What do you call those stretchy cloth tubes which slip over your head and use to keep your neck warm or you slide up over the bottom part of your face to either keep it warm or to mask it from the sun? They are often called Buffs, but these days, it’s probably more proper to call them tubular headwear or neckwear.

The guy who invented these (Joan Rojas) called them Buffs – short for the Spanish word for scarf, bufanda. Rojas named his company Buff and now the Buff company makes many items besides the original “multifunction headwear” as the original buffs are now listed on their website.

Many people use the word, Kleenex, for any brand of facial tissue. Many companies produce similar “neck gaiters,” these days but many users just slip on their buff when the sun comes out – regardless if it’s actually a Buff brand tube or an off brand.

I started using neck gaiters – by Buff and other companies – a couple years ago for sun protection, but I found them more useful in my early season excursions on Lake Michigan as a “bufanda caliente” – warm scarf – than for sun protection. Now Buff makes a multifunction headgear, with warmth in mind.

Both the Lightweight and Midweight Merino Wool versions provide much better cold weather protection than the man-made fiber original buffs. Buff says it can be worn in ten different ways, including a hair band or hair tie for women. I use it mostly up on my face as a mask when I’m running my boat at speed and then I pull it down as a neck scarf when fishing.

Though it’s made from 100% Merino wool, they are thin and stretchy, like the original sun protection Buffs. I was concerned the wool model wouldn’t remain stretchy with use. That concern was unfounded, mine is as stretchy now as when it was new.

If you are unfamiliar with Merino wool, it comes from a special breed of sheep with wool noted for being soft and supple, not coarse and scratchy. Wool is the original and only natural fiber capable of wicking away moisture.

Both the Lightweight and Midweight Merino Wool multi-function headgear are available in many colors. See them all at: Buff products are available online at their website, at many other online suppliers as well as in retail outlets.


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