Over the years, I have amassed an arsenal of far too many fleece headbands, skull caps and balaclavas than one person needs and, frankly, even desires. That disclosed, I thought I had perfected the art of head warmth.
Well, I thought wrong.
You see, head warmth is great until it’s not—until it’s too warm. Far too often in cold weather I start a ride all bundled up and cozy—then turn into a sweat-dripping, helmet ripping, layer shedding, literal hot mess after the first climb. You’ve been there, right? It’s OK. It happens to the best of us.
Over the past couple months I’ve done something that at first I was a bit hesitant to do: I added to my brain warmer collection. I actively sought out another head warmer that I had seen a lot of on the trail over the years. (My name is Beth Puliti and I am addicted to being warm on my mountain bike.)
I’m so glad I did because my cool-weather rides haven’t been the same since I got my hands on two different versions of Buff Headwear. Turns out you don’t have to fluctuate between sub-zero and sweltering. Yes, folks, the one crucial thing I’ve been missing out on all these years is climate control.
A Lightweight Layer
The 100 percent polyester microfiber Buff Seamless Headband I have been sporting on myriad trips into the woods is just the right amount of warm. Breathable, wind-resistant and moisture wicking, the stretchy fabric is the ideal thickness (really not thick at all) to place between your helmet and skin. I’m used to putting aside a bit of time to fine tune the adjustment knob and straps on my helmet after donning a fleece headband or skull cap. I don’t have to loosen my helmet one bit after putting on the Buff and before hitting the trail.
I used the Buff primarily on blustery days, down to about 40 degrees. While I’ve gotten away with wearing it in cooler temps in the woods, on the road my ears tend to be sensitive to wind and I couldn’t comfortably cruise down hills without feeling cold air permeate the fabric. On those bitter cold days I opted for a windproof fleece option I already owned. However, Buff does make three different fleece and knit winter versions of the headband that would likely work in frigid weather.
Moisture Wicking & Multifunctional
Lightweight and comfortable, I can see this being a staple accessory in warmer weather as well. I plan on using the Seamless Headband as winter turns into spring, even when the sun is shining—it offers 95% protection from ultraviolet radiation. I’m thinking this could be a quicker (or perhaps lazier?) alternative to applying sunscreen on my exposed ears. Overheating shouldn’t be a problem as the Coolmax® fabric pulls moisture away from skin so you stay, um, cool on warm days.
Multifunctional, I’ve also used this headband on some pretty strenuous hikes (rarely if ever overheating) and while practicing yoga (to simply keep my hair out of the way). Both of these alternate uses have been seeing frequent action.
Buff says you can wear the Seamless Headband in any of the following ways: helmet liner, headband, hairband, mask, foulard, neckerchief, scrunchy and wristband. Available in a multitude of designs, which range from simple to vibrant, for $15.
The Original Buff
While the headband has found a permanent spot in my cool-weather layer rotation, I also received an Original Buff to test out in “Hunter Orange”—perfect for my neck of the woods come autumn. While you can wear this version 12 different ways (check out the “How to Wear” video on Buffusa.com), I found myself returning to three of the simplest options: headband, mask and cap.
Made of the same 100% polyester, the Original Buff is also moisture wicking and 95% UV blocking. MSRP $20 and available in plenty of designs and colors to suit even the pickiest cyclist.