Question: How do you do a product review on a sleeve of stretchy fabric? Answer: You man up, pick a groovy pattern and hope your buddies don't see you at the futzing with headgear at the trailhead- These were my exact thoughts when I first learned that I would be charged with testing some headbands for the holiday issue of MBT. Turns out I was the winner in this product bid.
Fresh out of the box, the Buff headgear thingies have nice vivid colors on a thin breathable stretchy sleeve. I wanted to give my kids a laugh so I popped one over my head with plans of dancing around the family room like an idiot. Not so! As soon as I pulled the buff headgear over my melon I was instantly surprised by the degree of comfort. Clearly this wasn't some piece of fabric a dude and his grandmother put together in their garage; this was an honest to goodness piece of technology disguised as a simple skull sleeve.
Well, like any self-respecting journalist would do (not to suggest this group includes me of course), I grabbed up the ol iPad and headed to the bathroom... The bathroom mirror you sicko's! Don't pretend like you wouldn't be curious how you look in one too. Anyway, I did a quick search for the Buff products official site and was greeted with a nice, professional site with a ton of useful information on the product. It also turns out they offer more styles, colors and patterns than you would imagine.
Noticed that I keep calling it a headband thingy? That's because the Buff is surprisingly tricky to classify. While it does meet the definition of a headband, it's actually a lot more. This much was apparent when I discovered the website actually contains a "how to wear" section and headband style is near the bottom of the page. So far I have used it successfully as a helmet liner, gaiter and for sun protection on the back of my neck and have found that not only is the product comfortable, it lives up to claims that it effectively keeps the sun off your skin without smothering you. The standard units sent to me were a tad bit thin for polar use but according to the website they offer wool variants as well.
Hailing from Florida, products that flow air, absorb sweat and protect from sun exposure are always welcome. It's actually difficult to find a con when it comes to the Buff. I suppose the price may seem a little steep to some expecting flashy technology but the beauty of the Buff is that it offers complexity through simplicity. At around $20-$25 it's still pretty cheap for cycle gear that actually works as advertised. Excellent stocking stuffer for the cyclist on your list!
What: Buff Headbands
How much: About 20-25 bucks depending on style
Pros: Lightweight and stretchy, keeps the sun off, keeps you cool, absorbs sweat, awesome patterns and colors.
Cons: May be considered a bit pricy by some