or cold weather.
The neck gaiter market is becoming crowded, but the impressive array of color options, Merino wool material and stretchiness of the Buff Lightweight Merino Wool Multifunctional Neck Gaiter makes it one of the best neck gaiters currently available.
What to know before you buy a neck gaiter
Type of exercise
Neck gaiters are great for any type of outdoor activity. Runners, hikers, fishermen, skiers, snowboarders and so on can really benefit from wearing one. Each neck gaiter is multipurpose, but some of them come with different features that might cater more to a specific activity. Make sure to look at different features such as SPF protection, fabric layering and cooling/insulation properties to find the best neck gaiter for you.
Summer vs. winter
In summer, a neck gaiter can help keep the sun off your neck and face, and some have cooling properties that keep you more comfortable during a tough mid-summer run or trip. Likewise, you want to stay warm in winter. This is where you need to consider a thicker material or something with better insulating properties. Many neck gaiters claim to be four-season, but the last thing you want is a neck gaiter that exposes you to extreme weather.
Neck gaiters are very multipurpose
Outdoors enthusiasts adore items that are multipurpose. A neck gaiter is made to protect your neck and face, but it could be used to accomplish various other tasks. For example, a neck gaiter could be used to keep your hands, arms or feet warm. It could also be used as a towel or a washcloth, or it could even act as a tourniquet to keep a wound sealed. The affordability and packability of a neck gaiter make it a great item to have on hand.
What to look for in a quality neck gaiter
Common materials for neck gaiters include polyester, Merino wool and various other kinds of wool.
- Polyester is a durable polymer. It’s very popular because it is breathable. Despite its lightness, it still offers a lot of protection from harsh elements like strong wind or sun. It is also more affordable than wool products.
- Merino wool is a fiber derived from Merino sheep. It is truly a four-season material that wicks away bad odors and acts as a sun repellant or insulator. It tends to be on the pricier end of the spectrum.
Most neck gaiters come in just one size — they tend to be flexible and stretchy. That said, gaiters still come in different shapes and materials, and some will feel too tight or too loose for certain people. It is important to read reviews or try out the neck gaiter before assuming it will fit perfectly since there is only one size.
Single vs. double layer
Neck gaiters can come with single or multiple layers of fabric. Single layers tend to be more breathable and light, but double-layered neck gaiters are better insulators, and they also do more to prevent perspiration. Neither option is better, and it really depends on what you need a neck gaiter for.
Neck gaiter FAQ
Is it safe to wash Merino wool in a washing machine?
A. Merino wool can be washed in a washing machine, but there are a few things to keep in mind. It is best to turn the Merino wool inside out, and make sure to keep the water temperature low. Don’t use any fabric softeners, and it is best to wash your Merino wool separately, or at the very least, not together with heavier fabrics like denim.
Do I need a neck gaiter if I already have a bandana?
A. This really depends. A neck gaiter can technically be used as a bandana and vice versa. Neck gaiters are certainly great items to have, especially in extreme temperatures, but some people might be happy using other alternatives. It might be wise to go to a store and try a neck gaiter and see if you prefer it to the bandana.
What’s the best neck gaiter to buy?
Top neck gaiter
What you need to know: Buff’s lightweight neck gaiter is 100 percent Merino wool, and the breathability and insulation make it great for use in any season.
What you’ll love: Each neck gaiter is one-size-fits-all, unisex and there are a bunch of colors to choose from. Ther Merino wool makes it comfortable and soft, and you don’t need to worry about any bad odors or sweat dampening the neck gaiter.
What you should consider: The material is very stretchy, and some people might find it too loose.
Top neck gaiter for the money
What you need to know: This is the ultimate gaiter for summer adventures. It offers UPF 50 sun protection, and by putting the gaiter in cold water and ringing it out, it cools you off instantly.
What you’ll love: Keep cool for up to two hours by placing the neck gaiter in cold water and ringing it out. It can also be used to protect you from the elements. It is under $15 and cheaper than most other neck gaiters.
What you should consider: Mission neck gaiters are made in China while some other brands are made in the U.S. or elsewhere.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is a double-layered neck gaiter made of 100 percent Merino wool that is made in the U.S.
What you’ll love: Smartwool is one of the highest quality manufacturers of Merino wool products. This is one of the most comfortable neck gaiters on the market. It’s thick enough for winter but also comfortable to use in warmer temperatures.
What you should consider: The double layer makes it thicker and a bit less breathable than single layer options.
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Stephen Morin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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