The Gear Junkie Scoop: Wool Buff
By STEPHEN REGENOLD
Regular Gear Junkie readers know of my unabashed affinity toward the Buff, a hard-to-categorize hat that looks like a do-rag created for outdoorsy types. Made of a thin, stretchy, seamless fabric, a Buff hugs your head to wick sweat or keep the sun and wind at bay. It provides warmth in the winter and can be used to layer under a fleece hat to seal off your head while skiing, running or climbing.
I wear a Buff year-round, including in the coldest months in a balaclava configuration and in summer folded on my forehead as a sweat band. Indeed, the Buff has become one of those indispensable objects I rarely leave home without.
So it was with some interest that I noticed the news last month on the latest Buff style, the Wool Buff, which will incorporate a purportedly itch-less merino wool for its fabric base. Don’t get too excited. The Wool Buff, which will cost $27, will not be available until August.
But when it comes out, the Wool Buff promises a few upgrades over the company’s (http://www.buff.es) original models, which are made with synthetic fabrics. The Wool Buff, like any wool product, will keep you warm even if it gets wet, as wool doesn’t lose its insulating characteristics when it encounters water.
Further, wool is warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. It is water repellent, odor resistant, naturally stretchy, flameproof, durable, UV-light resistant, and antistatic (so your hair won’t stand straight up when you remove the hat).
Buff in action
Can you tell I’m excited? Buff Headwear boasts the above attributes to be forthcoming with the Wool Buff. And like its other products, the company touts 12 different ways you can style the do-rag on your head — from a neck gaiter to the humble beanie.
Update: Buff sent me a pre-sale Wool Buff to demo. The product is about 6 inches longer than the Original Buff, making it extra cozy when bunched up on your head or neck. The fabric is not silky smooth. Indeed, the wool had a noticeable texture when I first pulled the piece on. But on an eight-mile run on a 10-degree night — my Wool Buff’s maiden voyage — I never noticed an itch. It was warm and served as a solid neck gaiter that sealed out all hints of chill.