Gray’s Best Awards 2015


In the past few years, sun sleeves have gone from anomalous to ubiquitous. Just about every serious angler and guide now wears a sleeve of stretchy, light fabric to shield neck and face from UV radiation while on the water. The Buff company has become so synonymous with the garment that few people call these accessories sun sleeves. Most just refer to them as Buffs, regardless of the manufacturer. While the original design was highly successful, it had two flaws: When worn over the nose (a necessity for avoiding skin cancer) Buffs direct exhaled air upward, causing glasses to fog almost immediately. Second, the material has a tendency to bunch up on the back of the neck, leaving a sliver of exposed skin between the shirt collar and the bottom edge of the Buff, producing a “smiley face” of crescent-shaped sunburn at the base of the neck. The new Buff UVX Mask ($35) addresses both those problems. It features a triangle of fabric cut with numerous holes that fits over the nose. This arrangement is both comfortable and functional, as it allows air to pass through more easily and does not smash the nose, a welcome feature for those of us with prodigious facial appendages. Additionally, the UVX mask has fabric that tapers out from the neck and down the shoulders, which can be tucked under shirt collars to give anglers full protection at the back of the neck, where it is most difficult to detect the lurking presence of a solar smiley face. —M.N.