I have always heard people extol the values of a buff but never personally used one. Earlier this year I purchased a Buff CoolNet UV+ and I have used it on almost every hike since then. My Buff has become one of the most versatile pieces of gear that I own and subsequently one of my favorites. For those who don’t know a buff is simply a big tube of fabric that can be worn in a myriad of ways, hence the picture to the right as just a short demo off of Buff USA’s site. I typically wear my Buff around my neck as a neck warmer. Just to clarify a buff can be both a piece of gear and then a brand name version of that piece of gear, kind of like Band-Aid.
The Buff CoolNet UV+ is 95% polyester and 5% elastane so it is stretchy. We actually have two of them and picked this particular version of Buff because the fabric has a UPF rating of 50. One is technically called Tzome Stone but to me it just looks like a geometric pattern of blues and grays and the other is Pelagomic Camo White which is a white and gray camo-ish pattern. The Buff CoolNet UV+ was $24 from REI in Albuquerque.
Like I said before, I typically wear my buff around my neck as neck warmer. Considering how light the fabric is I am actually amazed at how much warmer it can keep me. I stuff it down whatever outer layer I’m wearing so that it traps heat and prevents it from escaping out of the collar. I actually use the Buff as a part of my layering system. As I start to warm up I will take it off but then as I shed layers I will put it back on to lessen the change from one level of my layering system to the next.
Also because it offers UV protection it protects the back of my neck from the harsh New Mexico sun. On particularly cold or dusty hikes I have pulled my Buff CoolNet UV+ up over my face as a sort of face shield. The only issue I have had doing this is that although the Buff is pretty breathable it still sends some of my breath up behind my sunglasses which causes them to fog up.
I have also used the Buff CoolNet UV+ for some more improvised tasks. I have used it as an oven mitt to get hot food off of the fire. Although, I personally wouldn’t recommend it with this particular version of the Buff, as polyester will melt. I have also used it to wipe muddy paws before letting the Trail Doggo back in the car and as a rag for my running nose. Just make sure to throw it in the wash afterwards and you are good to go.
At $24 and at just 34g on my home scale Buff CoolNet UV+ is really just a catch all piece of gear. It has many uses and at such little cost in both money and weight there is really no reason not to have one in your pack. We have found the Buff to be a great piece of gear to provide a little extra sun protection or a little bit of warmth.
For this review we purchased two Buff CoolNet UV+ from our local REI store.
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