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  1. #1
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    Balaclava recommendations?

    Just started commuting in the Northeast (Boston) and need a balaclava. I'm currently looking at the SmartWool, the Pearl Izumi, and the Mountain Hardware versions. These are all made of very different materials so I'm interested to know what other cold weather commuters like.

  2. #2
    zpl
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    I find it doesn't take much material in the balaclava to keep me warm. Just covering my face and ears from the wind is all I need - but then again I only ride down to about 15 degrees or so. I have a relatively thin one made by Outdoor Research that serves me well. I've heard mixed things about the Smartwool one - the material is great but some people have said that they stretch out after a while and won't hold their shape.

    Scott

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    Senior Member poopisnotfood's Avatar
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    I got a cheapie made by REI. It too is one of the thin ones, I don't like them real thick (makes it seem like I can't breathe), and for my needs it works, but NC is not nearly as cold as Boston, so my advice is possibly worthless.

  4. #4
    Senior Member atcfoody's Avatar
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    http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/prod...?p=28713-0-155

    That is what I use, and when it is really cold, I have a smart wool skull cap that I wear under it.
    I can put my helmet on over it.
    D
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  5. #5
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    I use an Under Armor cold gear hood. It works for me down to about -10F I haven't had a chance to ride with it in anything colder.

  6. #6
    Scan Me DallasSoxFan's Avatar
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    I use a beanie and a neck gaiter combination. The particular ones I've got are champion brand synthetic from Target. I put the gaiter on first, covering over my ears to the middle of the back of my bald head. The beanie tilts forward, forming a slit just big enough for my eyes. Works great, but I haven't tested it below about 15 degrees.

  7. #7
    Senior Member teamontherun's Avatar
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    http://www.heatfactory.com/english/p...hp?cat=4&id=33

    I have on from when my brother used to work there and it is fantastic.

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    I second the UnderArmour recommendation. I have a few different balaclavas but this is the best one I've found because the bottom portion isn't really attached at the sides, making it much more comfortable to push down under your chin. Also, it's pretty much windproof and really thin.

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    I use an Oxford Chillout balaclava. It has to be worn inside out otherwise you get a checkerboard pattern on your face, and I need to cut a mouth hole. But it keeps you nice and warm and is windproof

  10. #10
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    Outdoor Research Sonic w/ Gore Windstopper under a vented helmet works well for me. Breath coming out the top requires goggles. I've thought about taking scissors to the mouth mesh. but haven't.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mmac's Avatar
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    I'm using a cheap Neoprene Baklava because it holds less moisture. It worked fine today in 5f before windchill (you're on a bike, there's always wind)

    http://www.rei.com/product/725712

  12. #12
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geetlord View Post
    I use an Under Armor cold gear hood. It works for me down to about -10F I haven't had a chance to ride with it in anything colder.
    Is that link the whole thing, or is that a hat and neck gaiter separate?

  13. #13
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    I just use some super thin polyester or fleece one from Nashbar. I find that you really don't need much material to keep your face warm. I normally wear a stocking hat over the balaclava, but everything stays nice and warm (it's gotten down to -20 or so this year).

  14. #14
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    I use these from Sierra Trading Post. They're chearp, thin so you don't overheat. I have both the midweight and the expedition for colder stuff.
    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/sea...criptions=True

  15. #15
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    I've used a North Face similar to this one http://www.backcountry.com/outdoorge.../TNF1224M.html without the bill. I bought it in Argentina years ago for about $10. It hasn't gotten that cold here as of late so I haven't had to use it. I also wrap a cheap Morrocan scarf to go around my face and head.
    Two Wheels One Love

  16. #16
    Senior Member cyclefreaksix's Avatar
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    Just about anything made of polypropylene works well.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BigDaddyPete's Avatar
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    I bought the cheapest one they had at Performance a couple of years ago. Even in that, I find I get too hot pretty quickly and have to pull it off of my face. Pretty much anything works.

  18. #18
    RT
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    I wear a thin balaclava with a $12 Target thin fleece balaclava over it. Works well.

  19. #19
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    Balaclavas and hats from Foxwear in a couple of different weights to help with differing weather conditions. And they are all thin enough to fit under my helmet.
    Indianapolis IN
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Kurious Oranj's Avatar
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    I am currently using a thin and inexpensive Chaos balaclava that works perfectly fine. I actually have two balaclavas from Chaos. One that covers the nose and mouth but that one I do not like (gets soggy). The other one does not cover as much and that one is great. I rode in -22 F yesterday (-30 C) and my noggin was nice and warm.

  21. #21
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    You're gonna love this. Also has unlaminated panels over the ears for better hearing. As long as you're not bald it is quite warm.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    Is that link the whole thing, or is that a hat and neck gaiter separate?
    its the whole thing not separate components

  23. #23
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geetlord View Post
    its the whole thing not separate components
    Thanks, I really like that (and most of the Under Armor stuff) One on order!

  24. #24
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    I wear a very thin Polypropylene balaclava (purchased many years ago), and a very, very, thin Mountain Hardwear fleece beanie over that (just barely covers the tops of my ears). I'm good down to around 10-15F here in Boston with that setup under my helmet, though I might add a thick, loose-fitting nylon-y neck gator below 15F. Below 10F I trade the thin fleece MH beanie for an REI Softshell beanie that curves down to cover my ears and neck, but still withthe polypro balaclava underneath.

    I usually leave my whole nose and mouth uncovered, but if it's really, really, cold, I'll pull up the neck gator, dropping it back down at stop lights so my glasses don't fog. I bought one of those neoprene nose and mouth covers, but it cuts off too much air and makes glasses fog miserably, so I haven't gotten any good biking use out of that piece.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawhite1969 View Post
    Balaclavas and hats from Foxwear in a couple of different weights to help with differing weather conditions. And they are all thin enough to fit under my helmet.
    Lou at FoxWear makes top notch stuff to order. His quality and prices can't be beat, and he'll make you exactly what you want. A balaclava costs $11, and shipping is whatever it actually costs, which is a few bucks. Call him up and tell him what you need and he'll make what's right for you.

    Oh, they keep you damn warm too.

    http://www.foxwear.net/products_small_articles.html

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