In the past, I have extolled the benefits of the neck gaiter, or by the popular brand name, The Buff, but usually as a part of essential winter kit. But now, I am embracing it as an indispensable piece of summer paddle wear because of its versatility. If you don’t already have one, got get one now!

What is a “Buff” or a neck gaiter? It is the modern day bandanna replacement that can be used for so many different things.  Simply put, it is a “tube” made of a stretchy, wicking and quick drying microfiber polyester. It has a variety of uses from every day carry, to the gym to travel, among them:

  • Glasses cleaner
  • Sweatband – forehead or wrist
  • Lunch napkin
  • Helmet liner (cycling, skiing, whitewater paddling)
  • Sun protection
  • Scarf (in the winter)

And, most importantly in this day and age we are currently living in, FACE MASK.

I’ve obviously been a fan for a long, long time. I never, ever travel without at least one and now, it is my preferred mask of choice for use when exercising outdoors when people may be around. Here’s why:

  • I can pull it down and wear it around my neck as sun protection when I am alone.
  • I can pull it up and use it as a sweatband when I am alone and paddling hard and sweating like a pig.
  • When needed for face covering, it is super easy to “redeploy” from one of of the above mentioned positions.
  • When worn under the bike helmet, it helps keep the sweat from running down into my eyes.
  • In addition to being a convenient way to cover my face, it keeps bugs out of my nose and mouth when bike riding or riding electric skateboards.
  • It is cool and dries fast.

There are a hundred other wonderful uses for winter as well, but we’ll stick to the season we are currently in for now.

They come in a variety of fun colors and designs, too. So they are fun to collect.

The original Buff brand uses a material that is a little softer but you can pick up packages of six or more no-name brand neck gaiters for considerably less, but a not quite as soft. What I have been doing with these is making small cuts on the sides of these cheaper gaiters to make ear loops.  This helps the gaiter stay in place, covering my nose and mouth, when I need to have a face covering on. And it keeps the gaiter in place when I am wearing it under a helmet, too.  You can buy them with pre-cut ear loops as well, and Amazon has several that also have a place for a small N95 filter.  The colors on these are limited, however.



So, if you are looking for a face covering that will have a multitude of great uses post-pandemic, and that will be cooler and easier to use when active outside, go get a gaiter!