What Is a Neck Gaiter?

Rayward Apparel

Neck gaiter masks have been popular with outdoor enthusiasts for a long time. In fact, neck gaiters were popular long before face masks became ordinary during the 2019 coronavirus outbreak. So what exactly is a neck gaiter? And perhaps more importantly, should you wear one?

The Basics: What Is a Neck Gaiter?

A neck gaiter is a specialized piece of apparel worn around your neck and/or face to protect against the elements. Popular and beloved for their versatility, neck gaiters can be worn multiple ways to meet the needs of many situations. This includes keeping you warm as a gaiter neck mask, keeping you cool or shielding you from insects. Plus, as is the case with Rayward Apparel’s Del Mar sun protection face shields, protecting your skin from the sun.*

Basically, neck gaiters are the perfect outdoor accessory, and they have nearly as many names as they do functions. Some of the most common alternate names for neck gaiter face masks include tube headwear, gaiter masks, neckbands, buffs, neck warmers, neck shields, neck wraps, neck scarves and multifunctional headbands. Our favorites are simply gaiter, and sometimes neck gaiter (so as not to confuse it with the ankle variety).

Neck gaiters are closed tubes of fabrics sized to fit over your head and around your face, neck or head. They can be made out of heavier fabrics when the goal is warmth, such as in the winter. Other times, and probably more often, neck gaiters are made of lightweight and breathable materials to be comfortably worn in a wider range of climates and conditions. The best is when neck gaiters are made of UPF fabrics, such as those used in our lightweight gaiter neck mask.

Neck gaiter masks are great for outdoor activities because they are small, lightweight and packable, and help you regulate your desired temperature. Depending on the activity for which they are designed, they may be windproof, insulated, UV protective, quick-drying and moisture-wicking. They really are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing!

Rayward Apparel's Del Mar UPF 50+ Neck Gaiter

How to Wear a Neck Gaiter Mask

There are many ways to wear a neck gaiter, and the most popular of these are covered more in-depth in our post, How to Wear a Neck Gaiter. However, here are some of the more common ways in which our customers wear their gaiters:

  • Neck gaiter/scarf: simply worn loose around the neck
  • Face mask: pulled up over nose and ears
  • Hood: pulled up all the way over ears and to top of head, leaving only face exposed
  • Headband: folded over itself and worn around the forehead
  • Hairband/hair tie: wrapped around head or twisted to secure hair, like a ponytail
  • Beanie: twisted at the middle and then folded over itself to form a closed head cover
  • Hat liner: folded over top of head for light layer beneath hat or helmet
  • Wristband: wrapped around wrist for future use

As mentioned above, these are but a few of the many ways to wear your gaiter. However, if your gaiter is being used as a sun protection face shield, then you must keep in mind that you are only protected where you are covered, so gaiter responsibly.

When to Wear a Gaiter

Knowing when to wear a neck gaiter requires knowing what it was designed for, as well as what you need it to do. At Rayward Apparel, our goal is to protect you from harmful UV rays. This means our gaiters are all UPF-rated for sun protection. Therefore, you should wear our gaiters as a sun protection face shield whenever you are outside and your face and/or neck are not already protected by any other means.*

Kenyan Sunset Demands Neck Protection

Should You Wear a Neck Gaiter?

Worn alone, neck gaiters are great, but they really shine as an accessory complementing the rest of your outdoor apparel. For instance, Rayward Apparel’s Sun Bound shirts won’t always protect your face and neck, but when paired with our Del Mar UPF 50+ gaiter, you have UPF sun protection from your face to your waist. So should you wear a neck gaiter? Absolutely! Ours are lightweight, soft, breathable and, most importantly, UPF-certified for UV protection.

Shop Rayward Apparel’s sun protection face shields and neck gaiters today and see for yourself why neck gaiters have become one of the most popular outdoor accessories.

Bonus: Curious to know how the sun can damage your skin? Check out the video below which highlights how UV rays affect your skin:

* Rayward Apparel’s gaiter neck masks are not designed to prevent the spread of disease. Our sun protection face shields have not been tested for their effectiveness at preventing the spread of disease, such as COVID19, and should therefore not be used as such.