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Neck gaiters protect your neck, ears, and head from sun damage. But before you go shopping, it helps to understand how different lengths and fabrics affect a gaiter’s UPF rating and performance, and why anti-microbial coatings are so important.

The fabric on this one dries in minutes. iHeartRaves

Neck gaiters come in various lengths, so before you shop, decide the main reason you need to wear a neck gaiter. If you want to add an extra layer of insulation at your collar line, a short gaiter that comes up to your chin will do. If you’re looking for a gaiter that will protect your neck from the sun, but also pull up to cover your ears, head, and nose, you’ll need something much longer. If you’re neutral on gaiter length, opt for a longer style because you’ll have more options on how to wear it.

Great Value

The seams on these wraps won’t unravel or curl. Geyoga

Cotton is a good choice for the warm months when you don’t need insulation, though it doesn’t breathe as well as synthetic fabrics or wool. Wool is a naturally breathable material but not as windproof as Spandex. Polyester fleece is soft, warm, and easy to wash, but like wool, it’s not windproof. Spandex is durable and blocks wind. However, it doesn’t breathe unless it’s blended with a more breathable fiber.

Quality Material

The soft fabric on this piece blocks harmful UV rays. Achiou

Fabric alone doesn’t offer full sun protection. If you need sun protection, check the UV rating of whatever neck gaiter you’re considering and make sure it’s also made with lightweight, breathable fabric. Most breathable fabrics don’t prevent perspiration, which can leave neck gaiters smelling funky. Select a gaiter treated with an antimicrobial coating so you don’t have to worry.