Keeping warm on cold autumn nights or surviving the winter weather is always a concern for the camper or anyone travelling in the colder regions of the world. There are so many items of clothing available, varying vastly in quality and performance. However, during my 24 years in the military, there was one stand out item which everyone had to have: it’s called the Buffalo, or the Buff.
Made in the UK, this item is a must have for the ardent winter traveller, it comprises a showerproof nylon outer shell, with a thick pile fleecy inner. Designed to be worn against the skin, it is incredibly warm. That said, most people wear a light tee shirt or vest underneath, simply to increase the interval between washes. It has two zips, one under each armpit, which extend to the lower hem line. This helps when putting it on and taking it off, as it is very close fitting. They work in two directions, so you can keep the Buff zipped at the waist, but can also allow the armpits to be vented during periods of exertion, without letting all your warmth out. This allows you to regulate your temperature and release sweat and moisture to prevent the Buff becoming wet.
There is a strap inside the chest which allows you to pull it in tighter. There are also two hand warmer pockets and a large zip closing chest pocket, big enough to take a folded map. The Buff comes in a range of colours and sizes and is available in men’s and women’s sizes (women’s are tailored so it has a proper waist).
There are also trousers available in the Buffalo range, but I have yet to try them. The Buffalo is lightweight and can be compressed down, fitting into a small space and unlike down jackets, it doesn’t need to be fluffed up after packing before it can keep you warm. They retail for around £150, but they are worth every penny of this hefty price tag.
Here is Fiona standing outside in Tromso at -20 degrees Celsius. She really feels the cold and as you can see, she’s toasty and standing in front of a frozen waterfall!
Available from all good outdoor shops, ours came from Cotswold Camping.