Buffalo BAS Parka review
The BAS parka is Buffalo’s extreme cold weather piece, developed as an overlayer for scientists of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). In true Buffalo fashion, the parka is designed with Pertex and (extra fluffy) Pile. It has a relatively simple cut, with a double zipper, two hand pockets and two inner chest pockets. The parka has a separate collar and hood with Kenny-from-South-park extention.
I intended to use the BAS parka as an allround parka to use when guiding tours in the Icelandic winter. It would be a comfortable coat for myself, an active overlayer when hiking in bad conditions, a backup belay jacket and a foolproof emergency piece for my clients. And, since the BAS parka is in my closet anways, I’ve been using it the whole winter as a daily coat.
During february, I’m piloting a new tour in Iceland that focuses on accessable winter hiking. (spoiler: the concept prooved perfect). The Buffalo BAS is in my suitcase and will see a while of surprisingly intense use.
First of all, I should mention that the Buffalo BAS parka is sized relatively small. Based on my regular sizes in Buffalo (38 in Teclite, 40 in Special 6 shirt, 42 in Belay jacket), I reasoned a size 42 should be a good fit for the BAS parka too, but because the shoulders and sleeves are quite a bit less wide than the Belay jacket, I regret not having gone another size up…
But that couldn’t spoil the fun. The BAS parka truly is a great piece of equipment.
What I liked most:
The PolarTherm pile… Holy cow it’s soo comfortable and warm!
Buffalo utilises a few different types of pile in their garments, in varying length (thickness) and density. Teclite for mild conditions, Aquatherm is their standard pile from the SP6s and the Mountain Shirt. They have Aquatherm Extreme which has much longer hairs, used in the 4s sleeping bags, Tecmax which is shorter but denser (therefore warmer) and Polartherm, as used in our BAS parka, which is both denser and longer. and hell it is so nice!
Warmth-wise it’s of course nothing compared to a big and beefy down jacket, but the warmth of this pile is, at least, comparable to 100g/m² Primaloft. Given the dense and fluffy pile, it definitely feels much more than primaloft.
The simple yet very effective double zipper system
A zipper is never windproof, so you’ll always have to cover a zipper to fully close off the opening. Traditionally you’ll see a zipper protector with velcro’s, but i really like Buffalo’s smart thinking by choosing for a double zipper. The first zip closes the jacket and the collar, while the second zip will fully close off the first zip and the hood. It’s a very good integration of both functionalities. I’m happy they chose for a big beefy zipper. Just a small tip to Buffalo: give both zippers a different colour, this will make the parka even more foolproof and could even be an extra safety in ‘condition black’ situations.
Its total idiot-proofness. From strength to simplicity to functionality.
Well.. if it weren’t completely idiot-proof, it wouldn’t be a Buffalo, right?
Waist adjustment cords are standard practice in parka’s, but I really love how Buffalo put the waist adjustment in the liner, loose from the outer shell. This way, you pull the insulation close to your body and create another layer of air between your insulation and the outer.
the toned-down design makes the Parka even an acceptable sight in town
Which may sound stupid, but with so many technical stuff in my closet, it is a relief to have some office-proof pieces of kit too. Being office-proof, I notice that I wear my BAS parka quite a bit more often too. Isn t that one of the design principles from Fjällräven?
There are a few things I would change about te parka too, to be honest…
Wider shoulders and sleeves, for more ease when layering
I truly wish they would have made the parka just that bit wider, to put it more in the league of a belay jacket on steroids. I definitely recommend to size up, but slightly wider shoulders and sleeves would, in my opinion, be a necessity for an extreme weather parka as this one.
Reinforced hood brim…
The hood is nicely designed (a tad narrow on the neck, like most Buffalo gear), but the extention in front of the face is too flexible. In heavy side winds, the fabric doesnt stay where it should, and flaps in my face, covering one eye. Please solve this issue, guys,
Finally, I imagined some Nice-to-haves for the BAS parka:
Generally, my posture doesn’t fully match the Buffalo mold… For me, almost every Buffalo is too narrow in the collar, which is the same case here. Also, sleeves are usually 3-5cm (1,5 – 2 inch) too short. And then there is the length, which could do with at least 10cm (4 inch) extra… Oh well, I´ll just accuse my posture.
Second, I would have loved a pair of simple napoleon pockets on the chest. Just a double layer of pertex with a zipper would be more than fine. The current handwarmer pockets are great, but are just not enough to keep essentials at hand.
All in all, I’m really fond of this Parka. It is simple, idiot-proof and amazingly comfortable. And it just works.Adventures By Q