How To Wear A Neck Gaiter

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Sunrise Hiking with Neck Gaiters

Neck gaiters, as the name suggests, are typically worn around your neck. However, did you know that there are over a dozen ways to wear a neck gaiter? Rayward Apparel’s UPF 50+ neck gaiter features a closed tube design that allows for many different styles and functions. Ready to learn how to wear a neck gaiter as multi-functional headwear? Continue below as we outline some of our favorite ways to wear a gaiter:

#1 – Neck Gaiter / Neckerchief

First and foremost, you can wear your neck gaiter as, you guessed it, a neck gaiter! This simply requires pulling it over your head and leaving it loose around your neck. This will offer UV protection for your neck, while also keeping you comfortable in a wide range of temperatures.

#2 – Face Mask / Half Mask

Another popular style is as a full or half face mask. Learning how to wear a neck gaiter as a face mask is as simple as pulling it over your head and then allowing the soft, stretchy fabric to rest around either your nose, ears and/or mouth, depending on how much protection you need.* This is one of our favorites for fishing, especially when paired with a bucket hat.

#3 – Bandana / Pirate

Arrrrrr you ready to learn how to wear a neck gaiter as a pirate bandana? The first step is to turn the gaiter inside out. Step two involves putting both arms through the tube from opposite directions, and grabbing opposite sides of the tube with each hand. Next, pull your hands together to form a knot about a third of the way along the tube. Lastly, shape the larger opening for your head, put it on, and adjust the knotted small end for the back of your bandana. 

#4 – Do-rag / Loose Bandana

To wear your neck gaiter as a do-rag or loose bandana, just pull a third of the tube over the top of your head, while letting the other end hang loosely at the back. For maximum protection, consider covering your ears too for the additional UV protection of this vulnerable area.

#5 – Foulard

Ready to learn how to wear a neck gaiter as a foulard? I hope so, because this one is super simple, but very useful. To wear your gaiter as a foulard, the process is similar to creating a do-rag, except this time you want to contain your hair within the tube. Start by pulling the entire gaiter around your neck. Next, pull the entire tube up towards your forehead. Now, pull just the top opening towards the back of your head, keeping your hair within the tube of what is now a foulard!

#6 – Sahariane

For stylish sun protection without a hat, turn your neck gaiter into a sahariane. Start by turning the gaiter inside out. Next, lay it over your head like a flat mohawk from your forehead to the back of your neck. Place one hand inside of the tube and hold the bottom layer of fabric against your forehead. With your other hand, pull the top layer of fabric back over your head to form a cap. If you did it right, you’ll have a little cape in the back to protect your neck!

#7 – Beanie / Cap / Hat Liner

For a lightweight beanie cap or hat liner, simply take your gaiter and turn it inside out. Next, place one end around your head, and twist the middle of the tube a couple times. Lastly, take the part above where you twisted the tube and pull it back down over your head. Done correctly, you’ll have formed a two-layer beanie!

#8 – Balaclava

Creating a balaclava with your neck gaiter is probably easier than you think! First, pull the gaiter over your head and around your neck. Next, pull the back of the tube over your head to create a tube, leaving your face temporarily still exposed. Lastly, take some of the fabric a few inches beneath your chin and carefully fold enough of it up to cover your nose, while still leaving as much as possible to protect your neck and chin. If you did it right, you’ll have two layers of fabric over your mouth and nose to keep you warm.

#9 – Hair Tie / Ponytail

For a lightweight hair tie and something to keep your hair out of your face, take your neck gaiter and wrap it a few times around your ponytail. If you go outside, you are always prepared to transform your hair tie into a UPF 50+ sun protection gaiter!

#10 – Wristband

Whether as a fashion statement or because you just need a temporary place to store your gaiter, you can always twist it a few times around your wrist for an instant wristband! We find this useful when stepping inside, out of the sun, and somewhere that you no longer need face or neck protection.

#11 – Headband

For a quick and easy headband, simply fold your neck gaiter over itself a few times and slide it up over your ears and across your forehead. You can also pull the headband down to create a blindfold (and we’re not here to judge whatever you’d be doing with a blindfold)!

#12 – Hairband / Head Scarf

Similar to the headband are the hairband or head scarf styles, which just require adjusting the placement of the gaiter’s fabric. For a quick hairband, simply slide the overlapped band of fabric towards the back of your head so it no longer rests along your forehead. To create a head scarf, just open up your hairband slightly and pull the lower portion of the fabric in an angle over your ears.

#13 – Hood

We saved one of the easiest styles for last. To make a hood with your gaiter, first pull the entire garment over your head and down around your neck. Next, pull the top of the back of the tube up and over your head towards your forehead. Lastly, take the top edge of the tube underneath your chin and either leave it where it is, or pull it out slightly towards your mouth to create a little extra protection for your face.

For a neck gaiter to work all the different ways described above, you need one with a stretchy, versatile design. Rayward Apparel’s Lightweight UV Neck Gaiter is a perfect example of a simple, yet versatile gaiter. While our UPF 50+ neck gaiters can be worn in any of the styles described above, we suggest wearing them however best shields as much of your unprotected skin as possible. This is because overexposure to UV rays is directly linked to certain types of skin cancers, and our UPF neck gaiters are first and foremost designed to protect you from the sun. If you want to learn more about when to wear a UPF neck gaiter, check out our related post.

Visit our online store to get your Rayward Apparel neck gaiter today!

If you still have questions about how to wear a gaiter, let us know in the comments below. Plus, we’d love to hear how you wear your neck gaiter!

We covered the “how” above, but if you need a refresher on the “why” for wearing a neck gaiter, check out this video about the causes and effects of sunburn:

* Rayward Apparel’s neck gaiters are not designed for preventing the spread of disease. They have not been tested for their effectiveness at preventing the spread of disease, such as COVID19. Therefore, they should not be used as an alternative to any appropriately-rated face masks.

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