Designed for outdoorsy types, for a variety of activities including walking, cycling and motorised two-wheeling, I tested its effectiveness on my motorcycle. It’s hard to get excited over a neck gaiter (a peculiar breed of outdoor clothing made most famous by Buff); or so I thought. I’m going to have a bit of a rave over this though. Bear with me.
Picture the scene: eight of us have just invaded Europe on motorbikes. There was rain. There was sunshine. There was hail. There was bracing cold mountain air. To protect my delicate ladylike neck, I had nowt but a thin cotton neck Buff. It kept out approximately 32 per cent of the chill wind. And it’s a slightly shameful baby pink colour.
On returning to Chez GWA, I was presented with this: the Aclima Woolnet Neck Gaiter. It’s black, made of soft merino wool tightly woven and smooth on the outside, and with a loose woolnet as the inner layer.
There are several problems with neck gaiters when you’re pootling around on a motorcycle:
• The lightweight ones are generally too flimsy, made of thin cotton – unless it’s REALLY hot. (I live in England, so this is rare.)
• The winter ones are too chunky if, like me, you don’t like feeling so bundled up while you’re riding that a claustrophobic, clammy panic sets in.
• They provide limited protection: you have to wear them around your actual neck, or stopping just on your chin, leaving space for cold draughts to sneak in. And I don’t like the hoodlum petrol-bomb balaclava look.
I put on the Aclima Neck Gaiter with a certain amount of cynicism, wondering just how different such a garment could be. Well, I can tell you now that it is different. It’s blooming marvellous! Comfy, cosy and practical.
For me, the real selling point of this is its Woven Triangle of Delight. You can pull the thing right up to your ears, and yet still breathe fresh air!
About half an hour into our journey to the chilly county of Warwickshire, a realisation struck me: I was warm! It was pouring rain, spray everywhere, temperature dropping and the M40 was truly miserable. But I was toasty warm.
The source of my previous chill, it appears, was tendrils of freezing air snaking their way into my collar and slithering down my neck like the unwanted cold hands of a lover who thinks they’re funny.
The Woven Triangle of Delight meant that I not only stayed cosy, I was able to breathe unimpeded and without compromising the wind protection.
The Aclima Neck Gaiter had a particularly stringent test on my neck because, some time ago now, the mouth guard of my motorcycle helmet disappeared into the ether. So air rushes up and into my face, which is not fun. Not this time. It provided fantastic protection even without the usual helmet guard.
To be honest, the only complaint I can find about it is that it prevented me from doing the Doctor Who theme tune with my mouth. Normally, I sing while I ride. On this trip, I discovered that if I have my head at the correct angle, and vary the size of my oral aperture, I could produce an effect akin to blowing over the top of an open beer bottle. I perfected this technique, producing the dulcet notes of the Doctor Who tune. But frankly, I’ll sacrifice this ability for cosiness and go back to inventing ditties in my head.
It’s not cheap either; at £30 it’s a bit of an investment for such a small garment. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase another one should this one go astray. It’s well worth the extra money.
Addendum: my cat, Noodle, has just curled up on it. This is a real endorsement of its wonders.
Summary: The Aclima Woolnet Neck Gaiter is well designed, beautifully made and is extremely warm for its weight. Unlike other wool products which can be scratchy and sweat-inducing, the merino wool is deliciously soft against the skin. It gives superb wind protection at high motorway speeds, yet allows the wearer to breathe comfortably through the mesh triangle. Although it’s quite pricey at £30 compared to the cheap tubes you can get in many motorcycle (and sports) shops, it’s well worth the money for chilly days.
More: Nordic Outdoor