"You hike in a Buff?" said a voice that wandered out of a booth near the back of the Pavilion at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. Just as we turned to comment that no, we actually prefer to hike in shorts, thank you, we came face-to-face with the fabric reincarnation of the Ginsu knife, complete with a high-energy demonstration that left us bedazzled and breathless.
In less than time than we could manage to mutter "Holy Popeil Pocket Fisherman Batman," we witnessed the Buff turning into a scarf, a bandanna hat, a headband, a scrunchie, a balaclava, an Alice band, a beanie, a cravat, a wristband, a facemask, and a neck gaitor. Does it do windows?
So what the heck is a Buff you ask? It is a thin, seamless, 20-inch-long tube of soft, stretchable, polyester microfiber that boasts wind-resistant, breathable, and wicking properties, and comes in a wide variety of nifty patterns and colors, including the Survivor motif for all of you who want to don a Buff to be in the spirit while watching the start of the third season this week from the safety of your couch. (We always wondered how the Survivor folks kept those scarves on their heads.)
The SNEWS team received several Buffs to test over the last couple of months and, we have to admit, we are duly impressed with this tiny piece of fabric. Impressed enough to have retired all of our threadbare bandannas and stretched-out terry cloth sweatbands from years past except for the occasional use as a washable Kleenex or wristband -- no way we're blowing our noses in a Buff! In fact, the Buff has become Team SNEWS' official headwear for any and all outdoor adventures.
Oh, and while the Buff folks informed us that a Buff will support up to 150 kg in weight (that's more than 300 pounds for you metrically challenged folk), SNEWS team members declined to dangle over a cliff to test the veracity of that claim.
SNEWS Rating: 5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection.)
Suggested Retail: $19.95