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One of the most useful items when motorcycle riding is a neck tube type scarf.

In cool conditions they help seal top of your jacket, stop drafts down back of neck that lead to a chill and head colds as well they can be pulled up over your lower face or nose to cut some cold and stop visor fog. In warm conditions they stop the back of your neck getting fried in the sun and can stop a collar from causing irritation against skin in heat.901183_10151591916418601_1614750037_oI had two Buff brand neck tubes. Their regular model pictured above and their UV50+ model which is marginally thicker or tighter weave. I found the standard one blocked the sun fine and was cooler to wear in summer. The UV50+ model whilst also ok in summer was slightly warmer and suited Spring and Autumn riding. Both were all day comfortable against the skin made from material that is a smooth microfiber polyester. I had these two Buffs for about 10 years and considered them as essential never going out the door without one.

A day before leaving for Nepal when packing I realised I no longer possessed a Buff. I lost the above one recently in Croatia with my Polaroid Cube and now it seems I have lost the other one somewhere between Philippines and Japan, perhaps like a couple of my favourite t-shirts in laundry shops of SE Asia. No time to order anything online I visited my local sports depot to find no Buffs but another take on the neck tube by British outdoor clothing brand Karrimor. So I give theirs a try.

Tags say it is made from a high performance material that resists odor and wicks perspiration etc. It is shorter in length than a Buff and a more open weave material but still rated high UV protection. The material feels ever so slightly coarse against the skin however it flows air easy when moving. It was no problem to wear in high heat of 37 degrees in Nepal when on the move but I found the less soft Karrimor tube does not want to fold/sit down around base of neck. The material wants to stay expanded sitting up. This combined with the feel of the material being less comfortable started to annoy me after a couple of days and I shall not be using it again.  P1010555Neck tube fail by Karrimor

Lots of fake outdoor gear in Kathmandu, I already tried a cheapo tube in Philippines and it was hot and sweaty made of wrong material so cheap is sometimes just cheap. Upon return unable to find any Buffs I came across another neck tube this time by North Face clothing brand which is made from polyester material similar to a Buff. North Face call their take on the neck tube a Dipsea Cover-it. No idea what that means, marketing fluff that along with stamping North Face on it turns a $1 item into $20 retail, but I needed one now.

The Cover-it is rated 50+ UV protection and is silky smooth against the skin. It is longer than the Karrimor tube being the same 52cm length as a Buff. The Cover-it sits comfortably around base of my neck in similar fashion to the UV50 Buff. So far it feels good and worked well on the bike. Not sure about the colour but it was sky blue or a huge North Face corporate logo so this won. Check back in future for how it works in higher temperatures. P1010563

Summing up then it seems Tubes ain’t Tubes. I’m not into brands but so far the original Buffs work over wider temperature range. If you ride in milder conditions then their UV50 model is very versatile item.

Update June 2018. Ok just completed a tour of Japan with the above Cover-it neck tube. It suits warm and hot weather staying comfortable and flowing air however on cool days it is not very effective in sealing the collar. The UV50 model Buff which I tended to tour with in any weather besides 30 degrees is a far better all rounder. It is slightly less cool but nothing to bother you but is effective over wide temperature range. The Cover-it is destined to be a summer only item for me. So back to shopping for a Buff, I shall try on my next ride overseas since they are not sold here and eBay has decided they no longer want my business.

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