Best Balaclava for Snowboarding

Balaclava for Snowboarding

Balaclavas can help you stay warm and comfortable when you are riding out in the snow. I like to have one of these around for those freezing days when the wind is howling, and frostbite is a possibility. 

I’m a snowboarding instructor who has been riding for most of my life. I’ve seen every winter weather condition you can imagine, and I’ve used many different balaclavas over the years to help me stay warm. 

The Dakine Ninja is my pick for the best balaclava for snowboarding. This is a durable, affordable, and effective option that will add another layer of insulation over your head when you need a boost. 

In this post, I’ll show you a few of my other favorite options so you can choose one that best meets your preferences. 

Let’s bundle up and get going. 

Quick Summary

Who Should Get This

Snowboarders who like to ride in extreme environments can make great use of a balaclava. They can add a lot of insulation to any ensemble, especially for anyone who often finds themselves ending the day with a frozen face or cold neck.

The devices are also great options for those who tend to run cold. If you’re a boarder who can’t ever seem to stay warm no matter how much you bundle up, there’s nothing wrong with putting on some extra gear.

Best Balaclava for Snowboarding: Top Picks

Here are my top picks for the best balaclava for snowboarding. 

1. Dakine Ninja

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key features: Lightweight, comfortable, warm, stretchy, multiple color options, breathable
  • Material: Quick-Dry Polyester
  • Cost: $$

The Dakine Ninja is my pick for the best overall balaclava for snowboarding. This option will give you everything you need out of a balaclava, without any unnecessary material to get in the way. 

It is made out of a stretch polyester material. You will get a good fit around your face and head that won’t cause any discomfort when you ride. It’s lightweight and thin enough to fit under a helmet easily. 

The polyester material is also very quick-drying. So even if you happen to get it wet, it will dry out quickly to still give you a solid layer of protection against the snow, wind, and cold. 

I also like that the Ninja comes in several different color options. You can choose one that matches your style and have some fun with it. You can also choose from multiple sizes to get that perfect fit. 

Being a lightweight and thin balaclava, it might not be the best for extremely cold days. 

2. Anon MFI Hood Clava

  • Best for: Extreme Cold 
  • Key features: Very warm, comfortable, adjustable bungee cord, warranty, relaxed fit, machine washable
  • Material: Stretch fleece
  • Cost: $$$$

The Anon MFI Hood Clava is an excellent option to choose if you venture out into extremely cold environments often. This balaclava will give you superior warmth and block out the worst mother nature can throw at you. 

It is made out of a bonded stretch fleece fabric that provides a thicker layer of material than the average balaclava. This gives you additional insulating properties that will stay reliable in a range of different conditions – from very wet to very cold. 

It has a secure fit that is comfortable and easy to put on. The design blends a hood and a balaclava which gives it a unique look that is also versatile. You also have a bungee drawstring cord so you can adjust things tightly if you need to. 

The MFI also comes in various colorways to choose from, so you can match the hood to your style on the hill. 

It is bulky and, because of this, won’t give you a great fit underneath a helmet. 

3. Tough Hardwear Balaclava Ski Mask

  • Best for: Budget Option
  • Key features: Affordable, comfortable, lightweight, versatile, breathable, mesh breathing panel, superstretch design
  • Material: Polyester/Spandex
  • Cost: $

The Tough Hardwear Balaclava Ski Mask makes for a solid budget option. It’s highly affordable but will still give you excellent performance and protection from the snow and sun. 

It has a lightweight design that uses polyester and spandex to give you a comfortable fit that will easily work underneath a helmet. It also has a stretchy feel that will form fit around your face without being too tight. 

The balaclava also comes with mesh breathing panels that help eliminate that chance of your goggles fogging up. 

It’s not the warmest option around, but for the price, it’s hard to beat.  

4. Burton Premium Balaclava

  • Best for: Fit
  • Key features: Excellent fit, comfortable, warm, stretchy, machine washable, breathable, air vents
  • Material: Polartec Powerstretch fleece 
  • Cost: $$$

If you are looking for the most comfortable balaclava out there, the Burton Premium is the way to go. This model has a fantastic fit that will sit snugly around your face and head for all-day comfort and cold-weather protection. 

It’s made out of a Polartec Powerstretch fleece that gives you a soft but stretchy material that is super comfortable all around. It will provide you with plenty of warmth without being too stuffy. This material also dries quickly to help keep you warm. 

The Premium also has laser-cut air vents in critical locations to help increase airflow and breathability. This goes a long way toward reducing fog and helping you see clearly through your goggles. 

It’s also fully machine washable, so you can give it a good rinse if you wear it on a warmer day and build up a sweat. 

This is another somewhat expensive balaclava.   

How to Choose The Best Snowboard Balaclava

Here are some essential factors to keep in mind when you are shopping for a balaclava. 

Materials

Balaclavas need to be able to stand up to the harsh elements you’re sure to see out on the mountain. So when getting a balaclava, make sure it’s made with tough materials that won’t constrict you too much.

Nylon and neoprene are great lightweight options, while polyester offers a good amount of durability. Wool is extremely warm but can irritate your skin. Pick the option that works for you.

Design

There are many balaclavas out there, and each one comes with a slightly different design. Some cover your face and neck, while others only shield your face.

Other options just go over your mouth, and some allow more space around your face. Know what design best complements your riding environment and get that option. If you ride in many changing conditions, you can also get an adjustable mask for better versatility.

Ventilation

No matter how comfortable or versatile your balaclava is, it won’t matter if you can’t breathe. You need a mask with proper ventilation that lets cold air in and pushes warm air out. In that way, it won’t impair your breathing or smother you as you ride.

A well-made balaclava comes with small perforations so that you never get overwhelmed while you’re speeding down a run. Look for options with mouth holes as well.

FAQs

Here are some quick answers to a few common questions relating to balaclavas and snowboarding. 

Do you need a balaclava for snowboarding?

You don’t absolutely need one. I don’t wear a balaclava every day. But I like to have one around to put it on when the temperature gets really cold or it starts to snow heavily. They are cheap and easy to keep in a pocket. 

Should you wear balaclava under helmet?

This is a personal preference. I like the feel of a balaclava under a helmet over the feel of a beanie. But sometimes, you don’t need to wear anything under a helmet. This all depends on the weather and your needs. 

What is the best material for a balaclava?

Synthetic materials like polyester, fleece and soft nylon are some of the best materials. I like an option that features a stretch material because I think this is the most comfortable. Synthetic materials dry quickly and are breathable. 

Useful Tips

A balaclava keeps you warm, but it also protects your skin.

Not many boarders think about skincare when setting out for a day on the mountain, but every bit of protection helps. The advice outlined here gives you different ways to protect yourself.

If you’re someone who needs a sturdy balaclava for the colder months of the year, chances are you like to ride in more extreme conditions.

While a balaclava helps you in such environments, you can follow many other important tips to ensure you keep warm no matter how low the temperature drops.

My Verdict

The Dakine Ninja is my pick for the best balaclava for snowboarding. This is a great item that gives you plenty of warmth and protection from the elements. It is also super comfortable, thanks to a flexible design that easily fits over your head. 

Even if you don’t wear a face mask or balaclava often, I’d still recommend having one around if you need it. All of the options listed here come highly recommended and are cheap enough to through in a pocket for those really cold winter days.  

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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