Gear Review : The Polar Buff


Gear review: winter buff

Introduction: the Ghost

It wasn’t until last week that I started to notice. I have a folder of photos on my laptop which scroll back to 2006 and I now realise that those photos are haunted. There is a ghost which creeps into my photos, it’s so subtle that I never saw it until I got an email last week. Let’s pick some of these photos and see if you can see it.

Here is a a very old picture of me, as you can probably tell from my Bambi legs. Kate Moss would envy them, I’m lankier than a baby giraffe. This photo was taken on the first day of the topper world championships (sailing) in France, it was one of my first adventures. I will never forget sailing out through the mouth of the harbour. The waves were bigger than my tiny boat and the start line was so far out to sea, the shore disappeared over the horizon. It was scary but exciting. It was a great day for me and one of the first appearances of the ghost.

Here we are on the summit of Mt. Sherman (14,000 ft). After getting up crazy early, we drove up into the Rocky mountains. We hiked for hours, past mountain goats and up into the ever thinning air. We ate lunch at the top and on the way back down we slid down through the patches of snow. My legs have filled out a little over the 10 years that have passed but there is at least 1 thing which hasn’t changed.

Here we are cruising through the North of Thailand on our motorbike, the “beige beast”. We travelled from Chaing Mai to Crazy Horse Buttress in search of some amazing climbs. We found them and much more, it was probably the best Christmas I’ve never had. Just in case you haven’t spotted the link yet, it’s my Scotland buff. The answer may be a disappointment to those expecting paranormal activity but I’m going to justify my definition of a ghost. Ghosts are things which remind you of a person or time past. Small memory bombs which bring things you’ve not thought of for years straight into the minds eye. What’s weird is I never kept this buff deliberately. I never held onto it for sentimental value only for its practical uses but looking back it’s been present on so many days that I will never forget.

Now I’ve made that connection, my Scotland buff is a ghost to me. One day Vivian and I ran in the Tiree ultra marathon as a relay team with my mum. I just realised that the buff was our baton, it made the 37 mile trip with us. That also reminds me… I should probably give it a wash. So what was that email the triggered all this? Well it was from the guys at KitShack. They asked if we would be interested in reviewing some of their new products and given the history, of course I agreed to try out some Buffs. It turns out buffs have developed from when I bought my Scotland buff, they got a lot more technologically advanced. They have new materials, new designs and new products so we thought we would give them a try.

Gear Review: winter Buff

Gear Review: The Winter Buff

Polar Buff

Vivian is always cold. She gets cold in a way that is a thermodynamic impossibility,  it’s like she is a gigantic heat sink. Naturally she picked the polar buff. It’s the same classic style of buff as I had (which I would say is the most versatile) but lined with a microfibre fleece. The microfibre fleece feels really good against the skin, it’s warm, smooth and it still lets the moisture out. The polar buff also uses Polygiene which is an anti-bacterial coating to stop the buff from getting smelly if you do sweat a lot. Polygiene is made from recycled silver so you don’t have to worry about damage to your skin or the environment.

Does it insulate?

We were running in St. Andrews and the wind was absolutely howling. My ears ached and throbbed with the cold but Vivian just flicked the buff down from her hair and over her ears. The technical fabric worked it’s magic so we have to say yes, it works perfectly. I think the red was a good choice too, some colours and designs can be a bit too much but this goes well with our outdoor kit.

Gear review: winter buff

Polar Hoodie Buff

I decided to try out one of the new generations of buff. You see I have a lovely Marmot down jacket. It’s warm, it’s compact, it’s great but there is one issue with it. Down jackets aren’t typically made with hoods. I think this is because you are expected to wear another layer if it’s raining but outdoor clothing designers have clearly never seen Scotch mist. Scotch mist is rain so fine that when it’s on, I don’t bother with a water proof layer. I avoid water proofs when I can, unlike Vivian I’m always too warm and they make me sweat. Buff do these hoods which fit into my downjacket so this seemed like the perfect solution.

I picked a colour which matched my downjacket and it blends really well. One side effect of my colour choice was that I got a buff design which made me look like a Russian ultra football hooligan but then again, it’s kinda bad ass. No one messes with me on my late night runs now. One quick comment on sizes, I got XXL because I listen to music when I run and I wanted my big headphones to fit under the hood. Big sizes are good if you’re going to wear a helmet but for those who just want a hood, go for a medium.

How does it work?

I tucked the hood into my jacket and started running. It was freezing (literally snow on the ground), so I kept my layers on for the warm up. The warm up turned out to be very short because I got so warm so fast. The collar kept the hood in place perfectly and once I was warm I just dropped the hood onto the back my neck, keeping the buff over my mouth and nose to help take the chill from the air I was breathing. As with the polar buff, the polar hoodie buff uses Polygene and does a great job at whipping the moisture away while keeping the heat in.

To sum up, we think the classic and hoodie polar buffs are a great idea. They’re perfect for all your outdoor winter time activities, can be used in many different ways and are stylish. We love them for skiing trips, long or casual hikes or even just a day out in Macclesfield. They’re our go-to accessory and carry the memories of our adventures with them. We bet you’ll love yours just as much, and who knows, maybe they’ll be become your own ghost of adventures past.

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