Posts Tagged ‘bibchat’

Merino Wool Buff

Disclaimer: I received a Merino Wool BUFF® 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!

It’s no secret that Buff has become one of my favourite products and most indispensable pieces of running gear. My Buff tags along with me to most of my races, and it’s an essential part of my running routine. You can read my previous review of the UV Buff here. When the opportunity arose to test and review the Merino Wool BUFF®, I leapt at the chance!

Initially, we weren’t certain whether or not Buff could/would deliver to Canada – but I was hopeful since they had done so previously. The outcome was still pending when I got a note from our office reception that a package had arrived. Ta-daaaa! My BUFF® headwear was safe and sound on Canadian soil!

Merino Wool Buff Merino Wool Buff

The first thing I want to comment on is the colour. We had quite a good selection to choose from, but I’ve been leaning towards the orange palette since embracing BibRave, so I chose the one I felt best suited: Rooibos Tea Dye. According to the packaging, it’s hand-dyed and – as such – totally unique. No other BUFF® product has the same pattern, which makes me feel pretty special.

Although merino wool is certainly not as rough as other sorts of wool, I was a bit concerned that it might be itchy or irritating. There was nothing to worry about. This is high quality material and gentle on the skin. Hooray for merino wool!

One thing I noticed right away is that the Merino Wool BUFF® is longer than my other standard ‘full BUFF®’ products by about 3 1/2 inches.

Merino Wool Buff

Quick visit to the website reveals:

The classic BUFF® headwear shape, but with a few extra inches of length for cozy protection–in the fabric outdoor enthusiasts love most.

With that in mind, time to try it on!

We’ve had some pretty mild weather in Vancouver this year, so there wasn’t a lot of call to wear my BUFF®. If I’d had it in time for my Snowshoe Race, it would have been the perfect gear to wear!

When the morning of the MEC North Vancouver Trail Race dawned overcast and chilly, and I knew we’d be running in the shady forest, my Merino Wool BUFF® was the natural thing to wear. Pre-race, it kept me warm and cozy as we waited at the start. My only ‘complaint’ (and it’s barely even that) is that the longer BUFF® headgear with additional material makes it a bit bulky when doubled up as a toque. At the same time, though, it’s particularly comfortable.

IMG_0103 FullSizeRender_1

For the first half of the race, I was glad to have my BUFF® to keep my ears and head toasty (though it did nothing to help me keep my eyes open for the photo).

Merino Wool Buff

Soon thereafter, when the trails became hillier and I had to exert myself considerably more…the BUFF® (as well as my jacket) were too warm. I tied the jacket around my waist, and converted the BUFF® from a toque to a neck warmer. This is what I love about BUFF® products – the versatility!

Merino Wool Buff

A week later at the West Van Run, the weather was sunny and warm, so I only needed a cap during the race. However, when things cooled down afterwards, I was glad to have it stashed with my gear to keep out the chill as I cheered in other runners. Here’s me and fellow BibRavePro Brie (briehemingway.com) hanging out post-race:

Merino Wool Buff

The latest adventure for my Merino Wool BUFF® took us to Pacific Spirit Regional Park, an amazing wilderness with scenic trails. Emily and I did nearly 10k and had an absolute blast. Once again, BUFF® started out on my head, and ended up around my neck once things warmed up. Had to show off my BibRave t-shirt, too!

Merino Wool Buff Merino Wool Buff Merino Wool Buff Merino Wool Buff

In short, I love BUFF® products. We all know that. About the Merino Wool BUFF® specifically – I think this is a great product, and I wish I’d had more cold weather opportunities to try it out! I’m not a skier and not hugely into winter sports, but I think this BUFF® product would be especially awesome for someone who is. Great for runners/cyclists who live in colder climates – or who spend more time in the back-country trails.

But don’t just take my word for it. You should get a BUFF® product for yourself – they have so many styles and options! Visit the US site at buffusa.com, or the Canadian site at buffcanada.com.

Have you tried the Merino Wool BUFF® or other BUFF® products? What do you think?

Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights 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!

NOTE: I’ve edited this post since it was originally shared on December 27…because I’ve fallen in love (with these tights!) – updates are in BLUE.

2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights

Running in Vancouver generally means running in the rain, rather than the cold. But there’s a chilly dampness in the air that means even on days where the temperature is hovering above zero, it’s still pretty darn wintery. I have a pair of tights that I bought a couple of years ago, but I’ll admit I was pretty excited to have the opportunity to try and review a new brand as a BibRave Pro!

There was a brief debate among BibRave Pros about when the tights would arrive, and the very next day I got a package at my office. Given that I’m one of the few BibRave Pros in Canada, shipping can either be ridiculously slow or remarkably fast. This time, it was a latter (and better!).

2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights

The first thing I have to remark on is the name: HYOPTIK. I flashed the box at a few people, who immediately thought it said ‘HYPNOTIK’. I think it’s kind of a neat name, though, and captures both the imagination as well as the reflective qualities of the tights.

My first trial run was 2 days later, heading out for a 16km run with my running group from Forerunners. I struggled with a couple of things:

  • What do I wear under my compression tights?
  • How do I get these things on?

In answer, I have since tried my tights both with and without underwear. I don’t know if there is a definitive best practice – and would welcome feedback on this point. I have concluded that a good pair of athletic boxer briefs (SAXX, to be precise) is the best under layer for these tights!

In terms of getting them on – my other tights have zippers at the ankles, making them easier to fit over my feet, but I’ve also noticed that they’re getting a bit ‘flappy’. The HYOPTIK tights have very tight ankles, so it takes a bit of doing to get them on – but once on, they’re snug and comfortable.

[Tweet “2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights: What you need to know #runhyoptik #bibchat”]

I’ve taken these tights out for several a whole bunch of runs now, including one in very low-light conditions (i.e. Stanley Park in the dark).

What I like:

  • Snug, comfortable fit – I selected my size based on the detailed sizing chart on the 2XU website, and I feel like I made the right decision
  • Thermal material, but not bulky – the ‘brushed interior thermal layer for added warmth‘ does its job, but doesn’t add thickness to the tights – and as the weather got colder, I stayed warm!
  • Cool design – I just like the look of these tights – kind of fun and funky
  • Compression seems to make a difference – I’m not fully bought in to the value of compression garments, but I’ll admit that my legs have felt pretty good both during and after my runs in these tights. During the runs, I feel like my muscles are supported, and my tweaky knee has felt better; afterwards, I don’t feel the fatigue I sometimes do.
  • Wearable shorts-free! I have always been a bit shy/modest and have a few of my own body issues. Whenever I wear tights, I always wear shorts over them. BUT – there’s something about how these tights fit and feel that make me think that it doesn’t really matter. I’ve been out, running, in public – shorts-free! This is awesome, because it’s way less cumbersome and makes me believe that I’m more aerodynamic!
2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights

Shorts-free tights!

What I like less *with some key caveats*:

  • Sub-par reflective quality – I have some other gear that truly shines in the dark, makes you stand out; the HYOPTIK logo seems like more of a matte finish, and I don’t feel it does its job as well as it should. Upon further experimentation, I think they do a pretty decent job – just not as ‘shiny’, but still visible.
  • Hard to get on and off – but as noted above, this is a challenge offset by the positive effects of the compression. But no quick changes when I have to sit on the floor to get them over my feet! I changed out of these at the gym this week – a bit challenging, but I’m getting the hang of it.
  • Material bunching at knees – during my runs, I was aware of the material behind my knees, a bit like elephant ankles. It’s probably something I’ll get used to, but during my first couple of runs I found this distracting. I’m used to the fit now – this doesn’t bother me at all.
  • Lack of pockets – there is a tiny pocket inside the waistband, maybe enough space for a key. Is it feasible to have a back zippered pocket and still maintain compression? Not sure about this one. Not practical to have pockets in these tights!

Overall, I’m pretty happy thrilled with my 2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights! Throughout the upcoming winter months, I expect they’ll get a lot of mileage.

2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights

I’m pleased to note that the Canadian 2XU site has some pretty amazing Boxing Week sales through until January 3, 2016. Over at the US 2XU site, there are some good post-Christmas deals.

Follow 2XU on Twitter @2xu_usa, #RunHyoptik, and #bibchat.

Do you run with tights? Have you had any experience with compression tights?