I stand by my statement that the BUFF is the most versatile piece of travel gear that you'll ever own and should be in everyone's backpack or suitcase. This is a full BUFF Headwear review to prove my case.
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Here's what we're covering:
I was first introduced to BUFF wear in 2000 with the premiere of a show you might've heard about, called Survivor. They seemed like interesting accessories but initially they seemed more like fun memorabilia for fans of the show.
A good friend of mine bought my first Survivor Buff in 2010 and that collection has only grown to include ones from additional seasons, the Polar Buff, and non-Survivor Buff Headgear.
BUFF Headwear Review
I swear by the original BUFF Headwear but why is that? Let's break down my affinity of this small little travel accessory with a full review of BUFF Headwear.
This is the number one reason why having BUFF Headwear in your travel kit is a no-brainer.
First of all, you can wear the BUFF in so many different ways so off the bat, just as a piece of headwear, you can manipulate it to whatever scenario you're in.
Out of the above ways you can wear it, I've personally found that having it as a wristband, neckerchief, and sahariane.
As a wristband, this makes sure the BUFF is always on you so you can transform it into something else when you need to. As a wristband, it's also great to wipe sweat off, similar to those tennis bands.
As a neckerchief or scarf, I've used it in colder temperatures to stay warm or to cover my neck from intense sun.
Lastly, the sahariane is a quick way to get sun protection when you don't have a hat with you. In intense heat, you can also soak it in water to keep you cool. It also gives some protection on your neck.
In a post-COVID world, BUFF Headwear is also a great mask as well. In the past, I've used it in extremely dusty and sandy environments while travelling.
Occasionally, I'll turn into a pirate too.
I've also been able to use BUFF Headwear in more non-traditional situations:
- Wipe off raindrops from your camera lens (the photo on the left shows me holding a BUFF, ready to wipe off water droplets)
- Wrap around your camera body and lens if it starts to rain just to give it some additional protection
- Wrap around any sort of tech gear that doesn't have its own bag inside a backpack for protection
- As a cloth, wiping down something in an emergency
Lastly, I'll mention that it's one size fits all so you don't need to worry about that and it's unisex as well! This is a true mandatory piece of gear that belongs in the minimalist travel packing tips.
Construction & Quality
Today, there are so many knock-off versions of BUFF Headwear but none are able to replicate its high level of quality.
What makes BUFF Headwear special is that it is a complete loop of fabric. There are no seams at all which is why it's so durable. Copies are easily spotted when you can find stitching to close the loop.
The tubular loom requires unique technology and BUFF Headwear is also able to maintain higher quality by constructing a majority of their BUFFs in Spain.
The material itself is a micro-polyester which has these important qualities:
- Quick to dry
- Offers heat retention
- 4 way stretch
- UPF 50+ protection
- Made from recycled plastic bottles
In feel, it's close to athletic quick-dry clothing but has more of a fabric quality to it as opposed to synthetic polyester.
You'll find that the BUFFs is extremely comfortable and much of that is because of the quality of the material but also how easily it stretches in all directions.
BUFF Headwear in Travel
So far we've talked about two of the important pieces that make BUFF Headwear so good but if we narrow it down to travel, why should you pick one up?
- Useable in all 4 seasons
- Extremely lightweight and packable
- Easy to wash and quick to dry especially with hand-washing technique.
- Will not rip, over-stretch, or create lint balls
- So many uses (as actual headwear or emergency uses)
All the different types of BUFF Headwear you can buy
BUFF has grown its collections over the years where you'll find that not only is there the Original but many other types.
Here's a breakdown of the different types of BUFF Headwear available.
- Original – The tried and true. As headwear or neckwear, this is the one to get if it's your first one or not sure what to buy. It's good for all 4 seasons and useful all around.
- Coolnet UV+ – For those wanting to use it in summer environments, this has more of a “cooling effect” that's designed to transfer sweat away from your skin and into the evaporative cooling fabric.
- Merino Wool – For colder climates, the merino material will help insulate more warmth although its categorized as “all season”.
- Thermonet – By using Primaloft, this provides warmth without the bulk of say wool.
- Polar Buff – I own this one and this is great for snow sports as it has a fleece layer on the bottom side of the tube.
- Reversible Polar – This is a double sided BUFF with the standard microfiber on one side and fleece on the other.
- DryFlx – Ultra lightweight neckwarmer for high intensity activities that can cover your whole head.
- Bandana – Created for the winter as well but has ventilation holes for your mouth to help with breathing.
- Balaclava – BUFF's take on the balaclava with full head protection and designed to fit under a helmet and goggles.
Where is the best place to buy Buff Headwear
BUFF Headwear is one of those things that you'll see randomly in sports stores and sometimes souvenir shops
The official BUFF store will always carry the most extensive collection and carry a good amount of stock. Their website is significantly improved and region specific now. The only problem is that free shipping only kicks in after $50 so it may not be worth it unless you're buying many items.
Your local sports retail store will often carry this. In Canada, you'll find them at Sportschek and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Another great place to look for BUFF Headwear is on of course Amazon. You can find the Original BUFF, Polar BUFF, Coolnet UV+, and Merino. The choices may be a bit more limited and you have to navigate around third-party sellers but you can easily bundle an order with your other everyday purchases to save on shipping.
Frequently Asked Questions
They range from $20-$30 USD.
Yes, you can.
The best all-purpose BUFF is still the Original BUFF Headwear. You can't go wrong and they have a ton of designs to choose from.
There are many brands that have copied BUFF and if you're not too picky on quality, I'd say all of the non-seam BUFFs are honestly not that bad. That said, if you want the best quality and benefit of customer service, you're better off paying $5-$10 more for the real deal.
Yes, BUFF Headwear offers a custom option but these are typically for large order and corporate projects.
I bring my BUFF Headwear everywhere I travel to. I've lost a few along the way and bought many more so you can tell how much I value them. If you don't have one, give it a shot and you'll understand why!