I was in a place called Hamilton, one of the first major stop on my New Zealand bike ride. It was one to remember as this was the place I rode into at about 9pm and couldn’t find anywhere to pitch my tent so ended up on a small mound of grass and dirt in a supermarket parking lot, but that’s a story for another time. After a questionable night’s sleep, I went for a walk around the town centre and popped into an outdoor shop called Kathmandu. It was similar to the UK’s Blacks or Cotswolds Outdoors. There were a few things I needed, namely, new bike gloves as mine had shred to pieces after 3 days, a headband for the sweat and an eyemask as the morning sun was killing my hope for a much needed lie-in.
Walking around I saw a section with some headbands and these things called Buffs. I remember seeing these years ago and laughing at how ridiculous they sounded let alone the ridiculous people that must wear them. But thinking about it, and trying on the Kathmandu own brand version, I could see how this could actually fix 2 of the issues I was having, a headband and an eyemask. Given that one would perhaps get a bit sweaty to wear over my eyes, their “Buy One Get One Free” offer fixed that issue.
Why did I think they were silly? Because they were just bits of fabric. Not thick enough to be a scarf and not absorbent enough to be a headband. If I needed those things then I would get each one. Then I saw this and couldn’t really fault the logic:
Despite my initial opinion on them, 5 years on a I have had to eat my words as I have one of these with me all the time! The same one from that store. Although not the Buff brand, rather Kathmandu, I’m under no illusions that I was 100% wrong and am now a fanboy. Kathmandu don’t seem to do them anymore, at least not the UK store but the Buff brand is still going strong. It’s more the concept than the brand that wins me over but Buff being the original gets a little feature.
The fact is, these slinky, elastic, patterned bits of tube-shaped fabric are in more ways than one, an essential piece of travel gear. I have embraced the buff and wear it in many ways.
- face cover
- ventilation mask
- religious head cover
- eye mask
Looking at the current range, here are some of my favourites:
So next time you need something versatile and very lightweight for any of these reasons or perhaps some others, have a think about a Buff or similar and get it in your bag.