When the weather drops, it is important to have some type of protection on the face. Also known as a balaclava, these are some great options for people who want to stay comfortable and ride their bike at all times of the year.
No matter what a person is looking for, there is something out there that will allow them to have quite a bit of enjoyment when riding around.
These are the best of the best, and worthy of a look for those who do not want to waste time getting out there and shopping in person.
1. Giro Balaclava
For a great starter option from a trusted brand, the Giro Balaclava (Amazon) is a perfect option for most. It is made of a micro fleece material that is pretty thin so that it fits under any helmet a person already owns.
Even though the fabric seems a little thin, it is going to do a good job of keeping the face and head warm the entire time.
The style of the baklava is also pretty perfect for those who want to have various types of protection. It is very easy to use as a traditional face mask, or take it off if it is getting a little warm.
There are always going to be temperature changes when a person is running around, so it makes sense to have something that is versatile.
Finally, those with longer hair will find it to be a pretty perfect option, since there is compatibility with ponytails. It might take a little bit longer to put on, but the face covering is going to work out pretty well.
Overall, zero understands that some people do not wanna spend a ton of money to get some protection. Although it is not going to be the warmest or the highest grade material out there, it gets the job done for the vast majority of people that just want something to turn to.
- Trusted company.
- Versatile for all types of wearing options.
- Thin enough to go under existing helmets.
- Not the warmest for extreme temperatures.
- Can be a little tough to put on for weirder hairstyles.
2. Assos Assosoires Ultraz Winter Cycling Facemask
For one of the best and most comfortable options out there, this is a great winter face mask worth considering. It is also a very slim option so that people do not have to make any adjustments with their current helmet and still have comfort.
The company tends to go with synthetic fibers when they are trying to keep things comfortable and warm, and the set up works particularly well.
It is a very durable option that people can wear for several seasons if they want, and it washes pretty easy as well.
- Very comfortable.
- Easy for any person to wear.
- Holds up wash after wash.
- Picks up dirty somewhat easy.
- Hard to find in stock.
3. Louis Garneau Matrix 2.0
One of the warmer options out there is this Louis Garneau Matrix 2.0 balaclava (Amazon). It is designed with a very stretchable knit that can craft to just about any shape and fit a person as one would expect.
It is very easy to take on and off, and with the right size purchased, it will cover the entire face.
Warmth is always a big thing, but it is also very breathable thanks to the nylon, polyester, and spandex mix. They know that they offer one of the better options out there, so it is a little bit expensive, but people like it because of all the protection that it provides.
For those who are in the coldest of temperatures, this might be the option to go with. It is the one that offers the most coverage, and people can feel like they are in a comfortable position at all times.
It certainly beats having to put up with adverse weather all the time.
- Warm for the coldest of temperatures.
- Comfortable blend of fabrics.
- One of the more expensive options.
- Might be too warm once a rider gets going.
4. Gore Wear Windstopper Balaclava
Some people might initially be turned off by the price tag, but this does feel like a very premium option offered from Gore (Amazon). Since it is meant to be for very cold conditions, people need to have confidence that they are going to be protected at all times.
The winds are cut down by the membrane that is part of the windstopper, and the mouth is very breathable as well. It just takes a little bit of time to get the right sizing down for the balaclava, as people with larger heads might not feel like they are getting the perfect fit.
The good news is that the fabric is pretty stretchable, so even if there is one size fits all, it should be just fine.
There are ways to make some slight adjustments here and there so that the sizing feels pretty good, and people should not be hesitant to play around with things before wearing it on a consistent basis.
- Excellent at stopping wind.
- Protection against moisture.
- Breathable mouth area.
- A little tough for larger heads to wear.
5. Pearl Izumi barrier balaclava
An adjustable, warm option that is out there for people to stay warm during the cold months is this Pearl Izumi barrier balaclava (Amazon). Instead of having a head overheat when things are a little bit hotter, there is a way to make adjustments and air out a little bit.
Not only is the face panel adjustable, but the fabric that goes around the top part of the head is lightweight enough that it will not feel restrictive by any means.
A lot of people like the comfort of this balaclava, as it does not ever feel too restrictive on a person’s head. It provides just about as much layering as possible, and the fabric is laced with reflective logos on the outside.
That can keep people protected by being very visible. All in all, people willing to spend a little bit of money will feel like this is a perfect option worth considering. It is durable enough that is going to last quite a while if taken care of properly.
- Very warm.
- Comfortable when fitted correctly.
- Takes a while to adjust for the right fit.
- Top might be a bit too lightweight.
6. Sugoi Firewall Balaclava
People who are in some pretty tough weather conditions overall will like this as a head warmer by Sugoi (Amazon), as well as protection against bad weather. It can cut down on wind and water, so no matter what is coming from the sky, people will feel very protected.
The protective fabric not only covers the forehead, but the face and neck as well. That means that the wind and rain is falling off pretty well, and people do not have to worry about tough conditions.
It might be tough and rugged on the outside, but the inside is made of fleece, which is very comfortable during all types of rides.
People will need to spend a little bit more money on this option compared to a lot, but most people find it worth it in the end. As long as a person takes care of this, it will last a good amount of time.
- Full coverage for any face.
- Very comfortable fleece.
What to Look For When Shopping for a Winter Cycling Face Mask
A quality winter cycling face mask makes a big difference, but ordering online can sometimes be tricky.
Keep these factors in mind when shopping around so that there never seems to be any type of an issue in the end.
Cutting down on returns will make people a lot more comfortable to spend money on other cycling products.
A lot of companies will offer their face masks or balaclavas as one size fits all. While that sounds convenient enough, people need to realize that it is not always exactly accurate.
Brands are doing a great job of coming up with more and more flexible material, but those who are on one side of the extreme or the other should pay attention to reviews.
If a person has a larger head to normal, they might feel like everything is a little too restrictive. That can keep a person from wearing it as much as they should, and the investment ends up just collecting a bunch of dust.
A person who has a smaller head also might find it moving around too much. Try to pay attention to how flexible a one-size-fits-all it really is, and then go from there.
Keep in mind that most of these will feel tighter the very first time it is put on, since it has not stretched out at all.
Sizing can also affect coverage, but the build of a winter face mask also makes a pretty big difference.
Sizing can put certain parts of the face mask in areas that do not provide the same amount of coverage.
For example, if a balaclava is too small for an individual, there is a chance that it is going to be stretched out and not cover every single part of the face. Most of the time, a person’s cheeks, forehead, and chin are all a little more vulnerable.
Those who have a balaclava that is too large could have trouble seeing, as some of the fabric will start to drag down over a person’s eyes. Some type of size adjustments are needed when that is the case, but those are extreme situations.
As for everyone else, coverage variance mostly comes down to fabric around the nose and eyes. Some people want to have their mouth completely covered, and others want to be a little freer so that they can talk to others.
The materials used to cover the face is something that a lot of people should be paying attention to. There used to be a time when balaclavas in the past were made up of wool.
That might be the best way to keep people warm, but it can also be itchy for a lot of people. Things evolved to the point that a lot of companies will use fleece on the inside, and some type of synthetic materials on the outside.
That includes a combination of spandex, nylon and polyester. The fabric needs to be stretchable, and soft enough on the inside to reduce any type of rubbing as much as possible.
Being a lookout for some special name for fabrics, as a lot of companies like to do that. It is just their way of marketing more than anything, but most of that is just going to be a simple blend of the three materials that were already mentioned.
Allergies are a major concern for a lot of people who are putting stuff in the other face. Obviously, if a person is allergic, it is going to be very difficult to have anything near the face for hours at a time. Look for any trigger materials that make up the balaclava before making a purchase.
Are Winter Cycling Face Masks Worth the Investment?
Even the more expensive options are still pretty affordable, and that means that every cyclist should have one to turn to.
Even those who live in very warm temperatures might feel the need to have a face mask once in a while, as the wind can make everything feel a lot colder outside.
They are lightweight, easy to pack, and durable enough to last a long time as long as there are no accidents. Most people are very satisfied with their investment, and they continue to have them just in case.