If there were a Ten Essentials list for garments, the Buff would definitely be on it. The Buff website describes it as a “multitasking bandanna”. It is its versatility that makes it a nearly indispensable item.
The versatility is a result of a combination of high tech material and design simplicity. What could be more simple than the seamless tube of fabric? The fabric itself is a lightweight stretch polyester microfiber that offers excellent moisture management and insulation against both cold and hot environments. For those who prefer natural fiber fabrics, merino wool versions are also available. A note of caution regarding the wool products, some insects find fine wool products an irresistible source of food – something to keep in mind when storing.
Like the traditional bandanna, the Buff is worn primarily in the area of the head and neck. Just a few minutes of playing around with the Buff reveals its potential. A diagram on the packaging (also on the website) shows seventeen of the more common configurations. From cap, to hair tie, to neckerchief, the Buff has you covered.
A wool base layer, and Buff neck gaiter are perfect for a cold morning hike in the desert.
Those of us who live in Tucson are used to heading out in the early morning on our hike or bike ride with temperatures in the low 40’s, then finishing our trip in the afternoon with temperatures in the upper 70’s. We like garments that can be worn over a broad spectrum of temperatures, but we really like garments that functionally adapt to wide temperature swings. It’s nice to have a jacket that can be worn across a wide temperature range, but it’s even better to have the cool-weather jacket that turns into a warm-weather shirt. The Buff will do that. Wear it as a neck gator in the morning, then as a headband in the afternoon. Wear it as a cap over the head and ears in the cool morning air, and over your nose and face as a mask against the sun in the afternoon.
On approach on a cool morning
I always wear a buff under my bicycling helmet. It not only dramatically increases the comfort of the helmet, but it keeps perspiration out of my eyes and off my sunglasses. It also keeps my head warmer in the morning and cooler in the afternoon. I find that it performs well under a climbing helmet too. For women cyclists who may want to stop for a cup of coffee or a meal, the buff can be employed in a number of stylish ways to mask the dreaded “helmet hair”. Actually, the use of any helmet can be enhanced with a Buff.
Preparing to don the helmet over the Buff
Helmet hair? No problem!
During some recent experimentation and brainstorming, I thought of a new application. If you turn the Buff inside out, then slide it over your head down to your neck, then pull the top down over and carefully tuck it into your button-down collar shirt, it can double as an ascot! Now, I know that not many people are familiar with the ascot tie, and even fewer have ever worn one, but is it not nice to know that if you ever needed an ascot, and you did not have one, that, in a pinch, you could use your buff? Hey, you never know.
Buff doubling as ascot tie