All Warmth, No Bulk: The Buff ThermoNet Neck Gaiter
Neck gaiters are indispensable for outdoor enthusiasts. The ubiquitous tube-shaped accessories made famous by Buff and similar brands can be worn in roughly a dozen ways, take up virtually no room in a pack or pocket, and deliver a lot of warmth for their weight.
Buff ThermoNet Neck Gaiter
I’ve tested many neck gaiters in my time as a multi-sport outdoor athlete and writer and tend to favor Buff’s merino wool line for its odor control and insulative properties. When I need something super-warm, I gravitate towards double-layered options like the one sold by Appalachian Gear Company. But Buff’s ThermoNet collection grabbed my attention because of the PrimaLoft yarn construction, which promised a lot of insulation for very little weight or bulk. My neck can get itchy under bulky layers, and the silky finish of the ThermoNet neck gaiter was also attractive.
What is PrimaLoft?
PrimaLoft is proprietary synthetic insulation made by a company of the same name. A variety of gear companies use PrimaLoft to add moisture-resistant warmth to outdoor apparel. In this case, Buff used a PrimaLoft yarn (70% recycled) to create a neck gaiter with a four-way stretch that weighs 2.12 ounces. That’s about an ounce heavier than the original Buff and half-an-ounce heavier than the lightweight merino wool option.
I tested the ThermoNet neck gaiter in cold conditions that ranged from 20 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Wet late-season snow was falling during almost every one of my tests, which took the form of cross-country and downhill skiing, trail runs, and snowshoe hikes.
Buff touts its ThermoNet products as warm for the weight and for the ability to handle moisture without losing insulative properties. I found both of these claims to be true!
I loved the silky feeling of the PrimaLoft yarn against my skin. The slender fabric might be slightly heavier than classic synthetic neck gaiters, but it’s much less bulky than a fleece-style gaiter and provides (anecdotally) the same amount of warmth.
The fabric is stretchy enough to accommodate all the uses I put it to, including as a beanie on snowy runs. The ThermoNet gaiter mostly shrugged off moisture, dried quickly, and kept my head warm even once it got wet. The promised wicking and breathing properties seem to be present as well, though my testing conditions were so wet that it was hard to get an accurate read on that.
Final Thoughts on the Buff ThermoNet Neck Gaiter
I’d recommend the Buff ThermoNet Neck Gaiter (MSRP $27) for people who want a little more warmth in cold, wet conditions than a classic neck gaiter provides without the bulk and limited utility of a fleece-style layer. When I’m looking for those properties, I generally gravitate towards natural fibers like merino or alpaca, but sometimes even the finest spun wool feels itchy.
This gaiter’s merino fabric certainly isn’t that — the finish is smooth and silky, and so ultimately might be most attractive to people with wool allergies or sensitive skin.