Perhaps no name is more recognizable in the sun protection accessory segment than BUFF. Although most people likely know them best for popularizing sun masks many years back, they've since grown to offer a broad range of sun-protective gear that's ideal for anyone who spends time outdoors. I prefer to cover up when spending any substantial time outdoors, so I can always appreciate more choices on the market.
CoolNet UV+ Multifunction Headwear
Each piece is crafted in part from two recycled water bottles and is comprised of 95% polyester and 5% elastane, These are much more than JUST face masks, as they can be worn up to 12 different ways while offering very solid UPF 50+ sun protection. Weighing only 1.2 ounces each, they feature smooth 100% seamless construction, 4-way stretch, special cooling technology, and permanent odor control.
I've worn a lot of items like this as a face mask, and I can assure you they are NOT all created equal. Some of the other pieces on the market have felt too thick, warm, rough, or simply didn't fit well. When I first put this one on, it immediately felt very high quality. It's lightweight, soft, thin, very stretchy, breathes well, dries quickly, and doesn't exude a big stink when sweaty. I like full masks like this for both sun protection and as an added barrier against bugs when they are more active during low light hours.
The straightforward, tubular design doesn't have any added edging/border on each end, so the material does curl slightly here. It also doesn't stay tucked-in to a shallow shirt collar as well as some others since it doesn't have a flared or tapered end to drape further down the base of the neck/shoulders. However, the tubular design coupled with that straight cut is what gives the CoolNet UV+ its versatility to wear in many different ways!
Measurements are 20.5 (L) x 9 (W) with an as-tested price of $24. Our tester was the "Hatch Sand" color but there's dozens of colors to choose from. Other varieties are available, too, including a CoolNet UV+ XL that's 1 to 1 1/2 inches wider (same cost), and another CoolNet UV+ Reflective version regularly priced at $26.
Designed specifically for facial sun protection, UVX masks feature laser-cut mouth holes to prevent your sunglasses from fogging up, a contoured head for better fit, and a shoulder gusset that better keeps the mask tucked under a shirt collar. These masks are crafted from stretchy Coolmax Extreme fabric with UPF 50+ protection that's also wind resistant and resists piling.
The material of the UVX is lightweight, smooth, and thin. The fit is excellent, and the shoulder flare/gusset does help it to stay tucked-in better, although that partially also has to do with the design and looseness of your shirt collar, too. The mouth holes of masks from other manufacturers I've used in the past got a little ragged over time from wearing and washing, but so far the ones here are holding up well after a few weeks of use.
The mask stays comfortable in the heat and those mouth holes really do help keep sunglasses from fogging up which can be a HUGE annoyance, especially when sight fishing. I also like how there's added thickness at each end of the garment to keep the material from curling over. This is a great mask that has all the latest features to optimize comfort and usage.
UVX Masks currently come in 5 colors (Pelagic Camo was tested here) and are priced at $37 each.
Eclipse Gloves from BUFF USA are constructed from UPF 50+ quick-dry, breathable, anti-microbial fabric with a combination silicone pattern and abrasion-resistant film on the inside of the hand for added grip. The three-quarter finger length offers added protection and there's double-layered fabric between the thumb and forefinger for extra durability.
I wore a size M during testing which fit great. There is a large grey pull-tab located at the wrist and a smaller one on the middle finger to help with getting the gloves on/off, but I really only felt the wrist one to be of the most use. I love the added texturing built into the palm-side of the gloves because it adds a lot of useful grip and finger protection. The long lengths were great for more protection and the index finger wasn't too long where it would get in the way while stripping line.
BUFF USA Eclipse gloves are $35 each and come in four colors.
For sun protection with added palm protection, check out the Elite Gloves. Just like the Eclipse series, these are UPF 50+, breathable, anti-microbial, and feature dual pull tabs, a double layer between thumb and index finger, and three-quarter finger lengths. The major thing setting them apart is the combination full-suede palm and abrasion-resistant film for a potent combination of grip and protection. For someone like a flats skiff guide that needs to pole a boat and handle fish all day long, these would likely be a great choice.
I found similar satisfaction with these gloves. They fit great, feel awesome, and the wrist coverage was generous. Speaking of wrist coverage, both the Elite and Eclipse gloves have little silicone "grippers" inside of the wrist which seems to keep them in place a little better than average.
At $45 these gloves don't come cheap, but they are thought out very well and exude a lot of quality. As of this review, three colors are available.
The first sun mask I ever wore was a BUFF mask back in 2007 while on a guided tarpon trip in the Florida Everglades. Since I hadn't worn one before, at the time I thought it felt a bit awkward and restricting. I quickly got over that.
Now in 2019, I've since owned probably 30 or more different masks from various manufacturers over the years. Some have been great while others just okay, but no matter my take on each individual product, I love the protection and convenience each offers. Ditto for sun gloves. I've been wearing those for just as long if not longer and seldom go fishing or on a long hike without them.
This new gear is simply top notch. If you're serious about sun protection while outdoors, you'll definitely want to give the expansive lineup from BUFF USA a serious look!