Updated December 3rd, 2023
Neck Gaiters or Neck Warmers are great clothing accessories for skiing. They keep your neck warm on cold days. They also work as a face mask to keep your face warm on very cold days. On the other hand, they also provide sun protection from UV rays. They can be useful on hot sunny days at altitude to keep you from getting sunburned on your neck and face. Neck gaiters are extremely versatile pieces of clothing. If it sounds like something that would help you enjoy your ski days more that’s great. Let’s look at the best neck gaiters for skiing.
Below are our top picks for neck gaiters. See below for more detailed reviews, more information on neck gaiters, and our FAQ.
The 7 Best Neck Gaiters For Skiing Of 2024
☆ Overall Best Pick
The EXIO neck gaiter is made with thick warm material and has venting holes in the mouth area. It’s thick enough to be warm on an average winter ski day. This is the neck gaiter I use the most. It just works really well. The vent holes help keep you from fogging your goggles with breath. It keeps the neck gaiter from getting saturated and wet from breathing in it. It’s flexible enough and large enough to easily cover your mouth and nose and will stay up. It also works well just covering your neck and chin.
What we liked
- Mouth venting to reduce glasses and goggle fogging
- Seamless construction
- Can be worn backwards for more warmth
- Warm enough for most cold ski days
- Low cost
☆ Top Pick Cold Weather
The Naroo Z9H is my favorite cold weather face mask. When it’s an absolute polar day outside this is what I go for. It is made from thick warm material and has a plastic structure underneath to keep it off of your face. It has a zipper vent incase you get too warm. There is also an optional ex-hale module that directs your breath down away from your goggle. This will prevent fogging while keeping your face and mouth covered.
I find it very warm on cold 10F-20F days. I like using it without the cage or exhale module. They work but the Z9H with the zipper open a little lets you exhale out and reduce fogging without having the cage or exhale module in place. It is really warm and stays in place over your mouth and nose under goggles well.
Naroo is a company that specializes in making face masks for a variety of sports. They make everything from running masks to skiing masks. The Z9H is the best option for really cold days. The Z5H is a similar design for less cold days. The X9 is a more traditional neck gaiter that is reversible so you can have more or less venting.
What we liked
- Bone structure prevents fabric from touching your face
- An available ex-hale module that prevents goggle fogging
- Heavy warm nylon material
- Zipper vent to control the temperature
☆ Top Pick – Warm Weather
The Achiou Neck Gaiter is good for hot bright spring and summer ski days. It uses very lightweight material that is breathable and wicks sweat away. It has UPF 50 sun protection from ultraviolet rays. It will help keep you getting sunburnt on a hot bright day while also keeping you cool and dry. This is a great lightweight neck gaiter for late spring and summer skiing. If you are looking for a face shield to satisfy Covid19 requirements that is better than a cloth mask for skiing, these are a good option.
What we liked
- Very lightweight breathable material
- UPF 50 sun protection
- Good bright hot days
☆ Top Pick
I have been using the Columbia CSC II Omni-Heat Neck Gaiter for years now. It is warm and stays dry on the inside. The Omni-Heat breathable liner keeps you from feeling like you have a wet sloppy fleece sponge touching your face. It has an elastic drawstring to help hold it up over your nose when you want to cover your entire face. It’s big and long enough to work for almost anyone. I am wearing this neck gaiter almost every time I go skiing unless it’s a really warm spring day and I’m going with nothing. This is my go to neck gaiter when I don’t want my face covered all the time on 25-35F days.
What we liked
- Omni-Heat liner that prevents sweat buildup
- Warm materials
- Drawstring to help hold it up
- Durable and long lasting
☆ Best Balaclava
The Blackstrap Balaclava ski mask has been one of the more popular winter sport clothing items of the past few years. Its hinged design lets the face mask comfortably slide down under your neck when not needed. The hood can be worn over your head or around your neck. They are medium weight so work well for most ski days. The material offers UPF50+ uv protection for bright days as well. They have an expedition weight version for extra warmth on really cold days.
What we liked
- Can be a balaclava mask, face mask or neck gaiter
- UPF50+ sun protection
- Made in the USA
Turtle Fur created the fleece neck warmer back in 1982. This was the original winter face mask and still one of the best options today. I started skiing shortly after that as a 6 year old. I skied with one of these for most of my childhood through teen years. They are a heavy enough fleece gaiter to keep you warm on cold and wet Vermont ski days. They are one size and fit most people. They are still the same plain design they have always been. They work so why change it.
What we liked
- Warm fleece material
- They fit most people’s neck
- Durable and well made
The Tough Headwear neck warmer is well thought out and works well. It is made of fleece with a microfiber inner layer for wicking moisture away. It is heavy enough to be warm on cold air days without being excessively bulky. As one of the lower cost neck gaiters, it still works great and is well made. This makes it our top pick for best value winter neck gaiter for skiing.
What we liked
- Low cost
- Wicking microfiber lining
- Warm enough for cooler weather
Skiing Neck Gaiter Basics
What is a neck gaiter?
A neck gaiter is a loop of fabric or neck tube that you pull over your head and wear around your neck. They serve a few functions. They provide insulation for your neck. They plug up your neck hole and keep water and snow from going down your jacket also. They can be pulled up over your face to act as a facemask as well. They can insulate and provide sun protection.
Why do you need a neck gaiter?
If your skiing on a cold day they do a lot to keep your neck and upper chest from getting cold. I’ve skied with one since I was a kid. I use it every ski day until it’s in upper 30’s.
If you are out skiing in a heavy snowfall they keep melting snow from running down your neck into your clothes. They work in rain too if you are unfortunate enough to have to ski in the rain.
Most of them provide UPF protection from the sun. They keep you from getting a sunburn on your neck and face. If you are out glacier skiing in the summer or anywhere at altitude in late spring they can save you from the sun.
How do you wear a neck gaiter for skiing?
The simple answer is you pull it on over your head and wear it around your neck. If it’s cold you can pull it up over your face. If you have a thinner bigger neck gaiter there are all kinds of ways to wear it. Over your face. As a hat, headband, hair scrunchy, snood, etc…
When do you wear neck gaiters?
You can wear a neck gaiter any time you are skiing. A thick one made of fleece for cold days. A thin one made of light breathable UPF 50 material for warm spring skiing days. I personally wear one from cold until mid 30’s and then go bare neck after that. I hate wearing anything over my face unless it’s too cold and I can’t take it. Some people like wearing face coverings all the time while skiing. There really is no right or wrong time for wearing a neck gaiter skiing. Whatever days will make you more comfortable.
Skiing Neck Gaiter FAQ
Q: What are the different ways to wear a neck gaiter?
The below video shows some of the many ways you can wear a neck gaiter.
Q: How to wash neck gaiters?
Most neck gaiters can be cleaned in a washing machine and dryer. if your not sure about the gaiter you have, check the tags or look online for washing instructions.
Q: What is the best neck gaiter?
It depends on what you will be using the neck gaiter for. If you want to use it on cold days you want a heavy fleece neck gaiter such as the Turtle Fur or Black Strap gaiter. If you want a neck gaiter mostly for a face cover for sun protection on spring days then a Buff or simple bandana may be the best option. If you want one that can also be a balaclava, the Blackstrap Gaiter is great.
Q: What fabric is used for neck gaiter?
Neck gaiters that are meant for cold weather tend to be fleece material or merino wool. Neck gaiters meant for sun protection on warm days tend to be polyester breathable and moisture wicking material.
Q: What is the best neck gaiter for coronavirus (covid19)?
There is evidence that thicker neck gaiters can work okay as face coverings for Covid19. There is evidence that thin neck gaiters can more harm than good. See this study from Duke University for more information on skiing neck gaiters and Coronavirus.
Q: Are neck gaiters hot?
Neck gaiters can be very warm. Neck gaiters meant for sun protection on warm days can have a cooling effect. See the Mission Cooling Neck Gaiter above. You should choose a neck gaiter appropriate for the temperature you will be using it.
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Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.