Buffalo Ladies Active Shirt

Buffalo Ladies Active Shirt
In the 1970s, the UK outdoor apparel company Buffalo Systems originated a unique concept – they started to develop outdoor apparel with an inner layer of Pile and an outer layer of Pertex. Pertex is a densely woven fabric that absorbs and disperses moisture, and even more notably, it is highly windproof, yet still breathable. The inner layer of Pile keeps the wearer warm, and it wicks moisture. (To learn more about why it is so important to have moisture wicking fabrics, check out Hiking 101).

Since they are UK based, their distribution is limited in the U.S., and I just learned about them and had the chance to take along the Buffalo Ladies Active Shirt on a hiking trip to the windy, high deserts of southern Utah. The company refers to it as a “shirt”, but consider it a shell that has a built in thin lining.

Wearing the Buffalo Ladies Active Shirt
Wearing the Buffalo Ladies Active Shirt

Pros:

  • Extremely windproof! I have tested a lot of jackets, shells, and layering systems on hikes and backpacking trips… on my trip I spent a lot of hours hiking around the dry, windy red deserts of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I brought along my Marmot Precip shell so I could compare the Buffalo Active Shirt to my formerly favorite jacket. With the Buffalo Shirt, I only had to wear it over a thin base layer to stay warm. With the Marmot shell, I was wearing 4 layers underneath and the wind still blew right through!
  • Good design. The shirt comes down quite long in the front and back, so it covered my rear. It was comfortable for hiking, and kept even more of my body warm despite the windy conditions.
  • Convenient chest pocket and hardwarmer pocket. As shown in the picture, the shirt has an easy to access large pocket across the chest, great for storing my camera and a map! Additionally, instead of separate side pockets, there is one large pile-lined handwarmer pocket across the front, where I stashed my gloved hands to stay extra warm.
Convenient access to maps and cameras
Convenient access to maps and cameras

It is rare that I am so amazed by an article of hiking clothing, and in order to make sure I wasn’t missing something, I asked my hiking friend Donna who was along on the trip to try it out…she took off 3 layers to make sure it fit snugly (the closer the fit, the better it will do keeping you warm). She refused to take it off!

Cons:

  • Lacks a fashion element. The Ladies Active Shirt is intended for serious hikers and those who want the utmost functionality. That is the type of gear I look to wear in the mountains, because when the winds pick up and the temperature drops, no one cares if their apparel is stylish or matches, you just care about staying warm and dry and continuing your adventure! Buffalo System’s motto is “Function not Fashion”, so perhaps this really isn’t a negative!
Buffalo Ladies Active Shirt
Buffalo Ladies Active Shirt

Specs:

  • How to Buy: Available in the US through Buffalo Systems USA
  • Price: $218+ shipping
  • Weight: 590 grams (the new model weighs 470 grams; mine was 590 grams)
  • Sizes: UK sizes 32, 34, 36, 38, 40

I sure hope Buffalo gets broader international distribution. They are targeting a very small market of serious hikers and mountaineers, and if you want to stay warm in harsh conditions, a Ladies Active Shirt is worth the investment.

 

 

 


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6 comments

  1. Patrick Hutton says:

    You should do a review on the Buffalo website for the shirt and link to your article. Just go to the woman’s active shirt.

    BTW they recommend that baselayers aren’t worn with their shirts as;

    1) it interferes with the shirt’s wicking ability.
    2) it interferes with the upper temperature range where the shirt can be worn comfortably.

  2. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Patrick,
    Great question. In my experience, I use it as my outer layer in 50 degree F temperatures with a light layer underneath. It is a little too warm to wear in 65+ degrees. Hope that helps!

  3. Patrick Hutton says:

    Hi many thanks for reply (just noticed your response this evening).

    A last question. How adaptable is the garment to different temperatures and levels of activity? I know it’s breathable and has many vents but nevertheless is just one layer.

  4. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Great questions! The jacket I have is definitely the Active Shirt, however, the styling has changed a bit since I wrote this up in 2010. It actually was quite cold (about 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit), despite the sun, on that particular trip to Moab, Utah. In the western US oftentimes it can still be extremely sunny, yet cold from wind/snow/etc. I have lived in the UK as well and I know it can be a shock to think that it can be cold and windy on a bright sunny day.

    I find that the Ladies Active Shirt is excellent for cutting out wind, and I think the one pocket design is nice. However, that takes some getting used to. What I like is that I know where everything is and I don’t have to open 3+ pockets to find an item like chapstick or my whistle. In my opinion, the biggest drawback is that you have to take it off over your head, and if the weather changes and you’re wearing a hat or helmet, it is less convenient than a full zip jacket.

    Hope that helps and happy trails!

  5. Patrick Hutton says:

    Hi Hiking Lady,

    I’ve just read your review on the Buffalo Active Shirt (Ladies) are your sure that’s the Active Shirt and not the Active Light Shirt? There are two reasons I ask: firstly the weight of 590g seems too light for the AS but around the weight of an ALS. Secondly your photo suggests it’d far too hot for the AS -even the ASL for that matter.

    On another point how do you find the shirt only having one large pocket rather than say 4 smaller pockets in terms of utility?

    Patrick (UK)

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