Most helpful positive review
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Versatile with a few flaws
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.