Buff Athletic 5 Panel Cap | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Buff Athletic 5 Panel Cap | Review

A ventilated trail running cap that will protect you from both harmful UV rays, and the sweat-inducing heat of the sun

Why We Chose It: Streamlined design, great airflow from the stretchy mesh, slick aesthetic

The Buff 5 panel is primarily a trail running cap, though it wouldn’t look amiss when you’re out trekking, or on a quick jaunt into town. It’s made with sun protection in mind, but also has moisture-wicking features that’ll work against some light rain and a good amount of sweat.

Quick drying: this cap is a great accessory for high intensity sports. Amongst other things, Buff are experts in headwear and neckwear protection, and this cap definitely follows suit in terms of design features. It’s got a streamlined build that offers full crown cover, and a breathable mesh that promotes airflow when you’re out running. It also has a stretchy and adjustable fit to make it both suitable for a variety of head sizes, and for everyday use when you might not need it as tight.

OM tester Callum using the cap in Snowdonia. Photo Credit: Chris Johnson

Who Is The Buff Panel Cap For?

The Buff 5 panel is for people who engage in high intensity sports but desire a little comfort and protection along the way. It’s also suited for the outdoor lover more generally, especially if you a have a multi-hour or multi-day hiking adventure ahead of you.

When you’re out trail running or long-distance trekking, the last thing you want is to deal with intense sunburn or sweat obscuring your vision. The 5 panel provides a protective solution to this with its UV-protection and moisture-wicking qualities, as well as some more moderate protection against light rain and winds.

“The 5 panel provides a protective solution to this with its UV-protection and moisture-wicking qualities”

To give you an idea of the cap in action, check out Spanish trail runner Pau Capell sporting a Buff Pro Run Hat during his attempt to break the 20-hour barrier across the UTMB trail.

Photo Credit: Chris Johnson
Photo Credit: Chris Johnson


The sizes range from 53cm (S) to 61cm (XL) so there’s a pretty even spread of options. Combined with the adjustable Velcro closure at the back, and the accommodating stretchy fabric, however, Buff have endeavoured to create a democratic cap suited for everyone’s sizing preferences. There’s even some kids caps if you fancy kitting out the whole family.

Features include laser-cut ventilation holes for added breathability in warmer conditions, as well as a UV-protection factor (UPF) of 50. A built-in band can also be found around the inner rim of the cap to wick sweat and rain away, ensuring dryness, and in turn, improving your comfort out on the trail.

Photo Credit: Chris Johnson

For extra versatility, the branded print located around the product is reflective to improve visibility in low-light conditions. The hat additionally features a two-position secure sunglasses holder, as well as a huge variety of colour-options from which to choose. These range from more basic colours such a black and white, to funkier multi-coloured designs that really make you stand out on the trail.


The materials used in the Buff 5 panel are predominantly polyester and elastane, a bi-stretch fabric which keeps clothes adaptable and lightweight. A mesh insert is also utilised to prevent overheating and improve ventilation throughout the hat.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, editor of Outdoors Magic

“I’ve worn this through a lot of different conditions and it’s been great in all of them. In the sun, it kept the light off my eyes, kept me cool and the breathability was absolutely excellent. In wet weather it sheltered my face from the rain and while it got damp it seemed to dry up really quickly. I never had any issues in windy weather either actually, with the elastic keeping it secure around my head but without ever feeling tight. Lots to like here, for sure.”

Buff Athletic 5 Panel Cap


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