TEST SERIES BY SAM STAMEY
February 16, 2009
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samstamey at yahoo dot com
Santa Rosa, CA
6' 0" (1.83 m)
170 lb (77.00 kg)
Backpacking background: I started backpacking two years ago with my wife and two children (ages 8 and 10 at the time). We have been car camping for 20+ years.
Most of our backpacking has been three season camping in the Sierras, 6000 -12,000 ft (1800 m - 3658 m) and on the Northern California Coast.
We mostly do a combination of car camping and backpacking.
Our family recently switched from one 4 person tent to using two 2 person tents. I usually carry most of the weight and my internal frame pack weighs between 40-50 lb (18-22 kg).
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Buff Headgear
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.buffwear.com/
MSRP: US 37.00
Listed Weight: 2.9 oz (82 g)
Measured Weight: 2.9 oz (82 g)
Listed Dimensions: 20.7” x 9.8 in (52.6 x 24.9 cm)
Measured Dimensions: 20.7” x 9.8 in (52.6 x 24.9 cm)
100% Polyester Microfiber plus Windstopper® membrane
The Buff Cyclone came wrapped around a piece of cardboard with a picture of a face on the front and the details of the product on the back. The idea of the packaging is to hang it on a store display with the Buff wrapped around the "face" to show how it would be worn. I thought that it was clever packaging to let the potential buyer know how the product can be used.
The Buff Cyclone that was sent to me to test is black on the lower half and black and gray checks on the top section. It is listed as Chrono/Black on the Buff website.
The bottom 9 inches (23 cm) are made out of soft stretchable material with the Windstopper material built into the fabric. Most of the circumference is made from smooth stretchy Windstopper material with 5 inches (13 cm) of it made with as soft Polartec material. That same material makes up a 1 inch band on the bottom of the Buff.
|Image from Buff website|
There are seams where the top and bottom connect (standing seam), where the smooth material connects to the Polartec (flat seam), and where the Polartec band is sewn to the rest of the Buff (standing seam). There are two tags sewn on the outside of the bottom of the Buff. One has the Buff logo and the other has the Windstopper logo.
|Seams and tag|
The inside of the bottom of the Buff is soft and fuzzy all around. Except for the standing seams it is virtually smooth
|Inside showing seams and Polartec|
The top 12 inches (30 cm) is a double layer of Original Buff fabric and is seam free except where it attaches to the bottom section.
The inside of top of the Buff is seam free, and because it is a double layer, it looks like the outside of the top half of the Buff.
My initial impression is that the Buff Cyclone is well constructed and that the company takes pride in their workmanship and their product.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions on the package are minimal. The product is self explanatory. Buff has video instructions on the website that show the multiple ways to wear a Buff and are very useful.
|Back of package|
TRYING IT OUT
The first time I put the Cyclone buff on I was surprised how much it could stretch over my head and still return to the original size. The fabric is stretchy enough to pull over my head and still be snug enough around my neck to keep drafts out but not too snug that I feel as though I am choking.
I watched the instructional videos on the Buff website and was surprised how easy it is to change the product from a one piece scarf, to a scarf-head warmer combo, to a balaclava, to a mask, to as beanie.
The product is very soft against my skin and I did not notice the seams at all. It is very comfortable in all of the variations that I tried. My first time trying the product on was in the house and I noticed right away how warm it kept my head and neck.
The Cyclone Buff is a very simple product with many uses for keeping my head and neck warm and to block wind. It fits my head well and I do not have any uncomfortable seams or tags pressing into my head or neck. Over the course of the test I hope to use the Cyclone Buff in various ways and in as many different weather conditions as possible.
This concludes my initial report and I will follow up with at field report in approximately two months. I would like to thank Buff and Backpackgeartest.org for giving me the opportunity to test this product.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I tested the Buff Cyclone in various locations and conditions including Yosemite National Park, my home town of Santa Rosa Ca. and the Sonoma Coast on the Pacific Ocean. Weather conditions have been as low as 20 F (-6.6 C) and as high as 50 F (10 C). I have worn the Buff in the snow, rain, fog, and wind. The altitude ranged from sea level to 7000 ft (2134 m).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Buff Cyclone is a heavy duty version of their popular headgear and is designed for cold weather. I found that the Cyclone worked extremely well for keeping my head and neck protected in cold weather conditions. Most of the times in my testing the conditions were cold and dry but occasionally I wore the buff in wet conditions.
In the cold dry environment I used the buff as a neck gaiter, a beanie and as a balaclava. It worked very well as neck gaiter and is easy to pull up over my ears and nose when it is very cold. I converted it into a balaclava when the temperatures dropped and the wind came up. The buff is very easy to convert from a neck gaiter to a balaclava without taking it off. I start with it around my neck as a neck gaiter, and then I grabbed the top of the gaiter from behind my neck and pulled it to the top of my head. I then pinched some material from around my neck area and pulled it over my nose. This is much easier to do then to explain. When I got too warm I would pull it back off my nose and the top of my head and leave it down around my neck.
Because half of the material on the Cyclone is a lot thicker than the original Buff, it is a little harder to convert into a beanie. It can be done, it just takes a little more concentration and I end up with a thick beanie on my head.
The benefit of one end thicker than the other is that I can choose if I want more warmth around my neck or more warmth around my nose and ears. Most of the time I wore the Buff with the thick side down (I put my head through the Buff thick side first so that the thick part was towards my shoulders and not my neck) that way I could pull the thin side up around my ears and nose. The thick material blocked the wind and cold to some degree. But when the wind was blowing cold or the temperature dropped a lot, I would switch the Buff so that the thick part was closer to my head and the thin part was closer to my shoulders. I would then pull it up to create a very warm and windproof balaclava.
When the weather warmed up it was easy to take the Buff completely off and store it in a jacket pocket.
In wet conditions the Buff worked equally well. The rain and fog rolled off the Buff for the most part. When I was finished with the Buff a quick shake of it and the water would come right off. The only down fall is when I had the buff on as a balaclava and the neck part tucked into my jacked collar I would get rain that would run down off my head on the outside of the Buff and down into my jacket and eventually it would get my back wet. This could be easily fixed if I wore a brimmed hat along with the Buff.
This product works well in weather that is below 50 F (10 C) or in really windy conditions otherwise it was too hot and uncomfortable to wear.
In summary I found the Buff Cyclone a great product for keeping my head and neck warm for this testing period. In cold and windy settings it was very handy to have and easy to use. When the weather turned warmer it was easy to take off and store in a pocket.
This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be added to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for more information.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Long term test areas included Yosemite National Park, Sugarloaf State Park, and the Nothern Sonoma Coast. While wearing the Buff in these areas I experienced snow, rain, fog, and wind.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Buff Cyclone performed as expected during the test. It blocked the wind, shed snow and fog and kept my head and face warm.
Most often I used the Buff as a balaclava and it worked great keeping my nose and ears warm while at the same time keeping drafts off of my neck. I found it very easy to change it into a beanie or a neck gaiter when my face heated up. I found the Buff comfortable to wear and easy to take on and off.
The extra thick part of the Buff made it a little more bulky to pack and also made it more of a challenge to convert into a beanie that was not lumpy but overall it was worth the extra bulk to keep my head warm.
During the field testing I found the Buff Cyclone to be extremely warm and block the wind very well. Because of this warmth I could only use the Buff on very cold or windy days. The Buff Cyclone works very well in low temperatures.
The Buff is very durable and easy to clean. I have stuffed it in my pocket and backpack, it has been dropped on the ground many time and even stepped on after it ended up on the floor of my car for a week. Most of the time during the testing I used a damp cloth on it to spot clean it when necessary. I put it through the washing machine after it fell in a mud puddle and it came out looking new and does not show any sign of losing its shape or color.
Overall I found the Buff Cyclone a very useful addition to my winter outerwear. I would recommend it to anyone doing winter outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowmobiling, etc.
The Buff performed as advertised during the long term testing. No visible signs of wearing or fading even after running it through the washing machine.
It is easy to throw into my backpack and does not take up any room. I enjoyed the versatility of the Buff. Unlike a beanie I was able to wear it in many different configurations for various environments. I liked the fact that changing it from a hat to a neck gaiter when my head got hot was a snap.
The Buff Cyclone is an extremely warm garment and I will use it when I go to the snow and on cold windy days at the beach. I don't backpack in the snow so I don't see myself carrying it on backpacking trips. Because the climate in my area is fairly mild I don't see myself carrying it in a daypack. I will probably keep it my car so that it available when I need it at the beach.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
This concludes my test of the Buff Cyclone. I would like to thank Buff and BackPackGearTest.org for giving me the opurtunity to test this product.
Read more gear reviews by Sam Stamey