The 1.5 ounce Visor Buff Evo-2 cap is made of Coolmax Extreme fabric with a neoprene bill, is reversible, and provides 98% UV protection. The cap is claimed to be one of the most versatile pieces of performance headwear for the outdoor athlete. We aren’t outdoor athletes, but we gave the caps a go for hot and cool weather backpacking.
The Visor Buff is cleverly made of two layers of Coolmax Extreme fabric, so it’s reversible with a different pattern on each side as our photos show. We had a hard time deciding for ourselves whether the cap is funky or cool, so we will let you decide that for yourself.
We tested the Visor Buff Evo-2 cap with the “Decode” pattern on Will’s cap and the “Uphill” pattern on Janet’s cap. The cap is reversible, so Will’s is green on one side and yellow on the other, and Janet’s is dark blue on one side and mostly while on the other.
Coolmax Extreme is a four-channel fiber that looks like four tubes fused together. It is claimed to pull moisture away from the skin, dry faster, and thermo-regulate faster than any other fabric. That’s a lot of claims. In practice we found that the color of the cap seemed to have a bigger influence on its comfort level than all that fabric technology. Simply put, when we wore the light colored side of the cap out, it was cooler to wear in the sun compared to wearing the dark colored side out. In hot weather (80+ °F), Will had sweat rolling down his forehead. For hot weather, we would definitely recommend getting this cap in white, and the only near-white color currently available is the reverse side of the “Uphill” pattern.
The bill is made of lightweight neoprene foam. For its small size it actually provides good shading of the face and reduces glare. It’s also very compressible, so the hat can easily be stuffed into a pant or pack pocket. One interesting anomaly about the neoprene bill is it produced a distinct rubber smell when we hiked in intense sunlight and 80+ °F temperatures.
At cooler temperatures (40-70 °F), we found the Visor Buff to be quite comfortable to wear as a hiking cap. The fabric has good lateral stretch, so it expanded to fit our heads very well without feeling tight. In windy weather, the cap stayed on, and it was easy to layer a stretch cap over it.
For hiking in moderate temperatures, we really liked the cap’s thermo-regulation, and found it quite comfortable to wear on long uphill grades while carrying a backpack. It also handled a light shower fairly well while hiking; apparently our heads generated enough heat to drive off the moisture.
The cap’s 98% ultraviolet protection is a plus, but of course that is only for the area covered. One main disadvantage of wearing a billed cap for hiking is that your ears and neck are fully exposed, so it’s important to slather those areas with sunscreen.
Overall, the Visor Buff Evo-2 tended to grow on us. It’s very lightweight, versatile, and compressible. Our preference would be a light color for the strong Southwest sunlight we frequently hike in, but of course a darker color would be better in northern climates. A useful option would be to offer the cap with a really lightweight detachable skirt. Now that would be really funky!
Specifications and Features
- Manufacturer: Original Buff (www.buff.us)
- Product: Visor Buff Evo-2 hat
- Fabric: Coolmax Extreme polyester microfiber, neoprene bill
- Weight: 1.5 oz (43 g)
- Sizes: One size fits most
- Features: Coolmax Extreme fabric, glare-shielding black neoprene bill, reversible with a different pattern on each side, 98% UV protection
- MSRP: $26