Karsten Don - Fri, 19 Apr 2019 - Start the conversation

The ultimate neck gaiter guide

I hear you thinking, what is a neck gaiter? And is it similar to leg gaiters?

The short answer to the first part is :
A Neck Gaiter is a closed tube of fabric also called a buff. It’s an article of clothing worn to cool or warm the neck and head area, and is useful for covering the Ears/ Face/ Nose/ Throat and head. Basically, it looks like a tubular bandana. I will explain all the other questions you might have in the chapters up ahead.

I have been there, there are so many synonyms that you might have heard about it under a different name.

The name that I heard before neck gaiter was “buff” not knowing that it was just a brand, not the name of the product. A paragraph will be dedicated just to sum up all the (nick) names/synonyms.

The name that I heard before neck gaiter was “buff” not knowing that it was just a brand, not the name of the product. A paragraph will be dedicated just to sum up all the (nick) names/synonyms.

Before I saw all the uses of the neck gaiters it was just a closed scarf in my eyes. Not knowing the versatility of it yet. There are so many ways that it almost seems silly to think it is the same as a scarf.

Chapter Summary:

  • What is a neck gaiter?
  • Who needs/ wants the buff (s)?
  • What kind of Materials are used for Neck Gaiters?
  • What kind of neck tube Types are there?
  • Sizes What sizes of neck scarfs are there?
  • What are the criteria when choosing/buying a neck gaiters?
  • Top Brands & Web shops to buy your gaiters.
  • Neck gaiter vs… [scarf / balaclava (mask)]
  • Nicknames heard around the world.
  • How to wear a neck gaiter.
  • How to clean a neck gaiter.

My favorite ways too use the neck gaiter I will put in an illustration in this article. Different ways of using the neck gaiter will be highlighted, including some of my favorites.

What is a Neck gaiter (History)

A Neck Gaiter is a closed tube of fabric also called a buff. It’s an article of clothing worn to cool or warm the neck and head area, and is useful for covering the Ears/ Face/ Nose/ Throat and head. Basically, it looks like a tubular bandana.

It is a very simple and lightweight versatile piece of equipment and is great for outdoor activities.

Neck gaiters have the same effect as scarfs, it’s a perfect layer of insulation and keeps the warm air that is rising from your jacket collar, making a great seal to that gap and keep your own heat.

Stay warm with a scarf or neck gaiter, neck gaiters can also help you against heat.

Functionality for Warm & Cold:

  • Insulation, keep your neck/face & head warm.
  • Keep your neck/face & head cool.
  • Prevents too much sun exposure (UV protection).
  • Windstopper.
  • Protect from outside wetness.
  • Moisture-wicking any sweat-based moisture from the skin.
  • Dries quickly.

Who needs/ wants the buff (s)?

Like addressed before, neck gaiters can protect you against heat and cold. Also, some neck gaiters are windproof, making it a versatile piece of garment to protect your neck, face and head against the elements.

Hence, they can provide (great) added value to a lot of people.

I would recommend neck gaiters for everybody who is living the outdoor lifestyle and wants some protection.

A few examples:

  • Hikers.
  • Backpackers.
  • Runners.
  • Travelers.
  • Cyclist.
  • Fishermen.
  • Hunting.
  • Army.
  • All winter sports (skiing/Snowboarding/Snowmobiling)

Neck gaiters extremely portable and lightweight so you won’t even notice that you have brought it with you.

What kind of Materials are used for Neck Gaiters?

Because it is used for summer and winter the materials that are used vary for each design. They/Neck gaiters mostly consist of:

Winter

  • Smartwool
  • Wool:
  • Merino wool
  • Fleece
  • Synthetic

Summer

  • Stretch polyester
  • Acrylic:
  • Polyester
  • Microfiber
  • Spandex

What kind of neck tube Types are there?

Difference Men /Women

Most neck gaiters are unisex but I have seen some women and men choices, most differences I found where the color.

For summer

When you think of a neck gaiter you don’t usually associate it with warm climates. However, some designs/types are made for the heat.

It will help you with:

  • Blocking the sun.
  • UV protection
  • Ss a sweatband
  • Great for sports/ activities with long exposure of the sun like: fishing/hunting /cycling and running.

For winter or rain

Layers are the best solution to combat cold, and an extra base layer with the neck gaiter is perfect. It fits really snug, what really helps with the insulation. You can combine it with a scarf or something else.

When you use it for days when its raining make sure you pick ones which are wind- and rainproof, so it can combat the specific elements you are fighting.

Sizes What sizes of neck scarfs are there?

Not all neck gaiters are a one size fits all, so you need to figure out which one is the best fit for you. Some things to look out for is: stretch or no-stretch.

Since it is a tube that needs to go over your head, most gaiter sizes are based on head diameter.

Example:

  • S/M : 53-55cm
  • M/L : 56-58cm
  • L/XL : 59-62cm

You do have one sizes, these are always materials that can stretch.

Example:

One Size: With 67cm /Lenght 40cm

What are the criteria when choosing/buying a neck gaiters?

First, you should know what you are going to wear it for, is it for the heat or against it (summer/winter).

Secondly what is the prize you are willing to pay, knowing that beforehand can make your decision-making a lot easier

And the last thing I would filter is the material you are allergic to, having those criteria in advance will save you a lot of time.

Quick checklist:

  • Features
  • Weather Resistance.
  • Size& Fit.
  • Weight.
  • Breathability.
  • Right materials.
  • Style.
  • Comfort.

Top Brands & Web shops to buy your gaiters.

We are going to do reviews and full research on what neck gaiter is the best in the near future. Until then here are our top brands, in no particular order.

Neck gaiter Brands

  • Buff
  • North face
  • Smartwool
  • Turtle Fur
  • Columbia
  • Outdoor Research

Web shops

Neck gaiter vs… [scarf / balaclava (mask)]

To point out and clarify the use of the neck gaiter, we will put it against the products it is replacing:

  • Neck gaiter vs Scarf.
  • Neck gaiter vs Balaclava

Neck Gaiter vs. Scarf

Neck gaiter or scarf? What are the advantages of neck gaiters over scarfs for hiking and other outdoor activities
Neck GaiterScarf
+ Summer and winter
+ Dries fast
+ Multi-purpose

– Can’t be taken off when wearing something on your head, like a ski helmet.

+ Easy to put on and take off

– Less insulation due to less snug fit
– Takes up more space than neck gaiter

Neck Gaiter vs. Balaclava

Neck gaiter or balaclava? What are the advantages of neck gaiters over balaclavas for hiking and other outdoor activities
Neck GaiterBalaclava
+ Summer and winter
+ Dries fast
+ Multi-purpose

– Provides less heat than the balaclava
+ Covers full face
+ Gives plenty of heat

– Overheating during activities
– Only wearable during winter time

Nicknames heard around the world.

Having heard and read so many nicknames I thought it was necessary to put them all down. If you have heard one that is not on the list let me know, and I will add it.

  • Buff
  • Neck gaiter
  • Single tube
  • Double tube
  • Thermal tube
  • Neck gaiter
  • Tube scarf
  • Neck scarf
  • Neck tube
  • Buff neckwarmer
  • Neck chube
  • Neck sun protector
  • Thermal neck gaiter

How to wear a neck gaiter.

Since it’s such a versatile item there are plenty of ways to use it. One more realistic and useable than the other. But there are so many we made an infographic for you to have a clear indication of how it looks.

H2 wear neck gaiters infographic. Informative illustration of different ways to use neck gaiters. How do you use your neck gaiter for which outdoor activity?

Our top 5 uses

  1. neck warmer/scarf
  2. facemask
  3. headband
  4. Bandana
  5. cap / Beanie

Extra ways to use a neck gaiter

  • Sun guard
  • Hairband
  • Hair tie
  • Bandana
  • Wristband
  • Hat Liner
  • Helmet Liner
  • Balaclava (sometimes you need 2 neck gaiters)

How to clean a neck gaiter.

Hand or Machine Wash?

Please check the product label as certain products have different washing instructions, make sure to read the care tag before washing and or drying your gaiter.

Some contain Merino wool what is a delicate fiber and requires more attention than a synthetic garment. All you need do is either wash by hand, using any form of detergent.

ALL Merino products are hand wash only. Do not machine wash.

Other and most neck gaiters can be in the machine under a gentle cycle with cold water. Do not use bleach or fabric softeners and do not dry-clean.

We recommend line-drying your garment; it uses less energy and reduces your impact on the environment.

Once again read the product label before washing.

Give it a try!

Now that you know what the advantages are of neck gaiters, you probably want to give neck gaiters a try. I totally understand, I have neck gaiters with me on every hike. Share your experience with neck gaiters!

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