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3.5 out of 5 stars
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2010
I bought this balaclava for dog walking and snowboarding and it has done well for both activities.

First, the snowboarding. This balaclava is perfect for snowboarding/skiing. Whatever the windstopper stuff is made of, it works. We went in January to the very top of A-Basin (13,000 ft) and that day the winds were fierce. My face was warm and toasty on the lift up, and relatively warm on the ride down. Much more importantly, my goggles didn't fog up once riding hard all day. So rest assured, fogging goggles are not a problem with this hood.

Second, the dog walking. It's pretty good but not perfect. Again, the wind stopper material works beautifully. This hood came in a very timely manner, arriving on a day when the windchill dropped to -20F (-29C) in Iowa. My face, nose, and ears were nice and warm, but the coverage of the sonic isn't quite as good as OR's gorilla. My brow was exposed and froze but this is easily remedied with a hat over top. A fleece headband would work just as well. This wasn't a problem while snowboarding because I wear a helmet. The balaclava is not at all bulky, so wearing a hat or helmet over it is very easy and very comfortable.

My glasses, however, fog up terribly with this balaclava. I should mention that my glasses fog up pretty badly if I wear anything on my face, so it's not necessarily related to the Sonic, however I was really hoping they wouldn't fog while using this. If, however, you are planning to wear your glasses with this balaclava, I wouldn't count on them not fogging. I put in contacts now when I take the dog out.

The mesh breathing port is...interesting. I don't know if it makes it easier to breathe or not, but it does freeze up very easily. Riding down the mountain at A-Basin caused it to freeze and then it sits up against your lips which feels a little uncomfortable. When the wind stops blowing, it un-freezes, so it's not really a problem. It's not really a complaint, it's just sort of odd.

The only other complaint I have is that it doesn't go very far down your neck. Between that, the glasses fogging thing, and the mesh port, I took off one star.

If you're active outside, this is a really good product. Like I said, perfect for riding or skiing. It's also pretty good for dog walking and I feel like that if you wanted to get the most for your money, this one is the one to get. I would think that this balaclava would also be excellent for cold weather running. I would certainly purchase this again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2013
Size Name: LargeColor Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I bought this with high hopes due to reading other reviews, and O.R. stuff is very well made I own several other items from them, but the problem with this piece is that since they make it to be multi-functioning wear wise the nose and facial portion of the mask is entirely too lose, while the top portion is very tight to my head. How in the world would I be able to wear goggles and have a decent seal? I mean the nose portion just doesn't stay put and sags down nearly to my mouth. Maybe I got a flawed mask, but I guess I'll just need to go to the store and try one on before I buy from now on. Will be returning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Size Name: LargeColor Name: BlackVerified Purchase
My beef with prior balaclavas is that it is all to easy to steam up the ol' specs when you breathe through your nose. The design is good, leaving a clear passage below the nostrils - no mesh right there.

I have NOT tested it in sub-zero temperatures, but on a chill night, it still breathed fine.

It is bulkier than, say, a smartwool cap, which you can tuck anywhere. Folded up, it's about as bulky as a pair of my windstopper gloves.

I'll be testing this in windy, freezing weather presently.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2013
Size Name: MediumColor Name: BlackVerified Purchase
This is a very innovative ski mask. The vents are very effective at preventing foggy glasses, but only if the mask is a perfect fit -- so choose your size wisely! The mask is also extremely effective at blocking fierce winds. It is thin enough to fit comfortably under helmets and caps of all sizes.

My main gripe about this mask is that it is not very warm when worn alone, even at 30 degrees F. It barely traps any heat from your head, so I'd recommend complimenting it with a knit ski mask to maintain your body heat. Use this underneath to protect your face from wind. Just make sure that the ski mask does not cover the vents -- or you've effectively bought an extraordinarily expensive liner!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2013
Size Name: SmallColor Name: Black
On a motorcycle I've tried everything from neoprene face masks (which don't breathe well and are not adjustable) to neck gators and balaclavas. This particular balaclava is the best of both worlds - it has great ventilation to breathe through both the nose and mouth while still providing protection from the wind and cold for both. After an hour on the bike in 30 degree weather you really appreciate not having had to ride with fogged up glasses and feeling like your nose is going to break off from being frozen. Neck gators are nice because they are easy to adjust on the fly - if you get to warm you just pull it down and you can pull it up farther to cover ears and nose but it fogs your glasses when you have it up. This balaclava is light enough that you won't be sweating every time you wear it but windproof enough to keep you warm. Thanks Outdoor Research!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2014
Size Name: LargeColor Name: Black
Construction of this balaclava was great. I was so excited to use it on a -20F skiing trip. The reason I gave it one star was the fact that despite going to Outdoor Research's website and reviewing how to measure my head so I could get the perfect fit, it was the product that was shaped so strange I couldn't use it. I have a normal sized and shaped head, the large I received actually fit my head perfectly. Nice and snug fit. The face mask however had way to much material and was actually about an inch and a half from my face. If you have a very long head, similar to a neanderthal then maybe this will work for you. Otherwise look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2013
Size Name: MediumColor Name: Black
It's a great looking balaclava and perfect for goggles, but it got pretty cold around my neck (which is easily fixed by a gator) and it does get very chilly around your mouth and lips if you exhale through the mouth (due to condensation) but that too can be fixed by inhaling through the mouth and out through the nose
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
Size Name: LargeColor Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I ride to work in Chicago, year round, and this balaclava makes even the coldest of days bearable. I have ridden in 30F weather with windchill down to single digits and not felt it. I wonder if they make jackets or pants out of the same material... I would definitely buy them too.

The fit is good - covers my neck so I don't feel any drafts between clothing layers. The whole thing is a little big, but that's my fault for not double checking the size I ordered. Nevertheless it is well worth it if you plan to enjoy winter weather!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2013
Size Name: LargeColor Name: BlackVerified Purchase
Impressions after extended walk in relatively mild conditions (-10ºC, 50% humidity, calm winds):

* Kept neck and back of head comfortably warm
* Kept ears comfortably warm without muffling sound
* Surprisingly, crown and forehead felt slightly cool
* Unacceptable eyeglass fogging
* Fabric around mouth and nose quickly became saturated with moisture, making fogging worst and skin colder
* Due to fogging, attempted to wear lower portion below mouth. However, mask constantly crept upwards and fogging returned. Had to pull below chin, which exposed skin and reduced warmth
* At 59cm head size, which is the stated limit for size large, found balaclava to be somewhat snug and difficult to put on and remove

Too many cons - decided to return.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
Size Name: MediumColor Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I wear this skiing under my helmet. There is mesh over the mouth area, which is the best facemask I've tried for skiing of all the ones i've tried. It allows you to breath well, and doesnt accumulate moisture like most facemasks. At lunchtime after a morning of skiing hard, the nosepiece was actually the only part that was a little damp. I dried it off but just wiping it hard with a cotton shirt for a minute or 2 and it was very comfortable to put back on for the afternoon (usually its miserable to put facemasks/neckwarmers on after lunch).
This facemask was very warm, windstopping, yet very breatheable. If its cold out and I find myself too warm, I prefer to open vents or dress lighter under my jacket so I can keep this thing on as opposed to heavier under my jacket and no facemask, and it works fantastic. Personally I dont find it super comfortable just pulling down the front facemask part so its not over my face but still on, i'll just take the whole thing off before doing that.
Great buy, and i'm very picky with neckwarmers/facemasks.
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