Forum Index » GEAR » Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer?


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just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 20:31:44 MST Print View

I've not used a buff before, but i came back today from an overnighter, and used a thin Terramar Merino wool balaclava as i was hiking in temps that started out around 10*F and warmed up to about 15* this morning. (though i don't think my cheap, crappy thermometer is fully accurate).

For the most part, i like the merino balaclava, but wished it dried a bit faster, and being mostly wool and being quite thin, i know it's just a matter of time before it starts to come apart.

So was thinking of alternatives. Rab MeCo balaclava looks very promising, but a bit expensive. Patagonia's Cap 4 balaclava with polygiene treatment looks really nice, but everyone seems to be out of stock and anyways it's also a bit pricey.

I have some cheap synthetic balaclavas, but being untreated, they stink fairly fast (soaking them with a bit of Borax seems to help this temporarily a bit).

Doing some browsing, i found some micropolyester buffs on ebay that have polygiene treatment, which should deal with the stink issue just fine. The awesome thing, is that a lot of them are only like 14 dollars with free shipping too boot. Problem with a buff, is i can't have it over both my mouth/nose and on my head at the same time like a balaclava--in that sense i like the latter more.

I suppose i could combine a light, thin hat or hoody with the buff and have the more full protection. Anyways, for those who have used buffs, how do you like them and what do you prefer, buff or balaclava?

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 20:35:06 MST Print View

Now that i'm thinking about it, might there be a way to pull part of the buff over the top of the head, while having the other part lower and below your eyes?

Ian Van Halen
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 20:39:17 MST Print View

At 10* I prefer my balaclava because it provides more insulation (I believe it's made of polartec). I've never had problems with it moisture wise. I'd probably could get by with my buff at that temperature but it wouldn't be my first preference. I've had a couple synthetic shirts which start to smell like roadkill fairly quickly but I haven't encountered that with the balaclavas I've owned over the years.

I also like combining a synthetic neck gaiter and watch cap sometimes.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 20:45:29 MST Print View

Tanks for the feedback. I must have Komodo dragon breath or something, because after constantly breathing in and out of same, the untreated synthetic ones do start to get a bit funky even on the short trips for me. Plus when it's more severely cold my nose tends to run a lot more than average and while that doesn't necessarily smell, for my psychological piece of mind at least, i like the idea of silver ions zapping whatever grossness is in same... lol.

Btw, hope you had a great time at the GGG. Bit jealous to tell the truth.

Ian Van Halen
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 20:54:41 MST Print View

Often times I wear it with goggles. When I breathe through the balaclava, it seems to make the google fogging worse so I've learned to avoid it.

GGG was splendid and well worth the trip. Hope your east coast one is a success. The gear was cool but the people are what make it awesome.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 01/29/2014 20:55:33 MST.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 21:02:08 MST Print View

Good to hear! Not to say the folks that are going to the East coast GGG aren't awesome and all, but being so new, and not having the numbers of the west coast, i joke with myself that our motto could be, "it won't be as cool, but at least it's a hellava lot closer to you!" Quite catchy no? ;)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 21:17:23 MST Print View

I use my buff as a balaclava, it's just really thin. Maybe you should consider the buff for hiking and a balaclava over the buff for extra cold or stationary... a 2 piece system... if it's actually cold enough for that.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 21:20:23 MST Print View

"Problem with a buff, is i can't have it over both my mouth/nose and on my head at the same time like a balaclava--in that sense i like the latter more."

You can pull it up partway over your head and cover the rest with a beanie.
a
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Edited by justin_baker on 01/29/2014 21:21:00 MST.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 21:20:33 MST Print View

I like to cut a UV buff in half. One part is a headband, one is a neck gaiter and face mask. Add another thin hat and windshirt hood as necessary. Every balaclava I've owned has been too warm unless it's below 0 and blowing like mad.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 21:26:22 MST Print View

Peruvian Ninja Justin B.!




Nice tips Justin and Dave, thanks. Dave, i've had that issue with all of them except the Terramar one. It's quite thin. I also just shaved my head, which certainly helps to keep one cool.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 01/29/2014 21:29:03 MST.

Ito Jakuchu
(jakuchu) - MLife

Locale: Japan
Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 21:33:44 MST Print View

I think buffs are very nice multipurpose items. I sometimes fold a buff as a balaclava but find a dedicated one a bit more comfortable. In cold weather especially though I vastly prefer a thin but good breathing balaclava - just because the fit is better for me and therefore provides more warmth/seals wind better in the places I want it to.
Mine is made of polartec power dry, thickness like the cap 4 is. I combine it with my wind shirt hood, wearing them both, or only the hood or the balaclava. This takes me to really cold, and up to quite warm temps again. When I go fast I still often wet it, but it feels fine because no cold wind enters. Worth the money for me.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/29/2014 22:08:46 MST Print View

Ito Jakuchu, thank you for the feedback. I would love a Cap 4/P.P.D.H.E. type balaclava provided it's got polygiene treatment. Patagonia makes one, but everyone seems to be sold out.

Know of any other brands that make similar?

William F
(wkf) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/30/2014 00:17:23 MST Print View

I got the OR Lumen balaclava a few weeks ago and have been liking it for bike commuting. http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/lumen-balaclava.html

It's a merino 36%/polyester 64% blend, but honestly I haven't had the chance to stink it up to see whether the blend is adequate for odor control. It dries fast.

Edited by wkf on 01/30/2014 00:19:05 MST.

Jeremy B.
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/30/2014 00:30:54 MST Print View

I picked up a Seirus Combo-Clava some time back. My nose also runs in the cold, and between that and the condensation from breathing I wanted something that wasn't directly on my mouth. It is, unfortunately, a bit warm for anything but the coldest temps.

Here is how you use a buff for both head and face:
Buff in full-coverage mode

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
A BUFF?? on 01/30/2014 00:58:35 MST Print View

What the he!! is a "buff"??

I have both balaclavas and NECK GAITERS. (Is THAT whet you are calling a buff?)

I like 'em both but prefer neck gaiters with my ski helmet and balaclavas for sleeping in winter conditions.

Ito Jakuchu
(jakuchu) - MLife

Locale: Japan
Re: Re: Re: Buff's vs Balaclava for cold temp hiking, which do you prefer? on 01/30/2014 01:15:37 MST Print View

I thought I'd seen a couple of them but mine is from Mountain Equipment (the UK brand, not the ccop) and it is the same thickness. Not sure it has polygiene treatment, or if it is a JP market item that is not available abroad. I can check bit later.

edit-
Mine is called Mountain Equipment Dry Perform Balaclava but I only get western links to ones made out of power stretch, so perhaps this is an item for the JP market. No mention of polygiene treatment either though.
http://tinyurl.com/mfpa6q4

You'd probably be better/cheaper off trying to look for that Cap 4 one, but If you would want to I could totally send you one (but they are not really cheap, and there is postage).

Good luck with the search.

Edited by jakuchu on 01/30/2014 04:30:55 MST.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
Balaclavas are one of my favorite pieces of gear on 01/30/2014 04:26:23 MST Print View

They might be the warmest item per ounce that I carry.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: A BUFF?? on 01/30/2014 07:26:32 MST Print View

"What the he!! is a "buff"??"

World is rapidly changing for us old people, hard to keep up : )

From wikipedia:

"Buff (English /ˈbʌf/, Catalan: [ˈbuf], Spanish: [ˈbuf]) is the registered trade mark for the multifunctional headwear produced by Original Buff S.A., a company based in Igualada, near Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain, since they were established in 1992.

Developed by Joan Rojas in 1991 for wind protection while motorcycling, the Buff headwear is a tube of microfibrous fabric that, with different arrangements, can be worn as a scarf, bandanna, headband, beanie, face mask, tube top, helmet liner, wristband, cap, pirate, Sahara style and other variations. The manufacturing process takes place on a specially developed tubular loom to make the finished garment seamless."

But you could just make one with fabric and put in a seam. Basically just a neck gaitor, except imaginitive people find different ways to wear them that can be more fashion than funtion.

Benjamin Meadors
(thebentern) - F

Locale: Central Arkansas
Buff / Baklava on 01/30/2014 07:42:31 MST Print View

Well, the shell material of the Baklava is made with phyllo dough which is very light. Whereas my buff is made with merino wool which is more insulative and less messy, but it is heavier... ;-)
All jokes aside. I have a cool-max UV buff that is great for keeping the sun off of my neck, and I recently purchased the merino buff for winter usage. The merino buff is definitely more suited to the cold than the cool-max (obviously).
While, my polypro balaclava is super warm, it's not very versatile. I can overheat in that thing so easily in those in-between cold temps. I much prefer the versatility of a fleece/wool watch cap + the wool buff. I can regulate a lot easier in that setup, and I can stay almost as warm as I would have been with the 'clav (Can we call it that from now on? It's easier to say).

Edited by thebentern on 01/30/2014 07:43:54 MST.

Randy Cain
(bagboy) - MLife

Locale: Palmdale, CA
What's a BUFF?? on 01/30/2014 19:34:52 MST Print View

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewVEK-AElDY