I heard you snicker. How may a humble neck tube encourage affection? I sneered too, as soon as.
In 2007, Backpacker journal requested me to check this new “multifunctional headwear” out of Barcelona, Spain, that had began displaying up in U.S. shops. Again then, I assumed the Buff neck/head/no matter gaiter (herewith referred to easily as a Buff) was an affordable gimmick—it didn’t even have correct seams to complete the ends. It was only a rough-cut tube of light-weight artificial knit cloth, nevertheless it promised to do all the pieces in need of cooking me dinner: Buff was a neck gaiter, a hair tie, a brimmed hat, even a wrist sweatband. It appeared like a variety of hype for slightly scrap of fabric.
And but, the primary time I wore my new Buff, whereas snowboarding, I seen how simply I may breathe via the skinny cloth. This was an enormous enchancment over the thick and fleecy neck-warmers that stifled my air consumption once I pulled them over my cheeks and nostril. It turned out that by utilizing the marvelously ethereal and adaptable Buff, I may defend my pores and skin from frostbite and get pleasure from oxygen on the similar time. Wow!
Wherever I wore it, my Buff delivered just-right safety from the chilly, wind and solar. Throughout spring ski excursions, when intense UV rays assaulted me from above and beneath, my Buff shielded my face higher than sunscreen and ended my unlucky behavior of burning my columella. (Google it.) Come summer season, I wore my Buff paddling, fly-fishing, biking and backpacking (it obligingly saved my pack straps from chafing my neck and shoulders).
After I not need its protection round my face and neck, I merely wrap my Buff round my wrist—no have to discover a pocket or stash it in a backpack. I’ve used it to display screen pine needles and different particles out of backcountry water sources. Tying my Buff round my good friend’s injured arm helped gauze keep put whereas she biked residence after a bloody fall. One perform that undoubtedly wasn’t promoted on Buff’s packaging: A ski buddy discovered that he may sip whiskey from his flask with out bothering to decrease his Buff from his mouth.
In 2009, I purchased an oatmeal-colored merino wool Buff (that really has completed hems on the ends!)—and I haven’t cycled it out of my gear closet but. It’s turn out to be my favourite accent for high-elevation exploration: The pale shade deflects the solar’s scorching warmth whereas the wool regulates my temperature throughout all the mountains’ local weather moods. This Buff has cinched my cap to my head in gusty Patagonia and warmed my ears all through my yard (aka Park Vary) in northwest Colorado. It’s in all probability the oldest piece of substances that I nonetheless use, which makes it one thing of a landmark; if my gear closet was a city, my Buff can be its oldest regularly working saloon.
Buff itself has additionally turn out to be an icon. In 2022, the corporate turned 30 years previous, and the neck tube that dirt-biker Joan Rojas invented to defend his face from mud had turn out to be a mainstay of the outside world. Imitators abound.
Buff, in the meantime, is bent on differentiating itself via sustainability. The corporate simply earned B Corp certification and is aiming for carbon-neutral standing for its in-house operations, positioned close to Barcelona, Spain, which account for about 90 % of its manufacturing. And after a few years of utilizing recycled postconsumer synthetics and cruelty-free merino wool, it simply launched biodegradable Buffs made from PrimaLoft® Bio, an artificial fleece that goals to deal with the issue of PFAS (often known as “without end plastics”) with a make-up that decomposes again into supplies which can be present in nature.
Whereas these practices and supplies make Buff merchandise dearer than many copycats, they purpose for higher, not cheaper. It could be fairly formidable for a easy neck tube, however that’s at all times been the model’s M.O. As I found again in 2007, Buff talks an enormous recreation—and delivers.