The 6 Best Neck Gaiters

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Originally Published: 
Bustle / Amazon

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present new challenges, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone over the age of 2 who is unvaccinated should wear a facial covering indoors or when in crowded outdoor spaces; fully vaccinated individuals should wear a mask indoors if they are in high transmission areas. In terms of what type of covering is best, the CDC recommends a breathable cloth covering with at least two layers — and for gaiters, it should either have two layers or be able to fold over to create an additional layer. Ahead, you’ll find the best neck gaiters on Amazon.

Fabric & Fit

The best facial covering is an N95 full stop, but those are generally reserved for healthcare workers. For non-medical-grade options, certain materials are better than others; a synthetic fabric blend isn't as effective as cotton. However, if you're set on wearing a gaiter, finding a close-fitting cotton one is near impossible. It’s also important to take into account that how you wear your face covering matters considerably. The CDC recommends that any face covering should fit snugly over your nose and mouth without slipping down until you’re ready to take it off. That’s why you’ll find that most gaiters are made of polyester or a polyester/spandex blend since it's stretchier, allowing for a closer fit. To make a gaiter a more effective option, look for one of the following: a double-layer design, one with an included filter, or an extra-long gaiter that can be folded over for additional coverage.

Care Instructions

Since masks and gaiters worn for this purpose should be laundered after each use, choose one with care instructions that work for you. If you don’t have an accessible washing machine, the CDC recommends using laundry detergent or soap and washing by hand. And if you doubt you’ll wash your gaiter after every use, consider stocking up on a multipack so you’re not tempted to skimp.

To help you stay safe whether you're headed to the grocery store or out on a bigger adventure, here are six of the best neck gaiters (sometimes advertised as a buff).


A Versatile Gaiter That Can Fold Up To Three Times

Diamond Head Equipment’s gaiter can be folded up to three times to ensure multiple layers of protection, even without a filter. The “buttery soft” material is made of polyester (sourced from recycled water bottles) with a hint of spandex for stretch. It protects against 97% of damaging UV rays while wicking away moisture, and it’s machine washable. When worn for outdoor adventures, it provides a measurable degree of cooling if you wet it down, too. Another selling point: The eco-friendly company donates a percentage of proceeds to funding beach cleanup initiatives.

What fans say: “Very comfortable [...] Best one in my collection.”

  • Available colors: 5


This Affordable 4-Pack Of Gaiters For Stocking Up

If your original gaiters aren’t up to the new CDC guidelines, this four-pack of masks gets you up to speed fast. The gaiters are made of sweat-wicking polyester microfiber that holds a filter pocket inside. They come with a starter kit of 20 filters to get you well on your way. The gaiter’s double-stitched seams provide a stretchy, sturdy build that promises to last no matter how often you wash it — and reviewers noted that they wash/dry well.

What fans say: “Adding a filter is a total game changer!! To say these are my favorite masks is a true understatement.”

  • Available options: 10


A Set Of Lightweight Gaiters That Look Like Pretty Scarves

If you like a gaiter’s functionality but want something a little more fashion-forward, these chiffon neck gaiter scarves are a cute option that still offers you good protection. They have adjustable ear loops with a snap on the back for securing it around your neck, so they look like an accessory when not being worn on your face. The fabric is light and breathable with UPF50+ protection to boot. A built-in filter pocket lets you insert your own so you can get exactly what you want. Get them in multipacks of solid shades or try a fun print: The options range from floral to leopard. While no care instructions are provided, reviewers noted success either tossing them in the washing machine or hand washing.

What fans say: “Love, love, love these. They are lightweight and soft. Every time I wear one, people ask where I got them. I really like that there is cotton on the mask part. [...] Breathable but also feel like you’re getting the protection you want.”

  • Available options: 23


This Gaiter With Ear Loops To Keep It In Place During Your Workout

This neck gaiter for running comes with ear loops that are less likely to slip down during exercise, and the material promises to deflect UV rays for a measurable, cool finish. The ice silk fabric (aka rayon) is an ultra-soft knitted polyviscose, which feels smooth to the touch and provides enhanced breathability. Speaking of which, there’s a filter pocket front and center for suiting up (you get two filters with your order — each promising four layers of protection that can be worn up to 3 months). This pick even has a built-in nose wire for a contoured fit. You can machine wash it in cold water, then let it air dry.

What fans say: “Great for hikes and group workouts...This face mask [...] is extremely lightweight and very breathable making it easy to wear just about all day long when I need to [...] and the ear bands are comfortable.”

  • Available options: 4


This Double-Layered Gaiter In A Super-Fun Print

If you prefer to double layer instead of dealing with filters, stack your protection with this double-layered gaiter. They come in several great patterns with fun and vivid colorways, plus a few subtle options for low-key days. The interior lining is light and silky to maintain breathability with a bungee drawstring cord at the top that helps you cinch just the right fit so you’re truly covered.

What fans say: “Fits both the head and neck area nicely. Has a snug yet comfortable fit and a nice design on the gaiter. Material is light and thin to medium in thickness- has a drawstring. Goes on over the head and can be worn down or above the face. I like the color and it's easy to wear.”

  • Available options: 13


A Breathable Gaiter With Mesh For Seriously Hot Days

These breathable neck gaiters have narrow mesh panels on the side to allow for a bit of extra airflow at the neck, while a filter pocket front and center helps keep you covered. (They also come with 10 filters.) Plus, the toggle drawstrings in back allow for single-handed adjustments for the perfect fit. The cooling ice silk fabric dissipates sweat and heat while blocking UV rays, and there are even reflective strips for safe visibility in low light, so they’re a good pick for the great outdoors.

What fans say: “After months of taking these to the gym, machine washing them, and everyday usage. I found no issues with it at all. Adjusts well with strap, complete neck coverage, thick and durable enough yet not heavy, breathable, cooling if wet. It meets demands and expectations perfectly.”

  • Available options: 1 set of 3 colors

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