Review: Windproof Neckwarmer BUFF

I recently received a Buff in the post to review, sent to me by KitShack. I’d never actually used one before but I liked the idea. If you’re not familiar with the Buff then, in it’s simplest form, it’s merely a versatile loop of fabric that can be worn in several ways, such as a scarf, a hat, or a face mask. Since the original Buff, they’ve brought out a whole range of items based on the original that specialise on certain areas. For example, there are reflective Buffs, insect repellent Buffs, neck warmer Buffs, the list goes on…

KitShack very kindly allowed me to choose an item from a selection to review. As I tend to be up on the hills a lot, dealing with some cold strong winds, I decided to give the AW16 Windproof Neckwarmer a go. Back in January, I completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks at night. On top of those hills, this was just the thing that was missing from my kit as I struggled against the icy winds blasting my face. It’s actually been a few weeks now since I received the product and so have actually been able to test it a couple of times. Once on a walk along the Shining Tor ridge in the South West Peak, and once more recently on a 10 hour walk around Kinder Scout in the Dark Peak. Luckily, both days turned out to be extremely windy.

Windproof Neckwarmer Buff
The Windproof Neckwarmer BUFF

First, the product specs. The following is taken directly from the KitShack website:

“The Windproof Neckwarmer BUFF is both warm and comfortable whilst being fully reversible. The microfibre panel enables the wearer to breathe normally when worn around the nose and mouth. Ideal for outdoor people who want to get out there whatever the conditions. All 9 designs available feature a printed Windstopper fabric. The fit has been improved for better adjustment with neck’s jacket featuring air cushion.

Neckwarmer BUFF is ideal for outdoor sports like trail running, downhill skiing, MTB and alpinism.

– Combining Gore Windstopper with 100% Polyester
– Measures 36.5cm x 25cm and weighs just 50g
– One Size fits most adults.
– Machine washable and non iron
– Polygiene treatment, (on the microfibre panels) your Windproof Neckwarmer BUFF will remain fresher for longer
– Certified to meet Oeko-Tex Standard 100
– Thermal Comfort – Cold”

…which you have to admit all sounds pretty impressive! I opened the parcel and took the Buff out of its packaging and, I have to admit, the first thought that entered my head was ‘what? is that it?’. It’s hard to get too excited about a loop of fabric. The Windproof Neckwarmer Buff is similar to the original Buff but smaller and stitched to another windproof piece of fabric that’s designed to sit around your neck and tuck underneath the collar of your jacket. The windproof neck section is patterned and there is a small selection of patterns to choose from on the website. I went for the one pictured higher up this page. The rest of the buff is designed so that it can easily be pulled up over the face to protect against a cold wind, and the stretchy material means that it stays in position.

Windproof Neckwarmer Buff
Demonstrating how to wear a Buff – and how not to wear a hat!

As I’ve already mentioned, I tested the Buff out on a relatively short walk up near Goyt Valley on the Shining Tor ridge, and then more recently on a long walk around Kinder Scouts edges – always guaranteed to be windy! The results were positive. The wind stopper fabric around the neck area did it’s job perfectly and I didn’t feel a single bit of cold. The only issue I had with this part of the Buff was that the bottom edges had a tendency to immediately curl upwards – something I couldn’t seem to stop. Ultimately though, this didn’t make much of a difference as it was still well below the collar of my jacket. The actual microfibre panel designed to shield the face appeared to work well. If anything it worked a little too well, with the heat from my breath warming the area up quickly. I had to take it off a few times to actually let my lower face cool down a bit! It served its purpose though and I have no doubt that it would succeed in protecting the face from strong, cold, biting winds on summits and plateaus. I just wish I had a good windproof hat to go with it instead of the cheap piece of tat I bought from a petrol station 10 years ago.

To conclude, this item would be a great lightweight addition to a walkers kit, especially to those that enjoy hillwalking and mountaineering during the winter months.

The AW16 Neckwarmer Windproof Buff can be purchased online from KitShack here

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