Every once in a while, I have an opportunity to revisit a tried-but-true travel item and remind myself why I love it. Recently, I was scuba diving in Fiji and New Zealand, and brought one of my Buffs—the Buff Pansy Zotii, Original EcoStretch Neckwear. Sure, I could have used it for the traditional Buff uses, like warmth or sun protection. But I’d specifically packed it because a diving friend showed me a use I hadn’t thought of before.


If you have long hair and dive or snorkel often, you’ve likely had the experience of getting your hair caught in your mask straps. It’s not fun. My friend uses a Buff on her head to cover her hair, keeping it from getting entangled in the mask straps. It has the added benefit of keeping your head warm when underwater. When I started using my Buff for this purpose, it was the first time I didn’t have a problem at all.


The Buff Pansy Zotii, Original EcoStretch Neckwear is made with 95% recycled polyester (the equivalent of two plastic bottles) and 5% elastane. It’s great for year-round base-layer use, and is highly stretchable, making it extremely comfortable to wear.


It’s also got UPF 50 sun protection against ultraviolet (UV) radiation produced by the sun, whether you’re wearing it on a dive boat, hiking trail, or outdoor concert. The Buff is so soft and breathable that I often forget I’m wearing it when it’s on. And the Pansy Zotii design—with swirling purple, pink, and red colors—was optimal not only for keeping my hair out of my mask straps, but also for standing out among a pile of dive gear. I always knew where it was.


My particular Buff lists for $20 on the Buff site, but if you love a different design, there are plenty to choose from.