Friday, January 15, 2016

winter must-have: buff thermal hoodie review

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 to review, find, and write race reviews!

I'm a running gear junkie. When I find or hear about something new or a must-have item, I look into and usually want it. Chicago winter's can be BRUTAL. Below 0 brutal. However, I love to run outdoors in winter, so having the right gear is essential. Head gear that keeps out the harsh winds, sleet, snow, and keeps the head protected from the elements is important. In comes Buff to save the day.

The website mentioned that the 'Thermal Hoodie summons ultimate warmth to challenge heinous winter conditions.' Yep, thats sound like Chicago. 

When the opportunity to test out the new Buff Thermal Hoodie came along via the BibRave Pro program, I exclaimed 'Yes, please!', knowing that it would come in handy. And boy, has it.

We put it in for two different color options (probably in case one was sold out), so wasn't sure which would end up on my door. I was super ecstatic when it arrived. Winter was already here and I couldn't wait to put it to use.

I received the Fog color. It's a bit of a tannish neutral hood with a grey Buff part (neck/gaiter). It was my first choice, as I liked that it would pretty much match anything. There are two strings to cinch/tie it up, like you might a hooded sweatshirt hood. See photo for a visual, as I'm sure my description is lacking the proper terminology.

Lately, most of my short runs have been inside on a treadmill at the gym. With the shorter days, I'm unable to run while it's daylight. I don't like to run at night because we have no street lights, people block the sidewalks with cars, and it's just asking to either twist an ankle or get hit by a car, regardless of the amount of neon colors, reflective clothing, and flashing lights I am wearing. Soooo... I wear my Buff Thermal Hoodie to and from the gym! 

It's perfect to toss on post-workout because, while I am quite hot, the minute I get outside in that cold air, I freeze. The Buff Thermal Hoodie with the fantastic neck coverage really helps keep me warm and avoid that moment when you step out the door and start shivering. It's meant for an active person, as it's quick drying, so getting it sweaty isn't a big deal. It's also great because I'm weird and have a 'gym' fleece that I specifically wear to the gym, but it's hoodless. I used to just wear a winter hat, but I hated putting it on post-workout since I was all sweaty, and even if I did, my neck would get cold. Another pro to the hood is that I don't have to take my gross hair out of the ponytail like I do a winter hat, I just pull over my Buff Hood and it's all good (ha).

See - the same fleece jacket haha.

I wore it on quite a few of my short runs over the holiday, when I was able to get outside in the daytime and the sidewalks with clear of snow. It was great to help keep the wind out. I've also worn it on long runs at the trails: 15 degrees and snowy/icy/windy. It was awesome. I thought I might be really cold, so I tossed on another winter running hat underneath, but that ended up coming off pretty quickly, as the Buff Thermal Hoodie was enough to keep me warm. I also love that you can easily wear the gaiter or take it off while on the run. Not much of a fuss to do either. I haven't had to use that too much when running since I heat up pretty quickly once I'm moving, but when I have I've been grateful there's the option.

The only problem I sometimes had with is was if the strings weren't tied up, then they bounced and sometimes smacked me in the face. I solved this by tucking them in to either the hood itself, or the pockets of my Orange Mud HydraQuiver VP 1 pockets. I think the design of it is more for style than function. I do think it adds a lot to the look of the hoodie, and I think they're cute. Since I figured out a way to stop them from bothering me while wearing it for running, this wasn't a major deal for me.

Side view

I honestly haven't gone a day without wearing it. If not to the gym or on a run, then it's to the grocery store, gas station, and other errands. Not just great for athletic folks, but it's stylish enough to wear as an everyday outdoor item. Just be careful if you wear it driving - you don't want it too tight that it's blocking your peripheral vision!

It currently comes in fog, purple pennant, RT AP, or RT Xtra. There were a few other colors a week ago or so, so waiting on confirmation to see if those'll be back (it is likely, and you'll see some of the other Pros have colors not currently listed). I'll come back and edit this portion when I have an answer (it's in the works – just waiting on confirmation from the awesome folks at Buff who are looking into it).

Hat and Hoodie to keep warm at the start.

Some other details from the website:
• 100% natural merino wool
• Polartec® Thermal Pro® hood
• Thermal protection from cold & wind
• Cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter
• Quick drying
• One size fits all adults
• 40% merino wool, 60% polyester
• Moisture management
• Drawstring
• Odor resistant
• Wind resistant
• Semi-seamless
• Natural stretch

Using the gaiter to start my run. Buff calls it a collar.
No more hat underneath.

'A Polartec® Thermal Pro® hood fuels warmth and wind resistance while the 100% merino wool collar which fits over the mouth and chin and double-layer wool neck ensure both maximum thermal properties and natural moisture management. Designed to fit on you or over a helmet, wear this incredibly warm, feature-rich hoodie in a variety of ways.'

I also wear the same pink jacket often haha.
Yes, some of these are from the same day, but in winter
I'm usually wearing the pink jacket to run outside ;)
Creature of habit!

To wash, you'll want to hand wash in warm water with mild soap and lay flat to dry. Do no use fabric softeners or bleach, and do no iron.

Buff Thermal Hoodie came in super handy going to the gym on this
snowy, blustery day. Had to double up on jackets it was so cold!

I highly suggest adding this Buff Thermal Hoodie to your winter gear arsenal. It's been a fantastic addition to mine, and now I wonder how I got by last year without it. The cost for the Buff Thermal Hoodie is $50, which I think is quite reasonable for such a fantastic product.

Buff will be joining BibRave and the Pros for #BibChat on Tuesday, January 19 at 8pm CT. I'm sure there'll be an awesome giveaway for a participant or two. You should come join in on the conversation and meet some fellow, like-minded runners. We have a good time!

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What other Pros think:
Jen | Angie | Gina | Katherine | Andrew | Amy | Sarah M | Abbie | Christine

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