Thursday, 1 October 2015

High UV Buff with Insect Shield

For the past few months I've been using the High UV Buff with Insect Shield kindly sent to me by Anth from Kitshack.

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It's the usual continuous tube constructed from the Coolmax fabric that so many of us are familiar with but this one is slightly special as it has a few extra useful features. It's been tested to be effective at an average of 95% ultra violet protection which equals an average UPF of 20. The fabric has been treated with the always useful Polygiene Odor Control to keep you fresh on multi day trips and it has been treated with Insect Shield Technology which is claimed to remain effective in the garment for 70 washes.

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Buff's are not a new thing. In fact I'm pretty sure most outdoorsy folks own at least one and if you don't, then trust me you should! I know there are some of the opinion that it's just a silly over priced piece of fabric and we've all heard the moans on the forums et all but to all the naysayers I hereby challenge you to take a pair of your lightweight tent pegs and go and knit me something that's as useful and lightweight as this innocuous piece of fabric...and if you manage it, I'll eat my hat buff.

Why are they so good I hear some of you cry? Well first the size and weight is negligible and if you're worried about how heavy it is then frankly you're beyond help. As an item of clothing they simply fill in so many roles that it's ridiculous. Everything from a simple scarf to a face shield. From a warmish beanie (ideal weight for those on the move in winter) to a bandanna. From a balaclava to a sweat band. From a hairband to a sahariane. From a...well you get the idea. What else does it do you may ask? Well I've used them to mop up condensation in a small tent. I've used them to hold a particularly hot cooking pot that I'm eating from. I've used them to dry said pot after I've rinsed it out. I keep one wrapped round my delicate meths stove to prevent it rattling and getting damaged when stored in my cook kit. I've cleaned my sunglasses with it. I've even been known to blow my nose on it.

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When I got my hands on the one that Kitshack sent me I immediately noticed how worn and threadbare my old ones have gotten which is hardly surprising given how long they've been in active service. It's quite nice to be using a new one again. Pleasant in a way that's hard to quantify but similar in fashion to that of new socks for example.

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The Buff has been doing double duty in our household for the last couple of months as Louise and I have both been wearing it a lot. Louise reports using it most mornings during her cycle to work as a liner under helmet to keep her ears warm and her hair out of the way. I've been wearing it during Nelliedug's evening walk as either a beanie on the cooler evenings and as a make shift sun hat or sweat band on the warmer evenings if the pace is faster. I can also report that on those warmer evenings I've never been bothered by the clouds of midges that gather in our local woods. I foresee it being used more and more as a face shield or balaclava as winter properly sets in over the coming months and that's the point about these things. They're just so versatile.

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I'm not sure there's much more I can say about how great these simple wee items are. I'll say this though. I've always had one on my person or in my pack when I'm out and about and I'm glad it's now one that protects me from the UV rays and appears to keep the midges away.

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