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The Best Neck Gaiters

🕚 Updated September 2021

Also known as neck warmers and buffs, a neck gaiter is a closed tube of fabric worn about the neck to keep it warm, dry, and protected from the sun or the cold.

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  Top Choice Most Design Options Best Thermal Best Pair Most Protective
Breathable Face Bandana Mask for Men & Women
Cool Neck Gaiter Mask for Men & Women
Tough Headwear
Neck Warmer - Winter Fleece Neck Gaiter
Soft Fleece Neck Gaiter
Freezer Zero II Neck Gaiter
Our SummaryA neck gaiter that's comfortable to wear and offers optimal protection in severe weather.A neck gaiter that you can wear while participating in outdoor activities.This neck gaiter ensures that you can remain warm in sub-zero conditions.A pair of affordable yet reliable neck gaiters for people who love to be outdoors.Block out the sun and prevent heatstroke with this neck gaiter.
ProsLightweight and breathable, multi-functional design, keeps you cool in hot. temperaturesUse it for many different outdoor activities, offers full coverage of your face and neck.Two layers of woven fabric, fits comfortably around your face and neck, traps heat effectively.Multifunctional design, idea for a wide range of outdoor activities, covers neck completely.Absorbs sunlight effectively, prevents sunburn, comfortable to wear, incredible durability.
ConsOnly one size, not very neutral designs.Non-reversible, doesn't offer single-color designs.Not great for warm weather.Not as good for warm weather.More effective in hot temperatures vs. cold temperatures.
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The Best Neck Gaiters

A young man with a hat wears a black neck gaiter outside in the sunshine.

Depending on their size and design (They might cover parts of the face such as the chin, mouth, cheeks, and nose.), neck gaiters can be a useful way to prevent debris from flying into the wearer’s mouth. Some are even large or stretchy enough to pull over the ears. They’re similar but not identical to ski masks and balaclavas. Due to their ability to provide warmth and protection from sun, debris, and moisture, neck gaiters are an incredibly handy piece of clothing to wear while playing sports outside.

Buying Guide for Neck Gaiters

A young woman wears a colorful neck gaiter outside.

Why buy a neck gaiter?

Neck gaiters are a great line of defense against the sun when it’s scorching hot outside. They cover your face, neck, and other sensitive areas of your skin that require extra protection from UV rays. They offer you a viable alternative to sunscreen, and in the winter, they help you remain warm in cold and windy conditions.

What are the key features of a neck gaiter?

  • Fabric: Neck gaiters can be made from many different types of fabrics. Since their main purpose is to keep the neck and face warm, almost all of these textiles will be on the thicker and more durable side. You won’t see linen neck gaiters, at least not any meant for cold-weather sports. Fleece, merino wool, microfibers, and synthetic wicking or blends are all common options that will serve the task admirably. Stay away from materials like cotton that retain moisture. Keep an eye out for moisture-wicking, breathable, and thermal fabric options, as these are especially useful features for activities like skiing and snowboarding. Also, consider that the heavier a fabric is, the less breathable it will be, so you’ll want to find the right balance of warmth and breathability.
  • Design: While the color and style of your neck gaiter might not impact how effective it is, there’s nothing wrong with preferring a specific look or hue. Like many clothing items, neck gaiters come in an almost unlimited selection of colors, patterns, and designs. Whether you prefer solid colors, multicolored options, stripes, polka dots, flowers, paisley, tie-dye, or something less conventional, there’s a style out there for everyone. Some are even reversible. You should have no trouble finding a color or design that matches your ski outfit or that suits your personal style.
  • Versatility: Some neck gaiters can serve multiple purposes. They can be folded and used as bandanas, wristbands, or headbands. In this day and age, they even work as a mask or face covering. Some models are stretchy to offer a better fit or coverage. Others are double-layered or have raw edges to avoid accidentally scratching the wearer. Plenty of skiing/snowboarding gaiters have several or all of these features if you’re looking for one that you can wear year-round.

Are neck gaiters better for the summer or winter?

Both! Neck gaiters are suitable to wear at either time of the year because they’re incredibly comfortable and lightweight. Some fabrics will be better for certain climates, though. Look for lighter ones so that you won’t overheat in warm weather when you need that extra sun protection. In cold weather, thicker fabrics will keep your face warm and covered from the windchill. Some breathable but stretchy and soft fabrics will work for both types of weather. No matter the temperature outside, wearing a neck gaiter should be comfortable and protective.

Our Picks for the Best Neck Gaiters

Top Choice

INTO THE AM Neck Gaiter Masks

A neck gaiter that's comfortable to wear and offers optimal protection in severe weather.

Pros: Made of 100% polyester, this neck gaiter has a four-way stretch that will allow it to fit most men, women, and children with ease. It also offers ideal coverage against UV rays, dust, sand, snow, and wind, which is great for skiing and snowboarding as well as for other numerous activities like yard work and fishing. The multifunctional design lets you wear this gaiter in over 12 different designs, ranging from a bandana to a wristband to a mask and more. The raw edges of the neck gaiter not only increase its stretchiness, but also ensure that it won’t scratch your skin and face. It’s large enough to fold over to create a double layer for a tighter fit and extra protection. It’s available in 40 different colors and patterns, including in three sets of three gaiters if you’re buying for the family or you need more than one for yourself.

Cons: This neck gaiter only comes in one size, even though it’s elastic and can adjust to the shape of your face. Also, if you want a more neutral design, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Bottom Line: This soft, comfortable, and breathable neck gaiter has plenty of useful features and design options. The fabric won’t weigh you down or feel suffocating. It also wicks sweat away and dries out in a matter of minutes. You can use it for a wide range of outdoor activities during multiple seasons.


Most Design Options

iHeartRaves Gaiter Mask for Men & Women

A neck gaiter that you can wear while participating in outdoor activities.

Pros: This neck gaiter is 20 by 9 inches when laid flat, and you can buy it in 44 different designs. None are one solid color, as each option has some sort of pattern or motif, although some are larger and more eye-catching than others. Many of the colors are quite bright and vibrant, although there are some neutrals and more understated shades, too. Most are sold as individual gaiters, but there are several sets of three. The microfiber polyester fabric is lightweight and allows you to breathe unencumbered while wearing it. It also dries out quickly and is moisture-wicking for your comfort while you’re partaking in outdoor, snowy sports. The four-way stretch and raw edges ensure that this neck gaiter will fit most faces, adult and child alike. It will protect from sun, wind, and all sorts of debris. It’s also multifunctional, able to be folded into two layers for added protection or into other shapes to serve as a wristband, headband, and more.

Cons: The gaiter is non-reversible, which means that you can’t wear it inside out. Its designs are bold, so if you want something simpler, this isn’t the gaiter for you. Also, in terms of providing superior protection from the sun and cold weather, there are better options.

Bottom Line: If you want to match your gaiter to your outfit or make a statement, this model provides you with plenty of bold colors and patterns from which to choose.


Best Thermal

Neck Gaiter by Tough Headwear

This neck gaiter ensures that you can remain warm in sub-zero conditions.

Pros: This particular neck gaiter is double-layered, with woven tech fabrics for extra warmth. One layer is made of polar fleece to lock in the heat, while the microfiber layer wicks away sweat and other moisture to ensure that you stay dry for the entire time you’re wearing it. Even though it’s double-layered, this neck gaiter is still light enough to ensure that you won’t feel bulky or weighed down. It has a four-way stretch so that it will fit up over your neck, nose, and ears and stay securely in place. Each of the 15 different color and pattern options is reversible, so you can switch up your style whenever you feel like it.

Cons: The design of the gaiter focuses on trapping heat and eliminating discomfort that you would normally experience when it’s cold outside. So on the flip side, it won’t be comfortable in warm weather.

Bottom Line: If you want to ensure that your neck and face are warm and remain that way while you’re skiing or snowboarding, this neck gaiter is the one for you.


Best Pair

WTACTFUL Soft Fleece Neck Gaiter

A pair of affordable yet reliable neck gaiters for people who love to be outdoors.

Pros: These premium neck gaiters are anti-static, breathable, and moisture-wicking, and they won’t bunch or pile up around your neck or face. The premium fabric is extra thick but super soft so that your new clothing is as comfortable as it is functional. The high-quality, six-line stitching holds the neck gaiters together more tightly to increase their strength and get more use out of them for a longer stretch of time. They’re also long and wide enough to fold over into a double layer and can fit most people. These neck gaiters can be pulled up around your nose and ears as well as your neck and cheeks and will hold their shape even after multiple washes. They come in 11 different solid-colored or multicolored options. There’s a set of three available for purchase and 14 individual ones, so you can buy whatever quantity best suits your needs.

Cons: These gaiters are pretty thick. This makes them great for winter use, but if you want one for warmer weather, you likely won’t want this particular product.

Bottom Line: Here’s a nice pair of extra-thick neck gaiters for people who are looking for an extra snug, cozy, and secure feeling. These neck gaiters are ideal for a day spent hitting the slopes thanks to their thermal and windproof fabric. The special stitching of the gaiter makes it more durable and comfortable.


Most Protective

Columbia Freezer Zero II Neck Gaiter

Block out the sun and prevent heatstroke with this neck gaiter.

Pros: With sweat-activated technology, this neck gaiter is going to cool you off and keep you comfortable in scorching hot temperatures. It effectively blocks out UV rays from the sun, preventing sunburn and damage to your skin. With the small holes around the nose, it allows for easier breathing. It’s also machine-washable for easy maintenance.

Cons: This gaiter is much more effective at limiting the effects of extreme heat. In other words, if you need a gaiter to protect you during the winter months, then you should consider looking at other options.

Bottom Line: This neck gaiter provides optimal coverage for your face and neck. It’s comfortable and durable, and you can use it for a wide range of activities during the hot summer months. When the conditions outside are extremely severe, you need a gaiter that will provide all the protection you can get.

Final Thoughts

Having a neck gaiter will make a world of difference when it comes to staying comfortable in those harsh outdoor conditions. If you have to spend the entire day outside in the scorching sun or in frigid temperatures, then you’ll want a nice neck gaiter.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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