Neck What?

I see that Insty is all over this thing called  “neck gaiters” — and I had to follow the link he posted just to see what the hell he was talking about.

Oh.  What we used to call “neck warmers”, I suppose.  Of course, people of my age have always had neck warmers, only we called them “scarves”.  Here’s your humble host, wearing one of the objects in question:

You will note that the thing is quite long, so that you can wind the thing around your neck multiple times if the weather turns Minneapolis on you, or else loosen it if a winter’s day in Rome turns out warmer than expected (as was the case above).

And the scarf’s advantage over the gaiter is that if your neck starts getting hot, you can simply loosen it to adjust the degree of warmth, whereas the gaiter is kind of a binary thing — it’s either on or off.

Failing that, of course, you can always wear a gilet with a zippable high collar:

…which I seldom zip all the way up because it’s a little tight — kinda like one of them gaiter things — and if I (literally) get too hot under the collar, I have to unzip it, whereupon my neck is exposed the the cold — once again, just like a neck gaiter.

Now that I think of it, the problem may be with the word “gaiter”, which to me has always referred to the things we wore over our army boots in high school:

…so using a footwear word to refer to something one wears around the neck is akin to calling gloves “foot-socks”.

Anyway, I think I’ll stick to my scarves.  I have about half a dozen of them, ranging from thick wool to loosely-woven cotton — and differently-colored withal, to add a touch of color to my otherwise-quite monochromatic outfits.  Plus, I’ve worn them in cold weather for decades, and I’m not one for change.

Not even if Insty likes neck gaiters.


  1. A neck gaiter is great for riding a motorcycle in cold weather. Mine’s from Turtle Fur.

    If you don’t have cold weather *or* a bike, yeah, skip it. I wear a scarf when I’m walking around.

    1. I also prefer the scarf for its flexibility in use, compared to the neck “gaiter”. I have one, also made of “turtle fur”, which I have not used in the cold. It supposedly can be folded so as to be worn like a warm overseas cap, but I have a balaclava and an insulated bomber cap for the cold.

      As for calling the neck warmer a gaiter, gloves are called “Handshuhe” in German, literally “Hand-shoes.” Way back when the multi-colored women’s socks with the separate toes were briefly in fashion, I referred to them as “foot-gloves”; not that the term caught on.

  2. I have a balaclava type hat issued by a former employer that can fold down to something like the neck gaiter, but also can cover everything except my eyes. Great for times when I’m running the snowblower.

    But for daily cold weather wear I also prefer scarves. I like my old military issued wool scarves that are essentially tubes that allow you to convert them to stocking caps if required. (although I still have my .mil wool watch cap if I need something like that).

    And I’m sure you’ll appreciate that some of my wool scarves were inherited from my maternal grandfather and are still going strong.

  3. After helping a farmer temporarily eradicate a feral hog problem his wife was gracious enough to make me a balaclava with a cinch cord. These are much appreciated during long sits in an elevated stand on windy days. I still use my GI wool scarf issued at Parris Island in August of 1987. I can confidently state that I still wear the same size scarf I wore at 18 years old.

  4. I have lots of Neck Warmers because the ski hills no longer allow scarves after a few people managed to hang themselves from a chair lift or get drawn into the works and minced up. Plus what Wilbur says about riding a bike in cold weather.

    Gaiters are also what I put over boots but they’re nylon and have a thong going under the boot to keep them from riding up my leg, an elasticized top and come up to my knees. I use them for cross country ski boots and hunting in snowy weather, by which I mean for nearly all my hunting, this being Canada and all with our first heavy snowfall in mid September this year, ugh.

  5. This is what I left Parris Island with circa 2005

    We didn’t get issued any scarves, but there was an entirely useless grey trench coat thing that was never actually worn. Not bad looking mind you, just pointless as issue gear.

    The poly neck gaiter was fantastic in the cold for keeping the then issued OTV and weapon sling from chewing up your neck.

    1. The Army started issuing the polypro neck gaiters in the 90s. Second best piece of issued cold weather kit, next to the poncho liner. Being able to pull it up over the nose and ears under a k-pot in below freezing weather was a gift from heaven.

Comments are closed.