While the worst of Winter is finally in the rear view mirror, we still have no shortage of mornings that are plenty cold and thus require a bit of bundling up to deal with the briskness. For the last few weeks I’ve been starting out my rides with a Chrome Industries Merino Gaiter to keep the wind from biting as hard. Read on to see how it’s been working out.
- 65% Polyester / 35% Merino wool blend
- Top circumference: 16.5″ | Bottom circumference: 21.5″
- Front length: 12.5″ / Back length: 10.5″
- Naturally anti-microbial
- $35 USD
As you can see, the cut is a little more refined than a straightforward buff. It’s longer at the bottom up front, and sits higher at the top out back.
You can wear this over your jersey, or…
Simply tuck it underneath for a more subtle, low profile look.
The one and only indication of branding.
The Merino/polyester fibers up close and person.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t even the Covid era we’re currently living in that had me considering a gaiter – but rather, it was an insulated riding jacket which I was quite fond of that didn’t have a hood and thus left my neck a bit cold. Regardless, given that we are all unfortunately still dealing with Covid, this gaiter is convenient if your rides consist of stopping into a coffee shop for a quick break, or other similar scenarios as you can slip it up over your mouth and nose quickly and easily. Basically it pulls double duty and you won’t have to carry an extra mask around.
Anyhow, out of the gate it my first impression was that this is an extremely comfortable piece of apparel. The plush Merino wool is soft and smooth on your skin, causing no irritation whatsoever. Merino, as a material is rather incredible stuff overall, even when blended with synthetics like in this case. It has excellent wicking properties and is naturally anti-microbial, which means it also resists getting a funky smell after taking on sweat repeatedly. As far as sizing goes, I’m pretty middle of the road – I wear a medium/large helmet and have a 15.5″ neck dress shirt – and it fits great. It is one size fits all, so for brawnier folks it could be a bit snug, but it can be stretched pretty nicely, and likely without tearing as the seams are nicely reinforced and the craftsmanship is excellent. On trail, even when I warmed up and got hotter throughout the day/ride, I never felt irritated by the gaiter in our late Winter weather. It breathes nicely and condensation from breathing and sweat evaporate fast so it can dry quickly. With that in mind, it only takes a few seconds to pull it off and stash it in a pocket should you be ready to ditch it.
While not something I would typically think of as most of my riding time has been spent in warmer climates over the past 15 years or so, Chrome’s Merino Gaiter has been a nice little companion for the crispier days now that I live in Northern Idaho. It lands a hair on the pricey side, but such is the case for all things Merino as it is a premium material. All in all, it’s a great little piece of apparel to have around and will likely last for years, provided you don’t lose it. A sweet addition to any riding wardrobe…