It’s cold outside; the wind is smacking you right in the face as you turn the bend, freezing your face from your brow to your neck. Even if you have the right jacket, odds are you don’t have the best neck gaiter for running. The neck gaiter (or neck warmer) can be essential for the coldest of runs; they can protect you from your eyes downward, shielding you from the harshest winds and the bitterest of colds. That’s why we at Janji came up with a list of the best neck warmers for running so you can feel comfortable no matter the element, from your hands to your head.
Best Lightweight Neck Gaiters for Running
4) Outdoor Research Lumen Ubertube, $28
For years, the Seattle based Outdoor Research has made some of the best cold weather gear on the planet. Owned and run by Daniel Nordstrom (of the Nordstrom family), they specialize in the outdoors, from skiing to running. The Lumen Ubertube is a perfect example of their proficiency in durable outdoor apparel. Lightweight, made of a breathable polyester/Merino Wool blend, the Lumen Ubertube is a long neck gaiter that can be worn when climbing Mt. Reineir or running the foot paths during a gusty winter day. A definite recommendation as one of the best winter neck gaiters.
3) Janji Nepal Neck Gaither, $20
Sorry, we had to include our own gaiter! With a design inspired by Nepal prayer flags as part of Janji’s Nepal line, this piece is both exquisitely designed and exceptionally practical. Made of a polyester/spandex blend, it’s lightweight, breathes easily, and can be worn over the neck, over the mouth, or even over the head. It’s certainly one of the best lightweight neck warmers for runners, especially if you want to spice up your look.
For decades, Arc’teryx has made many of the best jackets and best outdoor pieces for runners. They’re constructed flawlessly, made with great materials, and can take on some of the chilliest climates. The Arc’teryx Phase AR Neck Gaiter may be lighter than the neck warmers seen below, but don’t let that weight fool you: it’s heavy duty. This neck gaiter can go from your mouth to your nose (so not as high as other pieces), is made of a super fast drying polyester fabric, and is comfortable against the skin. And it comes in two different color ways, magenta and black.
1) Buff Lightweight Merino Wool, $28
Buff is the granddaddy of neck gaiters. This Spanish-based company makes such a diversity of neck gaiters that its name, much like Xerox and photocopier, has become synonymous with neck gaiters. And after years of producing millions of Buffs, their Merino Wool cold weather neck gaiter might be their finest creation yet. Made of 100% eco-friend Merino wool, the piece is soft, fast drying, and can cover you from your neck through the top of your head. It’s a great piece for running, for hiking, or just whenever you might need the best lightweight, cold weather neck gaiter.
Best Warm Neck Gaiter for Running
4) Turtle Fur Fleece Neck Warmer, $15
Looking for an inexpensive neck warmer that can be worn from the trails to the slopes? Look no further than the Turtle Fur Fleece Neck Warmer. This piece, which comes in an array of monochromatic designs, has a nice fleecey feel, and will keep your neck warm during any sub-zero run. The only problem with this piece is that it can feel heavy and it doesn’t go up much past your mouth (like most of the best neck warmers for runners).
3) Columbia Fast Trek Neck Gaiter, $16
The Fast Trek Neck Gaiter from Columbia shares a lot of similarities with the gaiter from Turtle Fur. It’s inexpensive, fleece lined, and doesn’t go up too high on the head. But where it stands slightly superior is that it’s made of a faster drying, 100% polyester fabric, so it’s a little better during those sweatier, cold days. If you're willing to pay the extra buck, it's worth the money.
Gut check: yes this is a more expensive piece; yes this also doesn’t go up very high like the other neck gaiters for cold weather. But this piece from The North Face is super-fast drying, contains an adjustable drawcord to synch the perfect fit, and comes with a fleece liner that makes the Standard Issue Neck Gaiter the softest gaiter on the list. A definite recommendation for those looking for the perfect combination of softness and warmth.
1) Smartwool Merino 250 Neck Gaiter, $28
Smartwool was one of the early pioneers in using Merino Wool as a performance fabric, which turned the upstart into one of the finest brands from your feet to your fingers. The Smartwool Merino 250 Neck Gaiter might be one of their best pieces yet: made of 100% Merino Wool, it’s soft but not itchy; warm and yet breathable. Its unique fabric allows you to take this outside during punishing conditions. The Merino 250 rises a little higher and is much stretchier than most of the warm neck gaiters on this list, meaning you can cover much of your face with it. To sum it up, the Smartwool Merino 250 Neck Gaiter is perhaps the best neck gaiter on the planet—and it’s all at a reasonable price of $28.