The BUFF brand has been around since 1991, but I’ve only really taken notice of it and learned to love it in the last couple of years. Many still wonder exactly what BUFF is, or better yet, what they make. First, BUFF is a company out of Spain which takes its name from the Spanish word ‘bufanda’, meaning scarf. Second, the product’s roots are in cycling, where it was used to keep the wind off the rider’s neck. BUFF has taken this concept and grown it into a full product line of versatile performance headwear, from headbands, hats, and face masks, to gloves, scarves & neckerchiefs, for every outdoor sport from cycling to fishing, snow sports, and even motorcycling.
You may not get this excited about a scarf from grandma at Christmas, but bear with me, these are NOT your normal winter layers. Let’s say you start off the day with a hike, so you only want a hairband or headband. As you climb and it gets cooler, you want to change to a cap. As you near the summit it gets cooler still and a breeze picks up. You could really use a hood or balaclava by this point. Then, on the way down, as it gets warmer, you want to shed your hood, and hat, and get back to a hairband or headband. Instead of 4 different layers, all you need is one BUFF!
A tubular BUFF can be worn 13 different ways! What other piece of outdoor wear will give you that much versatility?
Almost all BUFF are made of 100% natural Merino Wool. This means your BUFF will do all the things we love about Merino – repel water, resist odors, manage moisture, and stop the stink with its natural anti-microbial ability. It will also dry fast, protect you from UV, and it has that natural stretch for a good fit. In addition, it will help regulate temps in both hot and cold environments, so they are a fantastic layer next to skin for all active occasions.
My favorite BUFF is the classic tubular Merino Wool Printed Buff- Casden (MSRP $32). It is much like their original BUFF, but is a bit longer for more versatility & protection. This has become my go-to for everything. I walk with it as a scarf, hike with it as a hat, run & ski with it as a hairband and ear warmer, plus bike with it as a face mask. In fact, it breathes so well that I can start a bike or run with it in face mask mode, and as I heat up and change to scarf mode, the moisture from the condensation of my breath is almost dry by the time I’ve made the change. I also really like the mellow tone-on-tone design. It goes with everything! They do offer an incredible array of colors and patterns to suit your style. The one thing I would change in this style is to make the neck diameter a little smaller for women so it will really stay secure when using as a face mask.
My next favorite BUFF style is the Infinity Jaquard Locell Buff (MSRP $39). This soft infinity scarf can be used in 5 configurations, so it stays true to the BUFF standard of versatility. It can be worn as a scarf, single or double wrapped. It can also be worn as a hood or made into a hooded mask. Finally, it can be pulled over the mouth, nose, & ears for more face protection. What I love most about this piece is that it looks and feels like a scarf, but is really an outdoor technical chameleon: I wear it on a frosty morning run, to work as a fashion piece, then out on a hike.
The truly unique thing about this BUFF is the material. Unlike the standard BUFF’s 100% Merino Wool, the Infinity is made of a cotton blend. The one sided knitted pattern is a hand dyed textile called TENCEL, that is grown from sustainable eucalyptus forests. Like wool, it maintains the properties of anti-microbial and moisture management. In addition, the material is extremely soft and can be worn day after day with no fear of chaffing. It would be cool to see these in a few more trending colors and patterns.
A few more honorable mentions in the BUFF line are the Merino Wool Reversible Hat (MSRP $35) and Windproof BUFF (MSRP $45). The hat is reversible to match with almost any layer, while it keeps the quick dry, odor controlling, and sweat management properties of wool without the itch. The Windproof BUFF is part of the tech line that provides GORE Windstopper softshell fabric protection. I think this is great for light activity, but if you plan to be breathing heavily I’d recommend going with one of their balaclava options for better breathing and moisture movement.
This is really an amazing brand that has been moving mountains with their versatile tech apparel. To add to their ‘Wow’ factor, they have recently launched a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Collection featuring the USSA logo. BUFF has graciously decided to donate a portion of the sales from this collection to USSA to continue to encourage young athletes to follow their dreams wherever the slopes may take them.
Moral of the story? Go to your nearest outdoor, cycling, or hunting store and discover how you can get in the BUFF!