"Disclaimer: I received a Buff DryFlx+ hat & neckwarmer 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!"
I hate the cold, I will run in 120-degree weather all day long, but running in the cold is not my favorite. I like the idea of running in the cold, especially the thought of snow, and as much as I hate being cold, I detest the treadmill even more. So when I got a chance to check out the Buff USA DryFlx+ system I jumped on it hoping that I would find the right gear to keep me warm on these chilly winter runs.
The Buff DryFlx+ system consists of 4 different pieces, a headband, hat, neckwarmer, or full balaclava. They are made from a woven ultra-stretch fabric that is seamless, breathable, and very stretchy (read comfortable). This system is designed to be low-profile, and lightweight with strategic thicker knit in areas that tend to lose heat. On the other side of that, the knit is lighter in areas where there tends to be more sweat. So what did I think of this system?
First impression was I thought the fabric was soft and light, Honestly, I doubted how warm it would be because it was pretty thin. When I dress for a cold run, I bulk up like I am going into the artic, so a thin stretchy piece of fabric wasn’t exactly gaining my trust. I liked the color and the feel of it overall. I also felt the 2 piece system was rather brilliant since you can easily go from being from cold to warm to way too overdressed, in a single run. Having the option to switch up was pretty clever.
First putting it on, it felt really light. I kept telling myself to trust it, that Buff knows what they are doing, and they do. The hat slides on and fits firmly without sliding around due to rubber anchors at the base of the back. The neckwarmer slides up effortlessly over your face, as well as, reaching up the back of the hat again with its own rubber anchors to keep it from sliding down. I have mentioned I like things to stay put and these do.
On my first run I was surprised at how well I can breathe out of the face covering, and didn’t feel like I was just recycling my own breath. While really thin and stretchy, this fabric is truly warm and every run I ended up removing the full face covering because I was comfortable. One thing I really enjoyed is that I never got overheated from either the hat or the neck warmer, the fabric truly does breath well.
Again this portion is just for balance because I do like to offer both the good and any critique. There isn’t a lot I can complain about with this system because it does exactly what is says, it is aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, and functional. The only things I could really say were an issue was the fact that my headphones won’t fit under the hat. This isn’t anything to do with the design or the quality of the hat, just that my Trekz don’t play well with others. My earbuds worked fine but I lost that level of safety when wearing them. Honestly, the headband would probably solve this issue.
The other item I felt could be improved was the size. This is a once size fits all system, and it felt great but I have a relatively small head and would like to see a smaller or women’s size option. Again in hindsight, the headband would have probably been a better fit for me, literally. The neckwarmer was not an issue in either of these two critiques and actually worked well over my headphones and fit fine.
In all, I give this system a 5 out of 5 lanes because the breathability and close fit are unmatched. The cleverness of the construction is outstanding. Not only is it lightweight and warm, but it is also really durable as well. It has been washed quite a few times while I have been testing it and looks just a good as the first day, no pilling, snagging, or fading. So if you are looking for something to keep you toasty during your winter run without being overly hot or bulky this is the item for you. I do recommend the 2 part system as opposed to the balaclava just because in my area of the world we have rotating seasons, sometimes all in one day and they are really easy to convert, and adjust as needed.
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