If you’re not familiar with the concept of the Buff, then you’re missing out on what is a supremely useful and versatile piece of kit. Named by the manufacturer as ‘Multi-Function Headwear’ the original Buff is essentially a lightweight seamless microfibre tube that can be used as a throat warmer, bandana, beanie, or any other variation you can come up with.
The Wool Buff is a new member of the rapidly expanding stable of Buffs, and is remarkably similar to the original except for a few differences.
First off, it’s made from 100% merino wool rather than microfibre. Merino is far less scratchy to wear than normal wool, having much finer fibres, yet it shares wool’s ability to retain heat even when wet and is great at maintaining a comfortable temperature. The main bonus of merino, however, for most active users, is its ability to resist odours. With natural anti-microbial properties, merino doesn’t smell bad even if you wear it constantly for weeks at a time without washing it, so it’s great for long tours or just for those of us who forget to take it out of a pocket, bag or pannier.
The other main difference, and one which I’m not so sure about, is the length of the merino version. It’s much longer than the original and as such is quite a generous amount of fabric to have coiled around your neck if you’re using it as a scarf. The additional length does make it better for use as a beanie or balaclava though. This extra length, and the merino fabric mean this is best suited to colder conditions.
In use it’s cosy and comfortable for long periods of time, keeping drafts out nicely, and it doesn’t take up much space or weight while making a big difference in temperature.
Not only is this a handy extra for cyclists, but is also just as useful to walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts, making it a great gift idea. If the worst came to the worst, you could even use it in a first aid scenario, it’s that versatile.
Comes in eight plain colours.
The Merino Buff feels luxurious, weighs little and will probably last for years if cared for properly. It warms you up nicely and won't smell if you forget to wash it for a while.
It's a versatile and useful piece of kit to take along on any ride. Best suited to the cold.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Buff Merino
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The manufacturer market this as 'multi-function headwear'.
This description is spot on. The only limit to what you can use a Buff for is your imagination and ingenuity.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% merino wool
Wool retains its heat even when damp.
Merino is also non- itchy, pleasant to wear and has natural anti-microbial properties that mean no matter how often you wear it or how much you sweat into it, it'll stay pretty much odour free.
If it finally does get a bit whiffy it's washable in non-bio at 30.
One of the best things about the original microfibre Buff is its seam-free nature. Like other Buffs the Wool Buff doesn't have a seam running through it although it does have a soft flat locked hem top and bottom due to the nature of the fabric, but that doesn't chafe or irritate unduly. other than top and bottom it's still seam-free.
Best for cold weather.
Provided you don't wash it too hot, it'll just keep on going, and won't smell either.
No reason not to take it with you.
Comfortable for cold weather use.
Quite expensive for what it is, but its all round usefulness and versatility, together with the quality and durability of the merino mean it's worth the investment.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great performance- warm and comfortable in use, even when wet or damp. Versatile.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Wearability and comfort of merino fabric.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Maybe a touch too long for quite the same level of versatility as the original Buff.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Definitely- especially for presents
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Would have preferred it to be just a little shorter.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.