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Outdoor Research Sonic Balaclava

3.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

Price: $29.95 - $83.95
Sale: Lower price available on select options
Select Size Chart Fit: As expected (72%)
72% of customers say this fits as expected.
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Fits as expected
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The fit is good - covers my neck so I don't feel any drafts between clothing layers.
The balaclava is not at all bulky, so wearing a hat or helmet over it is very easy and very comfortable.
I have two in case one gets wet during extended use and I need to go out again before the first one finishes drying.
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Black
  • Fabric/Polyester
  • Winstopper Technical Fleece, Radiant fleece
  • Max weather protection
  • Flat seam construction, contoured shape, mesh breathing port and elastane trim
  • Made in China

Product Description

Deflect cold air with the wind protection of a shell and the warm feel of fleece in this unique balaclava design. The windproof, vapor permeable WINDSTOPPER� Technical Fleece offers maximum winter protection while allowing you to breathe easy through a mesh breathing port. Polartec� Wind Pro� ear panels allow you to easily hear your team. Polartec� Wind Pro� Fabric is extremely breathable yet provide 4x more wind resistance than traditional fleece. WINDSTOPPER� Technical Fleece offers more warmth and comfort than non-windproof fleece

Product Details

  • Item Weight: 2.6 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B003S3RFL8
  • Item model number: 83131
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,711 in Sports & Outdoors (See Top 100 in Sports & Outdoors)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jon Crosbie 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.
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Size: LargeColor: Black Verified 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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Size: LargeColor: Black Verified 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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Size: MediumColor: Black Verified 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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Size: LargeColor: Black Verified 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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Verified Purchase
I had the exact same problem as Jessie Bush, another reviewer. I measured my head according to the OR website, and when I tried this balaclava on, the head part fit perfectly. But, like Jesse said, there's wayyy too much room in the face mask part. I would have to have a horse-skull for this thing to fit correctly.

Honestly, the actual design of this mask is great, but the fit is abysmal.
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Size: MediumColor: Black Verified Purchase
A really great balaclava that fits well, is comfortable, and is quite warm. In moderate weather I use it alone. When it gets colder the balaclava goes under a hat or hood. It can be worn with the front tucked under the chin, or all the way up over the nose, or in between depending upon the amount of coverage needed. The breathing panel does its job - it makes it easier to breathe...

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.

Highly recommended.
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