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Neck gaiters may be worse than no mask at all - new study Duke U.

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    Neck gaiters may be worse than no mask at all - new study Duke U.

    The Washington Post has a new article up regarding the lightweight stretchy gaiters preferred by many athletes. I will post the link in a separate post so it doesn’t hang this one up. The rough summary is that they think that the poor performance of the gaiters may be caused by the relatively porous fabric breaking up bigger particles into smaller ones which hang around longer.

    Bummed to hear this. I have a three-ply cotton mask but I have been wearing my ShadyLady gaiter quite a bit. I assume the well-liked Callidae is similar?
    Original Poster



      I saw this too! Of course just two weeks ago I bought a gaiter for off-property riding trips. I wonder if there are any good ones—maybe with cotton around the mouth/nose instead of synthetics? Can’t beat the convenience of having it right there around your neck.
      Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm:


        Original Poster

        Originally posted by Libby2563 View Post
        I saw this too! Of course just two weeks ago I bought a gaiter for off-property riding trips. I wonder if there are any good ones—maybe with cotton around the mouth/nose instead of synthetics? Can’t beat the convenience of having it right there around your neck.
        Yep- The same thing attracted me - I don’t love wearing what’s functionally a scarf in this heat, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep track of one that didn’t stay attached to me. And I can’t deny that the performance fabric is comfy.

        I believe ShadyLady and Callidae sold their gaiters long before the pandemic. If this research sticks, I don’t know if those companies will feel compelled to offer another product like you mention. But I hope someone does!


          When I read up on gaiters today purchase the material sounded flimsy so I stuck with the hot and heavy masks.


            I got one of the Callidae tech fabric gaiters and was very disappointed with it, in all honesty. It is cute, but completely fails the "hold it up to the light" test as it is only a single, thin layer of fabric (like many gaiters). I will not be adding it to my mask rotation.


              Last summer when I was pregnant I couldn’t tolerate the heat AT ALL despite being early in my pregnancy.

              I bought a Mission cooling neck gaiter from Amazon after reading some recommendations here. It was a lifesaver and really does keep you cooler. I was wearing it at shows before all the cool kids started doing it this year thanks to covid. 😂

              It’s a bummer to hear it likely offers nothing in terms of droplet containment, although not totally surprising. The entire point of the tech fabric is to allow airflow for quick evaporation and cooling.

              Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                Thank you for sharing this! Just today, for the first time, I wore a gaiter as a mask. Won't do that again!
                If thou hast a sorrow, tell it not to the arrow, tell it to thy saddlebow, and ride on, singing. -- King Alfred the Great


                  because we walk in the morning and the gnats are out, I have made a gaiter from a stretchy shirt just to keep the bugs off my face. I am thinking of getting a gaiter to keep cool. I have seen diy patterns that add a cloth mask to the gaiter but I have not looked further into it.


                    I've also seen plenty of credible sources that say this study is bunk.
                    I don't use them unless it's really hot when I'm riding (and then they are a god send!) but the convenience of them working as a mask too is pretty nice
                    No mourners, no funerals


                      I think you can make your gaiters more effective by doubling them up so you have two layers of fabric instead of just one. My son just bought a pack of gaiter masks to take to college, where they'll be required all the time. I'll also send him with some better masks and hope for the best, I guess.


                        If you have a mask with loops that go over the ears, a simple addition of a string from earloop to earloop will allow you to hang said mask around your neck without losing it.

                        Kinda like those chains you can add to glasses so you don't lose them.


                          Original Poster

                          Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post
                          I've also seen plenty of credible sources that say this study is bunk.
                          I don't use them unless it's really hot when I'm riding (and then they are a god send!) but the convenience of them working as a mask too is pretty nice
                          I too saw some articles that addressed this later in the day yesterday. My understanding of the criticism of the WaPo article (and others, I'm sure) is that the Duke study was not actually studying the masks; they were studying the new lab device/process they devised in response to calls for researchers to test masks. So while they published the "results" of the tests, and those "results" seem to indicate that gaiters perform poorly, the researchers did not set up the study in a way that would properly test the masks. They did not use a variety of test subjects wearing the masks (it was one dude, I believe); they did not test multiples of each mask; etc.; therefore they can't say with any certainty whether the "results" are accurate and scale-able for the broad population.

                          Apparently the actual study results, of the viability of the device/process the Duke researchers devised, were actually pretty promising. So hopefully we'll get more actual mask test results in the near future.


                            At the beginning of the pandemic, when I didn't have a mask, I used a doubled-over Buff with a piece of paper towel sandwiched in between. The shop towel type are supposed to be extra effective. Not something I would want to wear for an extended time period, but it's an option for making a gaiter more effective in a pinch.

                            There are scarf masks available now. They should be just as effective as a mask with equivalent fabric types and layers, plus they look nice and hang on the neck when not in use.


                              Don't spread the link around too many places and keep wearing the gaiter. It will stay around your neck, handy to pull up over your face whenever you see someone coming, and they will feel safe seeing your nose and mouth are covered.
                              Win win.
                              Rack on!


                                Every show photo now makes me think, "Are dark-colored chokers back in style?". Yes, if you showed in the 70s, or earlier, you know what I'm talking about. I have to laugh when I catch myself!


                                  Originally posted by Rackonteur View Post
                                  Don't spread the link around too many places and keep wearing the gaiter. It will stay around your neck, handy to pull up over your face whenever you see someone coming, and they will feel safe seeing your nose and mouth are covered.
                                  Win win.
                                  I can't do anything with loops or ties because I can't put them on one-handed. I got some gaiters on Amazon that work. They are a substantial polyester and Lycra with neat patterns. I heard that it depends on how easy it is to blow air through them. Not easy in this case, but I saw some lightweight fabric that looked like it wouldn't stop anything.

                                  I'm going to try the water trick. Maybe they will be more comfortable in the hot weather.
                                  "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019


                                    We were issued them for work. I literally am doing mask, no mask, mask, no mask too much to deal with ear loops and tucking it away, fishing it out, tucking it away, fishing it out.
                                    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


                                      I've also seen plenty of credible sources that say this study is bunk. Don't give it credibility by sharing.
                                      No matter where you go, there you are


                                        I make my own "neck scrunchies" in the same material I use to make this summer's shorts and other clothing (mixed cotton/synthetic) and matching purse covers. I started making my own protective face covers in March when I realized there was nothing out there on the market that was suitable for this virus outbreak (soon to be pandemic) besides my stock of N95 masks (purchased 2 years ago for a home improvement project that required quality lung protection from stone and plastic particulate dust). I hated the N95 masks - they were annoying, a pain in the butt to put on and adjust correctly tight to the face, and when off they had to be put down somewhere because they were uncomfortable dropped down around my neck for easy retrieval. They were great for protecting my lungs from dust when I was cutting stone and slate, but not for everyday use out in public.

                                        If I'm going to wear a mask out in public, it better be both highly functional and fashionable (matching my outfits) as well as immediately available with zero fuss. A "scrunchie" that slips over the head and around the neck like a neck warmer is super fast to lift up, quick to pull down. Made with tight enough elastic up over the nose and around the entire head to prevent gaps, and the bottom of the scrunchie far down enough on the neck to provide full enclosed coverage without compromising the use of the jaw. Easy enough to breathe through but with tight enough weave to help contain each breath's own pathogens.

                                        Yeah, my neck scrunchies are light years better and far more protection than those gapping blue fabric surgeons masks currently being paraded around by the clueless public. Surgeon masks are designed to prevent a surgeon's spit from dropping into a patient's incision, and are next to worthless IMHO for any realistic "protection" for the average person using them in the expectation that they will be useful against an airborne virus.

                                        And while I'm on my rant, allow me to express my observation that unless these currently popular ear loop masks are "darted" (not folded, but darted) to fit tight against the cheeks, they also are next to worthless for containing your breath's airborne droplets. I have rarely seen a mask without gaps which pretty much guarantees that your (and others who wear these masks) germ laden breath is escaping whole and intact with each exhale for the next person to breathe in.

                                        Keep wearing your neck gaiters, folks. Military or scuba - they are FAR better than a surgeon's mask, and probably better than the common ill fitting gapping masks being worn by half the public.