We all know and love Buff for their colorful and practical headbands and face masks, but their new Polar Thermal adds a new degree of style and functionality. Essentially, the thermal is a three-in-one: you get a thermal, heavy-weight fleece hood, a Merino wool neck buff, and a wool collar to protect the chin and mouth.
The wool on the neck buff is double-layered for warmth and protection, you get draw strings with leather accents to adjust the hood for use either over a ball cap, helmet, or other beanie, and the thermal is soft and fuzzy. Because the wool is Buff, you know it’s sourced from humanely raised, non-mulesed sheep, and will be quick-dry and comfortable. Pair the Polar Thermal with your favorite jacket that may not have a hood, or stash it easily in a backpack or travel bag to add warmth to any layer without having to pack that bulky coat you need in winter. I love the versatility: I’ve worn the thermal on ski days, but also on crisp fall days when I hadn’t known what to expect from the weather. It packs down so easily, it can come just about anywhere.
Unlike fully polar fleece buffs, the Polar Thermal isn’t too bulky. I feel like I’m suffocating in some fleece face wraps! It’s easy to adjust the Polar Thermal to slide it down off your face, and it’s thin enough wool that you can add it to a winter ensemble, rather than needing to wear it solo. Only the hood is thicker, and that can be pushed down, of course. All in all, the Thermal Polar is the most versatile Buff product I’ve tried, making it ideal for winter travel, when everything you pack counts in terms of carry-on space and weight.
There are four color combinations to pick from, including fog (an off-white/gray), brindle (tan/brown), graphite (gray and black) and purple pennant (a two-toned lavender color). There are also camo versions for a few bucks extra. The standard Polar Thermal retails for $49 on Buff’s site.