Insulation Innovation

This New Ultralight Jacket’s Secret Sauce Is Buffalo Fluff

October 26, 2019 Sports and Outdoors By

Let’s start by getting one thing straight: we know buffalo and bison are not the same thing. Though commonly called buffalo, the American bison is the burly beast that still roams our plains — distinct from the water buffalo and Cape buffalo of Asia and Africa, respectively. The product referenced in this story’s headline is United By Blue’s Ultralight Bison Jacket, and its secret sauce, as much as we want to call it buffalo fluff, is bison fiber.

What is bison fiber? A pretty awesome untapped resource derived from the shaggy coat of the American bison: hollow, compact resilient hairs that are warm, dry, hypoallergenic, lightweight and flexible. Which is probably why “buffalo” fur coats have been around for centuries. Now UBB has stepped in to salvage this material from the ranching industry — which sees it as a waste product — and make BisonShield a key ingredient in some of its products.

In the case of this new jacket, BisonShield makes up half the insulation (the other half is wool), contributing to a garment that weighs less than a pound and neatly packs into a built-in, dopp kit-sized stuff sack. Meanwhile, the recycled ripstop shell features a PFC-free DWR coating and looks fantastic. These elements combine to make up the perfect travel garment, keeping you warm when you need it and even converting into a little pillow when you want to snag some shuteye on a long flight.

All United By Blue products are responsibly made in Vietnam, and the brand removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways for every item purchased. So no matter what you choose to call it, you can feel good about your jacket, and look pretty good too.

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