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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Insect-Shield Buff: Does It Stop The Midges Getting In My (Imaginary) Beard?

The Kit Shack asked me whether I‘d like to review an insect-shield buff if they sent me one to test. I said yes please but if I got eaten to death by bugs because it didn't work it would go on my gravestone that it was ALL KIT SHACKS FAULT. *May have in fact ACTUALLY just said yes please I like free things but I'll give my honest opinion*

The picture on the Buff card was of a rugged looking man with a beard. I hoped Buff wouldn’t be too upset at a review by an average non-beardy girl. The man on the card looked as though insects wouldn’t worry him. He wouldn’t be flailing and running around in circles spoiling his cool ultra running image screeching “They’re in my beard! In my BEARDDD!!” I don’t do this either. (I don’t have a beard)

This Man Has a Beard. But No Buff.

However I do hate bugs. I’m not scared of them particularly – apart from those red damsel fly things that are basically teeth with wings – but I do dislike small, irritating, buzzing creatures that swarm me when I’m trying to have a nice quiet beer in a beer garden and try to drink my blood. It’s distracting. And they get in the beer. 

Buff AND Beard.

These sort of insects are a particular nuisance at Draycote Water, one of my favourite places to run. It’s peaceful, slightly undulating and with a lovely view across the reservoir of the sailing boats, ducks and mad-eyed runners. You have to dodge the occasional cyclist and some of the bird watchers can get bit twitchy if you scare off their specific duck with a particularly energetic snot rocket, but it tends to be a calm, peaceful place to run. Except for the midges. The midges. The MIDGES. They circle in swarms around the paths, making patterns in the evening air like the starlings preparing to migrate. It would probably be quite pretty if they kept off the paths and away from face level and stopped getting stuck in my teeth.  

So the idea of wearing a buff that doubles as an insect shield appealed to me. However, I was a little unsure on how it worked. Is it like a normal buff but I use it to cover my entire face, body, legs and feet to keep the bugs from biting me? Do I wave it around like fabric wielding ninja with floral nunchucks? Or do I spring it like a rubber band at the larger, more persistent bugs? I was relieved to hear I just wear it normally. It’s imbued with an insect-keep-away fragrance. And one that isn’t particularly noticeable to humans. 

Almost 100% effective at stopping face bugs ...
ACTUALLY 100% effective at stopping face bugs. Bit dangerous for running though. Or breathing.

I decided to test it out by using it at my tea drinking time at Cliff Lakes after my swim in the lake. I love Cliff Lakes. It’s peaceful, calm and serene ... and after about 8pm full of irritating midges. This would be the perfect place to test it. 

I decided as my blog is so sciencey and technical *cough* to test the buff out in 3 ways:

  1. Wearing the buff and see whether I can clear a Sarah shaped hole in the cloud of midges
  2. Dangling the buff near a cloud of midges to see what they do. Midge training. Like a flea circus …?
  3. Waving the buff at the midges to see what they’d do. See. PROPER science. 


Test 1: Wearing the buff and see whether I can clear a Sarah shaped hole in the cloud of midges
Yes, the midges did clear away although whether this was because of the buff or whether it was because they were a bit confused about this strange person sneaking up to them and sticking her head into the biggest swarm she could find. I decided that midges probably don’t get confused and that they tend to stick themselves to me rather than fly away so this is a big tick for the buff. Big tick. 

Test 2: Dangling the buff near a cloud of midges to see what they do. 
Basically I sneaked up on the midges and brandished the buff at them. yep. They flew away. Unsure whether it was because they were scared of the bright design I’d chosen or whether they didn’t like the insect shield. Decided that flies like flowers which are usually brightly coloured and midges like bright red juicy blood so it must have been the insect shield. Big tick.

Test 3. Waving the buff at the midges to see what they’d do.
This was my favourite one.  This was like midge training.. Like a flea circus. Basically I was using the buff as a small fluffy whip to herd midges. Should I ever become bored of doing an office job, I will be focusing all my energies on becoming a midge trainer. And I think this is the buff to help me do it. Big tick.

I’m pretty sure Cliff Lakes won’t be hiring me as a one-person-midge-removal-magician but it was fairly obvious that the midges didn’t like the buff (or me) and it did a good job of keeping them away from my face. And imaginary beard. 



Pros
  • Get to look like you’re a magical midge trainer who keeps them away with her colourful neck.
  • Buff is nice looking and I tend to wear buffs anyway so it[‘s not additional kit.
  • Will be brilliant for camping and for beer gardens.
  • I can stop doing my ‘Jeff-Goldblum-in-‘The-Fly’ impression every time I go for an evening run. I was coming back with so many midges stuck to me it looked likeI was partway through the special effects portion of the film. I could tell how long the run had been by counting the number of flies left behind in the shower. Now no longer a problem!
  • It stopped the midges getting in my beard.
  • 95% UV protection.
  • Seamless so no seams to chafe.
  • Odour resistant as it contains ‘polygiene’ which is silver salt from recycled silver. 
  • The insect shield lasts for up to 70 washes.

Cons
  • I'll have to see how effective it is after a few washes. 
  • I will need to find an alternative source of protein now though rather than just running around the lakes with my mouth open.    
  • Bit warm this time of year to be wearing a buff.
  • Will my legs be bitten to shreds as the buff is around my neck. Can buff produce some lovely insect shield socks for me for maximum de-bugging?
  • It gives me beard envy. 

I’ll certainly be taking it camping and on my trail runs and it is a must for midge training. Should you wish to purchase yourself one, then get yourself to Kit Shack here

For information on how to use your buff there's a video here: 

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