After the head, hands, and feet, it’s the neck that we need to keep warm. If these parts are warm, I can actually convince my body that it’s actually roasty toasty on the coldest of days.
Over the last few months, I tried several neck-warming options. Here’s the good news:
All are awesome. All would make fabulously useful and unique stocking stuffers. Your horse friends, who do plenty of outdoor work in the cold winter months, will thank, thank, thank you.
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The new superfine merino wool Buffs are the kind of accessory of which you’d quickly think to buy several. The light merino (there is also midweight) is washable, practical, packable in a pocket, and versatile. There are lots of pretty colors in the light and midweight lines. It can serve as a hat or can double up for more warmth.
The air gaiter from Patagonia is a wool blend, too, but the weave is thicker and bulkier, though still packable in a pocket and extremely lightweight.
On really cold outings, I like to pull my neckerchiefs over my mouth and nose. In these situations, I prefer the gaiter’s texture, knit and weight to that of the Buff piece. In other words, it’s a bit easier to breath through.
A third alternative and the tried and true neckerchief for many ranchers and cowboys, is the silk wild rag.
You will get all sorts of arguments on the best style, weight, weave, and size. I prefer a lightweight silk (better to breathe through on the aforementioned cold, cold outings) and medium size (about 34 inches square) so that I can wrap it twice around my neck. This one (in photo below) was purchased at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Check it out here.
Some folks will insist on tying it just so, with a buckaroo knot. Call me crass – a square knot suits me just fine.
The silk scarf may be less versatile than either the Patagonia Air Gaiter or the Buff merino. The price points are about the same. You have a little collection of socks and hats, why not have a one of neckerchiefs?