Winter Cycling - Need a recommendation on a balaclava or skull cap
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01-06-05, 10:37 AM
I live in Mesa Arizona, so I don't need one for extreme cold, but something to help when the temps drop down to near freezing. So far I have had a few days of 35-45 degree riding temps.
My ears, face and head get cold and so do my hands and feet.
Since heat escapes mostly through the top of your head I figure I need something for it. I want something that is thin and comfortable and will work under a helmet.
What do you recommend?
I have a microfiber pearl izumi balaclava that works well and is thin enough to wear under helmit. Usually any cycling-specific balaclava will be designed thin enough to wear under a helmit.
01-06-05, 01:01 PM
I like my thin fleece balaclava. It breathes, and you can wear it comfortably in warmer weather, as well as the cold. Hardly holds any water, which is a nice feature too.
01-06-05, 01:51 PM
My Seirus balaclava came from a ski shop years ago. Simple polypro. It doubles as a skull cap: first I pull it all they way down then pull it half way back up on to my head. 2 for the price of 1.
I have two different weights of hats ... light fleece and heavy fleece. The light is plenty down to about 30° ... below that I use the heavier one. Also, down to about 20 I am fine with just a fleece ear band (cheapo from old navy) that I can pull up over chin and/or cheeks depending on wind. I have a nashbar face wrap ... but I wouldn't dream of pulling it out above 20°.
So, for 35-45 I'd try a light fleece beanie under the helmet and maybe some light headband around your neck that you can pull up to take the chill off your chin/cheeks as necessary. Probably with your head and ears warm, your chin and cheeks will be mostly fine at that temp.
01-06-05, 07:06 PM
Thanks for the tips, I found a lightweight "Wickers" balaclava for $5 online that I am gonna try and probably get a light weight skull cap in case the balaclava is too much.
01-07-05, 02:47 AM
If you're still looking for skullcaps, check out merino wool - the temperature control is excellent, they breathe, they're really good when wet, all that good merino stuff. Mine is by SmartWool of New Zealand and is meant for snowboarders. Highly recommended.
You could also look into a trio of things. Sometimes I wear a skull, plus one of those bands that goes around my head and covers my ears, and something else that goes around my neck. (You can see it in my avatar)
That way I can remove things as needed. I only wear my thin microfiber 'clava when it's in the mid-teens or below, and I'm worried about frostbite. :)
01-07-05, 09:37 PM
I also think a balaclava would be too much. I wore one on the commute home today at about 15F, and was definitely overheating. At around 40, I usually just wear some "Ear grips" if anything.
01-08-05, 03:49 AM
I can't imagine a balaclava below -5c unless the windchill is insane. Talk about overheating!
01-08-05, 09:19 AM
I use a Mountain Hardwear headband for those temperatures. It works great.
01-08-05, 09:37 AM
I have a thin Turtle Fur Balaclava I just love. very thin, just warm enough, and it helps my fingers and toes, too. I bought a silk one, and my spouse likes it for her cold-weather induced asthma [protects ears and breath].
for 30-45 F a balaclava is overkill in my exp. Try just a fleece ear band and put duct tape over the vent holes in your helmet. Nice to have a beater winter helmet for these purposes. I tried wearing my snowboard helmet recently when it was in the teens (F) and that was way too warm. When I offroad on snow I wear just a hat until I warm up then an ear band with the fleece hat handy for when I stop.
I've been employing a UnderArmour ColdGear Hood, but typically when temps drop into the teens or below.
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