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Swiss army toque: A Review of the Buff

Say buff to someone and they won’t be thinking lightweight, multipurpose outdoor garment. They might be thinking some dude with huge muscles strutting around on the beach. That’s what you were thinking, right?Well it’s actually a lightweight, multipurpose outdoor garment. It’s basically a tube of fabric that can be worn in many different ways. I never knew a fabric tube was this useful.The first thing you need to do with a Buff is figure out how to wear it.

How to wear a buff


On the website they have an image for 12 different “official” ways to wear a Buff. I’d imagine the real number is far higher than that. Searching around online and talking to people, everyone wears it differently and comes up with their own ways to do it.Here are the quick explanations for how to wear the the buff in 12 different ways.

  1. Scarf – around neck
  2. Neck warmer – around neck, over bottom of chin
  3. Face mask – pull it up to your eyes
  4. Sun guard – up over your chin and the back of your head
  5. Hood – under your chin but up over the back of your head
  6. Balaclava – Hood and up to your nose
  7. Headband – around your head
  8. Beanie – twist it in the middle and pull it down to make a toque shape
  9. Bandana – tie a knot in it and put one end on your head
  10. Sahariane – lay flat on head and pull top down over head
  11. Hair band – just like the head band
  12. Head scarf – around your head but pull it back to cover your hair too

And if that makes no sense here’s a video for a better visual.For travelling or backpacking when you don’t have much space and can’t carry much weight having a toque, bandana, balaclava, scarf and headband in one is a pretty good deal.The Original series made of wicking polyester (haven’t tried a merino or polar fleece) are very soft. I’d imagine the others are designed to be on your face. My favourite ways to wear it so far has been a scarf or neck warmer on cold evenings and bandana or head scarf to keep the sun off my forehead and neck.

Styles and fabrics

IMG_8766.jpg Buff Canadian Series

Buff Canadian Series

There are a few different fabrics for the Buffs. The Polar Buff is microfibre and fleece, and the Merino Buff is, well, merino wool. The UV Buff and the Original are polyester. The UV Buff is Coolmax Extreme that breathes and wicks the best.I got one of the Originals from the Canadian Collection which is out now to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday this year. The polyester wicks really well in even the warmest conditions. Staying dry is priority number one to stay warm in cold conditions as well.7 rad designs from Cameron Stevens from Burlington, Ontario make up the collection. There’s one for the North, West Coast, Rockies, Prairies, Great Lakes, Quebec and the Maritimes.

Other Buff things

Not to be content with just making tubes, Buff makes a ton of other stuff too. There are the slim fit and reflective versions of the Original Buff. They also do Bandana and Balaclava styles that are cut to be those specific shapes compared to the standard Buff tube. They even do Buffs for dogs! A couple of them in blaze orange if you’re out during hunting season.This year was the launch of a bunch of toque’s and hats as well. I’ve been wearing the reversible microfibre toque as well as the microfibre with polar fleece version this past winter. A review on those is coming soon.

Final Thoughts


Even if you think the Buff’s are weird I suggest you give them a try. They are super useful and you can get them in a muted colour so it doesn’t scream that you’re wearing a fabric tube thingy. The new Canadian Collection is pretty rad if you’re want to collect them all or just pick one up for your favourite part of the country.Mine has replaced a toque in my bag for most trips because of how useful they are. Even if they’re just a sweat band on your arm, it still doing more than just a regular ol’ toque in your bag.

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