I started planning my 2600-mile ride from Portland to Yellowstone, northwest to Glacier National Park, across the top of the US to Seattle, and then back to Portland in March. I knew from experience that the temperatures could range from 105 degrees mid-day in the valleys to the high 30s in the early morning on Beartooth Mountain in Montana. I was more concerned about staying cool than figuring out how to keep warm for the few early hours. I spotted the new Klim Tek Sok neck gaiter and decided to give it a try.
The specs read that it is made of a patented moisture-wicking, chemical-free cooling fabric. The Klim Tek Sok is a very lightweight 9.5-by-20-inch tube of stretch fabric that comes in four graphic designs. However, it took me a while to figure out all its benefits.
I put it on every morning for four days straight and just sort of forgot about it. It did keep my neck warmer than nothing in the cool mornings. In the afternoons, it prevented the 100+ degree air from directly blowing on my neck—especially my carotid arteries. When my riding partner and I were standing in a parking lot in Glacier, waiting for the sun to rise, mosquitos started swarming us. I pulled my Tek Sok over my head to protect my face from the flying insects—it worked. My partner threw on his helmet and closed the shield. He still got bit on the neck, but I didn’t. Use #1: mosquito net.
That afternoon it was blazing hot. At a gas stop, I took a drink from my water bottle, and used the remainder to water-soak the Klim Tek Sok. To my surprise, the Tek Sok stayed wet to moist for over two hours in 100-degree, 75 mph wind, keeping my neck feeling comfortably cool. Even though it is quick-drying when laid flat, it retains moisture for hours when scrunched up around my neck. Use #2: evaporative neck cooler.
The following week I rode the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike from Los Angeles to Portland along the coast. The Oregon coast was in the low 50s, and I was wearing a full airflow adventure helmet. The helmet is made for warmer conditions where maximized airflow is a good thing. However, in this case, my teeth were starting to chatter. I pulled the Tek Sok gaiter over my head, mosquito protection style, and put my helmet back on. The difference was remarkable and much appreciated. I went from teeth chattering to comfortable. I was then able to start enjoying the coastal view instead of trying to think of ways to warm up. Use #3: helmet hood.
Riding with it in the dirt, it is an easy-to-breathe-through, stay-in-place kerchief that covers my nose and mouth. Use #4: bandana.
The Klim Tek Sok gaiter is now on my neck whenever I ride. I know I will find more uses for it and, at $22, it is a handy piece of gear to own. I plan on making it a stocking stuffer for several of my motorcycle riding friends.
Klim Tek Sok Fast Facts
- Sizes: One size fits all
- Colors: Digital Swarm; Vivid Fracture; Statik; Mountain Fade (tested)
Klim Tek Sok Price: $22 MSRP