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Buff-tastic adventures

How can something so simple be so versatile? Maybe there are life lessons to be learnt from the simple Buff. But, before I start getting into a bizarre parody about how life should be more like a Buff, here’s a review on one in the new winter range.

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Using the golden fleece of the lesser New Zealand merino sheep as a fabric for outdoor clothing has been in vogue for a while now. OK, they’re not really golden, but you might think it with some of the prices involved. The material is soft, has a high insulating to weight advantage and miracle qualities when it comes to eliminating nasty sweaty smells.

I’ve been trying out Buff Wear’s reversible wool neckwarmer Buff. It’s been from Peru to the French and Swiss Alps, to the summit of Kilimanjaro and has done a great job. I’d go as far to say that I love it (obviously, in a completely British understated way).

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This British-ness was never employed so much as on the Kuffner Arête, a ridge in the shadow of Mont Blanc, this summer. Tweaking an old ankle injury whilst clambering onto the precarious Col du Fourche shelter it was soon apparent that I couldn’t walk as far as the hut door due to the shooting pains from my ankle up my leg. Not wanting to inconvenience my climbing partner I mumbled that something about it being fine in the morning. At the ungodly hour of 2am I donned my buff, tied my boot up especially tight and headed out onto the classic knife-edge snow ridge which denotes the French/Italian border for the 800m climb to the summit of Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc’s easterly neighbour. The weather was perfect, I’d put the ankle pain into the ‘deal with after beer’ part of my brain and the climbing was pleasantly uncomplicated. After 14 hours of ‘wake to summit to beer’, my ankle appeared cured and proved to be a great start to my 3 week trip in the Alps.

Unlike my unreliable body my Buff didn’t let me down. On the trip to the Alps I noticed how soft the wool neckwarmer Buff is, far softer than the standard wool Buff (not sure why but it is). It was my back-up hat, hair band (where it is comfortable to wear underneath a helmet), it was used to wipe sweat out my eyes/dirt off my face/food from around my mouth and, obviously, kept my neck, snug and warm.

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The Kuffner Arete was play, a month later I was flying out to Tanzania to lead a group up Kilimanjaro for work. On any trip I am never parted with my Buff, especially on a flight. As soon as I need to sleep the Buff, handily around my neck, is pulled up over my eyes and, instant blissful sleep, or as blissful as upright economy class sleep can be. The Buff made it to the ‘roof of Africa’, along with myself and the rest of the team; a 100% summit success rate.

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On Kilimanjaro it became apparent that white clothing is to be avoided on long multi-day expeditions, especially those walking through dusty African volcanic ash. The snowy white side of my grey/white reversible wool neckwarmer Buff did not fair well and soon resembled the colour of my expedition finger nails. The Buff’s only salvation was its reversible nature and the converse colour being dark grey.

My inability to stay clean and attract dirt aside, the reversible wool neckwarmer Buff is ace. My favourite buff to date, and soon to be accompanying me back to the Alps this winter. A great stocking filler for Christmas, especially for those difficult to buy for men in your lives (boyfriend/Dad/brother); surely better than socks? And let’s face it, presents we can ‘borrow’ are always the best ones.

Check out http://www.buffwear.co.uk/buff-headwear/Neckwarmer-Wool-Buff to get your own!



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