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 exhibiting 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 inexpensive 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, but it surely promised to do all the things wanting cooking me dinner: Buff was a neck gaiter, a hair tie, a brimmed hat, even a wrist sweatband. It appeared like a whole lot of hype for slightly scrap of fabric.
And but, the primary time I wore my new Buff, whereas snowboarding, I observed how simply I may breathe by 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 shield my pores and skin from frostbite and take pleasure in 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 time, I wore my Buff paddling, fly-fishing, biking and backpacking (it obligingly stored my pack straps from chafing my neck and shoulders).
After I now 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 pal’s injured arm helped gauze keep put whereas she biked dwelling 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 truly has completed hems on the ends!)—and I haven’t cycled it out of my gear closet but. It’s develop into my favourite accent for high-elevation exploration: The pale colour 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 most likely 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 could be its oldest frequently working saloon.
Buff itself has additionally develop into 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 develop into a mainstay of the out of doors world. Imitators abound.
Buff, in the meantime, is bent on differentiating itself by 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 p.c of its manufacturing. And after a few years of utilizing recycled postconsumer synthetics and cruelty-free merino wool, it simply launched biodegradable Buffs fabricated from PrimaLoft® Bio, an artificial fleece that goals to deal with the issue of PFAS (often known as “endlessly plastics”) with a make-up that decomposes again into supplies which can be present in nature.
Whereas these practices and supplies make Buff merchandise costlier than many copycats, they purpose for higher, not cheaper. It might be fairly bold 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.