Saturday, May 2, 2015

GEAR REVIEW: Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero Neck Gaiter

This was the surprise rockstar of my recent Ice Age Trail Hike. A Thrift-store find gifted to me by my mother, I had never even heard of a neck gaiter before I was given it. But damn am I impressed with it! The Columbia Omni-freeze line seems to be cooling-oriented, so it's weird that I'm so enthusiastic about it. But those of you who know my love for heat, know that I also tend to be lazy in heat. And normally, I'm very fond of being lazy, but it's at odds with my purpose while hiking. While my neck remained fairly dry, I can think of cases where I'd appreciate it for sun cover. How I used it on this hike was to keep my head from drenching me with sweat. I wore it like some cross between headband and bandanna underneath my REI Explorer hat, and it did a marvelous job wicking the sweat from my brow and evaporating it. I worked far harder on that hike than I have in some time, to the point where I had salt lines on my face when I finished.

It's a very versatile garment, in addition to covering my neck, and serving as a headband, I can see using it to cover my mouth on a cold morning start, or if for some reason of dust or smoke I wanted a filter over my mouth. While I'm hiking I probably shouldn't sleep in, but if I need something to cover my eyes, it'd serve pretty well as a blindfold. You can either rely on it to wick sweat and evaporatively cool you, or if that's not enough you could drench it and let it evaporate the absorbed water for greater cooling. The fit around my neck is pretty loose unless I bring it up around my chin. (also good for feeling like some sort of beige ninja) and after a minute or two of wearing it on my head I tend to forget that it's there. It's thin so it fits easily under a hat as well. I'm so pleased that I'm entertaining getting a second.

Would I recommend it? Heck yes! If I've piqued your interest, why not head on over to Amazon and pick one up? I bet you'll be as happy as I am!

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