Buff Pack Run Cap review (and bonus thoughts on Run Cap Pro)

Buff Pack Run Cap in red (left), Buff Cap Pro (centre and right)

Every once in a while, I remember I have a blog... And I've edited this post at the bottom.

I've become a huge fan of the Buff Cap Pro, which is one of Buff's lesser known products (and one that I've never actually seen for retail sale anywhere). I took a flyer on ordering one from Buff's Canadian website last year and loved it so much I bought a second one on sale last month.

The Cap Pro is a terrific little hat. It's like wearing a small Buff on your head, but with a little sun visor attached to the front. They can be totally crunched up and packed tight in a pocket, are pretty breathable, and keep the sun from roasting my increasingly balding head.

While I wore a Tilley Hat for year and years, the Cap Pro has become my go-to vacation hat. It keeps the sun off my head and the sweat out of my eyes. And I can crumple it up and stick it in my pocket at restaurants and such. (Which is much, much harder to do with a Tilley Hat.)

And the Cap Pro is fully reversible and can be worn either side "in" or "out" with a different pattern on the other side.

The "B" side of the Buff Cap Pro

The "A" side of the Buff Cap Pro

The new Pack Run Cap just came out in Canada this month, and I immediately ordered one having read some very impressive pre-release reviews of it. There's a lot new techy blah-blah-blah about this hat that you can look up on your own about sweat wicking and all that good stuff. But in the meantime, NEW BUFF HAT!!!! AAAAHHHHHH!!!

Your humble host models the new Pack Run Cap

Given the colour choices available, I chose the funky red/black checkerboard combo colour over the rest (and I was a little sad that this blue/black colour wasn't available)

The hat arrived yesterday, and, to be fair for the point of the review, I haven't worn it while running or walking or doing anything other than trying it on and taking pictures. So these are pretty much first impressions...

The Pack Run Cap is just as crumpable as the Cap Pro, which is good. It has a slightly bigger brim, which is also good, as the small brim on the Cap Pro is my biggest minor peeve about it.

After that, the basic similarities between the two hats mostly end. The Pack Run Cap is constructed differently (Buff video with all the details) than the Cap Pro, and essentially has a sweat band inside. I look forward to seeing what kind of difference that makes when I get more use out of it. But the downside of it is that the Pack Run Cap is NOT reversible. (Which means the red/black design is the only way to wear it.)

The other major difference is that the Pack Run Cap fits a lot tighter on my head. The Cap Pro sits comfortably loose on my head but can be tightened in a stiff wind by an adjustable string at the back. The Pack Run Cap also has the string at the back, but the cap sits tight enough on my head that I don't think I'll need to use it even in a hurricane. I will be interested to see if the Pack Run Cap loosens up with regular use.

The inside of the Pack Run Cap

On the whole, then, I think the Pack Run Cap is going to be a great hat for hot, sweaty days during summer hiking and camping. I'd like to see more colour options on the hat, and Buff might want to loosen the fit a bit and make the hat a slightly larger size so that the drawstring can be used to tighten the hat.

MARCH 18 edit:

I wanted to update this post to provide more of an actual review given that I've now worn the Pack Run Cap to the gym a few times when doing the walking/running track and on a spin bike.

The cap does do a pretty good job of keeping the sweat from running into my eyes. I'd say it gets about 98% of it, which is better than the average baseball cap would do. An actual original Buff worn as a sweatband at the gym gets 100%, but outside, an original Buff can't keep the sun out of my eyes, so that's a worthwhile tradeoff.

Despite me saying that the Pack Run Cap fit tightly to my head, I'm finding I still need to cinch it even tighter when using it at the gym, which helps deal with the sweat. It's tremendously breathable and despite the front third being almost completely soaked with perspiration after a workout, it dries pretty quickly. And so far, it doesn't show any signs of getting salt stained from sweat, which is what always happens to ballcaps that I've used for the gym in the past.

So, yeah, I really like it. Given that I now have numerous different Buff caps, I think I'll keep the Pack Run Cap for indoor/outdoor workout kinds of activities, and my Cap Pro for more everyday outside stuff when the weather is warm.

Even better, I have ANOTHER Pack Run Cap arriving from overseas next week. Yeah, sometimes I'm a sucker for a cool pattern on something.


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