10 Best Neck Gaiters for Runners Reviewed
Neck gaiters are a type of one-piece fabric tube designed as a one size fits all item of clothing. Many of them are made of either synthetic materials – mainly microfiber polyester for the most part, or wool.
The ones made of synthetic materials or microfiber are better for running, as it enables the material to “wick” away moisture, while keeping the person wearing the gaiter warm underneath. They can be an important item in a runner’s arsenal when they need to cover the neck, face and head from the elements.
There are a wide variety of neck gaiters available and the ones on this list are just a few of the many out there on the market. If you’re looking for a new one, check out the ones on this list, and see what you think about them. As with any types of products on the market, look over the reviews and see what you think and buy the one(s) you think are the best fit for the types of activities that you do.
- Buff Original Headwear
- 100% Microfiber
- One size fits all adults
- Moisture wicking
- Polygiene active odor control
- Price: See Here
- Columbia Fast Trek
- 100% Polyester
- 250g microfleece
- Machine Wash
- Versitle Warmth & Softness
- Price: See Here
- Carhartt Fleece Neck Gaiter
- 92% Polyester
- 8% Spandex
- Hand Wash
- Wind/Cold Restistant
- Price: See Here
10 Best Neck Gaiters for Runners
1. Original Buff Headwear
Lightweight and compact – this is important because it’s small enough to fit into your pocket without being too bulky.
Extremely versatile. While many of the neck gaiters are extremely adaptable, the Original Buff is ideal for many uses. There were some complaints about the durability and loose fit, but overall, was considered a good product. If you need something for extremely cold weather, you might want to consider another option.
Cost & Value
If you’re looking for a lightweight starting neck gaiter that’s easy on the pocketbook, the Original Buff headwear is the way to go.
- Cool Design
- Easy to hand wash, dries easily
- Frays (“pills”) with age
- Can be a little too loose
2. Columbia Fast Trek
Moisture wicking materials are important for runners, because the more moisture builds up, the more the weather affects negatively the runner. Also, wicking materials help in odor reduction.
Some reviewers noted that the tag was itchy and the fit was pretty loose.
For the Columbia Unisex Fast Trek Neck Gaiter is an excellent deal.
- Comfortable, snug fit
- Small, compact size
- Durable 100% polyester
- Machine washable
- Scratchy tags
- Rather tight for some users, may be too small for others
3. Arc'teryx RHO LTW
It is made out of a durable merino wool and elastine blend. The wool is stretchy by itself, but the elastine gives it a more of a spring so that it can "hug" the user’s face.
This is a more costly option than some of the other neck gaiters on the market, but many say it’s well worth the extra price paid in terms of durability and warmth. The price is the sole reason why it’s not higher on the list.
- Soft, stretchy, non-itchy material
- Warm & wind resistant (though not too warm)
- Tight Fitting
- Too thick/ hard to breathe in
- Some users think it’s too tight of a fit
4. Smartwool NTS Mis 250
This gaiter is made of merino wool and is fire retardant, odor resistant, and naturally moisture wicking.
Not machine washable (at least according to the label – do so at your own risk). Some reviews have stated that it can be machine washed, but air dried, by laying it flat.
This is one of the more costly options, but for what you’re getting, it’s not a bad deal. The reason why it’s not higher on the list is because of the fact that it wears poorly.
- Made of 100% merino wool
- Clean finish seams
- Very warm, even in the coldest conditions
- True to size fit
- Moisture wicking/ dries quickly
- Contains natural anti-odor properties
- Irritating tag and/or seams
- Not machine washable
- Not as good of quality as some other gaiters on the market, fabric tends to “pill” as it wears.
5. Oakley Factory
It is made of soft, durable microfleece polyester. It is also form fitting which is an important factor, because some of the other brands on the market tend to fall off the face.
This is one of the cheaper choices out there, without complaints in regards to quality of construction. The reason it isn’t higher rated is because of the rough seams that bothered a lot of reviewers.
- Soft & comfortable
- Form fitting (doesn’t fall off face)
- Made of Durable 100% polyester
- Seam somewhat rough
6. Minus33 Midweight
Merino wool is a good material to make a neck gaiter out of because it’s fire retardant, odor resistant, and naturally moisture wicking.
This is a middle of the road price, but due to the fact that it gets free shipping, it’s really not that bad of a deal.
- Soft and warm
- Breathable and moisture wicking
- Machine wash (cold only)
- Form fitting
- Fire resistant
- Ultraviolet Protection Factor rating 50+*
- Not designed for extremely cold weather
- Uncomfortable for extended wear
- Tends to roll up after extended use.
7. Under Armour No Breaks Gore Windstopper
Very good at blocking wind and cold from reaching the skin. This is important for cold weather runs where the user doesn’t want to breathe the harsh cold air.
It also has a tight fit so it doesn’t slide off the face is an important feature for runners because the user is always moving. The material is also very breathable.
Among all the brands on this list, this one seems to be the most successful at blocking out the wind according to the reviewers. The reason why it wasn’t higher rated is because even though it is somewhat stretchy, some users thought it could use a bit more elasticity and they complained that it felt like it was choking them.
This is a good value for what it offers.
- Made of odor blocking materials
- Wind blocking, yet breathable
- Reflective logo for nighttime running
- Made of wicking materials
- Soft fleece lining
- A little Tight/ Could be a bit stretchier
- Some users didn’t think it was as thick as it should be
8. Buff UVX Head Mask
It is made of a lightweight material and good for summer use. This neck gaiter is designed to filter out dust and insects – perfect for those summer runs along dusty roads or those dawn or dusk runs where you disturb insects resting in the grass. Reviewers wished the UPF rating was higher.
This is a good value for a summer neck gaiter.
- Good for summertime use
- Made of odor-blocking fabric
- Wicks away moisture
- Nicely stretchy
- Good pattern
- Contoured to fit neck and shoulder area
- Holes get stretched out
- Only 95%, which figures out to approximately 25 UPF. Other such masks have a higher Ultraviolet Protection Factor ratings
- Not meant for winter
9. Carhartt Fleece
The fact that the gaiter is made of a stretchy polyester and spandex blend is an important factor for runners to consider when examining this product, because some of the other brands out there are too tight.
Reviewers complained about the breathability.
This is the cheapest of all the selections on this list and not that bad for the price.
- Sturdy construction that doesn’t “pill” like some of the other ones out there
- VERY Warm
- Snug fit for the lower half of the face.
- Good price
- Hand wash only
- Irritating tag
- Muffles voice of over mouth/ can chose the user
10. Turtle Fur Heavyweight Neck Warmer
Double layered construction is an important feature for runners because it’s vital for cold weather conditions, to be able to not worry about getting cold easily. The material is moisture wicking.
This is a good price, but may not be a good value, as it may not be as durable as you would like. If you’re looking for a specific color, you may find that the colors are not true to what you see on the computer screen.
- Soft, luxurious texture
- Microfleece material
- Stretchy material which pulls over the user’s head easily
- Machine washable (according to users), air dry.
- Moisture wicking (dries quickly)
- Colors not true to photographs
- Not super breathable
- Size variable, according to some users.
Neck gaiters are a very versatile piece of equipment able to be used in both hot and cold weather can be used in a variety of ways. Among these are:
- Scarf or neckerchief
- Standalone turtleneck
- Hat (beanie or skull cap) or hat liner
- Face mask or breathing protection device (keeps out the cold and, depending on the make and model, dust and insects as well)
- “Ninja’’ face mask hood for under a helmet. Also called a balaclava.
- Headband, saharine, bandana, or sweatband
- “Do –rag” or “pirate rag”
- Water bottle holder
- Alice rag or headscarf – away to keep hair out of your face
- Tube top
- Pony tail accessory
- Wristband (twisted back onto the wrist) or a makeshift pair of gloves/ mittens if you have a pair of them (Useful if you have sweaty hands, but don’t need fine motor control)
- Ear muffs
The Criteria Used When Looking For The Best Neck Gaiters For Runners
Keeping warm during any running session is very important. Especially during a cold climate. As a runner you will definitely fall into the temptation of getting scarves and balaclavs in order to keep warm during your running session. At the end of the day it’s very important to protect your neck. And the market has several neck warms and gaiters from various brands. The important part is that the warmer must stay in place and the material should not lose its elastic nature and remain permanently stretched. Cold weather doesn’t mean that you have to banish yourself to the treadmill all winter long. Because of new technology in winter running clothes, gone are the days when runners trudged through outdoor winter running workouts wearing lots of heavy and uncomfortable clothing.
Leaving your face exposed to the elements can lead to sunburn, windburn, frostbite, or other irritations, and when these forces join together, it could lead to serious skin irritation. On a cold, windy day, your face will quickly chap, making it even easier for sun and wind to cause more damage.There are, however, several products available designed specifically to keep your face warm and shielded from the wind no matter what sport you’re engaging in. Balaclavas, face masks, neck gaiters, and ski goggles can be used individually or together to create the optimum level of comfort and protection you’ll need.
Just as you’d wear a scarf to keep heat from escaping the place your jacket meets your neck, a neck gaiter can help you retain heat while. Neck gaiters are often made of polyester fleece, which makes them quick drying and warm. Be sure to look for a gaiter that has a longer front than back, because this will provide the most coverage and still fit better around your neck and inside your jacket. Some models also offer a cinch cord to make the gaiter especially tight around the neck, keeping heat in. If you expect to be out in windy conditions, consider a neck gaiter made with wind-resistant fleece.
Just as much as the market is flooded with these neck clothing for the cold season. It doesn’t mean that all the products will work for you, that’s why we have used the below factors in picking out the best neck gaiters for you.
Overall Features to Look For
Neck gaiters have different features that make them stand out and also make them function more effectively. Some of these features are:
Many neck running gaiters are made in a way that when worn they can comfortably fit around the neck and hence be able to keep the neck warm always. This means that you need to have the perfect fit of your neck gaiter. Something to lose will mean that it cannot cover your whole neck and it will loosely hang on the lower part of your neck, making you to get over heated on that particular part of the neck. Something too tight will make you uncomfortable and probably cause a skin rush and make you feel too much heat. The best fit is something that you can comfortably move your neck without any feeling of discomfort.
If you plan to run in the snow, or in wet, muddy conditions, you’ll want to get a gaiter that provides you with some weather resistance. Make sure that your neck gaiter is definitely wind resistant and water resistant. This will guarantee that you are always warm regardless of the cold weather. Keeping your neck warm is very important as this will not only keep you warm but also prevent any infections that you may get when running in a cold weather. Make sure that the neck gaiter you get is weather resistant.
This is one of the most important factors when looking for a neck gaiter as fit will determine your whole running experience. Make sure you try the neck gaiter out before making any purchase, also take into consideration the material used whether it stretches or not. When you have the perfect fit you will be able to enjoy comfort and hence make your running experience more enjoyable. Also you can always inquire from the sales person if you are making a physical purchase in a store, but if you are doing an online purchase then you can always refer to buying guide charts provided by most online shopping platforms.
Comfort and Breathability
The same way you want a comfortable and good running pants or vests so do you need a neck gaiter that both comfortable and breathable. Comfort will be achieved by getting the right fit and also picking the right material that doesn’t affect your skin. The breathability is also an important criterion when selecting your next pair of neck gaiters, this means that there will be great air circulation around your neck that will enhance. Good material will ensure that you enjoy comfort and breathability. Ask about the material used in making the neck gaiters. Some neck gaiters are made with a double weave stretch material that’s highly breathable – we wore it on hot desert trail runs without feeling sweaty or constricted in our feet. It’s rare to find a full-length neck gaiter that is not super stiff, or that leaves your neck overheating on sunny days on the glacier. But the eVent fabric on the neck gaiters is supple and highly breathable, and finally gives us the options to leave our necks on even when the day warms up.
You have to accept the fact that we live in an overly weight conscious world where ounces haunt us like the ghost of Christmas dinners past. However, in the quest for lighter and lighter gear, sometimes we sacrifice usefulness and durability for weight, which is not always the best trade-off. And a neck gaiter isn’t supposed to be so thick that it over burdens your neck regardless of the quality but then this doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice all the other important factors when considering the weight of your neck gaiter. Somewhere in the middle is a sweet spot, where new and lighter material technologies provide a well-made and durable product that won’t weigh you down, but you might have to pay a bit more for it.
Other factors to consider
All gaiters will feature some degree of abrasion resistance, providing high durability to prevent your gaiter from tearing should it catch on an obstacle along the trail. The Inov-8 Debris Gaiter has the lowest level of abrasion resistance that we carry, as the material is softer and more sock-like than the others. Since it does not provide as durable protection as the others, it is best for simply keeping debris out.
The desire to have the things we buy last is just common sense – nothing is more demoralizing than watching a flashy new piece of gear unravel like a badly knit sweater. It’s important that when you buying any neck gaiter you consider the durability of the product. A durable product means you have good value of your money. The trade-off for durability is typically weight, and in our pursuit of lighter and lighter gear that lets us move faster and faster, most of us are willing to sacrifice a little durability to shave a few ounces. But, we don’t want something so light that it will shred after just a few uses either. It is more critical that they function correctly and won’t break down on us in key situations or on long expeditions to remote locations.
Selecting the Right Product
Like any decision, finding the right neck gaiter is a complicated choice. Gone are the days when you might of had one or two choices, with neither of them being ideal. You can now easily find one that will be able to keep you warm during the cold season and also provide the comfort that you are looking for when running in a cold or windy weather. There are now several companies making expedition models that will likely outlast you and the rest of your gear. Whether a result of trends in fashion, practicality, or a combination of the two, gaiters have definitely slumped in popularity.
Just because you want a good neck gaiter doesn’t mean you should not consider the price of the neck gaiter. The price doesn’t mean that it relates to the quality of the neck gaiter, though price might be a good factor to consider. It’s good to look into reviews that are given on a particular product before making a purchase. Neck gaiters are good investment that should be given great consideration before making the purchase.
While picking out the best neck gaiters other factors were also considered like:
Their durability, and, of, course you will not waste your money buying a neck warmer that will never last for the expected months/years
Moisture wicking ability, it is not funny to find some neck warmers that doesn’t wick moisture.
Versatility; you need to be economical; the best neck warmer should have the ability to be used in wide range of activities like skiing, hunting, snowboarding, and riding.
Breathability; will you buy a neck warmer that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe? Of course, don’t even attempt.
Q. What is a neck gaiter?
A. a neck gaiter is a clothing that is wrapped around the neck and keeps the neck warm during cold weather. It is a closed tube of fabric, often thick fleece or synthetic, which is slipped on and off over the head. It can also be pulled up over the mouth to keep out wind and sand.
Q. Is it okay to wear a neck gaiter on hot or warm days?
A. A neck gaiter is a winter wear; therefore, it will be very uncomfortable if you wear it during summer unless it’s very windy of course.
Q. Would this be good to wear when riding a bike in the cold?
A. Yes, better as a scarf in the winter day. Warm and soft. And it is elastic for you to wear it in some ways such as face neck warmer, beanie. I think riding a bike with it will be a good choice.
Q. Is the neck gaiter water-repellant, i.e. does it stay dry in the snow?
A. Most of the neck gaiters in the market are not water repellent and hence cannot stay dry in cold season.
Q. Is the neck gaiter washable?
A. The neck gaiters like any other sports’ wear are washable.
Q. How to Use Neck Gaiter?
A. It is simple to use a neck warmer, just ensure that it zips up your neck, and no air is leaking out of your body. Once they perfectly snug into your neck, they will automatically block cold air from entering into your body.
Q. How does neck gaiter work?
A. They are just like a scarf, and when worn, they wick moisture and dries quickly to retain heat. They are made of fleece, and so they are perfect in keeping the body warm. Since they are wind and water resistant, they are ideal for blocking away cold.
Other Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Neck Warmer
- It should be affordable
- Able to wick moisture and it is wind and waterproof
- Made from high-quality material and able to retain its original size even after multiple washes
- Fits comfortable and keeps the body warm
- Breathable and able to retain warmness
We all know that the primary sources for heat loss are the head and hands, but what many don’t realize is that a tertiary, yet significant location for heat loss is the neck. Wearing a simple neck gaiter is extremely helpful because not only can it keep your neck warm, but it can be pulled up over your chin and mouth if it’s brutally cold. I prefer lightweight gaiters that still keep you warm without causing excessive sweating.
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research
- Pactimo Neck Gaiter, Sporting Website, ,
- Buff Review: Does the Buff Headwear Live Up to the Hype?, Consumer Website, ,
- Gear Review – Buff Original Headwear, Consumer Website, ,
- Columbia Youth Fast Trek II Full Zip Fleece Review, Consumer Website, ,
- REVIEW: Arc’teryx LEAF Rho LTW Neck Gaiter, Sporting Website, ,
- DIY Basic Double Layer Neck Gaiter, Consumer Website, ,
- 5 Unlikely Tips for Winter Running, Running Website, ,
- A Buff Is A Versatile Piece Of Gear Every Runner Should Have, Running Website, ,
- Winter Running Gear – Reviews of Personal Favorites From Head-to-Toe, Sporting Website, ,
- What is a Neck Gaiter?, Running Website, ,