I have an old pal a superb mountaineer Terry Moore who I have known for over 40 years, he is by far one of the best mountaineers I have ever met. He sent me a photo about his Buffalo shirt that he has had since his days in the RAF Mountain Rescue. I was joking about his aged Buffalo when we met in November on the hills. He has since just bought a new one and sent a letter to Buffalo and told the tale about his love of the gear. His letter is on the Buffalo website. I loved them as well and they were great gear for RAF Mountain Rescue, so hard wearing and versatile and when hanging about on a long Call -out they were great. Many mountain rescue teams had them and Mick Tighe talks warmly about them in the Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection. What a great website for information on gear, well worth a look.
From the Scottish Heritage Collection
“It was back around 1978 that Scottish mountaineer, Hamish Hamilton, came up with his idea for Buffalo Clothing. For a long time it seems that he had been wondering how the Inuit people kept warm by using animal skins with the fur next to the skin which allowed moisture to circulate and escape through the porous hide. Hamish managed to create a synthetic version of the hide which he called Pertex and when this was combined with a fleece type inner he had an ideal material, initially for the production of sleeping bags and later on for a clothing system which included a top very similar to the one we have here in the collection.”
I wore a Buffalo system on Denali that include the Salopetes and they were incredible in the extreme temperatures we met. The gear was heavy to carry but so hard wearing and when we had an epic when one of the team fell in a crevasse in a blizzard they kept me warm/alive while things got sorted!Out there when the sun went down is was so cold up to minus 20 so quickly, I often slept in my gear.
At the time they were incredible gear and at a reasonable price, when asked about kit it was my number one suggestion. The also had zips that let you vent them a great bonus when you were sweating. What a piece of gear.You were supposed to wear it next to the skin as Pete Kirkpatrick did but I found that a bit sweaty and smelly. They washed well and lost a bit of loft over the years and I found them great as they got lighter!
This is why we love some gear better than others and the Buffalo system is one of them.
Some of my other favourites –
- The Helly Hansen Polar Fleece and trousers.
- Karrimor gaiters and rucksacks/ Cullin Rucksacs
- Plastic Boots
- Lightweight boots – Karrimor
- Hamish’s Terrordactyl
- Clip on crampons.
- Willians Harness
- Tartan shirts
- Lifa underwear
- Dachstein Mitts
- Patagonia Pertex / Fleece trousers with full zip ( a posh lightweight Buffalo)
- Lightweight Duvets
- Modern head torches.
- Gortex bivy bags and Bothy Bags
- Wind suits.
- Helly Hansen Mitts – Cairngorm Wanderer
What are yours?
A normal campsite on Denali ready for the weather see below. No Sherpas out there just hard work towing a sledge and a huge bag!
What is your favourite gear?