Of all the hazards anglers face out on the water, the sun is at the top of the list.
Repeated sun exposure is a sure-fire invitation for cancer, and a growing number of fishermen who were once cavalier about the dangers of UV radiation are getting serious about protection. And as good as sunscreen is, it’s a pain to reapply and not as predictable in the real world as we’d like - mostly due to user error.
But a new range of UV-blocking neck gaiters are on the market, providing reliable, affordable protection for all-day adventures under a sweltering sky.
Below, you’ll find reviews of a few of our favorites, as well as some points to consider when making your choice:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Material: poly/spandex blend
UV protection: UPF 50+
KastKing knows fishing, and they understand the need for uncompromising protection from the sun.
Their Sol Armis neck gaiter provides excellent coverage, and it can be worn to cover the back of your head, ears, and face to the top of the nose. When combined with sunglasses and a hat, everything from your neck up will enjoy near-perfect protection.
This polyester/spandex blend fits well and stays put, and it’s comfortable all day, every day. There are no complaints about fogging, and the seam quality and materials are top-notch.
A wide array of colors are available, providing plenty of choices.
Offering UPF 50+ protection, KastKing’s Sol Armis neck gaiter is a good choice for anyone who wants to beat the sun.
Available at Bass Pro
UV protection: 90%
World Wide Sportsman’s Sun Stopper is light and thin while still offering acceptable UV protection. The least effective of the products on our list, it’s probably offering a UFP of 30 or thereabout, making it the lowest UV rating we can recommend.
This neck gaiter is plenty long enough to cover your neck where it meets your collar bones, provided that your shirt isn’t open at the chest. Sized to ride just below your sunglasses, the top of your nose may remain exposed, so beware.
When paired with a good hat - even a baseball cap - you’ll have ample protection from the sun, provided you sport a full head of hair! Otherwise, you’ll need to choose a hat with a wide brim or a flap that covers the back of your head and neck.
The Sun Stopper offers a comfortable fit and doesn’t droop. It’s plenty soft, and most people find it no problem to wear all day. And for anglers who want options, this gaiter is available in a huge variety of patterns and colors.
Very few people complain about their sunglasses getting fogged-up while wearing this gaiter, always something to consider since they’ll almost certainly be worn together.
Material: 95% recycled REPREVE performance microfiber, 5% Elastane
UV protection: UPF 50+
Buff originated the neck-gaiter craze, and they offer a versatile, effective product that’s hard to beat.
Their Coolnet UV+ gaiter can be worn in a variety of styles, and for the most sun protection, it can cover most of the back of your head, up to the top of your nose in the front, and both ears. Paired with a hat, that’s as good as it gets.
Offering UPF 50+, it’s got you covered - literally - and you won’t get more than a trickle of UV exposure no matter how long you’re in the sun.
Purpose-built for anglers who battle the unrelenting heat, this is one of the most comfortable, cool gaiters you’ll find for any price, and it offers all-day comfort even when the mercury is skyrocketing.
The fit is comfortable, and this gaiter stays put so you can keep focused on fishing and not on readjusting the fabric on your face. Fogging is non-existent with the Coolnet, too, making this a fantastic option.
Buff also offers a range of color and design choices, including several camouflage patterns if you need sun protection for hunting, too.
UV protection: UPF 50+
Columbia has long been a fan-favorite for outdoor clothing, and they know a thing or two about protecting their customers from the sun.
Their Deflector neck gaiter, sporting a UPF rating of 50+, really lives up to its name. Featuring reflective material, it stays cool while preventing dangerous UV radiation from reaching your skin.
It fits well and stays put, but frankly, neither looks or feels as good as similar offerings from KastKing and Buff.
That said, it gets the job done and stays pretty cool when the heat’s on.
Currently, only a gray and pink/white combination are available, so color options are - to say the least - limited.
Material: 88% polyester/12% spandex
UV protection: UPF 50+
Salt Life manufactures a range of angling accessories that typically garner rave reviews, and their new Mission Face Shield should earn similar marks.
Made from a comfortable polyester/spandex blend and featuring a pattern of tiny holes to help your breath escape without fogging your sunglasses, this neck gaiter is as comfortable as it is effective. Offering UPF 50+ protection and a fit that can cover your ears and nose, there’s no excuse for sunburn.
The fit is excellent, and the seam at the top keeps this gaiter in place pretty well. Having been purpose-designed for the sun, it stays cool and remains comfortable all day.
Color choices are limited to a light and dark shade of gray, so if that bothers you, you’ll prefer the options available from Buff and KastKing.
Material: 92% polyester/8% spandex
UV protection: UPF 50+
Simms has built a reputation on getting the small details right, and that’s certainly true for their Sungaiter.
Made from a blend of polyester and spandex, this gaiter offers UPF 50+ protection and all-day comfort. Like the Salt Life gaiter, you'll find a series of small holes designed to allow your moisture-laden breath to escape, preventing your sunglasses from fogging.
Designed around the needs of serious anglers facing a beating from the sun, it offers full coverage. Worn with a hat and sunglasses, you’ll be shielded from UV almost as well as if you’d stayed at home and watched TV.
This gaiter is exceptionally comfortable, perhaps the best of the products we review on this front. It’s very lightweight, as well, and stays put so that it never becomes a nuisance.
It is one of the pricier options, however, and only three color choices are available.
Getting a sunburn is nothing to shrug off as just part of fishing.
Too many of us ignore the danger of excessive sun exposure, at least until it catches up with us and a trip to the dermatologist reveals cancer.
Ask Mark Davis all about it. “The sun damage it’s accumulative, adds up on you, once I knew I had a problem, it was too late.”
That’s a squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) on Mark’s lip.
His advice: “I want people out there, especially the guys to don’t be dumb, protect yourself, every part that is exposed including your lips.”
The best way to do that isn’t sunscreen or lip balm but fabric.
Ever get a sunburn through your pants, shirt, shoes, or hat? I didn't think so…
That’s why the experts at skincancer.org say, “sun-protective clothing is the simplest way to stay safe; unlike sunscreen, you never need to reapply!”
But not all fabrics offer the same level of protection, and obviously, thick face coverings and the summer sun don’t add up to a pleasant day on the water.
So let’s break down what you need to know.
You’re probably familiar with SPF ratings - the number system on your sunscreen. That rating reflects your own sun resistance: the higher the number, the longer you can protect yourself from sunburn.
For instance, if you're very fair and would normally burn in 30 minutes, an SPF of 50 means that you’ll have 1500 minutes of sun protection provided ideal conditions. Add sweat, water, and contact - all elements present in the real world - and that number will go down. And, of course, you’ll require reapplication.
UPF, by contrast, is a measure of how much UV light is blocked by a fabric. This isn’t a multiplier of your natural protection from sunburn but rather an absolute measure.
Now you’d think that all neck gaiters and sun masks offer high UPF numbers - but they don’t!
Many of the products we researched offered minimal UV protection despite covering the face and neck.
Always check for the UPF rating of any product!
Some facts to keep in mind from skincancer.org:
If your gaiter or mask isn’t comfortable, you’re not going to wear it.
You want a loose fit so that the fabric is pulled tight, but you need it to stay in place as well.
We evaluated each of the products on our list for issues like breathability, overall fit, and even whether they cause your glasses or sunglasses to fog.
More is better, and we made sure to note the coverage of each product.
A good gaiter or sun mask is going to be built tough. It’s also going to be easy to wash and quick drying.
We covered that information for each product we reviewed.
This was a close call, and the awesome gaiter from Buff is just as good, just as comfortable, and just as stylish. In the end, what sold us on the Sol Armis from KastKing was that it’s about 30% less expensive than the comparable Buff while still providing essentially identical performance.
The Sol Armis neck gaiter offers an unbeatable UPF protection rating of 50+, keeping you safe in the sun. All-day comfort is a given, and you won’t need to worry about issues of fit, a falling gaiter, or fogging sunglasses.
Cool, comfortable, and easy to wash, KastKing’s Sol Armis neck gaiter is our top pick.