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RECOMMENDATION: Balaclava

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RECOMMENDATION: Balaclava

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Old 07-29-17, 04:23 AM
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Canuckophile
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RECOMMENDATION: Balaclava

For cold winters -20C I need a balaclava that keeps me warm but still allows me to breath in plenty of warm air easily.

What do you recommend?

Thank you,

C
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Old 07-29-17, 07:38 AM
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I run in this, so breathing is fine:

https://www.wigwam.com/products/p-ar...productid=2326
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Old 07-30-17, 08:23 AM
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The majority of winter commuter cyclists I know use a mask similar to this when the weather gets really cold:
https://www.mec.ca/en/product/4003-2...ce-Combo-Scarf

Neoprene is very warm and it stops the wind from penetrating. It also won't soak through with moisture. You may have to cut open the mouth hole a bit, however.
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Old 08-04-17, 11:12 AM
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i commute with a thicker version of the wool Buff... works great for me. gets all frosted up but still keeps me warm.
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Old 08-04-17, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Canuckophile View Post
For cold winters -20C I need a balaclava that keeps me warm but still allows me to breath in plenty of warm air easily.

What do you recommend? Thank you,

C
I noticed the cycling ones are a bit too thick. I'm using one for motorcycling; very thin.
Not sure of brand/model; had it for about 15 years now. Warm enough for my ears;
thin enough when my breathing gets hard:
5 Fahrenheit/-15 Celsius by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
New York City 14F/-10C by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 12-02-17, 09:59 PM
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Grow a beard!

But seriously, I use the cheap Performance Balaclava down below 10F and it stays plenty warm. On big hills, I do expose my mouth, and yes, the beard really does help. The other 90% of the time, breathability is fine.
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Old 12-06-17, 10:42 AM
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Layering may be beneficial and for that, perhaps a lightweight one may be a good idea so that you can add a neck gaiter and skull for when it is cold or neither when it isn't so bad.
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Old 12-06-17, 11:22 AM
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Balaclavas which are baggy in the neck are frustrating. Pearl Izumi Barrier is very baggy in the neck.

I like them long so that it can be tucked under the neck of a shirt or jersey.
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Old 12-06-17, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Canuckophile View Post
For cold winters -20C I need a balaclava that keeps me warm but still allows me to breath in plenty of warm air easily.

What do you recommend?

Thank you,

C
-20C is -4f - that is damn cold. At those kind of temps your first priority should be avoiding any exposed skin whatsoever, or you might get frostbite. You want one that:

- No exposed skin. Face area is specifically cut out for ski goggles. Bottom is overly large so when tucked into your collar it will never ever pull out and leave you with a section of exposed skin.
- Windproof on the front with breathable material in the back (if it can't breath your sweat will collect, refreeze, I bought one with no breathability and it was awful)
- Directs your breath down and out, and not back into the ski goggles where it would fog them up.

I've seen balaclava's with a respirator device that's supposed to warm the air before you breath it:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002VWJVA0/


If you're not wearing glasses you might be fine with something that lets you breath in the air inside your jacket:
https://www.amazon.com/OMECHY-Balacl...dp/B076MLWYVZ/



If you don't need air recirculation as badly, these have looked interesting to me:

Glacier Balaclava
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Old 12-09-17, 06:24 PM
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I was testing out some glasses these days (20-30F) because i had fogging problems. turns out they all fog with my balaclava. Also all the ones linked above have reviews indicating fogging problem.
I looked into hat deeper and it appears the cloth of the balaclava goes under the glasses and the exhaled air (especially from the nose) partially goes up to the glasses. I ended up riding with the nose uncovered, which solved the fogging problem. Obviously that will get cold soon. Since I breathe through my nose mostly, this is even worse than for mouth-breathers.

Is there a balaclava that specifically addresses that and diverts exhaled air away from glasses? Seems with balaclava all my glasses fog, and without they barely fog... making it useless to try to find better glasses when the problem is the balaclava.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread, but think this is an important consideration for a balaclava assuming at low temps you also wear glasses.
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Old 12-09-17, 09:57 PM
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I use and have two different 45North baclavas but find baclava's generally can get soggy and make it hard to breath. They can also cause glasses to fog when it gets under 25 here in Minnesota.

What I've started using is Endura Baa Baa which goes up over the the top of my head and under my front lip. I then use a 45North Greazy cap in combination with it - all under a winter helmet with goggles. No fogging, no sogginess.

I use a Shea butter skin moisturizer and lip balm to protect any exposed skin. This also offers an advantage over a one piece baclava in that if get to warm, I can take off the neck gaiter and/or cap.
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Old 12-11-17, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Is there a balaclava that specifically addresses that and diverts exhaled air away from glasses? Seems with balaclava all my glasses fog, and without they barely fog... making it useless to try to find better glasses when the problem is the balaclava.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack the thread, but think this is an important consideration for a balaclava assuming at low temps you also wear glasses.
...

...

...

...if only someone had posted that exact information, including pics so it was easy to parse without even reading it...in the post directly above your post.

Hint: It's the one that you don't want the Titanic hitting.
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Old 12-11-17, 06:58 AM
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HerrKaLeun
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
...

...

...

...if only someone had posted that exact information, including pics so it was easy to parse without even reading it...in the post directly above your post.

Hint: It's the one that you don't want the Titanic hitting.
it didn't sound like you actually had used them but rather just linked them. I had looked at those the reviews regarding fogging were mixed. The Glacier one doesn't look bad for the purpose and it has one single review regarding fogging "Does not fit good around nose. Glasses still fog. Waste of money.". And at bit pricey for what it is with a 1-star review regarding fogging. I found a $15 one that seems to be similar and will try that.
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Old 12-11-17, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
it didn't sound like you actually had used them but rather just linked them.
That is true, but the Glacier model is the best design I can think of for avoiding fogging up glasses.

Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
I had looked at those the reviews regarding fogging were mixed. The Glacier one doesn't look bad for the purpose and it has one single review regarding fogging "Does not fit good around nose. Glasses still fog. Waste of money.". And at bit pricey for what it is with a 1-star review regarding fogging. I found a $15 one that seems to be similar and will try that.
Did you mean the cold avenger one had those reviews? I see several reviews saying it may not improve upon the issue with glasses, it's meant to warm air before you breath it but may not pretent glasses fogging.

On the Glacier model I see one no reviews:
Glacier Balaclava

1 good review:
https://www.amazon.com/Klim-Klim-308...dp/B00N6NMUY2/

3 good reviews, and 1 bad review:
https://www.amazon.com/Klim-Glacier-...CIER+BALACLAVA

"Works well. I wish the breath deflector had bendable metal piece that would keep the breath guard close to the face. Overall its not much of an issue."

"Very nice warmth and breathability without the bulk..."

"Does not fit good around nose. Glasses still fog. Waste of money."

It has one negative review claiming it doesn't work. I don't put huge stock in just 1 negative review...but if it didn't work I'm having trouble thinking of any other design that would while still covering your face.

You are right that I have not used it. I have both glasses and contacts so I use contacts for winter riding. The Klim was what I can up with in my research on what would most likely work with my glasses should I decided to use glasses.
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Old 12-12-17, 10:03 AM
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I just jumped back onto Bike Forums after a bit of a break because I'm now living in a significantly colder area (30f morning commutes in December instead of 55f). I bought a balaclava (https://www.amazon.com/Balaclava-Aeg.../dp/B01L6WB66C) and had been using it to keep my head and neck warm, but today was my first use of the face cover. Not so good. I found it difficult to breathe with it up and I was fogging up my glasses.

So, even though I didn't start the thread, thank you all for your responses! I'll be shopping around based on these recommendations.
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Old 12-12-17, 10:11 AM
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last winter I wound up using a $6 Carhartt Men's Acrylic Rib Knit Face Mask quite a lot that I got at a tractor supply store. my face gets pretty wet when covered so I'm better off w more ventilation

https://www.farmandfleet.com/product...face-mask.html



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Old 12-12-17, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
That is true, but the Glacier model is the best design I can think of for avoiding fogging up glasses.



Did you mean the cold avenger one had those reviews? I see several reviews saying it may not improve upon the issue with glasses, it's meant to warm air before you breath it but may not pretent glasses fogging.

On the Glacier model I see one no reviews:
Glacier Balaclava

1 good review:
https://www.amazon.com/Klim-Klim-308...dp/B00N6NMUY2/

3 good reviews, and 1 bad review:
https://www.amazon.com/Klim-Glacier-...CIER+BALACLAVA

"Works well. I wish the breath deflector had bendable metal piece that would keep the breath guard close to the face. Overall its not much of an issue."

"Very nice warmth and breathability without the bulk..."

"Does not fit good around nose. Glasses still fog. Waste of money."

It has one negative review claiming it doesn't work. I don't put huge stock in just 1 negative review...but if it didn't work I'm having trouble thinking of any other design that would while still covering your face.

You are right that I have not used it. I have both glasses and contacts so I use contacts for winter riding. The Klim was what I can up with in my research on what would most likely work with my glasses should I decided to use glasses.
For a $60 Balaclava I wanted to see more positive reviews regarding fogging. i agree reviews are not everything, but i can take a risk with $15. I ordered this one and will see. i also got some clear ski goggles tha thad good fogging reviews.

I may have to work on my breathing... I inhale and exhale through the nose mostly (as nature intended unless we are stuffed up), but may have to learn to exhale through the mouth to exhale further away from the goggles.
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Old 12-13-17, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
For a $60 Balaclava I wanted to see more positive reviews regarding fogging. i agree reviews are not everything, but i can take a risk with $15. I ordered this one and will see. i also got some clear ski goggles tha thad good fogging reviews.

I may have to work on my breathing... I inhale and exhale through the nose mostly (as nature intended unless we are stuffed up), but may have to learn to exhale through the mouth to exhale further away from the goggles.
Thanks for the links. I think I'll get this same set of balaclava and goggles.
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Old 12-13-17, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Samuraidog View Post
Thanks for the links. I think I'll get this same set of balaclava and goggles.
I got the Balaclava today and the goggles tomorrow.... hope to be able to test them this weekend.
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Old 12-14-17, 09:23 AM
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The $35 Pearl Izumi Barrier balaclava is underwhelming and not as effective as a Smartwool PhD beanie with matching buff.

The hem around the face opening lacks stretch and is uncomfortable under the chin. At 37 my ears were cold which does not happen with the wool beanie. The neck is made of non-barrier fabric and permeable to wind so some gets under the collar of the jacket and jersey.

I'm thinking that the beanie and buff is much more versatile and effective for less than extreme polar conditions.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 12-14-17 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 12-14-17, 07:35 PM
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I was at Kohl's a couple weeks ago and had some rewards to burn. As an impulse buy I saw this Men's Tek Gear HeatTek 4 in 1 Microfleece Hood on sale. In fact it's still on sale for $9.00. I have not tried it yet.

https://www.kohls.com/product/prd-29...recs-pdp-gtab1
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Old 12-14-17, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
The $35 Pearl Izumi Barrier balaclava is underwhelming and not as effective as a Smartwool PhD beanie with matching buff.

The hem around the face opening lacks stretch and is uncomfortable under the chin. At 37 my ears were cold which does not happen with the wool beanie. The neck is made of non-barrier fabric and permeable to wind so some gets under the collar of the jacket and jersey.

I'm thinking that the beanie and buff is much more versatile and effective for less than extreme polar conditions.


-Tim-
When you say "matching buff", are you referring to the Smartwool Merino 250 Neck Gaiter?
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Old 12-14-17, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Samuraidog View Post
When you say "matching buff", are you referring to the Smartwool Merino 250 Neck Gaiter?

Sorry, yes. Smartwook calls it a Neck Gaiter. My daughters call it a Buff.

I'm using the PhD Light reversable beanie and the Merino 250 Gaiter.

Keep in mind that I live in North Georgia, not the arctic like all yall. 22f is the lowest temps I've ridden in since moving to the south.


-Tim-
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Old 12-15-17, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
For a $60 Balaclava I wanted to see more positive reviews regarding fogging. i agree reviews are not everything, but i can take a risk with $15. I ordered this one and will see. i also got some clear ski goggles tha thad good fogging reviews.

I may have to work on my breathing... I inhale and exhale through the nose mostly (as nature intended unless we are stuffed up), but may have to learn to exhale through the mouth to exhale further away from the goggles.
I finally got to test and both the balaclava and goggles are great. I rode over an hour with my fatbike over construction sites (meaning slow and lot of exhaustion up earth hills etc.) at a around 29F.

Originally I wanted to crosstest all my old and new goggles with old and new balaclava. Well, with the old balaclava it fogged already in the house, so I gave up on that. So just the new balaclava and old ski goggles, a set of safety goggles and these new ones. the old ski goggles fogged a bit and the fog stayed even after riding. the safety goggles were better, but occasionally fogged. these new ski goggles literally didn't fog at all.

it got a bit warm and i took off the goggles during the ride home. The balaclava also is a bit wet. So yes I must have sweat. I also consciously tried to exhale through the nose (worst case for fogging) and it didn't fog.

So both the balaclava and goggles work well together.

Only thing to note is you have to arrange the balaclava a bit to hit the nose opening. But it works OK. it smelled like chemicals, but after washing it is fine.
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Old 12-16-17, 07:07 AM
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double lens! sounds good!
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