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Gear review: Buff Headwear

I set off on my daily cycle last week in sub-zero weather and as my ears froze solid I realised exactly what I needed but had forgotten: my merino Buff. It is moments like this where you really appreciate the value of high quality equipment, and since then it has been with me every day. That surely has to be the highest recommendation possible for any gear – missing it when you forget it.

We have been testing out three different Buffs over the last few weeks, a patterned black merino one for me, a funky one for our son complete with deer, wolves and other animals, and a beautiful multi-colour one for Stacey, with great purple and green colours.

An Outdoors Family - Buff headwear review
Great in the snow!


We have all tested them in a range of conditions, from still autumn days, where the make great lightweight hats, to heavy snow where we have loved them as scarfs and to bitterly conditions with snow grains driven by a freezing wind, where the ability to disappear inside them has been invaluable.

Cheeky monkey modelling Stacey's
Cheeky monkey modelling Stacey’s


We have found the Buffs not only a fun item, but a functional bit of headwear too, which we have used when walking, sledging, playing in the park, on the beach, flying kites and wildlife spotting.

The Buffs are such a simple design, being a tube of fabric, but this gives them great flexibility, allowing them to be doubled up into a hat, slipped over your head and used as a scarf or all manner of other options. Stacey really appreciates the ability to put it over her wrist and pretty much forget it is there until you need it. This is so helpful with children, as you have it immediately accessible if your child needs a bit more protection, without the need to grind to a halt and dig around in a bag for the extra layer. Great for quick changes in conditions!

An Outdoors Family - Buff headwear review
Great in snow for adding an extra bit of much needed protection


There are so many ways that you can use Buffs that we have only scratched the surface so far, but we have definitely found several uses that work well for us. For more ideas of ways to wear Buffs (many more than we have found so far!) check out this video (

Trying out the various styles on Ben Lawers, where apparently it's not the place to "pretend to be a pirate!"
Trying out the various styles on Ben Lawers, where apparently it’s not the place to “pretend to be a pirate!”


Another useful feature of the Buffs is how quick drying they are. This means you can use them as an impromptu towel or simply get them disgustingly sweaty whilst climbing uphill as I did on a recent ski-tour, take them off for a few minutes and they will be dry and useable again before you know it. The merino wool one is particularly good for this, as merino is well known for holding smells much less than many other fabrics.

An Outdoors Family - Buff headwear review
At the end of a long ski-touring day. The Buffs have quickly made it in to our ‘must have gear’


It’s rare for us to write reviews that haven’t got any bad points. We usually find something to pick apart with gear but these, we can recommend. The Buffs will be making it into our essential walking and backpacking kit because of their flexibility and the ability to use them as lightweight thin hats which would be ideal for sleeping in in cold conditions amongst many other uses.

They’re relatively inexpensive ranging from around £13 for the original design ones to around £22 for the merino wool version at assorted online retailers. They have a huge range of designs and even have ones for your pet dogs! We reckon they’d make a great stocking filler or present for any outdoor enthusiast, regardless of activity.


Disclaimer: Buff kindly provided these items from their range for us to review. No money has been paid to us and all opinions are our own.


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