Spending time on the hill on a wintry day like today you need to hunker down into your warm clothes to keep the elements at bay.  That is why in the first of our ’12 Gifts of Christmas’ where we will recommend our 12 best buys for the Adventurer in your life, we are showcasing The Buff.

Michael Goude from RockRiver Expeditions wearing a buff from the Galapagos Islands


This tube of thin, stretchy but warm material has come to be known as The Buff due to the strong branded presence of Buffwear, but there are other brands available.  The microfibre material wicks sweat (see the blog on layering to see why that is important), dries quickly and is wind resistant meaning that it’s uses are not confined to the winter, but it also earns it’s place in our kit bag in the warmer weather too.

Worn around the neck as shown here, it fills that annoying gap between the top of your tshirt and the bottom of your hat, and unlike a scarf it stays put.

However, it can be used for many other purposes.  If you look at the Buffwear website they have all manner of ways to wear it – balaclava, sweatband, bandana, beanie.  We also wear it around our wrist, twisted twice to make it fit, as a sweat band.

At night in the tent I shove the clothes I’ve taken off into a drybag, blow some air in and do it up to create a pillow.  By putting the buff over the drybag I’ve got a much softer and warmer pillow for my cheek to go up against – see, we do like some creature comforts!

They come in all colours and designs now – Michael is wearing his favourite one in this picture, given to him when he visited the Galapagos Islands last year.

You can get them made of fleece and merino wool too – but our favourite remains the microfibre for it’s versatility.

Easy to wash, quick to dry and lightweight they are perfect for hiking, camping, canoeing, motorbiking, running…the list goes on!

They usually retail from most outdoor shops at around £10 – £15 depending on the brand and design, making them the perfect gift or stocking filler.  Other materials can cost more.

Tell us how you use your buff in the comments – I’m sure there are some quirky and useful ideas that we’ve not yet discovered.

Find all of our gift recommendations here;
Day 1 – The Buff
Day 2 – The Lifeventure Thermal Mug
Day 3 – The Silva Expedition 4 Compass
Day 4 – The MSR Pocket Rocket Stove
Day 5 – The Alpkit MytiStax
Day 6 – The Satmap Active 12 GPS
Day 7 – Icebreaker Merino Tshirts
Day 8 – Leki Walking Poles
Day 9 – Alpkit Viper 2 Headtorch
Day 10 – Hats
Day 11 – Mountains
Day 12 – Ordnance Survey Maps

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