Buff Hats: The Anti-Stink Toque

I always thought Buff just made Buffs. But I reviewed the Canadian Collection Buff last week and mentioned Buff doesn’t just make the one thing. They now have balaclava’s, bandana’s, hats and toques as well.

I’m never very far from a toque on most trips. Out running, skiing, riding, hiking and sailing I throw on a toque to stay warm or just to cover up my crazy adventure hair. Most of my toques are quite thick. Nice and toasty for sitting around or moderate movement in the winter but too warm for moving hard or anything in the shoulder seasons. The Buff toques are now my lightweight option.

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Buff has 4 types of hats and toques. For toques, they have Reversible Microfibre, Polar Fleece and Microfibre, and Merino versions. For hats they have a polyester running hat with a neoprene brim which makes it easy to fold. I got my hands on the Reversible Microfibre and Polar Fleece versions to run them through some trips over this past winter.

Just to clarify toques are called hats on the website. The runnings hats are called caps.

I took both toques hiking, running and camping over the winter and spring. Both are super comfortable to wear but are suited to different purposes or conditions. Let’s dig into the differences.

What are they made of?

Both the toques are microfibre polyester, a soft, wicking, fast-drying fabric just like in the regular Buffs. The reversible model is microfibre inside and out where as the fleece model is fleece on the inside against your skin and microfibre on the outside.

The microfibre polyester is treated with Polygiene, a silver-ion anti-odor treatment. Here’s a bit more on that.

Polygiene

Sweating hard in your shirt, socks and toques creates perfect conditions for smelly bacteria to grow. It’s not your sweat that smells, it’s the bacteria that builds up in the warm, moist conditions in the fabric. Get rid of the bacteria, get rid of the smell.

Wool naturally has anti-bacterial properties but what happens if you can’t wear wool or just want something that wicks and dries faster? Synthetics are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.

Activated charcoal and silver treatments are now the go to solutions for the smell in synthetic fabrics, both eliminating bacterial growth in the fabric. Polygiene is a silver treatment on the microfibre polyester before it’s made into anything.

The silver chloride in the fabric lasts the lifetime of the garment. You don’t have to wash it as much because it smells less. When you do, a quick wash with mild soap then hang to dry is all you need. You spend less time washing and the shirts, toques and socks spend less time being battered around in the washer and dryer.

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Hook loop on top

There is a small transparent loop of thin plastic on the top of both the hats. I think they’re for hanging to dry or store I have to confirm that. I think they just look funny and will probably just cut them off after I confirm what they’re actually for.

Soft

I love how soft and smooth the microfibre and fleece are. Even the softest merino can’t yet match how smooth synthetics are. I tend to stick with merino for most things because of the temperature regulation and the smell factor. But with Polygiene solving the smell problem, synthetics look much more attractive for moderate and high-intensity activities.

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Wicking

Both the microfibre and fleece wick well. The fleece is warmer than just the thin microfibre and insulates well when it’s wet.

Wearing the reversible microfibre against your skin will wick any moisture away. Running and hiking hard, it was keeping me dry. When the temperature warms up it becomes a trade off. Keep the toque on, trapping heat and sweating more or just take the toque off. A headband or rolled Buff to keep the sweat out of your eyes is probably the best option at that point.

Fit

Both the microfibre and polar fleece toques are the active or beanie fit Buff talks about in their sizing chart. It fit snug against your skin. If you want something looser they do have a couple models with comfort or slouchy fits.

Conclusion

Normally I stay away from synthetics for anything sweaty and outdoors because of the smell. Merino is my go to for toques, shirts and socks. The Polygiene in the Buff hats eliminates any smell.

The microfibre polyester and fleece are so soft it’s easy to forget their on. To wear overnight or for multiple days, I’d be inclined to go with synthetic for the softness.

Find more about the Buff reversible microfibre hat and the Buff polar fleece and microfibre hat on the Buff site.

Thanks! And a disclaimer

I got these hats for free from Buff to review. I wasn’t paid to review them. I accept free items to review so I can test and review as much gear as possible. More reviews means you have more information when you go to buy something. I use them hard and give you honest feedback about what they’re like.

Thanks so much to Buff for providing toques to get very sweaty.

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Ross Collicutt
Ross is a digital creative addicted to health and outdoor fitness. Right now he's mapping trails on Vancouver Island for the MapVI project and writing Epic Guidebooks for Vancouver Island. Connect with Ross on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
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