Thursday, March 05, 2020

Review: Every Season, All Conditions BUFF has got you Covered!

Article by Dominique Winebaum with Sam Winebaum

BUFF® has been around since 1991, and Barcelona, Spain, has remained the epicenter of design and production (90%) even as the Company has developed a strong and flourishing global businesst.  Its founder, Joan Rojas, who grew up in the family textile business, came up with the idea of a multifunctional tubular headwear -- originally designed as a protective shield against the sun, wind, and cold, with motorcyclists in mind.  
BUFF®, which takes its name from bufanda (scarf in Spanish), is continuously expanding its product line with innovative ideas that are sustainably oriented and technically performing.
On the sustainable front, BUFF® Original Multifunctional Headwear is made with 95% REPREVE ® polyester made from recycled plastic bottles.  REPREVE ® Polyester is a branded recycled performance fiber with wicking properties -- see image below with logo.  

Other BUFF® products, which are made with POLAR/FLEECE, feature a high percentage of recycled plastic (as designated by the universal recycling symbol).  

Merino Wool is another fiber used in many BUFF® products, which has the appeal of being “eco-friendly” while being highly performing.

I tested my first BUFF® on a 13-day trek last May, hiking 200 miles across the “lowland” of Switzerland from Lake Constance to Romont, FR.  
With unexpected snow in our path - and face -  I marvelled at how my Lightweight Merino Wool Multifunctional Headwear kept me protected and comfortable throughout the day! I  I would adjust it all the way up the back of my head wearing it under my wide brim hiking hat to keep me warm. Merino Wool feels soft next-to-skin and keeps you comfortable, thanks to its many properties: thermo-regulating, quick drying, wicking, and odor resistant.  The Merino Wool Multifunctional Headwear comes in three different weights: lightweight, midweight, and heavy weight, ranging in price from $29 to $39 depending on the Merino thickness. A baseline and essential BUFF® for cool and cold weather for every activity.  

In September, when we hiked Mt Cabot, a 4000 footer in the White Mountains.  A must-have gear when hiking that provides great protection even under a summer hat/cap! 

When I visited my Mom in Geneva in early December I gave her my BUFF® Lightweight Merino Wool Multifunctional Headwear.  At 89, she walks daily, 10,000 steps or more, and it didn’t take long to convince her to wear it in lieu of a silk scarf.  It is the kind of essential gear you want to give to your loved ones -- family and friends! 
Our friend Tim after a short tutorial (picture on the right), on how to stay warm and protected when the weather is rough by wearing the BUFF® Lightweight Merino Multifunctional Headwear fully extended and under a hat, as opposed to simply rolled up around the neck!  
When adventuring with friends, we enjoy sharing our experience with BUFF products, and by gifting any extras as a thank you!   There are 12+ ways of sporting a BUFF® multifunctional headwear (original design), with versatility translating into functionality.  
Even though I felt covered under the umbrella of a classic Multifunctional Headwear, albeit in Merino Wool, 

I have been excited to explore the broad and wide spectrum of products offered under the BUFF® brand. 
BUFF® products are offered under a dozen categories: multifunctional headwear, neckwear, balaclavas & hoodies, kids, hats, caps, headbands, arm sleeves, gloves & finger guards, dogs, and customs.  Moreover, some categories, such as the multifunctional headwear, come in a multitude of choices, starting with fabrics: Original (made with 95% Repreve ®), Merino Wool, DryFlx ®, ThermoNet™, Polar, Coolnet UV+ ® and are  available in a myriad of designs featuring nature, wildlife, landmarks, and more, as well as cool prints and solid colors. Under the BUFF® Custom Program, you can also create your own design by selecting one of the products offered. 

What’s more, the BUFF® Fall 2020 Collection features many innovations in both fabric and design.  The products featured below are not available yet on the BUFF® website.  

Among the novelties, there is  a new type of fabric that is technically constructed with Merino Wool Fleece. Three types of BUFF® are offered with Merino Wool Fleece: neckwarmer (with an adjustable drawstring), hat, and cap, in five solid color options. Super comfy, extra warm, with breathable and wicking properties, the Merino Wool Fleece neck warmer can be tightened for added warmth and protection. Stylish and versatile; great for the woods or the city life!  (As displayed at the Outdoor Retailer Show in January 2020.) 

Incidentally, we just spent two overnights in the Moosehead Lake region/100 Mile Wilderness in Maine, cross-country skiing from hut to hut, with “dangerously windy” weather on our first leg departing the parking lot. 

What came to mind, but not in hand, was the new Thermonet Hinged Balaclava from the BUFF®  Fall 2020 Collection, as the perfect type of headwear protection (along with goggle & hat/hood).  
The Thermonet® Hinged Balaclava provides thermal-level warmth and maximum protection, in one functional fitted piece.  A technical fabric that was designed in collaboration with Primaloft®, Thermonet® has increased thermal retention, protection, and comfort.  Lightweight with excellent wicking properties, this technical fabric delivers maximum warmth without the bulk. Breathing is made easy by a Laser cut VaporGrid™ keeping face protected and googles fog free. It is built with a 4-Way ULTRA STRETCH for a perfect fit and there is even an opening for a ponytail.  A sustainable BUFF® innovation, the Balaclava is made with Recycled REPREVE® Polyester (53%), and as a THERMONET® fabric, it contains 43% Primaloft® Polyster and 4% Elastane.

There are several new types of BUFF® Balaclavas in addition to the Thermonet® Hinged, including Original, Lightweight Merino Wool, and DryFlx®+.   
Despite not wearing a Balaclava in the Maine Woods, I was well equiped wearing a new type of neckwear - with an ergonomic design - made with DryFlx®, which has Thermal regulation, high moisture management, and 4-Way ULTRA STRETCH.  The only missing piece of equipment was a pair of goggles! A novelty that is not yet available ($42). Below with my ski helmet 

This is not an ordinary neckwarmer, so don’t treat it like a regular neckwarmer!  I will admit that I made the mistake of pulling it over my head as a last minute trail prep in a full blast storm. Take the time to anchor the neckwear properly in place -- the profile of the neckwear is designed to hug the back of the head (curved) and the front is engineered with a mouth port.  
Starting with DryFlx®, which has high moisture management, the neckwear is designed with a knit that is thicker in areas where heat loss is greater and thinner where sweat is greater.  In comparison to a Merino BUFF®, the DryFlx® stays dryer given its properties.  

No snow accumulated on the surface of the material and the neckwarmer stayed much dryer than with a Merino based BUFF® or my handmade knitted wool hat. (Please take note that BUFF® is also in the Wool Hat business!) 
The reflective elements and engineered holes around the mouth.
Since Sam received his BUFF® Trek Cap, he has not taken it off.  

In colder weather, he rocks his DryFlx® beanie or reflective headband under along with a lightweight Merino Multifunctional Headwear around his neck.  
Above on a 10 F / - C day up in the Maine Woods, he went with the Trek Cap with underneath the DryFlx® beanie.

There is a BUFF® for all seasons and every activity  and we hope you check them out. It’s easy to end up with way more than one!

Reviewer Bios

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10.Swiss women’s lists. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, hiking and trekking, and gardening. 

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is also an avid nordic skier and hiker,

The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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