Outdoor Research Sonic Balaclava
|Price:||$29.95 - $83.95|
|Sale:||Lower price available on select options|
- Winstopper Technical Fleece, Radiant fleece
- Max weather protection
- Flat seam construction, contoured shape, mesh breathing port and elastane trim
- Made in China
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
* 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.
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!
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.
Honestly, the actual design of this mask is great, but the fit is abysmal.
I have two in case one gets wet during extended use and I need to go out again before the first one finishes drying. E.g. for multiple rounds of snow removal.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a re-purchase, after a friend lost mine two years ago. I had an older version of this one, where the fabric was a tad thicker. Read morePublished 8 months ago by udor
Amazing product. The Gore Windstopper does the trick on brisk winter rides on my ATV. Highly recommended!Published 9 months ago by DoctorKC
I've read reviews indicating that you need to have "the face shape of a Neanderthal," or that "your muzzle needs to protrude far from your face," or that "you... Read morePublished 10 months ago by ryan schmit
I order this Balaclava in a large which fit perfectly except for the front was too loose on my face. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Dire Wolf
Very bad product, do not keep your head warm since it's size is very poorly done and premite air intake by balaclava, neck elastic one bothers all the time, this should not have... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Rafael
Really love this on cold powder mornings, doesnt fog up my goggles and it isnt in my mouth getting wet like other fleece balaclavas and it gives me plenty of peripheral vision. Read morePublished on May 3, 2014 by idahoguy
Wore this for one run down the mountain and my face froze. Constant stream of air coming through the front of the mask all the way down the mountain. Read morePublished on March 4, 2014 by David Wynn