4 reasons to bring a neck gaiter to the playa

man wearing scarf, gaiter

Neck gaiters are small, easily to throw in a backpack and great for keeping your warm.

Items that have multiple uses are a boon if you’ve got limited suitcase, bin or car space for your Burning Man gear. Here are 4 reasons I like to bring a few neck gaiters (or warm scarves) with me to the playa.

Reason #1 – They warm me up quickly

The primary reason I recommend a neck gaiter is for warming up when coming back to your tent on a cold night. They warm me up quickly. I find that if I breathe warm air, I feel infinitely warmer. What I do with my neck gaiter is put it around my neck, climb into bed with my warm sleeping clothes on and pull the neck gaiter up over my mouth and nose.

In very short order, I’m breathing in warm air, which helps my body temperature warm up so I can sleep better. I can always pull it down around my neck or take it off if I get too warm.

Reason #2 – They’re easy to throw in a backpack

The second reason I like to pack a few neck gaiters is that I often like to keep one body-warming item on me when I go out, especially if I go out in the later part of the afternoon. Why? Because even though I might think I’m only going out for a quick jaunt, or to check out one event, one never knows what will pique my interest, where I’ll go next, what I’ll feel drawn to do. The sun sets quickly, and when it sets, the temperature also drops quickly. Items such as neck gaiters, wrist warmers or scarves can help take the bite off of the cold when you’re transitioning from full sun to sunset.

Reason #3 – They help me breath warm, moist air

A third reason neck gaiters are useful is when you’re out late at night. Say you’re riding your bike in deep playa—far away from any camps, any groups of people, any dance parties and any human-induced warmth. A neck gaiter out in the open desert can be a real plus. Not just for body warmth but for keeping the air you breathe warm. One of the things I found so fascinating about the desert air (as an east coast gal who lives in a world of green and rain the majority of the year) is how much human population affects warmth and moisture levels. So, you may not need that neck gaiter when you’re closer to where people are, but that big nighttime desert sky can be cold and dry. Oh, and a neck gaiter can also work as a cold-temp dust mask of sorts.

Reason #4 – They help keep my air passages from drying out while I sleep

The fourth reason I like to bring a few neck gaiters is that they can be helpful for keeping my mouth and sinuses from drying out while I sleep. [I have sometimes woken up unbelievably (and uncomfortably) dry in my nose, mouth and throat.] The neck gaiter (over your nose and mouth) will not only keep you warmer but will ensure that you’re breathing in moister air.


For your planning purposes, a neck gaiter is an item that can be–depending on the weather and temperature levels–interchangeable with a silk scarf or a light wool scarf. I bring several of each and always think I’m over-packing, but I never am in this regard.

Fwiw, I rarely bring cotton scarves or handkerchiefs. Wet cotton has never been on my list of favorite things, and cotton tends to get wet and stay wet. Silk and wool breathe so much better and they dry quickly when wet.

Now, neck gaiters can get too moist, for sure, but that’s easy enough to fix by pulling them down off your face for a few minutes.

Scarf Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

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