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What's a good winter face mask/balaclava?

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:00 pm
by Olaz
My face ends up frozen when I ride my bike, same with my hands -- even w/ glove liners and heavy gloves.

I've been thinking of getting barr mitts for the hands, and a winter face mask for the face. Now I need to find one. I'm looking for something that I can strap on and off quickly quickly, maybe w/ velcro or a zipper or buttons at the back. It doesn't really need to cover the neck since my sweaters come with a neck gaiter. Nor does it need to cover my head since I have ear muffs or a hat.

Got any solutions for keeping the face and hands warm in winter activities such as cycling, skiing, etc. that you've liked?

Re: What's a good winter face mask/balaclava?

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:10 pm
by jacob
Neck gaiter (under the nose and up over the ears)+ Beanie (also covering the ears). It's much more flexible than a mask or a balaclava and you can look "civil" just by pulling the gaiter down to expose the rest of your face.

Re: What's a good winter face mask/balaclava?

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:53 pm
by J_
@ jacob + 1. It gives a lot of flexibility during XC skiing which I am doing at the moment with temperatures of 10 F.

My hands stay warm in moderate gloves, I generate warmth by my efforts.

Re: What's a good winter face mask/balaclava?

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:05 pm
by Gilberto de Piento
Bar mitts are great. I have some made for ATV use. If I bought them again I'd get the modern neoprene bicycle type.

I also like ski goggles. You may need two pairs, tinted for the day and clear for night.

I agree with Jacob to avoid anything that is both a hat and a facemask. I do have a neoprene one like that and it is great for hours of -10f but otherwise it is annoying.

I'm still looking for the holy grail face mask for short trips in 0f temps. Anything where you breathe through the fabric ices up in a short time. Once that happens I can't breathe and I pull it down. One of these days I'm going to punch some breathing holes in a Buff and I think that will work.

The ERE solution is to grow a beard, it helps a lot.

Re: What's a good winter face mask/balaclava?

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:18 am
by vexed87
+1 to jacob's solution, it's what I do. I do have a balaclava too for the very worst weather as they tend to have holes for the mouth/nose though which makes breathing easier if you ride fast, the gaiter solution will make your face wet unless you uncover your nose/mouth as moisture from your breath will dampen the fabric if you're breathing heavy. It can be particularly uncomfortable if you're outdoors for a long period.

I use these merino gloves, merino very effective at keeping hands warm even when wet. They are on the pricey side but are very durable and keep me comfortable, so worth it IMO. Not sure if the brand is available in the US? https://www.sealskinz.com/UK/ultra-grip-gloves-black

If it gets below -5C I usually add liners, admittedly it hasn't been that cold this year so far, so the gloves on their own have been fine, even in snowy conditions.

I have had trouble with ski masks fogging up when the face is covered, so I only use normal cycling glasses, if they fog up too bad, I'll whip them off and pop them in a pocket. Anyone worked out how to stop stuff fogging???

Re: What's a good winter face mask/balaclava?

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:04 am
by cmonkey
A beard works pretty well.

Re: What's a good winter face mask/balaclava?

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:03 am
by Ego
cmonkey wrote:A beard works pretty well.


Sounds like the consensus choice is a Beardski.

Re: What's a good winter face mask/balaclava?

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:36 pm
by J_
I use cylcing glases too when XC skiing, against fogging it helps to put them a little further on your nose, so that there is some ventilation between your face and the glases. Therefore I found goggles useless, damp condensate and freezes on the glass.

Re: What's a good winter face mask/balaclava?

Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:02 am
by fiby41
The Jason mask.