I was approached by KitShack, who asked if I’d like a Buff to review. You betcha. To make this review a bit more meaningful, I’m comparing the Buff provided by KitShack with a Peter Storm Chute I got cheap from Millets.
Design and production
The immediately obvious difference between the Buff and the Chute is size. The Chute is quite snug, which doesn’t make much of a difference when wearing it around the neck. Once I pull it up over my chin and mouth, however it starts getting tight. If I try to pull the tube up so that only my face peeps out (this is how I might wear it on a cold day under a raincoat), I can barely open my mouth. (NB: We met with a friend of ours last week who happened to have an original Buff. It seems to be only slightly bigger than the Chute - see below.)
That is the other thing to note is the feel of the two items. The woollen Buff is rougher than the polyester Chute against the skin. It was a tiny bit itchy on me to start with, but not enough to put me off. It softened up after a week or so, but anyone who’s more sensitive to wool might want to choose a different style. (For reference, I sometimes wear merino wool thermals, which are silkier than this Buff.)
All things considered
I’ve been wearing these both for a few weeks, now. I wore the Chute on a 14km/8.5mi walk from Battle down to the sea (mostly following the Bexhill link of the 1066 Country Walk) on a cold day. It worked well. Once we got to the sea, the wind picked up, and I was glad to have my beanie to cover my ears as well as the Chute to use as a scarf.
The question that's been on my mind is which one to take to Australia. It’s unlikely to get very cold - 15-30 degrees (celsius) during the day, dropping to 5-15 degrees at night - but temperatures fluctuate more widely and frequently than in the UK and it might get stormy at times. The Chute is lighter, more compact and easier to wash (the Buff care instructions specify a warm hand wash). The Buff is warmer, more comforting and more versatile. Something for me to mull over for the next couple of weeks. Probably in the end we’ll take both and Dan will wear whichever one I don’t. We'll see.