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A good neck warmer/tube scarf/bandana thingy is an incredibly useful bit of kit for the winter. The Sportful Women's Neck Warmer is pricier than many, but delivers excellent warmth and breathability, though it could do with some adjustments in shaping to make it more versatile to help justify the cost.
Made from a double layer of Aerostretch fabric (polyester/elastane mix on the outside and polyamide/elastane on the inside), the neck warmer is a much more technical design than some. It is long, stretchy, and reversible – you can choose whether you want a more breathable side facing inwards or a more wind resistant side – and has just a single seam down its length and rolled seams top and bottom to minimise irritation.
The great thing about neck warmers/tube scarves and the like is their combination of warmth and versatility. This one is stretchy and incredibly warm. It is comfortable on, with no irritation from the single seam, and sits low enough to protect the area where a gap could occur between jersey/jacket and neck while also fitting over the nose and mouth (it makes a good 'face covering' option in times of need too).
Over the mouth and nose it is impressively breathable, and you can choose which way round to wear it for maximum breathability or for maximum warmth. I found it was a fairly small number of occasions where I'd go for the warmer option, it was warm enough on the breathable side.
It dries quickly too – on damp, foggy nights it stayed cosy and comfortable and didn't wet out. It's not the lightest, thanks to the double layer of fabric, but it does still roll up small enough to sit in a jersey pocket.
The slightly thicker fabric, coupled with the straight up and down tube design, meant it wasn't particularly comfortable when stretched over my head as a headwarmer under the helmet. It's long enough, and stretched far enough to wear it like this, but it felt constrictive around my face. It's specifically called a neck warmer, so maybe I can't criticise it too much, but it's a shame given the price – I'd want it to be more versatile.
When compared with similar scarf/gaiters, it's up at the higher end of the scale, similar to merino-based ones like the British knitted Findra Women's Betty Neck Warmer at £28. though it's £10 more than Chapeau's Merino Neckwarmer at £19.99.
You might consider the technical fabric and enhanced moisture transport that brings worth the extra, but it's less versatile than the likes of the Findra Betty, thanks to that snugness making it less comfortable as a head covering. It's looking expensive at £30 for a tube scarf that can only be used as a scarf or face covering.
As a neck warmer it does a great job – it's warm and breathable and it looks slick and modern – but it's hard to justify the price for something that feels like it should be more versatile.
Well made from great fabrics, offering superb comfort, warmth and breathability, but expensive for limited usability
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful Women's Neck Warmer
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for
Windproof and breathable insulation for cold weather riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Reversible Aerostretch fabric - one side 75% polyamide/25% elastane, the other side 78% polyester/22% elastane
One side more breathable, the other side more wind resistant
Washable at 30
High quality technical fabrics, single unobtrusive seam, rolled top and bottom seams, all nicely finished. Even the care/instruction/fabric label is designed to be removed easily.
Performed very well as a neck warmer and face covering, giving excellent warmth and breathability. I found the fit too snug to use it as a head covering.
Not really much to go wrong.
Well designed for use as a neck warmer or face covering. It could have been shaped slightly differently to allow for use as a head covering for under helmet use too – fit is too snug to allow that in present form – but it's called a neck warmer so I can't really criticise it for that.
One size fits most.
Weightier than many due to the double layer of fabric, but it's still light and compact.
Very comfortable thanks to its warmth and breathability.
Pretty expensive – especially as it's not as versatile as some, being only suitable as a neck warmer/face covering, not for wearing under a helmet.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy. Washed well at 30 and dried quickly.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well as a neck warmer and face covering, giving excellent warmth and breathability. If it were a slightly different shape it could be used as a head covering too, which would have made it more versatile and better value.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Warm, extremely breathable and moisture wicking, looks good.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not as versatile as you'd like for the price, and it's expensive.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's around the same price as some of the higher-end merino-based ones like the Findra Women's Betty Neck Warmer at £28, and £10 more than the Chapeau Merino Neckwarmer at £19.99; it has the technical fabric and enhanced moisture transport that brings, but it's less versatile than those that can be worn as headwarmers.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
The neck warmer delivers excellent levels of comfort, breathability and warmth and it looks good and washes well/dries quickly. But without the extra option of being able to use it as a head warmer too, it's looking very expensive.
About the tester
I usually ride: Liv Invite My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.