For years, I’ve put off buying a Buff for my adventures, not fully realizing the potential it held. I didn’t understand how a small piece of fabric could make a difference in my hiking lifestyle, until I finally broke down and bought one.
After landing in Asheville, Christy and I made our way to REI for some last minute backpacking goodies, and she mentioned how ideal a buff could be for keeping cool. I could already tell the heat in North Carolina was going to get to me, so I figured I would give it a try; at only fifteen dollars it would be silly not to.
Instead of buying a full size one, I got a half size, which would make the perfect headband, if nothing else. There were several cute patterns, but I ended up with a grey and black one that had the symbol for om on it. With the anxiety I had been having before the trip and the adventure we were about to embark on, I knew I could use a reminder of the sacred word with me on my journey.
As much as I fought falling in love with the Buff, somewhere along the beginning of the trip, it happened. I had no idea just how useful the small product could be, but it was, and it helped me keep my sanity several times along the trail. Here’s how I used it during our backpacking trip:
As a Sleeping Mask
Sleeping in the wilderness was not something I was excited about, as I had no idea what to expect. But, on night two, the night of the mice, I popped in some earplugs and covered my ears and eyes with the Buff. All I had to do was quiet my mind, easier said than done sometimes, and I was all set to sleep in peace. In fact, this became the way I slept for the rest of the trip, and I was actually able to get some sleep because of it.
To Avoid the Sounds of Buzzing Bugs
In the past, I’ve been driven quite insane by the droning of insects in my ears while hiking. With five days and no showers, I was worried about this from the start. The longer we spent on the trail, the dirtier we became, and this made the bugs want to hang out with us even more. Luckily, by covering my ears with the Buff, I was able to get the sound of them out of my ears and focus all of my attention on putting one foot in front of the other. Without the Buff for this purpose, I’m pretty sure I would have lost my mind at some point or another.
For Keeping Cool
Growing up in the Northeast, I don’t do so well with heat or humidity. I always knew this about myself, but it was confirmed along the trail. Constantly, I was a dripping, sweaty mess, and without hope of a shower or proper way to bathe for days, there were many times I was completely miserable. That was until we got to a water source, our lifeline for hydration along the trail, but also for cooling off. Washing off only left us cool for a short bit, so we would dip the Buffs into the water and put them back on our heads. It was the perfect way to keep cool, at least for a little while.
To Tame Crazy Trail Hair
A few days on the trail and my hair really was the least of my worries; it was dirty, knotty, and there was no time to deal with it. Which is where the Buff came into play because I used it to tame the beast that resided on my head. It smoothed away my flyaways, masked just how dirty my hair was, and most importantly, it kept my hair off my face. That’s not to say that I looked all that great after a day on the trail, but without the Buff, I am pretty sure I would have looked a lot worse.
For Sun Protection
Unfortunately, the weather on our trip was full of rain and the section of the trail we were hiking was mainly covered. But, with the heat, I was grateful that we had barely any direct sunlight. Still, when we did get the occasional ray of sun, it was nice to know we were protected. The Buff offers UV protection and blocks 95% of UV rays, making it an easy choice for any adventure.
By the end, the Buff had become one of the most useful items I had brought along with me, and I know I won’t be backpacking or hiking again without it. It just goes to show that you never know how useful a product can be until you bring it out on the road with you.