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Reviews > Clothing > Hats, Caps and Visors > Buff Headgear Cyclone Buff > Test Report by Thomas Vickers
Cyclone Buff Headgear
I grew up in the piney woods of southeast Texas. Camping was a quick trip into the mosquito-infested woods behind the house. My style has evolved and over the last 4 or 5 years, I have begun to take a lighter weight approach to hiking gear (I still use sleeping bags and tents, just lighter versions). While I have flirted with lightweight hiking, I feel that I am more of a mid-weight hiker now. My philosophy is one of comfort, while carrying the lightest load possible.
October 10, 2008
Manufacturer:Original Buff, S.A.
Year Manufactured: 2008
(all measurements approximate)
Color/pattern: Coyote brown
Weight : 2.85 oz ( g)
Measurements: 20.5 in x 9.5 in (52 cm x 24 cm)
Materials: 100% microfiber polyester, elastic banding, Gore Windstopper, Polartec 100 microfleece.
Initial tester expectations:
After visiting the Buff website I was pretty sure I knew what was coming. I was familiar with Buffs and from the description I figured that the Buff Cyclone was going to be a Buff constructed from fleece so that it would be usable in cooler weather. This was an intriguing idea to me since I could put a multipurpose cold weather head covering to pretty good use.
"Buff Innova, the new high performance line of Buff garments will blow you away with the Cyclone. If you've got the need for speed, you've got the need for a Cyclone Buff. A double layer of microfiber teams up with Windstopper fabric for impenetrable wind protection and warmth. Whether you're outdoors racing, swinging your nine -iron, snow mobiling or chasing tornadoes, the Cyclone Buff will keep you from getting whipped . . . by the wind that is."
The Cyclone Buff is a tube of cloth that can be worn in many different configurations. The top 12 inches (30 cm) of the Cyclone is made from two layers of Buff Fabric (99% polyester and 1% PTFE) that is designed to trap warm air between the layers. The next section of the Cyclone is made up of 3/4 Gore Windstopper fabric and another panel of what seems to be elastic fleece which makes up about 1/4 of this section. The entire section is about 8 inches (20 cm) long and is 9.5 inches (24 cm) wide. The bottom of the Cyclone is a simple 1/2 inch (1 cm) band of the same elastic fleece (Polartec 100 microfleece) that makes up the smaller panel of the section above it. All of these materials are assembled into one continuous tube of fabric.
I was really surprised when I opened the box and found the Buff Cyclone. I was expecting a Buff made from fleece, but what I got was something more. The Buff Cyclone is much heavier (I did not know exactly what Gore Wind Stopper Fleece was) than I expected and it isn't made up of just one fabric. The combination of Buff fabric, Gore Windstopper, and elastic fleece combines to make what is hopefully a truly multi-functional piece of gear. The hangtag shows five different ways to wear the Cyclone Buff during cold weather activities and I am interested to see just how well it works.
The Buff Cyclone is way more than I bargained for. I expected a
simple Buff constructed of fleece, but what I got was something with more thought and
design effort than I was expecting. One of the most appealing aspects of this piece
of apparel is that it will allow me to take a few things out of my cold weather pack and
replace them with the Cyclone.
One last interesting piece of information that I found on the tag attached to the Cyclone Buff. This tag states that the Cyclone Buff is treated with POLYGENE TECHNOLOGY which is some sort of "active odor control that lasts the lifetime of the garment." This seems to be the piece of gear that keeps on giving. It feels soft, warm, is designed for keeping my head warm, and is supposed to be odor resistant. I really like little surprises like this.
Things I like:
1. Well constructed
2. Heavy duty
3. Good looking
Things I don't like:
1. Heavy (at last heavier than I expected)
Winter is not always a harsh season here in Texas, but I feel that the Cyclone Buff has been a magnet for what I consider extreme winter weather this year. It has been windy, cold, and even snowed here during this phase of the test period and this was far worse than I had even considered. At this point I am thankful that I had the Cyclone Buff to wear.
One definite plus to this piece of gear is its ability to keep the wind off of my head. I am not used to wind here, but this winter has been windier than any in my memory. The Gore Windstopper fabric on the Buff stops wind dead in its tracks. While my face was smarting at times from the wind hitting it, my giant forehead (five head to me) and the rest of my noggin was comfortable under the Cyclone no matter how hard the wind was blowing.
I have also seen more strange types of precipitation this winter than ever before. I have worn the Cyclone in everything from light rain to snow (Yes, SNOW) and freezing rain during this part of the test. I have yet to have the fabric soak through and once again the Gore Windstopper fabric tended to bear the brunt of this weather with little or no effects upon myself.
In short, the Cyclone Buff has taken everything my winter has had to offer and helped me shrug it off without a complaint. This is one piece of gear that I am certainly glad that I am testing. Without it my winter would have been a parade of different hats in my pack and on my head, but luckily the Cyclone has kept me outside with a single piece of headgear for all conditions.
I spent a lot of time outside this winter trail running. That meant early mornings and some afternoons hitting the trail to run about three miles (5 km) no matter what the weather was. One of my biggest gripes about running in cold weather is that my ears and forehead get cold. The colder they get, the more miserable I get and this usually means that I cut my runs short. The good news is that the Cyclone kept me going not matter how cold or windy it was outside.
For running and other demanding activities, I pulled the Gore
Windstopper end of the Cyclone over my forehead, ears, and neck (fleece panel facing
toward the rear), gave the Cyclone a twist, then folded the polyester end of the Cyclone
back down over the lower end. This created a rather thick and warm 'cap' that made being
outside in cold weather much more comfortable. At times this was a bit of over kill as far
as warmth was concerned, but even when it was 35 F (2 C) outside, I was still able to work
up a good sweat underneath the Cyclone. For it to be that cold outside, it was very nice
to be able to have some sweat under the Buff after a run. What really made me happy
besides the warmth was the fact that there was enough fabric to cover my forehead from
just above my eyebrows to the back of my neck, just at or below the collar line.
Backpacking and moving slow:
I spent quite a bit of time either dayhiking, backpacking or just plain standing around camp during this phase of the test. Wearing the Cyclone as a cap/beanie (above) for long periods of time, even when inactive caused my head to get hot and itchy. This is not a unique Cyclone problem, but one that I suffer through when I wear headgear of any type. My solution for when I did not need so much heat or protection was to wear the Cyclone in a manner that my three year daughter describes as "daddy's Santa hat."
The "Santa hat" method of wearing the Cyclone consisted of
two variations on the picture above. The first is just like it looks. A knot was
tied in the polyester end of the Cyclone to close off the end of the Buff. I then
pulled the Gore Windstopper end of the Cyclone down over my ears and forehead, then
flipped it up to form a cuff of sorts behind my ears. This was extremely comfortable and
allowed me to cover my ears if they got too cold and once again it was a great way to keep
my neck warm. The Cyclone had enough fabric to make the hat and cover my neck down
to my collar line of my jacket, which was great.
If I got too warm while backpacking like this, I would simply untie the knot in the end and let the end open up to provide ventilation. While it did not end my itchy head issues, it did feel nice to have some circulation over my head when needed. Usually I wore the Cyclone this way when I was hiking or in camp and my head was warm. As I cooled off, I would then tie the knot in the end to keep things warmer till bedtime.
Best of all, I consider this to be a very fashionable way to wear the Cyclone and I was seen around town on more than one occasion wearing my "Santa hat" when ever it was cold.
Sleeping in the Buff:
As the temperatures dipped this winter, I was faced with an issue. My new winter hiking jacket has no hood and that is a serious part of my sleeping system. I do not normally carry a cap to sleep in because of the hood on my old jacket, but as luck would have it, I had the Cyclone to try this winter. So the new jacket and the Cyclone were put to the sleep test on five different nights. On none of these nights did the temperatures get above 37 F (3 C).
For me, sleeping in the cold means that I have to cover my neck, ears, and most of my face. If I cover too much of my face I get pretty annoyed and have trouble sleeping as my breath blows back into my face. My solution with the Cyclone was to wear it as a balaclava as I slept.
This is where the length of the Cyclone is absolutely wonderful.
I can cover as little or as much of my face as I needed without having to worry
that I was going to run out of fabric or expose my neck trying to cover my
face. I usually started off with my face exposed (see picture above) an if the
temperatures dipped too much during the night I would simply pull the polyester end
further over my face.
At one point I decided that if the polyester end was warm enough, then the Gore Windstopper end would be even better to wear over the top of my head and face. That was a bit of a mistake since the Gore Windstopper end is not as elastic as the polyester end. I nearly choked myself with this little experiment and I quickly went back to the way the hangcard the Cyclone came with recommend. I stuffed the Gore Windstopper end under the collar of my jacket (where it pooled around my neck) and pulled the polyester end up over my head.
I enjoyed some very warm nights during some very cold weather thanks to the Cyclone Buff. It kept me warm and comfortable without making my claustrophobic while sleeping.
I am grateful that I have had the Cyclone Buff during the rather extreme winter (for Texas at least) that I have been dealing with. It has held up to a good deal of wear and tear and there are no signs of it stretching out or tearing. The construction is still solid after a lot of adventures and trials in this item and that is a good sign.
I have sweated a lot in the Cyclone and so far despite not being washed it has not developed any odors. After the first two months of use the Polygene Technology of the Cyclone is obviously doing something to prevent me from stinking it up. This is something else that I am very happy about. Being able to keep warm while trail running in cold conditions and not having to worry about putting a horrible stink into my head gear is a definite plus in my book.
Probably my favorite attribute of the Cyclone Buff so far is the Gore Windstopper panel. The winter has been very windy here and thanks to the Cyclone, my head has felt almost none of it. Not only does the Cyclone keep my head warm, but it really takes the bite out of a cold driving wind.
I am really looking forward to the rest of this test. If the winter weather holds up and stays as it has been, then the Cyclone is looking at another rough test period.
Things I like:
1. Variety of ways to wear it.
2. Keeps my head warm.
3. Keeps the wind off my head.
Things I do not like:
1. Gore Windstopper end is not as elastic as the polyester end.
Long Term Report
February 24, 2009
Sam Houston National Forest
Jones State Forest
Other locations in Southeast Texas
Temperatures from 32 - 45 F (0 - 7 C).
Wind: 0 - 24 mph (0 - 31 kph) sustained with higher gusts
ˇTrail running (5 days)
ˇBackpacking (3 days)
ˇDayhikes (3 days)
I have continued to use the Cyclone Buff on a regular basis. No matter what type of outdoor activity I take part in, the Cyclone goes along with me if it is cold. I really like the fact that if it gets too warm, I can stuff the Cyclone in a pocket and keep going. Not only is it functional, but it is also very handy for storing when not in use.
It has been my only head coverings when I have been camping outside in winter weather. I am used to using a hooded jacket, but I am much happier with the Cyclone. It is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures and is comfortable to wear. I find it very valuable to be able to cover as little or as much of my head as the weather calls for with just one piece of gear.
While I am always tempted to wipe a runny nose on anything handy, I have only had to do this one or twice with the Cyclone. There is no issue over whether it can be used this way, I just wore it too much to be snotting it up and expecting people not to stare at me while I was running around with it covered in boogers. One alternative use that I did find was as a wrap for my hot cup in camp.
My drinking cup is a single walled titanium cup and it gets very hot
when I make tea or cider in it. I can hold it by the handles, but I found it much
easier to wrap the Cyclone around the cup and use it to keep my hands from getting
scalded. Another benefit of this use was that if I spilled any hot beverages while
drinking, the Cyclone absorbed them and I did not burn my hands. So the Cyclone is a
piece of headwear and cup holder.
I have used the Cyclone a great deal this winter. It quickly became my most important piece of cold weather gear. It was always on my head or in my pocket ready for use when it got cold enough to wear. Despite wearing it during a lot of trail running, the Cyclone never developed a really bad odor. The fabric soaked up a ton of sweat, but did not start reeking beyond what I would have expected.
I washed it once with warm water and no detergent and this seemed to
get the Cyclone clean enough for my continued use. I am not a clean freak,
especially with my gear, so as long as I got most of the funk out, I was good to go. After
washing it retained all of its warmth and stretchability which make it so useful.
I am really glad to have had the Cyclone during the windy weather that I experienced this winter. Wind is so uncommon here, but the Cyclone kept it off my head, neck, and ears perfectly. I never felt the wind through the Cyclone and that meant that my head was warm and cozy as long as the Cyclone was being worn. It certainly gets an A + in the wind resistant and warm categories.
As much as I hate cold weather, this item made being outside very enjoyable. Without it I know that I would not have ventured out nearly as much and the multiple ways to wear it meant that I was going out in varying conditions mainly because I knew I could keep my head warm. The Cyclone will continue to be part of my winter gear for a quite a while. It has proven durable as well as versatile which makes it a great piece of gear for my kit.