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Buff Bandanas


Buff Bandana

One of the most versatile pieces of gear I’ve tried this year are Buff Bandanas. They make excellent hats, headbands, scarves, potholders, bug masks, and so on.

A buff is a tube of polyester fabric. If you slip it over your head, it will form a hat that will keep you warm or keep the sun off of your head. You can roll it up and also make it into a head band to keep the sweat out of your eyes.

One variation I used this year was as a bug mask at night when the black flies were biting. I sprayed permethrin, a contact insecticide, on my buff that kills flying insects by short circuiting their nervous systems. When the bugs would come out in the evening, I would put my buff on so that it covered my entire face, head, and neck except for a small slit where my glasses could see out.

When I went to sleep, I’d wear my buff as a tube covering my face and head to keep the bugs off me at night when I didn’t have a head net. It was a little odd, but it worked pretty well in the absence of a bug net. Buffs are made from Coolmax polyester which is thick enough to keep the bugs from biting through, but cool enough to breath through.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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  1. great post

    not sure about the DEET considering the damage it can do to clothing and gear. Wouldn't a non DEET based one be a better recommendation?

  2. Great point, although it turns out that I hardly used any DEET this year anyway after spraying permethrin on my clothes. I've had one bug bite despite hiking 400+ miles so far this year.

  3. thanks for the post. great idea never seen this before. Is it one single piece of material or just a normal bandanna?

  4. It's just a single piece of material in a tube shape that's got some stretch to it. I use mine as a hat and a pot holder.

  5. I live for my buff. I've recommended them to a dozen or so people, pretty much all of which now claim that if they could only bring one piece of kit with them, anywhere, it'd be their buff. A few people scoffed and vowed that it was wasted space/weight and that they'd never need a tube of polyester… but they later admitted their folly. Seriously, everyone: buy a buff. Facecloth, pot holder, bug mask, sleeping hat, headband, hair elastic (longer hair), pirate sexiness, towel, my friend uses hers to keep an icepack on her neck, in one case of desperation, I used two of mine as upper leg warmers under a skirt, hahaha… anyway, they're amazing.

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