Thinking about using a neck gaiter or tube face covering as a mask? Find out if neck gaiters work as masks.
Do Neck Gaiters Work?
Looking for a lightweight and breathable face mask to wear?
If you’re looking for the right kind of mask to wear when you’re in public to avoid getting sick, you’re probably going to find a ton of information out there about all kinds of masks, including neck gaiters.
What is a neck gaiter? A neck gaiter, also called a neck tube or buff or tube scarf, is a tube of fabric that can be used in a variety of ways but are mostly for keeping your neck and face warm/cool, clean, and out of the sun when you’re in the outdoors.
People who are love to be outdoors are very familiar with them as they are often worn when fishing or hunting. Even motorcyclists use neck gaiters when they’re out riding to keep the wind and bugs from bothering them.
They’re easy to use as a mask when outdoors: you simply put one around your neck and pull it up over your mouth and nose.
So can neck gaiters be worn as masks to protect against viruses?
I have partnered with Hoo-Rag to bring you this post.
Do Neck Gaiters Protect Against Corona or COVID 19?
Researchers have suggested that any face mask is better than nothing, even though some kinds of mask definitely work better than others. The goal is to try to prevent droplets from sneezes and coughs from landing on surfaces or people.
When looking for a fabric face mask, a few things should be considered:
- the quality of the fabric being used
- how many layers it has
- how well the mask can seal around the face
- how well the mask stays on without needing to be adjusted
With a tightly woven material, less droplets will get in or out. Same idea with the seal around the face. The seal around the face helps to keep droplets from getting in or out.
And of course, the less you touch the mask, the better of a chance you have of spreading germs from your hands to the mask.
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When it comes to neck gaiters, some of the criteria may not be met. Because they are designed to be lightweight and breathable, the material is often not as tightly woven as other materials, and it isn’t multiple layers. As this article suggests, the material of neck gaiters isn’t as effective as 100% cotton would be.
Depending on the fit of the neck gaiter, it may need to be adjusted more often since it doesn’t have straps or ear loops.
But, neck gaiters can have a better seal than other types of masks. When worn as a mask, a neck gaiter usually tightly hugs the face and covers all the way down to the neck.
Since neck gaiters are usually long tubes of fabric, they can also be doubled up for extra layering.
After wearing the neck gaiter as a mask, it can be washed and dried to be used again and again.
Basically, when it comes to wearing a mask, a neck gaiter is better than nothing if you are in an outdoor public setting. Of course, combined with 6 ft of social distancing and proper hand washing, it can work similar to other basic fabric face masks when worn outdoors.
Will it protect you from viruses? In busy public places or indoor spaces where it may be difficult to socially distance, you may not want to use just a basic neck gaiter, unless it has multiple, tightly woven fabric layers and fits your face well. But in outdoor places where masks are required and you can comfortably socially distance and wash hands often, neck gaiters might be just fine.
Note: I am not a mask expert. These statements are made after researching the topic. Please do what works best for you and your family when you’re visiting public outdoor spaces. This blog is not responsible for any mask choices made.
Hoo-Rag Bandana Review
Have you found yourself needing to wear a mask while outdoors in a public space? My family and I have ventured out a bit into outdoor spaces in public, but many of these areas require the use of masks.
I have made several kinds of fabric masks for us to wear, but in the hot summer heat, they can be a bit harder to wear, especially for the kids. In short time periods they work, but when we’re walking around for a while, they become a bit uncomfortable.
Hence, my research into neck gaiters.
Hoo-Rag was generous and sent me several bandanas, or neck gaiters, for my family and I to try.
Their bandanas, which are basically fabric neck tubes, can be worn as:
- a face mask,
- neck gaiter,
- head scarf,
- pirate rag,
- headband bandana,
- and more!
They are made of 100% polyester microfiber, have UPF 30 sun protection,and are moisture wicking, lightweight, breathable & comfortable, perfect for summertime outdoor travels.
They come in two sizes: adult and child. The full size Hoo-Rag is 20 x 9.5 inches. The kid size is approximately 17.5 inches by 8.5 inches. We were sent some of each so that my kids could try them out as well.
After using them several times, I can say:
- They are very comfortable. The material is soft and lightweight.
- They are easy on the ears. There’s no ear loops or other straps.
- They are easy to breathe through. When worn in one layer, the material is thin enough to breathe through without feeling like you’re struggling. Even when doubled up, there was no issue with breathing.
- They’re comfortable to wear in hot weather. Because of the thinner material, they’re ideal to wear in hot weather. The material is moisture wicking, so if you are feeling sweaty around your neck or face, it will keep the sweat away from your skin and allow it to evaporate so you don’t feel sticky.
- They’re easy to wash. Super easy to wash! You can either hand wash them or machine wash in warm or cool water, and hang to dry.
- They’re fun and stylish. Hoo-Rag bandanas come in a variety of fun colors and patterns.
A note about size for kids: We were sent multiple adult Hoo-Rags and some kid sized Hoo-Rags. My two oldest kids, ages 12 and 9, were able to fit in both the adult and the kid sizes comfortably. My 7 year old fit best in the kid sized mask, but wanted to wear the adult sized because of the fun print. It fit, but wasn’t as tightly fitted as the kid sized is. My 4 year old wore the kid sized mask, but it was a tad too big for her and I had to tie it in the back for it to stay up.
My family and I used our Hoo-Rag bandanas when we went to Hersheypark this summer. The park requires masks, but as we were able to socially distance from others in the outdoors, we felt comfortable wearing our Hoo-Rags.
It was a hot day, but we all felt just fine breathing through the material. I liked that when we weren’t required to wear them (water rides, when we were in our own personal cabana) that we could just wear them around our necks or as head bands and pull them on as needed. No need to worry about any of the kiddos leaving their masks anywhere!
Visit Hoo-Rag to see all of the bandanas they offer! You can also follow them on Facebook or Instagram to get special offers and product updates.
NEW! Hoo-Rag now has filtered face masks. Check them out!Check them out!
Many thanks to Hoo-Rag for sending us their bandanas to try!
What Do You Use for a Face Mask in the Summer?
What is your go-to mask for the summer months? Did you find something that works for you? Have you tried a neck gaiter?
Jennifer Bradley says
I was just traveling on an airplane to help my parents this past week and was wondering about neck gaiters. Thanks for sharing!
A few of my friends who have traveled by plane recently wore neck gaiters and had no issues with them. I wasn’t sure how they’d be perceived when indoors, but I guess in most cases, as long as it’s covering your face, it doesn’t matter.
Sonia Seivwright says
I prefer to wear Neck Gaiters as fask mask. Its more fahionable and safer.
Well, not quite safer per se, but they can be more fashionable.
My son would like to wear this style. I’ll have to look into getting him one.
My kids love them. So much more comfortable than behind-the-ears straps!
Melinda Cummings says
My middle kiddo has taken to wearing one of these as they find it fits better and doesn’t hurt their ears.
I guess that’s a bonus, they will be more likely to wear it without messing with it.
That’s true. The more comfortable a mask is, the less likely they are to mess with it.
may palacpac says
cloth coverings appealed to me more before, I feel more comfortable in them and I can breathe well. But I only have the guts to use it nowadays when I put on a face shield on top. I had to change my mask into something made of a material that won’t absorb droplets