As I grew up my parents always tried to protect me from the sun, in the early days in KZN this often amounted to a wet hankie knotted on the four corners to fit. Later I got my first hat and I was in my element. My first trips into the bush over 30 years ago involved me tucking a wet bandana under my cap to protect my neck.
I was averse to wearing the traditional “ boshoed” style hat having worn one for years in the military.
Then a while back saw the opening of specialist outfitters that sold clothing and a broad range of top-end technical clothing, shoes and equipment.
Most of these chains have significantly added outdoor equipment to their ranges as they fight to compete with specialist online stores.
One day I went to replace a few items and saw a massive display under the “Buff’ brand.
The product was a small line but the headgear was walking out of the shop. I did a bit of research and found out that it was a Spanish brand with a footprint that had finally brought it to South Africa. It looks rather simple as it is made from a stretch fabric that features UPF protection.
It is seamless so it’s tubular in construction. I was somewhat sceptical as it seemed to appeal to a much younger set who participated in adventure sports. A bit hardcore for me. Most of their products are manufactured in their factories using renewable energy and materials, making them committed to making a positive impact.
Then I looked around and realised it had a wide footprint and numerous users covering sports such as trail running, cycling, angling and even for everyday use. For the hardcore sports supporters they even do one in the colours of the South African Flag.
Branded Buffs are available but it is important to ensure that you get the genuine article. Also, understand that there are various usage configurations so do not dispose of the packaging.
The Original Buff can be worn in many different ways. It can be used as a hat, mask, hair band, scarf, wristband, pirate hat, neck warmer and balaclava. I relented and bought my first Buff once the hype was over. It proved to be useful in my camera bag as it allowed me to cover my camera in dusty conditions as well as wipe it if need be as the fabric is extremely soft.
Then you may ask yourself why buy a Buff?
Well, it offers year-round protection and has so many applications.
Great in the hot months they add SPF protection to your head and neck and the fabric has wicking properties. Useful in sweaty conditions.
To stay cool you can drench them in water until they are saturated.
In time you will find that less water is needed. To begin with, saturate the Buff and then wring it out.
It’s multifunctional and extremely comfortable, the following points are important.
- Use of high-quality materials
- Comfortable due to fabric stretch and seamless construction
- Washability ( frees and easy drying ) I have even used mine as a facecloth
Look for an original;
- Tubular shape
- Stretch material
- Bacteria resistant
- Quick drying
- Sustainability ( recycled fabrics )
- Sun protection
- Ability to keep dust out in windy dusty conditions
And yes our CEO and I used ours effectively when we were chasing the sunset sitting on the back of a bakkie, we needed to photograph “Quiver” trees and the Buffs offered excellent protection against the dust and cold. It’s a great item of kit that should always be with you. I have even used mine as a facecloth as I washed it. Be careful if it is dusty as you don’t want to scratch a lens under those conditions