Merino Wool Buff


A better Buff

The previously reviewed Buff has been been a standard part of my clothing for many years. I live in Germany usually commute by bicycle and love to hike. It keeps me warm, protects me from insects, is used as a sweatband, or, on hikes, even doubles as a towel. In winter, I also use the warmer Polar Buff. I usually wear the buff as a scarf; when cold, I fold it like a balaclava or wear it as face cover in combination with a cap. It also can be worn under a protective helmet. And last year, I upgraded to an even better product: the Wool Buff made from merino wool.

The wool version is a bit longer, some 12 g (on my kitchen scale) heavier, and a bit bulkier than the standard Buff. It also feels softer and even more flexible than the microfiber version, easily allowing to fold it into several layers and adjust it  to ones neck, face or the whole head. The fine merino wool doesn’t itch like some wools. It also has a superior dampness control; wool absorbs a fair bit of moisture and still feels warm and dry, but still dries quickly. This is very apparent when the Buff is used as a face mask in cold weather. However, the Wool Buff does not keep as warm as the Polar Buff, which is a combination of microfiber and fleece fabric.

The biggest benefit for me is the odor resistance of wool. The plastic version becomes stinky after some time, but I have worn the merino Buff daily for many days without smelling the need to wash it. Care is easy, I can machine wash it with the delicates program, preferably with a natural wool detergent. Although very fine, the cloth has been resistant so far, except for a tiny hole caused by snagging it with a zipper – though this has not caused any running.

-- --Martin Liebermann 04/28/11

(Note: We love hearing about better versions of previously reviewed products, especially something like the Buff which was the very first tool reviewed on Cool Tools! --OH — editors)