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I tend to anthropomorphize my gear. When I had to change my hiking poles along the Appalachian Trail, I truly felt like I was saying goodbye to my beloved friends. Good gear can do more than just get you from point A to point B. It can actually save your life along the way. And my gear, always selected with agonizing diligence and care, becomes my constant companions along the trail.

One piece of gear I will not hike without is a Buff. If you are not familiar with this piece of gear, until you have one, you don’t know what you’re missing. It is quite possibly the single most useful thing I carry. I’ve used mine as a beanie when it’s cold, a neck gaiter, a dust mask, a prefilter for murky water, a bandanna when it’s hot, a bandage when injured, a pot holder when cooking, and I’m sure dozens of other things along my journeys. Whoever invented these things deserves a medal and will always have my support.

Today, I lost one of my Buffs. I once again feel like I’ve lost a beloved friend along the way. I had it when I left Pamplona, but when I stopped for breakfast in Cizur Menor, it was nowhere to be found. I carry two at all times, but now I’m down to just one for the next 650km. I feel like my gear is incomplete. Like I’m now walking without everything I may need to see me safely onward.

I know I can buy another Buff along the way, but somehow it’s just not the same. Maybe I’ll pickup a Camino de Santiago themed Buff. Another souvenir of my journey through Spain. A useful souvenir for sure. It’s just another opportunity to make I new friend along the way I suppose.

***If anyone from Buff should read this, let me know when they go on sale! I’ve discovered they cost €20 or more here. That’s a bit steep for my Camino budget!

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