Disclaimer: I received a Buff Thermal Hoodie to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Winter running in Vermont is no joke. Temperatures fluctuate wildly, there’s precipitation of every kind, there’s wind, there can be weeks on end of below freezing temps… Last winter I completely chickened out and ran on a treadmill until spring. This year, because I’m training for my first marathon, I need to run outside at least sometimes to avoid insanity. When I found out that I’d get to try the Buff Thermal Hoodie as part of being a BibRave Pro, I was pumped, because my stash of winter outdoor running gear is pretty small at the moment.
What is the Buff Thermal Hoodie?
It’s a cozy Polar fleece hood with a Merino wool Buff attached. The Buff can be worn as a double-layer neck warmer, or you can pull the top up to wear as a face and ear warmer. The hood has drawstrings so you can cinch it down for added protection. Basically, it can be worn as a hood, or a neck warmer/face shield, or both!
My Experience with the Buff Thermal Hoodie
In colder weather, I prefer to run wearing a long sleeved shirt and a vest, because I overheat really easily. Keeping my core warm and my arms a bit cooler works really well for me. Unfortunately, though, most vests don’t come with hoods, and I personally really like hoods.
I was able to tuck the neck-warmer portion right down inside my vest for seamless wind protection, and I could pull the face portion up and down on the run easily. The hood is super soft, and the Merino wool is breathable when it’s up over my face. I wore it for a few runs, and was pleased to find that the hood is big enough to fit my ponytail in back and still stay up on my head with minimal adjustments–I did have to cinch the drawstring a bit. I think If I wore my hair down at the base of me head, it would have stayed put even without the cinching. Some of my fellow BR Pros were annoyed by the drawstrings bouncing up and down, but I had no problem with it.
I mostly wore the Buff hoodie for walking to and from work. The weather has been jumping around between 50’s and below freezing, so I’ve had a hard time adapting to the cold this year. While 90% of the time, the hood/Buff combo was more than enough to keep my ears warm, there were times when the wind was really blowing that I actually wished the material offered more wind-protection.
Long story short, if you do ANY kind of winter outdoor activity (skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, running, walking your dogs etc), the Buff thermal hoodie is a versatile piece of gear that can adapt to changing conditions easily. I also love that it’s all one piece, so I can eliminate the hat/scarf combo and just have one thing to remember instead of multiples.
Make sure you join me and my fellow Pros for our weekly Twitter #BibChat tomorrow January 19 at 9 pm EST to chat with Buff USA. If you’d like to read more about the Buff Thermal Hoodie, check out what other Pros have to say:
What’s your number one, can’t-live-without-it piece of cold weather running gear?