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Calling all experienced cold weather riders...

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Calling all experienced cold weather riders...

Old 11-28-16, 09:53 PM
  #1  
one4smoke
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Calling all experienced cold weather riders...

Looking to purchase a good quality balaclava. I've seen several, and I'm sure some were absolute junk. So, seeking some advice from you riders that have experience with them. Which ones really keep you warm, breaths well, doesn't affect your breathing, and is super comfortable?
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Old 11-28-16, 10:39 PM
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Do you need a balacava in TN? Just asking. I like the pearl izumi barrier balacava but I avoid using it as much as possible,

https://www.amazon.com/Pearl-iZUMi-I.../dp/B0055QGORC

It works great but I prefer a hat; it has to be bloody cold before I'll use it.
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Old 11-29-16, 02:01 AM
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I really like Seirus outerwear products

Balaclava is on sale: https://www.amazon.com/Seirus-Innova.../dp/B003X0BUX0
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Old 11-29-16, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Do you need a balacava in TN? Just asking. I like the pearl izumi barrier balacava but I avoid using it as much as possible,

https://www.amazon.com/Pearl-iZUMi-I.../dp/B0055QGORC

It works great but I prefer a hat; it has to be bloody cold before I'll use it.
It's gets down in the teens (and lower) here in the heart of the winter. It's not Canada cold, but cold nonetheless. I usually don't ride when it gets that cold, but want to change that this year. My head (ears!) and feet seem to get chilled the most, so if I can cure that I'll be a happy rider.
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Old 11-29-16, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by one4smoke View Post
It's gets down in the teens (and lower) here in the heart of the winter. It's not Canada cold, but cold nonetheless. I usually don't ride when it gets that cold, but want to change that this year. My head (ears!) and feet seem to get chilled the most, so if I can cure that I'll be a happy rider.
Yeah everyone is a bit different. My head seems to do OK in the cold but my hands and feet do not. For feet, I ride a bike with bmx style pedals and use my insulated winter boots.
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Old 11-29-16, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Do you need a balacava in TN? Just asking. I like the pearl izumi barrier balacava but I avoid using it as much as possible,

https://www.amazon.com/Pearl-iZUMi-I.../dp/B0055QGORC

It works great but I prefer a hat; it has to be bloody cold before I'll use it.
I have one of these, as well. Definitely works well and is very comfortable.

Good luck!
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Old 11-29-16, 08:38 AM
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Check out pearl izumi. I avoid putting it over my mouth unless it is less than 20 F. Use a poly pro or wool cap, get one that is long enough to double up over the ears. Then put a headband over your nose and cheeks. Last, pull up a buff or neck gaitor to cover your chin. So that leaves your nose and mouth open and covers the cheeks and nose.
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Old 11-29-16, 09:06 AM
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I wear a thin merino wool balaclava. It fits under my helmet and keeps me warm in the kind of weather the OP is talking about. I don't normally give much thought to brand names, and this is a commodity item anyway. FWIW
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Old 11-29-16, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Yeah everyone is a bit different. My head seems to do OK in the cold but my hands and feet do not. For feet, I ride a bike with bmx style pedals and use my insulated winter boots.
I live in northern British Columbia and ride year round and ski in the winter. I think that qualifies as "Canada cold". The reason your head is OK is that your body is cutting off the blood flow to your hands and feet in order to keep your brain warm, it gets top priority. Wear a good winter hat, in this case a balaclava, and it will keep your hands and feet significantly warmer. I've had to explain this many times to mountain newbies, sometimes lending out my own balaclava, and they always end up buying their own. Insulated winter boots and insulated gloves or mitts are also a good idea.
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Old 11-29-16, 11:50 AM
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I used to ride year 'round in Boston and Ann Arbor; not owning a car. I could not have any fabric over my mouth and nose or my glasses fogged so I always had a bare face. Never got frostbite and did commutes that started as cold as -5F (every morning for a work week).

I now own a light, modern fabric balaclava but haven't tried it yet.

Riding without glasses is not an option for me.

Edit: have you considered using a helmet cover? Segoi makes a good one. A little extra head warmth with no drawbacks and all of your other options are still there.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 11-29-16 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 11-29-16, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jrbz View Post
I live in northern British Columbia and ride year round and ski in the winter. I think that qualifies as "Canada cold". The reason your head is OK is that your body is cutting off the blood flow to your hands and feet in order to keep your brain warm, it gets top priority. Wear a good winter hat, in this case a balaclava, and it will keep your hands and feet significantly warmer. I've had to explain this many times to mountain newbies, sometimes lending out my own balaclava, and they always end up buying their own. Insulated winter boots and insulated gloves or mitts are also a good idea.
Very good point. I wear a hat and a neck gaitor that I can pull over my mouth. My hands get cold regardless of how I dress; I think everyone is engineered a bit different as well.
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Old 11-29-16, 12:27 PM
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I have a light nylon balaclava. I ride down to 10F and from 20F down to 10F I wear it. I just need to keep the cold air off my cheeks and the top of my head. From 35F and below and I wear a wide headband over the tops of my ears.
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Old 11-29-16, 12:30 PM
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I use a carhartt balaclava made for wearing under a hardhat. Thin yet warm.
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Old 11-29-16, 02:00 PM
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I haven't had any balaclava that actually worked all that well. I have found that it helps if there is an open area at the bottom to channel my moist breath away from the goggles though.
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Old 11-29-16, 02:18 PM
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Icebreaker Merino Wool balaclava has worked best for me so far, but it only gets down into the 20s here (and then, only occasionally).
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Old 11-30-16, 08:37 AM
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Around freezing, I start using my hooded windbreaker. Around 5-10F, I add a thin wool cap underneath. I've tried various face coverings but all have interfered with glasses and breathing. I let my beard grow out a little more for winter though. The best protection is when it frosts/ices up and blocks the wind from reaching my face.
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Old 12-02-16, 08:52 AM
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for me, I need to cover the bridge of my nose. don't be afraid to modify something with a pair of scissors. this one is tried & true. I liked it cuz I could wear safety glasses too & it allowed lots of ventilation. I need a big opening for mouth breathing

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Old 12-02-16, 03:46 PM
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thin wool for me, but also relatively loose fit, and that's becoming increasingly hard to find. Even my favorite smartwool has converted to more elasticity in the fabric and a narrow neck that then compresses in under your chin, so I'm shopping again this winter as my two remaining loose ones are wearing thin. +1 on a helmet cover too. I wear the balacava as a beaning in the 40-50F range, and then full cover below that. Down around 15F and below I've started putting on a second one (that's why I like loose ones). In all configurations I pull the chin down so my mouth and nose are exposed as I don't like the sogginess of breathing through the fabric. Once we're below about 15F I also often use a half-mask respirator facepiece with the filtering cartridges removed, as a way to pre-warm and pre-humidify the air on the intake side while protecting my nose from frostbite. Looks a bit bizarre, but very comfortable, and in the winter the commute is in the dark at both ends anyhow so few people are observing me.
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Old 12-03-16, 10:46 PM
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Tried many but i've settled on the woolpower balaclava 400 (70% merino, 30% polyamide) for below 20F and balaclava 200 for above. I use a dustmask to cover my nose and lips. Very happy with this setup.
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Old 12-04-16, 07:46 PM
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The Balaclava I use is 4-1 and works well for me. Got it from Kohl's. The face mask portion I can pull the fabric out towards the neck and prevents fog up of the glasses. I only wear it below thirty.. above that the hood on my jacket works fine. Lowest I went was single digits. And now that I've looked it's on sale and we have a couple coupons.. Can't beat $7.90 for a backup. Men's Tek Gear® 4-in-1 HeatTek Microfleece Hood

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Old 12-04-16, 11:16 PM
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It's not a balaclava, but this mask has worked very well for me in a range of temperatures (approx -10c to -20ish c) and I combine it with different hats depending on the conditions of the day:

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/4003-2...ce-Combo-Scarf

I find it comfortable, easy to breath through and the only drawback is that is that the bottom of my nose can get cold at the lowest riding temperatures. I also like it because it minimizes fogging on my glasses.

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Old 12-04-16, 11:45 PM
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I found a spandex balaclava through Amazon. It shipped out of China, took forever to arrive, and cost very little. It has a full open face which is nice.... as the weather get really cold I can wear a cold air mask, and ski goggles.
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Old 12-05-16, 04:06 AM
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Riding around tonight for the first time in the mid-low 40s was very educational. Two issues that came up were my nose getting too cold, even under my thin neck/head tube, and my toes got too cold. Also got to much cold air on my eyes even while wearing glasses. I layered a few compression type long sleeved shirts, one of them being lined with a thin fleece like material, but that wasn't cutting it, so I ended up putting a mid-weight and lined jacked over it, and that worked out well. I was also wearing lined compression pants, but those didn't really cut it either. I've got some refining to do.

Last edited by AdvXtrm; 12-05-16 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 12-05-16, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by AdvXtrm View Post
Riding around tonight for the first time in the mid-low 40s was very educational. Two issues that came up were my nose getting too cold, even under my thin neck/head tube, and my toes got too cold. Also got to much cold air on my eyes even while wearing glasses. I layered a few compression type long sleeved shirts, one of them being lined with a thin fleece like material, but that wasn't cutting it, so I ended up putting a mid-weight and lined jacked over it, and that worked out well. I was also wearing lined compression pants, but those didn't really cut it either. I've got some refining to do.
I'm currently refining my gear as well!

I bought some cheap poly thermal balaclava on Amazon but it was DEFINITELY to thin!! My face and ears were getting really cold but I quickly learned that headwind in the 40's cuts right through anything!! So I just returned it this past weekend and now I've ordered 4 others and I'm waiting for them to try out which will work best for me. I'm VERY sensitive to cold (especially in windy conditions!!) and this is my FIRST WINTER that I'll be cycling. NO MORE EXCUSES!! I'm cycling year round now baby!!

This is whats coming and will be trying out especially that we have a nice cold front coming over here soon, lol!

1. Pearl Izumi Barrier Balaclava

2. Chaos -CTR Howler Multi Tasker Pro Windproof Balaclava

3. Chaos -CTR Tempest Multi Tasker Pro Micro Fleece Balaclava with Windproof Face Mask


......and this is my other alternative but with either the Howler or Tempest as a neck gaiter....

4. Baleaf Thermal Helmet Cycling Ski Outdoor Skull Cap


.....I may try this later on as a base layer and then either one of the top Balaclava's that I eventually end up with or a Polartec windproof beanie from Turtle fur....

5. Louis Garneau Matrix 2.0 Balaclava


I'm going crazy here ordering stuff to winterize my ride but I'm determined!!

Last edited by GrooveRite; 12-05-16 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 12-05-16, 08:30 AM
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Oh and by the way.....I've noticed that my extremities get really cold and its only been within 45 - 60 degree range BUT as long as they are warm....I can practically be naked and be ok, lol!! I just found the best gloves and last year I found the warmest boots I've ever owned in my life!!

After a going through A FEW gloves ordered online....I found the ones....for me, lol....

• Endura Luminite Thermal Cycling Gloves

I ordered these last year and they are simply THE WARMEST boots I've ever owned....PERIOD!! WARM and WINDPROOF!!

Merrell Men's Iceclaw Mid Waterproof Winter Boot
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