Sunday, 21 August 2016

Gear Review: High UV Protection Buff

Sometimes an item is so successful or such a leader in its field that the brand name becomes synonymous with the product rather than the brand. Hoover is a good example, or Jacuzzi perhaps. Gore-Tex may well fall into this bracket as well, though I'm not reviewing all-conquering suit of armour this time. A more humble but no less useful item has made its way to All the Gear HQ.

Imagine a garment that can be worn in several ways, can keep you cool in the heat of summer and warm in the depths of winter. Something that is the height of simplicity and technicality combined. An impossible creation? Not if we're discussing a Buff.
As I mentioned at the start, Buff has become a by-word for any multi-functional headwear and you can find many alternatives on the market though nothing quite beats the original. I'm sure you're all aware of what a Buff is or does but for those who don't, let me elaborate slightly.

In it's simplest form the Buff is a cylindrical piece of fabric, sewn on a special loom to negate the need for any seams. Generally, they are around 50cm long, which is enough length to get creative. In addition to this, the manufacture the Buff in a number of different fabrics and styles - this one in particular is a High UV Protection Buff, kindly sent to me by the guys at Kitshack.com.

Features:
The High UV Protection Buff is designed for warmer weather, an all too rare occurrence in Great Britain. It is made from Coolmax Extreme, a fabric that actively moves perspiration away from the skin. More importantly for me, the High UV Protection blocks out at least 93% of UV rays. As I don't like wearing hats, this provides a perfect alternative to protect my head and neck from the sun.

As I mentioned earlier, there are number of ways that a Buff can be worn; around the neck or wrist (like a sweatband) are two favourites of mine. Worn round the neck, the Buff can be brought up over your nose to keep the cold at bay. My wife is a big fan of the Merino Buffs and often wears one as a headband while out walking. Other ways include as a beanie, a hairband and, everyone's favourite, a pirate.
Some of the many ways to wear a Buff
Some of the many ways a Buff can be worn
Buff have expanded massively since I bought my first one and now includes specialist pieces such as hoods and actual balaclavas - they even have a modest range of clothing as well.

In Action
I took the High UV Buff out for a test drive in the mountains of Cumbria - the Eskdale Round to be exact. The weather was a mix of sunshine, clouds and a cool breeze. Not ideal for the High UV aspect of the Buff but a perfect day for the the Buff's general functionality. It works really well as a wristband for sweaty climbs and as a traditional neckerchief for those colder moments when the wind is blowing which is how I tend to wear them. They are superb pieces for autumn and winter to keep the extreme cold out and they help to stop unwanted rain seeping in around the neck of your waterproof jacket.
Wristband mode for the sun
Neckerchief mode for times the weather was a bit cooler
It also came along to warmer climes during a trip to Yosemite in California. Though we only did a few modest hikes, the weather was hot and the sun was strong - ideal conditions for the UV Buff and i have to say, it performed very well. Keeping the sun off is really important for me so it was to reduce the amount of sunscreen that I needed to slather on.
The Buff in action in California
A Buff a must have for hiking, running, travel and more with its small size and versatility making it an ideal companion on any day out. I've own a few different designs, some are official Buffs, some are not but I would recommend it to anyone looking for versatility and value for money. You could spend a small fortune on hats, scarfs, hairbands, sweatbands or balaclavas or, you could reach for a Buff instead.