Buffalo Systems were the originators of the Pertex/pile system and have been making jackets or “shirts” as they like to call them for over 30 years. Pertex is a densely woven fabric with high capillary action and when combined with any of the five Buffalo developed pile linings, a garment is produced which is windproof, warm, lightweight and resists rain. It is also highly breathable and extremely efficient at transmitting moisture vapour. So we just had to test this out!
The first, really important thing about this shirt is ensuring you get the correct size and a snug fit so it’s really important to try before you buy. I popped in to my local supplier and found that I needed a different size than I normally buy.
So how does the shirt feel when it’s on? Well the micro pile lining the jacket is smooth and comfy against the skin, not at all abrasive like others can be. The back of the shirt is cut to overhang to ensure your back is well protected from breezes, even when crouching or scrambling, so no draughts here. This for me had been a problem with previous jackets ridding up and just leaving you with that little sensation that all is not tucked in and fully protected. Ventilation zips run from the waist right up to the armpits allowing fresh air when needed and also speeds up whipping away the sweat. The zips are two-way, so you can open the sides right up, or open them just under the armpits. The external pertex covering or outer layer feels thin but durable and this comes in a range of colours. The cuffs can be tightened around the wrist with simple but effective velcro adjusters. The collar has quite a high neckline which is also lined to keep you warm and cut out any draughts. There’s a front pocket on the chest which is deep enough to fit an OS map and a pair of gloves. The hand pockets are lined and meet in the middle which helps with ventilation and helps to warm your hands. Inside the pocket is a strap with an adjuster which is easily tightened to fit the shirt snugly to your shape, also helping to cut out cold breezes. There are a further two velcro tabs on the outside enabling you to fit the shirt cosily around your hips. When you do the front zip and the velcro bit up, the shirt keeps you really warm.
The overall feel of the shirt is comfortable and it feels well made, and with the zips and velcro straps done up, you can still move easily.
But not just being satisfied with just telling you what the shirt feels like and what all the bits on it are meant to do, I have also been testing it out in the Brecon Beacons:
The first time I took it out was on a walk in the beginning of October. It felt strange wearing no other layers apart from the shirt at first but it felt comfortable and I soon got used to it . It didn’t feel at all scratchy or abrasive as you might think from looking at it at first glance, in fact completely the opposite. It is advertised as a winter shirt and the conditions were probably not quite cold enough for me to warrant wearing it. I worked up a sweat as we were hiking up steep slopes and in the sunny valleys, although using the side zips to vent a little air in solved the problem. On top of the hills where the wind was cooler the shirt came in to its own. It cut out the wind really well and the neck design felt comfortable and very warm. The pocket in the front was ideal for keeping the map in and I could also get my thin gloves and a snack bar in there too.
We did a little bit of scrambing over what rock was about and I was well impressed with the cut of the shirt around the bum area. Because it is cut more generously it hangs over a little more than other jackets and stops the garment from riding up and letting in the cold air up your back as you reach around.
Second time out, same park, cooler, breezier and this time not so much sweating.
There was a lot more standing about this time as we were taking photos and admiring the views, but again I didn’t feel cold at all, even when I went for a cheeky dip in a tarn (just the feet though). I found the strap inside which tightens the shirt closer to your body very useful to cut out any cold breeze. Due to the simple and lightweight design you hardly notice your wearing it.
Third time out was in icy conditions. The sky was clear, the snow was fresh and the temperature gauge in the car read minus 9.5. I wore the shirt all day long and even when we stopped in the shadow of the mountains in a wind that probably reached minus 15, I still felt comfortable. The raised neck on the shirt was great in keeping out the breeze and didn’t rub or irritate as can happen when you are all zipped up tight. I got the shirt got a little wet from sitting in the snow and walking around the frozen waterfalls and I was amazed how quickly this dried off. I also met another walker wearing an older Buffalo shirt and asked him how he had found it? His response was that he would never walk in the hills without it! I am starting to agree with him and looking forward to testing it out in Alpine conditions and of course the icy lake test!
Next test was on the river fishing in 4 degrees. You spend a lot of time sat around whilst fishing and generally don’t create a lot of heat so you can get cold quickly. I think with the breeze it was more like 0 degrees and with a simple base layer or quick wicking top underneath the shirt, i stayed warm all day. And the pocket in the front was great for slipping my hands in to for extra warmth. Didn’t help me catch anything though!
So far I have been very impressed with the design and comfort of the shirt. We have a few more tests that will be added shortly but I’m very optimistic that it will pass with flying colours. And at a retail price of around £107 I also think it is a great buy.
To find out more about Buffalo Mountain shirt and all other products check out the following link: