Buffalo – The Special 6 Shirt

Buffalo special 6 jacket or shirt – why is it called a shirt??? Whatever the reason, this is the main item out of all the 4 that I’ve been using. It is also the item that I researched the most before I took the plunge to purchase so much gear. So read on for my review of special 6 shirt/jacket.
Did it live up to the hype of needing nothing else other than the jacket to keep warm? Did it work as expected? Is it better than anything else and value for money? So many questions.

Buffalo Special 6 Shirt

This is the main deal here. The shirt – the jacket. Wear this and that’s all you need for your top half. No thermals, no vest, no hoody… Just the jacket. Really? That’s what the marketing material says and it is also what I’ve been told by someone that really rates them highly and did a stint or two with the mountain rescue.

Either way, for this first time out I didn’t lighten my load right away – wasn’t going to risk freezing and catching hypothermia based on a bit of PR! So while I only wore the special 6, I did have various back up layers in my bag!

What’s it like?

It’s warm, it’s cosy, it has enough zips to open up should you get to warm – just don’t be wearing the buffalo gloves as you’ll barely feel the zips to open them. I may add the little rope/pull cords that you can attach to a zip to make it easier to open/close with gloves for my next trip. especially the side zips.

Fitting, I’m normally a small and the 36 size special seems to fit nice and snug. The special shirt is a little bit longer than their other jacket, and that certainly aided with keeping the rain on the top of the trousers. So if given a choice of the longer or shorter jackets, I’d definitely go for the special. So all good so far.

The pockets

It’s got one main pocket at the front. Big and long pocket – which much to my surprise is NOT waterproof. Thought that would be a given but nope. Previously I’d put my phone into my trousers (read onto the trouser review) but this wasn’t possible with the buffalo gear, so I used the front pocket. It didn’t take long for my phone to become rather wet. I also had tissues and camera lens cloths in the same pocket – and yes they soaked up a lot of water!

The other large pocket, is more of a pass through for your hiking waste strap which is a pretty good idea. So you put on your hiking bag and then you can pass the strap all the way through, rather than on top. This makes it slightly more attractive.

Fashion over functionality?

Does anyone care if it’s slightly more attractive – I’m not sure. After a gain in altitude and some slightly stronger winds I was feeling a draft coming in through this pocket system. What to do, zip up the pockets and put the bag straps over the jacket/shirt. After that point I didn’t really notice the cold. Well almost didn’t.

Photo from hikes in Knoydart

Is the wind getting through

The zips go the full way up and down on either side of the jacket; what is odd is that the metal (conductor of cold/heat) zips aren’t kept away from the wearers skin. So if you put on the cold jacket there will be a moment of – brrrrrr, as the zip touches your warm skin. Why aren’t these kept away view a material covering? Seems like an odd omission.

The zips are a weak point in general with the jacket for two reasons. First one is that the wind appears to go through a zip much to simply (in comparison to the material) and secondly the zip on the large pocket got stuck, more than once. When you open it – it can and does get stuck on the top part of material above the zip. There is a water guard piece of material that covers the pocket zip, which if you aren’t careful when opening it, will get pulled into the zip. It’s a right pain if each time you open it, you then have to fight with it to open it fully or get it closed again.

Waterproof and warm

Warm but no sweat – how else to put that? I normally run fairly hot and anyone that sweats then stops in the hills will know how much that can really make you cold and fast! You know, when you reach a summit, take your rucksack off. This in turn exposes your back that is full of sweat, and next thing you know you’re having a very rapid cool down as the sweat evaporates and takes any heat with it. Thankfully this jacket did not have such issues. That’s a win!

Rain

Rain on the other hand, (which was a problem for the gloves but not for the hood) how well will the jacket do? Overall it performed pretty well. At no point did I think or feel like I was wet – remember this jacket was next to my skin – no layers, just the jacket. Always a but – and perhaps I need to use the jacket more than once to be sure. But if I was hiking for more than one day – then putting it back on after a wet day may be a struggle as when it’s wet – it gets very wet. Which is odd as mentioned it really didn’t feel wet on the inside. But on the outside it was soaking, and the jacket did feel heavier for that. So wet you could ring it out.

So couple of gripes about the zips and the lack of a waterproof pocket let it down badly. But as a core item that will keep you warm with nothing else – saving weight etc. Brilliant.

Score

7 out of 10

The Other Gear

Buffalo Hood review

Buffalo Gloves

Buffalo Special 6 Trousers

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