Buffalo Special 6 - astonished

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MikeLA

Full Member
May 17, 2011
1,677
161
Northumberland
Own a special 6 and a belay, love them beats anything I’ve tried for walks, hillwalking. Bought my first one in 1990. Still my go to coat for outdoors
 
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MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
2,007
907
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
Been wearing this a lot now and it’s a great item.

I have found that:

Dry + cold in the single figures I need a t-shirt (cotton t-shirt if just walking the dog!) or baselayer (poly-propylene if active) underneath for medium activity, fine on its own for high activity levels - need to throw something over it if stopping for an extended period of time though.

Warmer (early double figures) it is fine on its own up to medium activity levels but to warm for more than that.

Fine on its own in the rain with the temp in double figures

Not tried it in the rain in single figures yet with a base layer or without but I will.

Amazing in the wind, really good at blocking it

Imo it could do with some extra padding in the kidney area and when the wind is ‘right’ it can come in the side zips a bit

But Overall very happy with it, and performs well but it is not a one solution (on its own) for all situations imo. Still very pleased with it though.
 
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pieinthesky

Forager
Jun 29, 2014
147
44
Northants
I had a Buffalo cycling top (probably still have it somewhere) but stopped using it as it was too warm. Even in a blizzard I had all the zips fully open trying to keep cool.

The other problem was the crotch strap, it used to catch under the saddle which would often result in some painful saddle action - snipped it off after a few rides.

Now I am much older and slower and I feel the cold more I might dig it out and start using it for canoeing and camping. It will always be too warm for cycling.
 
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GDSO

Full Member
Apr 21, 2020
66
9
43
West Sussex
Hi,

I've been using Buffalo kit for 15-20 years and have a different view to most here. It might not be popular, but perhaps worth it for the balance.

I don't rate it and wouldn't buy it again. That's not to say I don't like the system, which works well, but you can get a far better bit of kit in the Montane shirt. It is (or was?) a very similar design but better made - arm reinforcements, better zips that don't jam, thicker pertex, softer fleece, higher collar. Essentially Montane fixed all the issued with the Buffalo shirt and turned out a better product.
 
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MikeLA

Full Member
May 17, 2011
1,677
161
Northumberland
I see what your saying just the montane was just too bulky for me (carrying and wearing) and I got everything I needed from the buffalo that’s why I stuck to that make. Both good
 
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MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
2,007
907
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
Right been wearing this solidly for about 3 months now. Most weekends and the odd evening, and at night a couple of times. Washed it once (fell over in mud - don’t ask)
Have worn it in a variety of weathers between -2c the other night to +10c the other day. Mixed acrivities, working, dog walk, hiking, wildlife watching at a local reserve.

I have been wearing it next to my skin, or with a helly Hansen lifa polypropylene baselayer which seems to work quite well. Although I haven’t worn the lifa during strenuous activity or in heavy rain, would be interested to try a merino wool baselayer aswell.


Pros.
- fits well, comfortable to wear

- not hugely bulky or weighty tbh (it’s not ultralight though) and it packs down better than my hard shell and liner.

- loft doesn’t appear to suffer from being stuffed into a bag and scrunched up.

- warm (caveat - when moving)

- very good at wind blocking

- hood works well, nice and snug and with a deep enough peak to shield your face. Haven’t felt the need to use the removable face piece though. Have experimented with and without, and I just leave the hood in permanently now.

- not silent, but not hugely noisy either tbh

- doesn’t keep you dry in heavy or persistent rain but it keeps you warm and dries really fast when it does get wet. Doesn’t let through light rain (DWR coated?)

Cons
- hood Velcro is longer than the neck Velcro on the jacket - I have the correct matched hood size. Which leaves a couple of irritating Velcro’s areas that don’t make sense to me. I may sew a couple of loop fields of Velcro in a couple areas to hold the bit that would go across your next out of the way when the front of the jacket is open

- the side zips - they came with zipper pulls on the bit of the zip that vents your sides only, I kept pulling these and opening the vents when I was just meaning to zip up the sides. Solved by swapping the zipper pull to the bottom zipper.

- the chest pocket zip occasionally catches on the storm flap over it and binds up, which is mildly irritating.

- the hand pockets at the front let in wind when unzipped - which can make your stomach area cold. Easily solved by ziping them up in bad weather

- caught on shoulder on a bramble which has marred the pertex outer - it’s actually fairly fragile if caught like that. It hasn’t ripped, it just pulled a thread.
- when static for a reasonable period of time, with no base layer you cool down, the system requires atleast minimal exertion to keep you warm - I just threw a surplus smock over the top at a recent bushcraft ‘sit around’

- don’t go near a fire. It’s melty.

Overall pretty happy, it’s definitely not an ‘all occasions’ coat but pretty versatile. It also worked well as a mid-layer under a cotton/poly cotton surplus jacket (danish m84). I find my self reaching for it over my goretex lined shell tbh.

Hopefully it gets more consistently cold so I can test on it a bit more.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,277
1,026
Cumbria
The velcro closure of the jacket neck doesn't work well with the hood as the hood covers the loop part on the neck that it would attach to. If you pull the hood away to close the neck of the jacket the hood then has one side attached differently to the other side. It's a little detail that annoys me.

Montane extreme jacket and smock are not directly comparable as it is a warmer design. The hood is a bit better, the sleeves have D rings for gloves if that's what you like and reinforcement patches that IMHO aren't needed in buffalo and indeed stiffer fabric that isn't as nice as the buffalo. A good product but IMHO doesn't have the edge over buffalo, neither is better than the other just sufficiently different to have their proponents and fans. Montane is better in colder weather than buffalo. Oh and the buffalo zips I've never had any issue with, aren't they ZKK zips, the market leading zip brand? Montane extreme smocks and jackets when I last checked them out seemed to have more chunky zips and they didn't work that well for me. Personal opinion and preference of course.

BTW the outer fabric in buffalo is lighter and feels less durable but having once owning the windshirt which is really just the outer layer of a buffalo pertex pile smock I have experienced how tough it really is. I once tore a small hole in one sleeve on a thorn when doing conservation work. I got home and the hole wasn't there. It just moved the weave of the fabric to make a hole but I continued to wear it and it closed up the weave. I doubt the hole would appear in a perfect pile top though.

I do agree that montane do look at improving things whereas buffalo made something advanced when it first came out but it never really developed further. Yes minor changes for new products but it never bothered improving existing products. All buffalo smocks could do with improvements. Hood as standard, better attachment velcro design, cuffs I have a issue with and a few more.
 
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MrEd

Full Member
Feb 18, 2010
2,007
907
Surrey/Sussex
www.thetimechamber.co.uk
The velcro closure of the jacket neck doesn't work well with the hood as the hood covers the loop part on the neck that it would attach to. If you pull the hood away to close the neck of the jacket the hood then has one side attached differently to the other side. It's a little detail that annoys me.

Montane extreme jacket and smock are not directly comparable as it is a warmer design. The hood is a bit better, the sleeves have D rings for gloves if that's what you like and reinforcement patches that IMHO aren't needed in buffalo and indeed stiffer fabric that isn't as nice as the buffalo. A good product but IMHO doesn't have the edge over buffalo, neither is better than the other just sufficiently different to have their proponents and fans. Montane is better in colder weather than buffalo. Oh and the buffalo zips I've never had any issue with, aren't they ZKK zips, the market leading zip brand? Montane extreme smocks and jackets when I last checked them out seemed to have more chunky zips and they didn't work that well for me. Personal opinion and preference of course.

BTW the outer fabric in buffalo is lighter and feels less durable but having once owning the windshirt which is really just the outer layer of a buffalo pertex pile smock I have experienced how tough it really is. I once tore a small hole in one sleeve on a thorn when doing conservation work. I got home and the hole wasn't there. It just moved the weave of the fabric to make a hole but I continued to wear it and it closed up the weave. I doubt the hole would appear in a perfect pile top though.

I do agree that montane do look at improving things whereas buffalo made something advanced when it first came out but it never really developed further. Yes minor changes for new products but it never bothered improving existing products. All buffalo smocks could do with improvements. Hood as standard, better attachment velcro design, cuffs I have a issue with and a few more.

Ditto re: the hood. I do think that could be tweaked, it works well when up and the zip done up and the hood closed at the neck but not really if you have the hood down and the neck zipped up. Having said that I wouldn’t be without the hood tbh

Also ditto re: the thorn, I pulled mine not that long ago and I can find where I did it, was upper right arm but it appears to have just closed up. And it pulled a loop of thread out.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,277
1,026
Cumbria
There used to be a montane smock like the extreme smock but in epic outer fabric. It was a heavy duty version intended for more a Arctic use. IIRC epic was a Teflon coated cotton or ventile fabric outer plus warmer pile.
 
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