Unless you’re a rock climber, the words “neck gaiter” might have left you puzzled until recently.
After COVID-19 arrived, a frantic search for virus protection made neck gaiters a household name. To learn about this useful fashion accessory, read on!
What is a neck gaiter?
Neck gaiters are a tubular-shaped fabric used to protect the neck and face. These “buffs,” “tube scarves” and “neck warmers,” as they are often called, are worn around the neck and pulled up onto the face as needed.
The most popular type of fabric used for reusable neck gaiters is tightly knitted polyester. This preferred fabric is machine washable, breathable, and offers moisture-wicking to keep skin dry. Insulating materials such as fleece and wool are used to make neck gaiters for cold-weather use.
What is the purpose of a neck gaiter?
The main function of neck gaiters before COVID-19 was to warm or cool the neck, and keep dust and other particles away from the face. They also are excellent for providing protection against sun and wind exposure. For those reasons, neck gaiters are often worn outdoors by hikers, hunters, cyclists and runners.
After COVID-19 struck, neck gaiters became popular as face coverings to minimize the spread of the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), face coverings are an additional step to slowing the spread of coronavirus. The agency also advises the public to social distance, wash hands often and take other everyday preventive actions.
Neck gaiters, particularly longer ones, can be worn in different ways. Multifunction cooling headwear can serve as face masks, as well as headbands, hairbands, neckerchiefs, scrunchies, face warmers and do-rags. With a variety of colors and wearing options available, neck gaiters can add flair to any outfit.
Face masks vs. neck gaiters
The CDC and other health experts say most face coverings offer some level of protection against COVID-19. However, their overall structure, engineering and materials can set them apart.
Here’s some basic insight on face masks and neck gaiters to help you decide which is right for you:
Face masks. Materials used for face masks such as polyurethane foam naturally contour the face for a snug, comfortable fit. This is an important element when seeking protection from viruses, according to the CDC. Face masks with elastic straps that stretch around the ears are more likely to provide a smooth fit.
Logos or sayings can be printed on custom face masks to enhance a company or organization’s branding efforts.
Neck gaiters. A big advantage of neck gaiters is the ability to pull them onto the face quickly while wearing them around your neck. This is very important when you work in an environment where face coverings are required in certain situations and not in others.
Neck Gaiters are considered functional and stylish, which has contributed to their growing popularity among men, women and youth. When customized with a logo, they become a long-term, affordable marketing tool.
And the winner is?
In the end, the decision to choose neck gaiters or face masks often comes down to personal choice. We suggest you review the information on each and decide based on your individual circumstances.