Buff merino neckwarmer review

We've been testing the Buff merino neckwarmer this winter. What are the advantages of the merino version over standard polyester?

Cycling Weekly Verdict

A step up in luxury and comfort from the standard Buff, this merino version is warm, itch-free and very versatile. It’s a bit more expensive and needs more careful washing, but should last and last.

Reasons to buy
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    Simple, light, packable

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    Comfortably warm

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    Very versatile

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    Lots of colour options

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Reasons to avoid
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    A bit more expensive than the polyester version

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    Hand wash only

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Like Hoover, Buff has become synonymous with the product it makes (although also like Hoover it makes other items too). It’s a Spanish company, having been founded in 1992 by Juan Rojas, taking its name from the Spanish word bufanda, meaning scarf.

A buff has become pretty much an essential item for many people participating in outdoor activities in cooler weather in a broad range of disciplines. The original product was polyester and we’ve tested the Tour de France collection made of this material.

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But Buff also makes a merino wool range including this tie-dye design. Merino wool has advantages over synthetic fibres: it’s warmer in the cold, but also wicks moisture without getting clammy if you get hot. It also has anti-microbial properties so it doesn’t get smelly. And of course, it’s super-soft and non-itchy.

At over 50cm long, there's lots of length to play around with

Buff’s buff is also seamlessly tubular-knitted, with only a low-profile hem at each end. Despite weighing just 46g, the merino buff is over 50cm long, so there’s a lot of fabric to play around with. Depending how desperately you need to keep warm, as well as the obvious round-the-neck option Buff also suggests using it as a mask, a hood, a balaclava, a hairband, a scrunchy or various other forms of headwear. Most of these options shouldn’t get in the way of your helmet either.

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So your buff is a versatile way of keeping your head and neck warm without needing to wear a cap too and can be pocketed easily if you do get too hot.

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I’ve mainly used the merino buff as a neckwarmer where it’s been very effective at closing that gap above a jacket’s collar. It’s happy being handwashed and dried and adds a bit of luxurious comfort to chilly rides.

If you don’t like this Amber Dye version, there are 26 other colours to choose from, with the plain colours a bit cheaper at £22.25.