a hammock on a beach

The Versatile World of the Buff

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We all have shopping lists, right? I’m talking about that list titled “Buy sometime soon” list. Why is it then that for some items “sometime soon” can become years :) That’s where my story of me and my Buff begins. The first time I saw someone wearing a Buff I knew I had to get one. That, however, was so long ago I can’t even recall the year. Every time I saw anyone wearing a Buff I’d yell to them, “Great looking Buff.” And then I’d say to myself, “I gotta get a Buff, too!” Yes, I’m weird, I get that! Finally, on a bitter cold night, December 24th, 2015, in Vancouver, B.C. I bought a Buff. Well I didn’t exactly buy it, Alaska Airlines bought it for me, but that’s another story entirely. The result was the same, though. I finally joined the Buff club and I absolutely love my Buff!

a close up of a spool of grey fabric

I know what you’re thinking. A buff is just a tube of fabric, wool in this case. I get it. This simple piece of fabric is just so versatile and practical, I’m embarrassed by how long it took me to finally get one. I primarily use it as a hat, a function it’s perfect for, or sometimes as a neck warmer. I’ve also used it as a pillowcase, a balaclava for skiing, a towel, and a placemat on which to make tea. Sometimes you’re just glad to have a decent-sized tube of wool.

A Buff: Why I Travel With One

It’s definitely one of my favorite and most used pieces of my travel essentials. My buff is my incredible multi-use friend. I always have one with me. Once you start using one you’ll quickly find uses for it that both I, and probably even those who created the Buff, never thought of! In my opinion it’s more useful and durable than a bandana. When you’re with other Buff fans it’s fun to find 100 different uses for it.

I reached out to some friends who are Buff fans to see how they were using their Buffs.

One friend told me they’re useful in three particular situations:

  • Because they are thin, they can be worn like a hat under a bicycle helmet for extra warmth in the winter.
  • Worn around the neck it provides a comfortable scarf that helps seal any gaps around his jacket collar.
  • In summer, he dips it in a stream or river and wears it around his neck to help keep cool.

Another friend sent me his favorite things about the Buff.  The primary advantage of the buff is the versatility of it over a standard scarf or hat. In addition to all its wearable uses it can also be used as:

  • Eye Mask
  • Facecloth
  • Microtowel
  • Face mask when travelling, snowboarding, or in the desert
  • Self-securing bandage/pressure pad

All of which can be achieved without the need of a sling, complex knot, or additional tying aid. And it’s reversible, too.  Can you tell that my friend was a boy scout when he was younger?

Here are some Buff uses I’ve learned about from friends or that I use myself:

  • Dust Protection. Cover your face on motorbikes or other open air vehicles.
  • Sun Protection. Great for when you’re stranded in heat without shade.
  • Towel. Small, lightweight, fast drying, but thick enough to get the job done.
  • Ground Cloth. Keep your butt clean & dry when sitting on the ground.
  • Warmth. Wrap it around your neck as a scarf to keep warm.
  • Bag. Put stuff in the middle, tie corners together. Instant hobo sack. Or instant pillow.
  • Sweat Rag. Great for hiking, running, or other sweaty activities.
  • Arm Sling. Sprain a wrist or break an arm? Temporary immobilization.
  • Emergency Bandage. Help stop bleeding and protect the wound.
  • Weapon. Twist a few rocks up in the middle. Swing away. Instant self-defense tool (which I hope never to have to use)!
  • Concealment. Can be used to hide gear/tech in questionable neighborhoods.
  • Water Filter. Fold multiple times and filter debris out of water before boiling.
  • Pot Holder. Take that boiling water you just filtered off the fire.
  • Keeping Cool. Soak in cold water and wrap around your neck.
  • Signal Flag. Large enough to wave and get someone’s attention.
  • Eye Mask. Sleep during the day, or anyplace where lights are on.

When I book award tickets for my travels, I always leave that part to Juicy Miles!

These are only a few of the Buff’s many uses. This simple piece of fabric is just so versatile and practical! So if you don’t have one yet because you’re worried about what people will think when they see you using yours, get over it, get one, and find out what you’ve been missing.

This is my favorite fun Buff video for you to watch!

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