10 Best Neck Gaiters for Runners Reviewed

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A funny name for a great piece of clothing. A neck gaiter is so helpful and useful when you’re running in cold weather. Neck gaiters are a type of one-piece fabric tube designed as a one size fits all item of clothing. Of course, if you have a wide neck, make sure you do your research and find out the exact measurements of the gaiter.

Neck gaiters are pulled over your head and can be used as scarves or as a piece of clothing to pull over your mouth, nose and sometimes, even your ears. They can be an important piece of clothing in a runner’s arsenal when you need to find ways to cover your neck, face, and head from the cold weather.

The ones made with synthetic materials or microfiber are better for runners, as the gaiter enables the material to “wick” away moisture while keeping you warm underneath.

Take a look at our list and as always, look at the reviews and see what you think and buy the ones you think are the best fit for the types of activities that you do.

Last Updated: April 15, 2018
By Richard Haberkost:

Enjoy our popular selection of top neck gaiters, we constantly review, update and will be expanding your choices, visit this page regularly to check on your best choices. To understand the best points to look for in these products, read our review criteria. Have any questions? enjoy the advisory answers in our FAQs.

Columbia Fast Trek
  • Columbia Fast Trek
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 100% Polyester
  • 250g microfleece
  • Machine Wash
  • Versitle Warmth & Softness
  • Price: See Here
Buff Original Headwear
  • Buff Original Headwear
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 100% Microfiber
  • One size fits all adults
  • Moisture wicking
  • Polygiene active odor control
  • Price: See Here
Carhartt Fleece Neck Gaiter
  • Carhartt Fleece Neck Gaiter
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 92% Polyester
  • 8% Spandex
  • Hand Wash
  • Wind/Cold Restistant
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Neck Gaiters for Runners

 

1. Columbia Fast Trek

The Columbia Unisex Fast Trek Neck Gaiter is a comfortable, albeit tight fitting winter wear neck gaiter. It is made of a moisture wicking, durable, and breathable polyester.
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Important Features

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.

Cost/ Value

For the Columbia Unisex Fast Trek Neck Gaiter is an excellent deal.
Pros
  • Comfortable, snug fit
  • Small, compact size
  • Durable 100% polyester
  • Machine washable
  • Breathable
  • Warm
Cons
  • Scratchy tags
  • Rather tight for some users, may be too small for others

3. Buff Multifunctional

Lightweight and thin, the Original Buff is a versatile, durable and compact piece of clothing.
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Important Features
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.
Pros
  • Cool Design
  • Easy to hand wash, dries easily
  • Durable
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Frays (“pills”) with age
  • Can be a little too loose

4. Carhartt Fleece

The Carhartt Men's Fleece Neck Gaiter is made of a soft and warm, super-stretchy 92% polyester and 8% Spandex blend.

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Important Features
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.

Cost/ Value
This is the cheapest of all the selections on this list and not that bad for the price.
Pros
  • Sturdy construction that doesn’t “pill” like some of the other ones out there
  • Comfortable
  • Stretchy
  • VERY Warm
  • Snug fit for the lower half of the face.  
  • Good price
Cons
  • Hand wash only
  • Delicate
  • Irritating tag        
  • Muffles voice of over mouth/ can chose the user

2. Turtle Fur Heavyweight Neck Warmer

The Turtle Fur Heavyweight Neck Warmer is double layered gaiter made of a specially processed 100% acrylic material that gives it a soft feel.
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Important Features
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.

Cost/ Value
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.

Pros
  • Soft, luxurious texture
  • Microfleece material
  • Stretchy material which pulls over the user’s head easily
  • Machine washable (according to users), air dry.
  • Warm
  • Moisture wicking (dries quickly)
Cons
  • Colors not true to photographs
  • Not super breathable
  • Size variable, according to some users.

5. Smartwool Merino 250

This neck gaiter is great for those people who are looking to keep away moisture from your body. The main characteristic of this product is the wicking fabric of wool that naturally removes moisture from your skin and still keeps you warm. It’s great to find a product that stays dry as well and doesn’t even have odor.
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Important Features

You’re able to use this neck gaiter to cover your face, or just your neck, it’s your choice since this gaiter is very adjustable to your needs. The double layer knitting system of this gaiter is excellent to keep you warm, no matter how you chose to wear it.
This gaiter also fits most people who have an average neck size, but make sure you check the sizing since the back part tends to have extra material.
You also have an option of getting it in black or white.

Cost & Value

Not the most economical gaiter, but definitely one of the best when it comes to value. If you’re looking to invest in a great product, the Smartwool Merino 250 is the way to go.
Pros
  • Wicking fabric
  • Odorless
  • Very adjustable
Cons
  • A little more costly than other products
  • Only available in 2 colors

6. Arc'teryx RHO LTW

Made of natural merino wool and elastine, the Arc'teryx RHO LTW Men’s Neck Gaitor is a piece of equipment designed for winter wear. It is a non-bulky, durable piece of equipment that is designed to eliminate odors as well as wick moisture away.
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Important Features
The fabric used in making the gaiter 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.


Cost/ Value
This is a more costly option than some of the other neck gaiters available for purchase, 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.
Pros
  • Soft, stretchy, non-itchy material
  • Warm & wind resistant (though not too warm)
  • Tight Fitting
  • Durable
Cons
  • Too thick/ hard to breathe in
  • Some users think it’s too tight of a fit

7. Arctic Extreme Thick Heat-Trapping Thermal Insulated Fleece

This neck gaiter keeps you warm with insulated fleece. It has a thermal yarn so that it can keep the heat inside and it’s also breathable. When you purchase this gaiter, you get a pack of 2, not just one.
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Important Features

The neck gaiter keeps you warm and keeps moisture out. It’s a great option for those looking for an economical solution. Keep in mind that some reviews have warned about the size. It might work great for men, but not so much for women since women have smaller necks. You might also not be able to fully cover your face because it might be too big, but for those looking to cover just your neck and stay warm, it might be a great solution.
Another great feature is that the material is very soft and feels great on your skin and you have the option of buying it in 3 different colors.

Cost & Value

One of the most economical gaiters out there because you’re purchasing 2, not just one. Many people take advantage of it and buy one for themselves and one for someone else.
Pros
  • Great price
  • Very soft material
Cons
  • Sizing might be an issue

8. WoolX Unisex Merino Wool Neck Gaiter

A very lightweight option for you. This gaiter is one of the best gaiters when it comes to breathability and fabric. Since it’s made with very high quality Merino wool which is a soft and warm material that keeps away moisture and keeps you warm.
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Important Features

Even though it runs a little small, it still has 10” in length, so for those with small necks, you’re able to wear it in any way you like. The gaiter is a great option because of the Merino Wool. This fabric not only keeps you warm, it also has no odor. The fabric also is ideal with those who have sensitive skin.
You have many options to choose from, as the gaiter is available in 10 colors and many of them are reversible. It should last a long time as it is safe in washer and dryer.

Cost & Value

A little pricey, but you’re not going to break the bank. This gaiter will be valuable in the long run as it’s supposed to last a long time.
Pros
  • Amazing material in Merino Wool
  • Great breathability 
Cons
  • Runs a little small
  • Great colors to choose from

9. Smartwool NTS Mis 250

The Smartwool Unisex NTS Mis 250 Reversible Neck Gaiter is a soft double-layered gaiter designed for winter use.
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Important Features
This gaiter is constructed from merino wool fabric 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.

Cost/ Value
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.
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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. 

10. Oakley Factory

The Oakley Men's Factory Neck Gaiter is made of comfortably soft, stretchy, and durable 100% polyester microfleece material.
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Important Features
It's fabric component is very 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.

Cost/ Value
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.
Pros
  • Soft & comfortable
  • Form fitting (doesn’t fall off face)
  • Made of Durable 100% polyester
Cons
  • Seam somewhat rough
  • Imported

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
  • Hood
  • 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
  • Ponytail 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)
  • Earmuffs

 

The Criteria Used When Looking For The Best Neck Gaiters For Runners

Keeping warm during any running session is very paramount. Especially during a cold climate. As a runner, you will definitely fall into the temptation of getting scarves and balaclavas 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 necks warms and gaiters from various manufacturers and brands. when the winter weather sets in, it doesn’t mean you isolate yourself and commit to the treadmill until the cold season ends.

When you leave your face exposed the harsh weather elements can cause different types of damage to your facial parts like wind and sunburns, skin irritations and frost bites. Severe cases of these can lead to serious skin infections and conditions. Your face chaps easily when running in a cold and windy climate, and this means your face is vulnerable to more skin damage from the sun and wind. There are many sports gears that are weather resistant and one can use to keep warm and protect their face and neck from harm.

A neck functions like a normal scarf, retaining heat around the neck and your face hence keeping you warm. They are worn more like neck scarfs and are made of polyester that means they have fast drying abilities hence are able to keep you warm in cold weather. When looking for a good neck gaiter for your running, make sure the gaiter has an extra long front than the back part.  This means you will have maximum coverage and also enjoy a good fit. Some brands of neck gaiters have a simple cinch-cord that increases the tightness of the gaiter around the wearer’s neck, enhance the perfect fit and retain more heat. Neck gaiters are also made to deal with windy running conditions.

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:

Attachment

Many necks 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 for 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 get overheated on that particular part of the neck. Something too tight will make you uncomfortable and probably cause a skin rash and make you feel too much heat. The best fit is something that you can comfortably move your neck without any feeling of discomfort.

Weather resistance

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.

Fit

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 salesperson 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.

Breathability & Comfort provided by the Neck Gaiter

The same way you want comfort 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 of the gaiter is also a vital criterion when shopping for 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 use a fabric that is double weave and a little stretchy that offers good breathability around the neck. It is an ideal hard to get a neck gaiter that is full-length and not very stiff as this will make your neck to overheat.

Weight

Light is right when it comes to sporting gears and accessories. Most athletes make the mistake of ignoring usability and durability of sporting gears and concentrating more on the weight.  And a neck gaiter isn’t supposed to be so thick that it overburdens 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.But then with the current technology, you will definitely find a durable neck gaiter that offers amazingly lightweight features but then they tend to be a little more expensive.

 

Other factors to consider

Abrasion resistance

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 durable protection for the others, it is best for simply keeping debris out.

Durability

Most athletes desire to own or have sporting apparel and accessories that are able to withstand wear and tear. It’s important that when you buying any neck gaiter you consider the durability of the product. A durable product means you have a good value for your money. Most people face a dilemma when thinking of weight and durability of a gaiter. Many opt for lighter gaiters and ignore durability, but then the idea is not to go for something that will be able to shred just after a few runs. Look for durability second to comfortability in order to avoid spending more money on getting new gaiters each season.

Selecting the Right Neck Gaiter

Like many decision when getting a running clothing, getting the perfect neck gaiter to suit can turn out to be a  very complicated task. With the wide collection and variety in brands, it’s easy to get a neck gaiter 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.

Price

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 the price might be a good factor to consider. It’s good to look into reviews that are given to a particular product before making a purchase. Neck gaiters are a 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.

 

FAQ

 

Q.  What is a running neck gaiter?

A. This is a type of clothing that is wrapped around the neck and keeps the neck warm during cold weather. It has the design similar to that of a closed tube. Worn around the neck by just slipping it on & off. Made of thick and stretchy fabric, in case of colder weather you can pull it over your mouth and nose to protect them from the cold.

Q. Is it okay to put on my neck gaiter on hot or warm days?

A. A running 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 that are available for purchase 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 designed & made from fleece-like fabric, and so they are perfect for 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 of 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 ought to 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

Sources

  1. Caven O'Hara, Pactimo Neck Gaiter, Sporting Website,
  2. Jonathan Looi, Buff Review: Does the Buff Headwear Live Up to the Hype?, Consumer Website,
  3. Editor, Gear Review – Buff Original Headwear, Consumer Website,
  4. Kaila Sharlene, Columbia Youth Fast Trek II Full Zip Fleece Review, Consumer Website,
  5. spartanat, REVIEW: Arc’teryx LEAF Rho LTW Neck Gaiter, Sporting Website,
  6. Grace and Thane, DIY Basic Double Layer Neck Gaiter, Consumer Website,
  7. Editor, 5 Unlikely Tips for Winter Running, Running Website,
  8. Allison Pattillo, A Buff Is A Versatile Piece Of Gear Every Runner Should Have, Running Website,
  9. Peter Larson, Winter Running Gear – Reviews of Personal Favorites From Head-to-Toe, Sporting Website,
  10. Benbiz, What is a Neck Gaiter?, Running Website,
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