I believe the neck gaiter (a.k.a. face shield mask) is one of the most versatile survival accessories.
So which is it? Neck gaiter or face shield? Well…it’s sort of both but it’s also not quite either.
You see, traditionally a “face shield” was a large plastic see-through device used in police riots or chemical cleanups.
While the term “neck gaiter” is normally thought of as a cold-weather alternative to a scarf.
But what I’m talking about today is something a bit different. It’s more of a face shield mask/neck gaiter/survival bandana combination…
Regardless of what we call it – these pieces of cloth are essential for survival, preparedness, and outdoor adventures.
And I think everyone should own at least one.
Note: in this article, I will primarily be calling them neck gaiters but lots of people call them face shields.
So, today, let’s discuss everything I know about neck gaiters, such as:
- What Is a Neck Gaiter Anyways?
- The Many Reasons (and uses) Of A Neck Gaiter
- The Key Features To Look For In A Quality Neck Gaiter
- The Best Neck Gaiters On The Market Today
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WHAT IS A NECK GAITER / FACE SHIELD ANYWAYS?
Technically speaking, a neck gaiter is an article of clothing worn about the neck for warmth.
It is a closed tube of fabric, often thick fleece, merino wool, synthetic wicking, or knit material. It can be slipped on and off over the head. And it can also be pulled up over the mouth to keep out wind and sand.”
It’s simply a swath of cloth worn around your neck to protect it from wind, sun, debris.
But it can also be easily lifted over your mouth and/or nose. This helps to protect your face from dirt, debris, bugs, dust, or easy identification….
Identification? Yes, just like the traditional ski mask.
The ski mask has become a symbol of nefarious activities for decades. And a neck gaiter can be used to conduct similar mayhem without easy identification.
Anyways, the neck gaiter has come a long way over the years. As textiles have become more synthetic, and more breathable, neck gaiters have become more comfortable.
THE MANY REASONS (and uses) OF A NECK GAITER
The sheer number of neck gaiter uses is incredible. There are so many reasons why you should own one.
Let’s start with a couple of easy reasons why…
One of the most popular (and best) uses for a neck gaiter is to keep harmful rays off your neck. This can work wonders in many outdoor sports and recreation situations.
Let’s cover a few of the most popular ones:
Fishing Neck Gaiter
If you enjoy fishing for long hours, you know just how nasty the sun can be while out on the water.
Normally the sun’s UV rays beat down on you from above. But water reflects UV rays sending burning beams up at you from below.
Dangerous UV rays hitting us from below is not something you think about often. So, we tend to forget to apply sunscreen to our necks. So without some sort of protection – you can get a nasty sunburn on your unprotected neck.
Well, with a neck gaiter (especially one with UV protection) you keep harmful rays off your tender neck
Skiing / Snowboarding
The suns rays bounce off the water surface, and they bounce off the snow…
So it’s the same idea for snowboarding and skiing as it is for fishing. However, with winter sports you’re also interested in keeping your neck and face warm from the bone-chilling winds while on the slopes.
Face Protection / Face Shield
Your face and neck are exposed when riding. Be it a motorcycle, bicycle, boating, ATV or any other activity where you’re moving quickly without a windshield for protection.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of adding a windshield to a motorcycle. I mean, the point of riding is for it NOT to feel like you’re riding inside a car…
Now for long road trips, a motorcycle windshield can make sense but not for afternoon cruises.
I also hate the feeling of gnats pelting my nose, mouth, and face at 45 MPH. It’s both gross and hurts. But with a good neck gaiter pulled up – these nasty projectiles are no longer a big deal.
And there are more than just bug missiles causing problems. There’s also dust, leaves, gravel and sometimes rubber pellets from tires flying towards your face.
So if you’re like me and not a fan of adding a windshield to your bike, wear a neck gaiter instead.
Project Dust – Debris
With any outdoor project, you run the risk of breathing in dirt, dust, and debris. For small projects, it’s usually not a big deal but for larger ones, it can become a serious health issue.
Or if you’re a construction worker or farmer who runs a tractor for a living – you already know there are days when you eat dust (literally).
If this sounds like you, then it’s time you invested in a face shield to avoid this occupational hazard.
I’ll be honest – I’m not a “scarf guy”. At least not in the traditional sense. You see, sometimes I think there are two types of people in the world.
Those who wear scarfs and those who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing one – I’m in the second category.
But a neck gaiter; now that’s a different story…
After I wore my neck gaiter out on a frigid cold walk with my dog, I was never the same. All these years, I’d never fully realized how much warmer it is when your neck was wrapped in a layer of warmth.
So now if it’s below freezing outside, I always wear my neck gaiter. I don’t always pull it up over my mouth and nose, but I do when it’s really cold or extremely windy.
And if you love winter sports, a neck gaiter is a must. Whether you snowboard or ski, a neck gaiter with a cool logo or design is worth every penny.
Comfort and Multi-Use
Now this “benefit” or reason is highly dependent on your personality. But for me, I’ve learned to enjoy having something soft and warm around my neck.
It’s both comfortable and comforting knowing I have a tool that can provide protection from the sun and the cold.
I can also use it for all sorts of other purposes in a pinch. I can turn it into a headband to keep sweat from dripping into my eyes. This is great if I’m doing some hard work outside in the heat of the day.
I can also use it as a makeshift helmet liner to add a small layer of comfort between me and a hard bike helmet.
And for anyone with long hair, it can be used as a stylish hairband to make a ponytail. This is extra helpful when it’s muggy out and you need a quick way to get your hair up off your neck.
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Lastly, a neck gaiter CAN provide a layer of identity protection.
But it’s not a cloak of invisibility. Lifting a neck gaiter over your mouth and nose and won’t make you disappear from view…
Sure, you can hide your facial features (making you harder to identify). But you’re also wearing something that sticks out like a sore thumb. It gets noticed.
With a neck gaiter pulled up, you’re no longer applying the “gray man theory”. You become MORE notable while walking around. Then people take note of your other features; your height, your vehicle, your eye color, your hairstyle, etc.
So the neck gaiter is only helpful to hide your identity if you’re doing something criminal. Because if you’re robbing a bank – you’re going to be noticed anyways. So in that situation, a neck gaiter pulled up can provide some ability to keep your identity hidden.
With that said, if you’re the type of person who robs banks, then I’m sure you have more elaborate identity concealing measure than using a neck gaiter…
But the overall point still stands. If people can’t see your major facial features (such as your nose, mouth, chin, etc.) you’ll be harder to identify in a line-up.
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THE KEY FEATURES TO LOOK FOR IN A QUALITY NECK GAITER
Not all neck gaiters are created equal. And with new textile and printing processes, neck gaiters just keep getting better…
So let’s go over a few of the features to look for when buying a new neck gaiter.
First off, this is important if you plan to use your neck gaiter in hot weather OR cold weather. If this sounds like you, then you’ll want to go for a newer material that’s both breathable and not scratchy.
One reason why I don’t wear a wool scarf is that it itches my neck. Wool is warm, and it can be somewhat breathable but it’s not comfortable.
Instead, look for a neck gaiter that features breathable, lightweight, and moisture-wicking technologies. These types of neck gaiters will stay cooler in the blazing hot summer heat.
And they will also avoid the dreaded moisture trapping that happens when you raise the gaiter over your mouth and nose in the winter.
Because a neck gaiter that traps moisture from your mouth or nose will quickly become a wet neck gaiter. And a wet neck gaiter in the winter will quickly become a frozen neck gaiter. A frozen neck gaiter is a cold neck gaiter. And this defeats the entire purpose of wearing it in the cold in the first place.
If you’re going to invest in a neck gaiter make sure it’s one with built-in UV protection. Sure any cloth material is better than nothing when it comes to sun protection.
However, I’ve worn a super-thin shirt when outside all day. I was assuming I was protected, only to discover the sun’s UV rays blasted straight through it.
So make sure the material you choose for you neck gaiter is made to block UV rays. This keeps your neck from looking like an angry lobster at dinner…
Stretchiness / Fit / Size
Everyone has a different sized neck. So the best neck gaiters take this into account by using flexible stretch materials.
That way, whether you have a thick neck or a slim neck the gaiter will fit. Especially when pulled up around your mouth and nose.
Color / Design
This “feature” is highly personal. Do you want something that looks menacing like a skeleton? OR are you more likely to wear something with a pretty flower pattern on it?
Or maybe you like to keep things simple with a flat black design.
The design options of a neck gaiter CAN (and often DOES) make or break a sale.
So just be aware if you don’t love the design options available. You can always keep shopping around until you do. Just don’t skimp on all the other “more practical” features for the design alone.
As always the price can be a feature. If you can get your hands on a decent quality FREE neck gaiter or face shield mask – then you have nothing to lose. So you might as well give it a try, right?
But if you have to fork over $100 for a neck gaiter, well, then it best be the most amazing neck gaiter I’ve ever seen. And it should be able to cook dinner and wash the dishes too!
The point is, price always comes into play with any survival gear. FREE can be amazing but it can also mean cheap POS as well. But since the risk is so low, it’s normally worth checking out.
9 BEST NECK GAITERS / FACE SHIELDS ON THE MARKET TODAY
Finding the “best” neck gaiters on the market today can be an overwhelming task. You can spend hours and hours hunting around online. Wasting time reading hundreds of reviews, only to end up being more confused than ever.
The number of neck gaiters and cloth face shields coming on the market is stunning.
That’s why we’re here to help you cut through the chaos and show you our top favorite neck gaiters on the market today:
1 – “American Woods” Multi-Use Face Shield
The “American Woods” Multi-Use Face Shield is the neck gaiter I want to highlight first.
Why? Because it’s of excellent quality AND affordability.
Let’s cover the quality first.
This American Woods Face Shield is ideal for hunting, bike riding, fishing, and any outdoor activity.
It’s also great for protecting yourself from breathing harmful dust when mowing the lawn or on construction sites.
This Face Shield is durable, it won’t fall off, it keeps its colors and it holds its shape!
So if your an active outdoorsman, or woman, you won’t be disappointed.
Plus, at the time of this article being published, you could get The American Woods Face Shield for FREE (just pay s&h). So, Click Here Now to see if this fantastic deal is still available!
2 – SA Face Shields – 5 Pack Bundle
These SA Face Shields have unique patterns & are multifunctional.
There are 12 different ways you can wear one for your adventures or daily life. Wear it as a face shield, bandana, wristband, hair tie, headband, neck gaiter, doo rag, balaclava, face mask, beanie, etc.
The SA Face Sheilds include both SPF 40 & dust protection.
They also wick away moisture to keep you dry and add an extra layer of warmth for your ears, nose, mouth, head, and neck in the cold.
These SA Face Shields are made with a durable microfiber technology, which comes in at a length of 20.5 inches, and a width of 10.5 Inches.
They are also backed by a lifetime warranty.
Finally, on a per face shield basis – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better value…
3 – Mossy Oak Seamless Bandana Face & Neck Cover
This Mossy Oak Seamless Face & Neck Cover will keep you protected from the sun. It’s rated at UPF 30 for great sun protection and blocks up to 97% of both UVA and UVB rays.
This Mossy Oak Neck Gaiter is made out of 100% polyester microfiber.
It’s woven together so it features a soft, seamless, fit. It’s approximately 19.5 x 9.5 inches and due to its ability to stretch, it’s one size fits most!
4 – KastKing Sol Armis Neck Gaiter
KastKing Sol Armis makes a quality neck gaiter rated at UPF 50 for both face and neck protection.
It’s also highly breathable due to its unique poly-spandex material.
This KastKing Neck Gaiter also has a 4-way stretch to p0rovide a snug comfortable fit so your gaiter stays in place all day long.
The KastKing Neck Gaiter was designed by an in-house team of elite anglers for a comfortable fit. So if you’re an angler this is the best neck gaiter to protect you from the sun.
5 – SUNMECI Neck Gaiter Windproof Mask
The SUNMECI Neck Gaiter is made of a versatile, super soft fabric. It’s perfect to keep you comfortable in extreme temps.
Plus, the SUNMECI Neck Gaiter has built in UV protection.
So it’s a no-hassle, no worry, high-quality neck gaiter for any outdoor activity.
6 – Tough Headwear Fleece Neck Warmer – Gaiter
This Neck Warmer/Gaiter by Tough Headwear is ready for anything but looks less menacing and more stylish than other neck gaiters.
It’s a double-layered neck warmer and will keep your neck warm and cozy, even in the coldest winter weather.
This Tough Headwear neck warmer is also reversible. One side a stylish design, the other classic black. So you can rock one style on the slopes and another going out with friends.
It’s 3 accessories all in one – an ear warmer headband, a face mask, and neck tube.
It also comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can’t beat that!
7 – JOEYOUNG 3D Face Sun Mask, Neck Gaiter
The JOEYOUNG 3D Face Shield Mask is unique with its visual 3D effect.
This 3D effect is great for camouflage if you’re a hunter.
This neck gaiter also passes the SGS UPF TEST – so it blocks up to 95% of the harmful ultraviolet rays.
The JOEYOUNG Neck Gaiter is made of 100% Polyester microfiber. It has exceptional absorbing and wicking features. So it’s cool in summer but warm in winter.
The standard size is 18.9 inches long, 9.4 inches wide and 0.4 MM thick. It’s also highly stretchable so it easily fits both teenagers as well as adults of all ages.
Finally, its a no risk to purchase with their 100% money-back guarantee!
8 – Terra Kuda Face Clothing Neck Gaiter Mask
The Terra Kuda Face Neck Gaiter is designed to always be mission ready.
Whether you’re in the backcountry, on the water, or cutting a mountain trail, these face and neck covers are designed to protect you from the outdoor elements.
Unlike other leading brands, The Terra Kuda Face Neck Gaiter’s unique design outperforms the competition while staying in place over your nose, even during strenuous activities.
This is thanks to their utilization of cutting-edge fabric welding technology.
It’s both THIN-lightweight and BREATHABLE.
The Terra Kuda Neck Gaiter provides UV protection up to UPF 20 (varies slightly based on the model: color/pattern).
It’s “one size fits most” with dimensions approximately 18.5 inches x 10 inches.
9 – iHeartRaves Seamless Face Mask
iHeartRaves Seamless Face Mask features design options that harken to your more fashionable side.
The iHeartRaves Face Shield features a super stretchy fabric that accommodates most head sizes (adults & kids).
It also has a moisture wicking fabric that transfers heat and humidity away from your body and outside of the seamless bandanna, helping to keep you cool.
The iHeartRave’s quick-dry fabric technology lets your face mask dry in minutes, instead of hours.
This iHeartRaves Festive Face Mask is great for dusty music festivals, concerts, biking, raves, and outdoor sports like paintball, hiking, yoga, exercising, yard work, riding or whenever you want to live dust-free!
As a survival site, we’re always on the hunt for the best gear for any sort of survival or emergencies situation. In the past, we’ve covered most of the obvious survival gear we think everyone should own, such as:
- a bug out bag
- a survival knife
- survival shovel
- a survival machete
- survival matches
- Ferro rods
- survival watches
- etc., etc., etc.
But I feel like we’ve been missing a key component. We’ve overlooked the survival neck gaiter (a.k.a. face shield mask)!
I’ve been using one myself for years, but for some reason, it’s gotten lost in the shuffle.
That’s why I’m happy we were able to circle back around today. To finally catch everyone up to speed on this handy useful survival tool called a Neck Gaiter.
“Just In Case” Jack
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There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.