Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bandanaman

You probably haven't noticed but I am bald. I started losing my hair at the end of college and I feel good about doing the right thing and buzzing it all off instead of some inhuman cover-up. These days, I actually go a step further and shave my head clean. I like it. I don't have a bad shaped head. Just a slight dent where I suspect that my parents dropped me and conveniently forgot to 'fess up to it. That would account for a lot of my in idiosyncrasies.

It's because of the bald head that I care so much about head gear. The winter is easy. A good running skull cap does the job. The summer is trickier. It's horrible having sweat run down into your eyes. There are plenty of things that I can't use. Visors and headband type things are good for sweat but I would be in the hospital with 3rd degree burns from my exposed cranium. I have that horribly white British skin. It's a shame because there are some interesting things on the market.
There are Bondi Bands. Wide fabric hair bands among other offerings:
www.bondiband.com
There is the Sweat GUTR. A plastic band that diverts sweat away from the eyes. Even Bob Dillan seems to enjoy this product.
www.sweatgutr.com/sports-sweatband.html

Needless to say, I have tried a whole bunch of hats. When the sun is very bright, there is no substitute for a brim. I hate wearing glasses when I run. Not all hats are created equal though. Some are uncomfortable, some are too heavy and most do a terrible job at stopping sweat over a long distance. Other hats are just too much and just not my style. This one by Halo Headband for example, pretends to be a bandana and tries too hard to be hiphop. As awesome as I am, I'm not "street" and no amount of head gear is going to get me there.

Halo Protex Bandana

The hat I have right now, following some research and some bad purchase decisions is a simple REI running hat. It is a good product. It is light, it's cool and it has an extra long brim, etc. Even with this hat, on a very long run in heat, there is only so much the a hat band can do to stop sweat.
http://www.rei.com/product/795943/rei-fitness-runners-cap

My preferred running head gear is the good old bandana. It's super light, it does a great job of absorbing sweat and it protects me from direct sun on the scalp. It also looks pretty badass. If it's good enough for the Hulkster, it's good enough for me. Total Americana. What the bandana doesn't do is wick moisture away fast enough. I don't mind a damp bandana on the head in warm weather but in cooler weather, it can get cold. The bandana also doesn't protect me from harmful UV rays. My REI hat does.

Hulkster with Bandana
If you feel that I have already over-thought this bandana thing a bit too much, you don't really know me do you? My logical next step was to think about how I may have stumbled into an untapped area. I thought it could be my head version of the Joggings [see my post about compression tight fashion]. I stopped myself though because I knew there must be more "technical" bandanas out there. It's such a part of the culture, it must have seen some innovation. I turned to the Interwebs for a spot of research. At first, I found some interesting bandana innovations but not quite what I was looking for. For example, the REI has insect repelling bandanas. Under Armour has a "technical" bandana that wicks moisture but it is made for winter.

Finally, after what seemed like minutes, I found what I was looking for. Planet Buff! This is not a pretty website but the product is like some sort of ΓΌber bandana forged in Krypton. It's rediculous. It has everything I could have dreamed of and more. For example, here are the specs for the UV Buff:
  • It's a bandana tube that can be worn 12+ different ways.
  • It is made from Coolmax Extreme® a special 4 channel fibre... pulls moisture away from your skin... then dries that moisture faster than any other fabric and thermoregulates your bodies temperature.
  • It stretches only sideways to fit your head, so that it never loses it's shape.
  • Special seeming that avoids iritation or chaffing.
  • One size fits all - no sizing to worry about.
  • Has Poygiene® that is an anti bacterial and anti odor technology. It can not be washed out and has been dermatologically tested.
  • The fabric breaths.
  • It protects from 95% of the sun's harmful UV rays.
I was so impressed, I emailed the company and told them that they should sponsor me too. If they put some love into this fool, maybe that will light a fire under New Balance's ass. They even make custom Buff's, so New Balance could have some NB ones made for me. Check out this amazing product here:

As I was researching bandanas, I came across this little article called "My Bandana" by Nancy Shura. It's in the Ultra Ladies Stories section of Trail Run Events website. I love that she has an intimate relationship with her bandana and I love all the uses she has documented from her many experiences. Fun.

I'll keep you posted about any contact from Buff. I told them that they didn't have to give me free product for me to blog about them. I intend buying one. I may even get a winter one. I fancy some of that Merino wool on my noggin. 

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