Best Neck Gaiters – 2021 Edition
Snowboarding and skiing are fantastic winter sports that bring a lot of people excitement and fun; however, keeping warm is key to the full enjoyment of them. A practical and simple way to ensure that you feel snug, warm, and ready to hit the slopes is with a neck gaiter.
Some of you may be wondering what a neck gaiter is. Well, it is an article of clothing that is used to cover your neck in cold climates. Even though they are designed to protect your neck, most will have the ability to contour to the rest of your head (nose, ears, etc.) providing even more warmth. As with anything else, though, some neck gaiters are better than others. Whether through design, warmth, fabric, or any other factors, some are superior. Check out our top picks below.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 8.5 hrs of research
Great for cold weather
Easy to adjust
10 Best Neck Gaiters
1. Columbia Trail Shaker
Great for cold weather
Easy to adjust
Thinner than expected
Columbia is a brand that knows a thing or two at keeping your warm and comfortable. When venturing outdoors in cooler climates, the Trail Shaker design will keep your face warm while you move. It also boasts a few supportive features to keep it nice and snug on your face without squeezing your head like a tomato!Read more
What makes that Trail Shaker stand out from the pack is that it boasts a drawstring at the top of the neck to help hold it in place. When engaging in outdoor activities where you move a lot, many designs like to shift down your face. With a drawstring feature, your covering will stay securely in place no matter how much you move.
We also like that it is made from quality materials that hold up well in the elements as well as the washing machine. The outside layer is made from 100 percent polyester that feels similar to fleece, and inside it boasts an Omni-Heat thermal reflective panel that works to hold heat inside.
If you are in the market for something that comes from a trusted brand at an affordable price point, the Trail Shaker from Columbia is an excellent choice. The combination of the drawstring band and Omni-Heat thermal reflective sleeve makes it the perfect choice for engaging in outdoor activities in cooler climates.
2. Buff Multifunctional
You can wear the gaiter in 12 different ways
Easily washed and dries within minutes
To eliminate irritation, Buff utilized a seam-free construction
Better craftsmanship could have been present with the edges as they are poorly cut
“Superior” is a great word to describe the best neck gaiter on this list. While not without its slight flaws, it is tough to find a neck gaiter better than the Multifunctional Gaiter from Buff. What makes it so special is its versatility as you can wear it in multiple ways.Read more
While the fabric is not very thick, it manages to cover not only your neck but also your head and face if you desire. This gaiter is not only designed to protect you from the elements and provide warmth, but its seam-free construction ensures that the seam and hems do not provide irritation to your skin when it is touching.
One hundred percent of this gaiter is crafted from polyester microfiber. What this provides for you is a material that is durable, soft, highly resistant to the wind and moisture, and excellent treatments against odors.
As you will see with most, if not all, neck gaiters in the world, this is a one-size-fits-most model. But, Buff did not make this gender-specific so both men and women can wear it alike. No doubt, every single person in the world should find a color option that adapts to them. The list is nearly endless and includes colors such as Grima, multi-green, skull mask, plum, graphite and blue.
Not only is this is the best neck warmer, but it has so many other uses that you could really use it as a cap, hair tie, or balaclava. But, no matter how you use it, its overall design is what sells it.
Protects you from the elements
Insulated with merino wool
If you want, it can work as a hat
Tends to be tight on wide necks
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to breathe through it
With any list that is bringing together the best versions of a product that is designed to keep you warm, Arcteryx is sure to make an appearance. They are one of the leaders in Gore-Tex technology and while this neck gaiter does not feature it, it delivers a surreal amount of warmth and protection. Keep reading this neck gaiter review to learn more.Read more
Due to the blended elastane material, you can easily pull this gaiter up from your neck to cover your nose when the wind begins to howl. Arcteryx decided to design their gaiter with wool and that is why it manages to provide so much insulation and warmth. But, it is also soft-to-the-touch making it ideal to wear around your neck.
The merino wool that is used not only, as you already know, is a fantastic insulator but it also handles moisture and odors as well as any fabric in the world.
One-size-does fit most here, but users have complained that the size is generally small. If you have a larger and wider neck, it may be too tight for your liking. You can decide between one of two choices; either select black or light Chandra.
People with wider necks may be taking a risk with this gaiter because of the size, but if it fits you then you will understand why it is so amazing. Truthfully, if Arcteryx makes the garment, then you are practically guaranteed a superb amount of quality. And this moisture wicking neck gaiter is undoubtedly one of the best products that we have tested.
It can stretch to fit over your head
Does not suffer from bulkiness
The polyester fabric has a high tolerance for abrasions
Tends to fit big, may not be suitable for small necks
When it is bunched down on your neck, it is uncomfortable
Carhartt is one of those rare manufacturers where as soon as you see they have designed a product, you automatically know it will excel in cold weather. The company’s neck gaiter is a great example of that statement as if nothing else, their gaiter will keep you toasty in cold weather.Read more
Because Carhartt decided to go with partial spandex, you can stretch it over your head with minimal effort. In times where it is freezing, this will come in handy. The material of this gaiter is designed to protect you from the elements, whether that be strong winds or rain, and deliver warmth in cold weather.
This neck gaiter is constructed of 92 percent polyester and eight percent spandex. You know the benefits of spandex, but the polyester aids in breathability and creates a lightweight gaiter. One thing is for sure, not a lot of variety is available when it comes to color choices. Do not be too picky, as you can either choose black or shadow.
Just like the previous gaiter, if this properly fits around your neck, there is no reason for you not to fall in love with this. Again, some users have alerted that it is large on them. Keep that in mind when looking.
5. The North Face Standard Issue
Made from soft fleece
What we liked most about this design from The North Face is that it is designed for folks on the move. It has a shorter design when compared to some of the other designs out there on the market, which means that it won’t bunch up and feel overly bulky. It also boasts a few features that make for a secure and comfortable fit when out on cold-weather adventures this winter.Read more
The most notable feature of this basic design is the cut of the fabric. It boasts a cut that is made to fit on your neck comfortably without fabric that bunches around your shoulders for unwanted and awkward bulk. A drawstring along the top ensures that it stays securely in place no matter how much you move.
It is constructed from dual layers of fleece that are soft against your skin and work to keep heat in and cold out. Users love that this simple design is also reversible so that you are able to switch up the colors by simply turning it inside out.
If you are in the market for something simple, lightweight, and effective, you can’t go wrong with this design from The North Face. It is made of quality materials and boasts features to help craft the perfect fit for any size and shape of heads. Plus, it comes in at a price point that won’t break the bank.
6. Smartwool Merino 250
You can bunch it around your neck without overheating
Merino wool has a natural ability to wick away moisture and resist odors
Has a double layer interlock knit system implemented
When it covers your mouth, heavy breathing can diminish your breathability
There are two or three inches of extra material on the back which can be an issue for people looking for a tight fit
It is no surprise that a neck gaiter with merino wool is close to the top of this list again, as this material is top-notch. But, the Smartwool Merino 250 is terrific for other reasons including its double-layer knitting system.Read more
Depending on the conditions outside, you will be able to adjust what parts of your face are covered. On extremely chilly afternoons, you can pull it (while on your neck) over your mouth and nose. In conjunction with the merino wool is a double-layer knitting system. What this produces is an unbelievable amount of warmth and insulation that will keep your neck and face warm on the bitterest of days. And with your winter jacket, you won't feel cold weather.
The merino wool that is integrated into this gaiter is naturally antimicrobial, allowing it to control odors with ease. Past this, it is also extremely warm against your skin.
Once again, you will find that one size will fit most. But, the back portion of this adjustable neck gaiter does add some girth which could be an issue for people looking for a tight fit. Only two-color options are at play here. You can either select black or winter white.
You will quickly appreciate the merino wool inside of this gaiter. But, again, the slight tradeoff to this is when you cover your mouth with the gaiter it can diminish your breathability. This could come into play if you plan on running a lot, as you will be breathing heavier. In our opinion, this is the best neck gaiter for running on the market.
7. Outdoor Research Melody
Soft on the skin
May fit snug
Fit is not adjustable
Outdoor Research is a company that has time and time again created quality outdoor gear, and this breathable neck gaiter is absolutely no different. It is offered in a few different colors and comes with a lifetime warranty.Read more
Like many neck gaiters, the Melody gives you versatility, depending on the weather. You can wear it comfortably around your neck or you can choose to pull it up to cover your mouth and nose on especially cold days. Customers love the softness of the material and agree that is very comfortable.
This gaiter is made from a great blend of 87% polyester and 13% spandex. It is lightweight, weighing only 2.4-ounces. One of the best features of this gaiter is its ability to wick moisture and dry quickly. This makes it a great option for sports or travel.
The Melody is a one size fits all gaiter. It does contain 13% spandex, so it should fit most everyone comfortably. Many reviewers have commented that it fits snugly, but they expect it to loosen up after a few wears. Geared towards women, this gaiter is available in a few feminine colors. You can choose from Pacific Plum, Blue Violet Heather, or Black Heather. The colors are impressive and are great for showing off your personal style.
Outdoor Research knows a thing or two about cold weather and how to stay comfortable in it. The Melody neck gaiter would make a great and comfortable addition to anyone's winter wardrobe. To top it all off, the gaiter comes with a lifetime warranty from Outdoor Research.
8. Army Universe
Combines exceptional comfort and breathability
It is designed to be used in rugged environments
Has a stretchy feel
When you move around, the gaiter may slip off your face when you are covering your mouth
Maybe a little baggy on some people
As a neck gaiter that provides warmth for your neck, this version from Army Universe is top-notch. But, it is not the best for covering other areas of your face. While it still can, its design makes it rather difficult. Still, for what it is, it is fantastic.Read more
Technically, this gaiter does properly adjust to cover your neck, mouth, and ears at the same time. But, when you move your body, its large nature makes it prone to constantly fall off your face. All the aspects you look for in a neck gaiter, warmth, softness, and overall comfortability, are all here and you certainly never must worry about this neck gaiter leaving you cold in the winter.
As with other manufacturers on this list, Army Universe went with 100 percent polyester fleece to construct their gaiter.
With a stretchable feel and a one-size-fits-most design, most people should be able to properly wear this neck gaiter. Although, for the record, it is not guaranteed to fit every head and neck. It is either black or nothing here, thankfully, most people will not take an issue with the color black.
Yes, it can be frustrating to attempt to keep this gaiter on your face without it slipping down. If you have a large enough neck and head, this may not be an issue. Either way, it does an admirable job of protecting your neck.
9. Nike Therma Sphere
If you don’t like the idea of heavy and bulky materials wrapped around your neck, this lightweight yet warm design from Nike is a great choice. Whether you are running, biking, or hiking in cold climates, this simple design feels lightweight and easy while working to keep warm air close to your face. Plus, it boasts a sleek design that is only available in the Nike lineup!Read more
What users love most about this design is that it is lightweight and comfortable. It is made from soft materials that won’t weigh you down. Inside, there is a layer of quilted fleece to help hold hot air inside while feeling soft against your skin.
We also love that this design boats minimal seam lines to reduce irritation to your skin. When wearing this design. It feels like you aren’t wearing anything at all! This material is light and stretchy, so you can feel free to move as normal without it slowly shifting down your nose.
Nike knows what active people need to stay comfortable 12 months out of the year. What we love most about this design is that it is lightweight and easy to wear, but also works overtime to keep you warm when outside in the elements. Plus, it comes in at a price point that won’t break the bank.
10. Turtle Fur Fleece
Features double-layer acrylic fleece
There are loads of color options to choose from
It is ideal for sports from skiing to snowboarding
It is not long enough to cover your nose and neck at the same time
Turtle Fur cancels out a great bonus with a head-scratching design flaw. There are several color options to choose from, but the gaiter itself is not long enough to cover anything but your neck. It can cover your face but at the expense of your neck. But, it is the best neck warmer for skiing and that is enough for you to take a look.Read more
Conveniently, the stretchy fit allows you to cover your nose comfortably, but it is frustrating that it is not long enough to cover your nose and neck simultaneously. There are two layers of decadent fleece that manage to trap heat that is formed by the walls of insulation. Plus, the rolling nature of the design will keep your neck and face warm throughout the day.
As a change of pace, compared to the rest on this list, Turtle Fur integrated 100 percent acrylic fleece to ensure a luxurious feel and an incredible loft.
No matter if you are a man, woman, junior, or teen, this ski neck gaiter is designed to fit all of you (or at least most of you). Several different color options are available, and you must glance through them all to see which one suits you best. But, a few are black, blaze, carbon, tea rose, viva violet, white, and navy.
The thought and craftsmanship that was put into this gaiter are evident. Whether you want to point at the fantastic insulation, multiple color options, or stretchy feel, enough is here to warrant consideration.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Here, comfort is an absolute no-brainer. On colder days, you are going to be wearing the neck gaiter for the entirety of the time you are outdoors.
It better be comfortable because if it is not, there is no way you will enjoy its luxuries. A lot of the comfort in garments comes from the type of fabric that is utilized (which will be further addressed in the next section). Some may prefer the way polyester feels or even wool. But, without a doubt, the primary function of neck gaiters is their insulation and heating prowess (unless you want to use them to block the sun).
Again, the fabric comes into play but also the knitting system. Are there two layers or only one? This is an important question to have answered as a double-layer will provide double the amount of warmth. Of course, the argument against that is a single-layer is often more breathable and lightweight. No matter because if a neck gaiter does not deliver warmth, it only becomes a remedy to block the sun and not ideal in the winter.
A lot of what was said in the previous section was alluding to the fabric. The material and fabric that manufacturers use to craft their garments will always play a huge factor, but it seems even bigger for a neck gaiter.
Let’s start with the two most common fabrics, at least on this list, that are utilized. Firstly, it is polyester. It is no surprise that great neck gaiters utilize polyester fabric, as it is one of the best materials in the world. Not only is it high in breathability, but it also does a superb job of providing resistance to wind, abrasions, and moisture.
Another popular fabric you see often is merino wool. It is debatable, but merino wool might be the warmest fabric ever put into a neck gaiter. It is a fantastic insulator and is warm to-the-touch. But, it also has a natural ability to wick away moisture and resist odors. However, you may also see fabrics such as cotton (which is also extremely warm and soft), spandex (which delivers a stretchy exterior), and acrylic (which is an overall stellar fabric).
Every single neck gaiter that secured a spot on this list uses the moniker of one-size-fits-most.
People can often confuse this for one-size-fits-all. The reality of the situation is a manufacturer can't guarantee that their gaiter will fit you. Every single person in the world will have different preferences and neck/face sizes. As such, designers must do their best to make their gaiter fit as many people as physically possible.
This is where spandex can assist because if the gaiter can stretch, it can fit more people. Check out some customer reviews to see what users have stated about the size. As you saw with the gaiters on this list, a lot of the time, specific versions are bigger and wider and some smaller and tighter. If you have any doubts, manufacturers should have size charts that you can look at to ensure that it will fit properly and comfortably around your neck.
Sure, the color of any garment is not going to enhance the performance. However, it is never a bad thing if you prefer one-colored garment over another.
Why on earth should neck gaiters be any different? Sometimes, you want to add a little style and forego the traditional black color that you continuously see with winter gear. Although it is essential to address that the color should not necessarily be the most important factor, instead, you can use it as a determining factor. For example, let’s say that you are stuck between two choices, and they both have fantastic design features. If one has a color option that you prefer over the other, this could be the tiebreaker that you have been so desperately searching for. Do not be foolish if this matters to you!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
The weather resistance of your neck gaiter is also something you should consider. If you will be using the gaiter in a wet, humid, snowy, or muddy environment, this is an important factor to consider. Additionally, a weather-resistant item typically dries quickly, as well, making it easier to wash when you are on the go.
They both have the same goal in mind - to keep your neck warm and protected. However, a gaiter can be used year-round, even when it isn't cold out. It's a great small piece of fabric that can protect you from the wind and sun as well. A scarf, while it may be more stylish, is not as versatile and tends to take up a lot more room when packing.
Other Factors to Consider
It is a little ironic that this is a vitally important criterion because the true definition of a neck gaiter is a material that provides warmth to your neck. So, why would your face come into play when their primary design function is to deliver insulation below your face.
Well, it just so happens that many designers create their neck gaiters to be more versatile and allow you to cover your mouth and ears in frigid conditions. If you intend to be outdoors in freezing weather, having a neck gaiter that can easily slide up to protect your mouth, nose, and ears can be a lifesaver.
If they are not the correct length, when you pull them up to protect your face your neck will be exposed to the chilly weather. On the contrary, sometimes it will cover all portions of your neck and face (even being stretchy enough to wrap around your head) and still be flawed because it will not stay up when you begin to run.
First and foremost, you want a neck gaiter that stays place on your face, so that you don’t have to keep adjusting it and pulling at it. Secondly, it is essential to have a neck gaiter that is breathable and sweat-wicking. This means that your sweat will go out and that airflow can come in to keep you feeling comfortable.
Lastly, it may be nice to have a gaiter that includes some form of adjustment, like a string that can be tightened to keep it in place. However, some gaiters offer various lengths in which the gaiter can be worn so that it can be manually adjusted to fit your needs. This last point is a matter of personal preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Will your glasses fog up if you wear the gaiter under your nose?
This is not a question that would be the first one asked in a classroom, but it may be the most unique. The reality is glasses owners know how annoying it can be to wear glasses in the winter.
When you enter a building, the heat causes your glasses to fog up ridding your sight completely. Guess what, the same issue arises when you wear garments that cover your nose as when you breathe, it goes out of the opening that is right beneath your glasses. If interested in ski goggles, check our selected list.
Yes, neck gaiters will do this, but you can position the gaiter in a way that prevents this. It is a little tricky, but mess around with it as you can achieve a warm nose and non-fogged-up glasses (you may not be able to cover your entire nose).
q: Are neck gaiters adjustable?
Most, if not all, neck gaiters are designed to be one-size-fits-most. But, are they adjustable? This answer is both a yes or a no, depending on how you interpret the word “adjustable.” In the sense of being able to adjust it to cover your mouth, ears, nose, and neck simultaneously, you can adjust the gaiter (depending on the designer). However, can you change the size and width of the gaiter?
Unless it comes with an elastic band, then you are probably not going to have the luxuries. Sometimes, this is where sizing becomes an issue if you can’t adjust the width and overall size.
q: How do you wash your merino wool gaiter?
Alright, so you now have a strong understanding of how often you should wash merino wool. However, how exactly do you wash a merino wall neck gaiter? Before what you may believe, due to its size, you are safe to machine wash the gaiter.
Unless, of course, the care instructions on the label recommend you avoid a machine wash. In this case, resort to good old hand-washing. But, if you are in the all-clear, the first thing you want to do is turn the gaiter inside out as wool can pill. For your soap, be sure to either use a mild or neutral detergent to wash it.
As you do not want to compromise the integrity of the merino wool, wash it with either warm or cool water (never hot which can shrink the wool) on a gentle cycle. Once it is done, to air on the side of caution, allow the gaiter to air-dry.
q: How often should you wash your merino wool gaiter?
Special attention is going to be given to merino wool because it is a unique material. Fabrics such as cotton, spandex, and polyester are ones that you are probably used to when it comes to maintaining them. But, you may be a little uncertain when it comes to merino wool.
One big question is how often you should wash a neck gaiter that is crafted from this fabric. Thankfully, as a whole, merino wool is extremely easy to maintain, and because it is naturally resistant to both stains and odors, you do not have to wash it as much as you might think.
Honestly, you can wash it as much as you want, but a good recommendation is to do so after extensive wear (say several times in a year). If it begins to load up with sweat, it is time to wash it. However, merino wool is like a cat compared to a dog; in the sense that it will care for itself and you do not have to care for it always.
q: What is moisture wicking, and how is it helpful with a neck gaiter?
A few times during this guide, you have been exposed to the term moisture wicking. Even though the term does speak for itself, it is not uncommon to be confused about what exactly this means and why it is essential. No matter the weather outside, even if it is bitterly cold, your body is going to sweat when your body begins to overheat. Ironically, you will start sweating faster with a neck gaiter on as your body is already exposed to enhanced heat. If sweat builds up and the material of your neck gaiter cannot “wick” it away, you will get soaked in sweat.
So, the materials will move away from the moisture created from the sweat away from your skin to prevent excessive moisture build-up. Thus, creating a more comfortable experience.
q: How do I measure my neck for a gaiter?
The good news here is that most designs are one size fits all. They are composed of stretchy materials that are a perfect fit for a wide variety of necks. If you really want to make sure that your design fits you perfectly, we suggest selecting a design that has a drawstring closure at the top. This feature allows you to adjust your design to fit just the way you want it.
q: How tight should gaiters be?
This boils down to a matter of personal preference. Some users like it to fit super tight that blocks 100 percent of wind and cold so that it feels like they aren’t wearing anything at all. Others prefer a looser fit than hangs down over their nose. We feel that the perfect fit for most outdoor activities is tight enough so that it doesn’t slip down over your hose as you move, but not so tight that it smooshes your nose against your face.
q: What style do I need for skiing, snowboarding, or running?
If you are simply sitting on a bench or a patio chair, thick and bulky designs are perfect for keeping your warm and comfortable. For activities that require a lot of movement, there are a few key things to keep in mind. The Columbia Trail Shaker, for instance, is a great option for a few reasons.
The Trail Shaker boasts a drawstring closure at the top of the neck, which helps to create a more snug fit, and prevents it from slipping down as you move. Designs that are made from lightweight materials are also great for movement because they feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all.
Designs such as what we saw from Nike are also great for movement because they are composed of thinner materials to provide a full range of motion while keeping you warm at the same time.