Snowboarding, while exciting, can be quite cold. The slopes tend to get frigid during the darker months of the year, especially at higher altitudes. There are many items out there that help fight the snow away from your face, but few are more effective than a well-made balaclava.
Balaclavas are versatile face masks that give you extra insulation in extreme conditions. The following sections will cover the best ones for modern snowboarding by explaining their premium attributes and then analyzing why those traits are so special.
- The Ergodyne Balaclava is a sturdy balaclava perfect for boarders who want a lightweight option that can still stand up to the elements. It weighs just 2.9 ounces, but will cover your entire face to create a snug fit.
- The ColdGear from Under Armour is for people who run cold. This item utilizes the company’s Infrared technology, then combines it with a tight fit and soft construction to keep you warm in every environment.
- The Outdoor Research Option Balaclava is made for boarders in tough conditions. The model wicks away moisture, holds up to the snow and has a sturdy construction.
Who Should Get This?
Snowboarders who like to ride in extreme environments can make great use of a balaclava. The items add a lot of insulation to any ensemble, especially for those who often find 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: What to Consider?
Balaclavas are a clothing item. As such, they need to be able to stand up to the harsh elements you’re sure to see out on the mountain. When getting a face mask, 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 comfortable but can irritate your skin. Pick the option that works for you.
There are many balaclavas out there, and each one comes with its own style. 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 a lot of changing conditions, you can also get an adjustable mask for better versatility.
No matter how comfortable or versatile you 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.
Best Balaclava for Snowboarding: Our Picks
The Ergodyne Balaclava is a solid model that gives you the full coverage needed on tough, snowy slopes. While many models only protect part of your face, this goes over your entire head and neck to ensure no cold gets in. It also tucks into jackets, creating a tight seal against your skin. The thermal fleece is incredibly warm and the durable construction holds up in every single winter setting.
Beyond the warm fit, the Ergodyne Balaclava provides excellent ventilation thanks to the mesh panel over the mouth. That increases airflow and enables you to breathe no matter how hard you work. There are also reflective accents here, a perfect feature for boarders who like to ride in dark or low-light conditions. There are even a few different colors to pick from, which gives you more options.
What We Like:
- Covers entire face
- Warm thermal fleece
- Snug fit
- Durable construction
- Wind resistant
- Comfortable, easy to wear for long periods of time
- Several available styles
What We Don’t Like:
- Fit can be awkward for smaller faces
The Under Armour ColdGear is a solid balaclava that manages to keep you warm without ever becoming too overwhelming. This model, while well insulated, is quite thin. That lets out excess heat and works with small perforations around the mouth to make sure you never get smothered. Those features make this model good for more intense boarders who like to truly push their limits while out on the mountain.
The standout feature here is ColdGear’s Infrared technology, which uses a conductive inner coating to retain body heat. That warms you up in a natural way and ensures you’ll never get too hot or too cold. In addition, the bottom of the ColdGear utilizes a hinge-style design that can be adjusted in numerous ways. You can pull this up over your nose, slide it down under your chin, or just have it over your mouth. The choice is yours.
What We Like:
- One size fits all
- Machine washable
- Infrared technology
- Light construction
- Excellent ventilation
- Solid, flexible fit
- Hinge-style design
- Doesn’t slip at high speeds
What We Don’t Like:
- Not great on big heads
- Can be tight around the nose
Few masks give you the protection afforded by the Outdoor Research Option Balaclava. This sturdy option goes above and beyond when it comes to weather protection. Not only does it have special Thermodynamic fabric that regulates your skin temperature, but it also comes with a nylon exterior layer that keeps moisture out. That is then backed by a special polypropylene layer to wick away sweat and keep you dry.
Despite its inherent strength, this balaclava is also quite light. It measures just two ounces, making it incredibly easy to bring along whether conditions are bad or not. If the weather lightens up, simply put it into your pocket and you’re on your way.
What We Like
- Comfortable and warm
- Thermodynamic fabric
- Pull-on closure
- Tough nylon exterior
- Moisture-wicking materials
What We Don’t Like:
- Not fully adjustable
- Can be loose in specific areas
Useful Tips and Information
A balaclava keeps you warm, but it also protects your skin. Not many boarders think about skin care 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 facemask 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, there are many other important tips you can follow to ensure you keep warm no matter how low the temperature drops.
A balaclava is a useful item. There are many ways to stay warm in the snow, but a good face mask is perfect when traditional options don’t do enough. Every single model in this guide protects your neck and head. Though they might have a few differences here and there, you’ll get great results no matter which one you pick.
Do you use a balaclava when you board? If so, why do you like it over similar options? Let us know in the comments below!