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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Wintertime riding - what head and facewear do you use?

    I live in Michigan and ride in the winter, most of it at night. I also wear eye glasses. I use/wear an UnderArmor Coldgear tactical balaclava (full face). Wearing the face flap over my nose causes by breath vapor to fog up my glasses (not fun, especially at night, so I typically wear it just below my nostrils. Most of the time this is OK.

    Howerver there are times when the temperature and wind speed make riding with the the exposed skin areas around my eyes and glasses sheer torture. The wind and the temps make my eyes tear terribly. Had my first case of slight frostbite on my cheek about a week ago (2 degrees and wind 15 - 20 MPH out of the NNW). I'm thinking about searching for either a full ski mask type balaclava (with eyes, nose, and mouth opening), or goggles, or a helmet to wear when ride conditions are like this. My initial hope is for a suitable balaclava, or goggles, or both.

    For those of you that ride in the winter, and night, and during wind/temp conditions when exposed skin is at risk for frostbite, what head/feacewear do you use?

    Care to share? Any/all tips are welcomed and appreciated.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    I ride in the same conditions you describe but I don't wear glasses (this may be your biggest issue). You may want to look into prescription goggles or something similar. I wear the 45 North Lung Cookie, some older Spy goggles and a knit hat when it is that cold. At 20*F and above I was wearing my riding glasses with yellow lenses and they would fog on me, once I switched to the goggle I have not had any fogging issues ever. The Lung Cookie has a two piece nose/mouth guard that is loose fitting if it is not too cold but has an inner piece you can pull up if it is really cold. I have only used the inner piece once, it was -21 F and I was riding into a 15 mph head wind. The Lung Cookie got some bad press last year due to a loose fit around the temple but they have redesigned it and I really like it.

  3. #3
    Laramie, Wyoming
    Reputation: alphazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    I don't use goggles and balaclava often, two five hour rides this week were between -10 and -20F and I had nothing on my face although I would bring my neck gaiter up occasionally. But when I do, I use the Klim Arctic and Spice goggles and it seems like a good combination.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    I live and ride in Minnesota, so it's pretty cold. I also wear glasses and in my experience they fog up when I cover my face. I rarely cover my whole face, but I could see me doing so if it was really cold for a long time.

    I wear contact and googles when its cold and the googles have yet to fog, I think mine fit over my glasses, if I wanted them too. My guess is your glasses wouldn't fog if they were covered by good goggles. You could also try cat crap on your glasses and see it that helps.

    I have also seen funky darth vader masks, they might work for you.

  5. #5
    will rant for food
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    I use full face goggles and an N-Ferno 6970 balaclava.

    The detachable face mask portion does a halfway decent but still incomplete job at rerouting exhaled vapor. I like that the nose bridge is formable - but it does lose its shape with time, you have to mess with it every few hours and before each ride. Thankfully it is quick to do.

    The notion that the face mask is velcro'd on is kinda six of one, half dozen of the other. I think I'd prefer a permanently mounted face if only for the notion that I lose the face portion often enough once I get home and go


    with my all my wet clothing. Sometimes throw it at one of my cats when they're being stupid, etc.

    I've tried the ColdAvenger - my face hated it.

    This is one of my last bits of cold riding equipment I don't have figured out to my satisfaction.

    I imagine an ideal mask would be one piece, able to be pulled down to your chin quickly when you have to spit or drink, yet form a nice seal over your nose bridge and mid cheek bones, and selectively vent off the top of your head while still allowing breath intake (duh).

    ...That's a long list.

    I've tried things like Cat Crap and FogTech, and they work to a degree - but put vapor on them in subzero F, and you'll get very neatly iced up lenses.

    I've thought of going as extreme as trying to bond a thick layer of silicone onto some eyewear (FogTech is basically a temporary thin silicone layer) and just dealing with the fact that my vision will be blurry.

    Someone please tell me I have it wrong. My eyes tear up super badly as well, and my optician friend roasts me verbally if I'm out in the sun without UV protection.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  6. #6
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    When it gets below -10F I like to wear a hood over my balaclava, helps keeping the heat in.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Many years ago I found wearing a snowboard helmet was more comfortable than a wool beanie. You can usually find one shaped for your head, ears are well taken care of, they have adjustable vents to let extra heat out, when you put your goggles on your forehead they don't fog up from brow sweat and I suppose it offers some protection as well.

    I just got my fatbike and a sub zero (F) cold front is hanging around so my snowboard helmet, clear goggles, and a nylon head sock seemed a good place to start. Before I ramble too much more, it worked! My head was plenty warm at night in -5F. When I got hot I opened the vents, pulled the facemask down and took the goggles off (in that order). I was most concerned about the tip of my nose but snot rockets every 20 min will care of that.

    In summary: Try a ski/snowboard helmet, clear goggles (they make some that are compatible with glasses). A nylon or fleece head sock will dial it in.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Hueychief's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    I agree with Terp's post above. I wear a snowboard helmet (Smith Products | and a split style balaclava (Seirus Dynamax Hinged Headliner, 72987 | Headwear | Accessories | CLOTHING | items from Campmor.) under it so I can pull it down under my chin when needed without bunching up the forehead area. If you inhale thru your nose and exhale thru your mouth you won't fog up your glasses, either. When it gets really cold you can close the helmet vents and/or wear dual-pane goggles which should cure your fogging issues.
    BTW, I live and ride in Minnesota and use this same setup for when I'm in the mountains out west.

  9. #9
    Location: SouthPole of MN
    Reputation: duggus's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Above 15 degrees I wear a sweat cap, ear warmer and helmet.
    Below 15 degrees balaclava, ear warmer and helmet. Also a spare hat if it gets colder.
    ...Be careful what you're looking at because it might be looking back...

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