Do I Need a Buff for Hiking and Why Wear Them?

Neck gaiter for hiking buff usa

When you are new to hiking you may have never heard the term “buff” before other than in reference to strength or in reference to a good looking man.

 What is a buff you may wonder? A buff is a specialized part of most outdoor sporting gear as it is able to be used in a variety of ways while out on the trail and away from modern utilities.

Newbies in hiking often wonder whether they need to use a buff while hiking?

Let’s dig in and find out.

Do I Need a Buff for Hiking?

Firstly, what is a hiking buff? A hiking buff is just a lightweight, stretchy breathable and moisture-damping piece of clothing. They can be very useful in any situations you find yourself dealing with on the trail.

Hiking buffs are very thin and slim which allows them to be worn like a cap for extra warmth in cold morning trails. When worn around the neck it can provide a comfortable semi-scarf that helps keep your temperature up.

Now that we have a rudimentary understanding of what a buff is, let’s look into why you need a buff for hiking.

A hiking buff is very important in a hiker’s gear, it has many purposes it provides, ranging from covering your eyes during bright days or covering your skin during sunny days to keeping a wound bandaged.

A hiking buff is a multipurpose tool and can be used for different purposes. This makes it an excellent if not one of the most important tools in a hiker’s gear.


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Why Do Hikers Wear Buffs?

Hikers wear buffs for many reasons. It ranges from skin protection to eye protection and also keeping wounds from getting infected.

Here are some of the reasons why hikers wear buffs:

  • Facecloth: Another use that many don’t appreciate until after being out on the trail is to get the buff wet and use it to clean or wipe off your face, giving you that clean feeling that can make your day.
  • Facemask: This can be very helpful when it is very cold outside to cover your nose and mouth allowing you to breathe without any issue while protecting those areas which can’t deal with extreme weather well. This also helps keep your body heat within and lowers the loss of heat through skin contact with the air.
  • Micro Towel: This is a use that just makes a lot of  sense, using the buff to help wash and clean yourself while away from showers will help keep you clean and also keep you from stinking up the area.
  • Eye Mask: A quite frequent use for people is to cover your eyes when sleeping, especially if you are in a very bright environment which can make sleeping difficult.
  • Bandage: Sometimes when you get injured while hiking and this injury can not be managed by a small band-aid or other first aid equipment, this is when a buff can be a lifesaver as you can use it to help bandage a larger wound until you can get where it can be treated properly.

Having a buff also means you do not have to carry much load as the buff can be used as a substitute for some of the gear you might want to carry.


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How to pick a Buff for Hiking?

There are buffs of different patterns, colors and designs out there but the variety of buffs also extends to materials, ranging from cotton to nylon to polyester and so on. There are also versions for hot weather, cold weather, wind, and more.

Picking the right buff has to be decided by the hiker. It depends on the season and the terrain the hiker wants to trail. 

Do Buffs Stretch out?

Buffs unlike most clothing materials are made with extreme elasticity, they are designed as one size fit all. No matter how it is being stretched, it will still shrink back to its original design.

To answer the question… No… buffs do not stretch out. However, they have elasticity in them and can adjust to accommodate any head size.


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Can Buff Be Used for Backpacking?

As discussed earlier, A buff is just a lightweight, stretchy breathable and moisture-damping piece of clothing. They can be very useful in any situations you find yourself dealing with on the trail. Hiking buffs are very thin and slim which allows them to be worn like a cap for extra warmth in cold morning trails. When worn around the neck it can provide a comfortable semi-scarf that helps keep your temperature up.

Hiking and backpacking are similar in most ways other than backpacking takes longer days to complete and it is usually cross countries. Buff can also be used for backpacking the way it is being used for hiking. In fact, backpackers need it for protection since backpacking terrain is mostly deserts, cold areas and sunny areas.


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Conclusion

Using buff while going for a hiking adventure experience is very important, it protects and also helps limit weight being taken along.

When choosing the gear to take with you on hikes, whether this is a day, hour or multiple-day hike, using the proper multi-purpose gear to help limit your weight is vitally important. This is when a buff fills in multiple needs and makes it a near-perfect item to add into your gear.

Packs made to carry a buff need to be lightweight and very flexible. This is because the buff will be wrapped around your waist several times throughout the day and thus needs to be capable of bending with you. When deciding on what type of pack is best to use it is important to choose a pack that is breathable and has room for extra liquids.

You should also keep a couple of extra buffs in case you get caught in the rain. If you are interested in having a pack made specifically for carrying a buff it is best to contact your local gear shop and ask them if they can make this special pack for you. This can be done with the proper measurement and knowledge of how to sew the material.

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