Keeping face warm - the final puzzle piece.........- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Keeping face warm - the final puzzle piece.........

    Issue: Keeping my face (cheeks/beak/lips/chin) from freezing.

    Context: Majority of riding is Iowa/Minnesota. Cold temps/strong winds. Have sorted out cool/cold weather kit with exception of face. Produce a ton of heat and sweat, worked out clothing that works well. More than a beanie under helmet and overheat. Technical base layer + X-Country ski jacket works well for torso, no neck gaiter or again overheat.

    Have tried balaclavas along with partial facial coverings, but no go for 2 reasons. The first and biggest is that my nose runs like a faucet. If unable to clear via snot rockets every few minutes, it becomes a big problem. Have tried lower face mask with a nose cover (open at the nostrils), but can't come up with the technique to clear my nose without snot all over the lower portion. Some suggested neck gaiter pulled up on face for warmth that can be pulled down quickly, but any gasket at the neck of jacket causes upper body to overheat and retain sweat.

    Currently smearing face with Vaseline and growing a MLB worthy beard, but snot-cicles are not the answer I'm after.

    Whataya got?

  2. #2
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    suck it up?

    Seriously, I've had best luck with the balaclava. Many different types and quality. the cheap china ones are not the ones you want. go to a sporting good store and find one that you can quickly and easily pull down and back up.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  3. #3
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    beardcicles are cool. you're not fatbiking correctly unless you can grow some.

  4. #4
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    What about a ColdAvenger? It has drainage ports and will make for epic snot sickles.

    My go to is the Outdoor research ninjaclava. If it's really nasty I'll use a buff on top of it.

    Beards help too! Even short ones.

  5. #5
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    I think the problem could be the helmet. I wouldn't be able to enjoy fat biking in the snow with a helmet, with or without a cold face.

  6. #6
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    "Currently smearing face with Vaseline."


    lol^^^
    it's a challenge some of us are ultimately worthy of.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyriverag View Post
    "Currently smearing face with Vaseline."


    lol^^^
    lol x2 ^^^

  8. #8
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    Snowmobile helmet.

    But I use this..

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003X0...ZOL&ref=plSrch

    Or maybe this might work. Keeps you current with the times...

    http://www.amazon.com/Star-Darth-Vad.../dp/B00840U88M

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  9. #9
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    A buff?
    Buff« USA Official Store | Multifunctional Headwear

    There are no cuffs or "gasket" as you call it, so it shouldn't cause any issues with sweat retention and has easy up & down & adjustable length to it. I use them for winter running mainly since my 45nrth lung cookie works for me biking(my nose doesn't run nearly as much when I bike as when I run.
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  10. #10
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    Not cold yet

    It's supposed to get cold in the next few days but currently we're around 0F. Yesterday's ride was about -5F. I keep my balaclava below my mouth or my breath fogs up my glasses. Cross country sk masks that warm your breath and help cover your face might be very effective for cycling. I haven't tried them. My problem is when it is -10F to -20F my forehead and sinus areas can become painfully cold. The rest of my face just freezes up nicely but it takes a bit of time before I can remove my balaclava when it's frozen to my face and beard.

    Keeping face warm - the final puzzle piece.........-img_4575.jpg

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    suck it up?

    Seriously, I've had best luck with the balaclava.
    The issue with balaclava other than runny nose is that they're just too hot. I've tried two, one that was very thin and a heavier one. Both were sweat soaked within 30 minutes. In my case, I do the majority of heat regulation through my head.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    beardcicles are cool. you're not fatbiking correctly unless you can grow some.
    If the beardcicles were sweat/exhaled breath related, maybe. But snotcicles...........not so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by JAGI410 View Post
    What about a ColdAvenger? It has drainage ports and will make for epic snot sickles.

    Appreciate the link, thanks. I'm trying to eliminate the snotcicles (plural), not trying to condense them into an epic snot stalactite. This product is similar to the face mask I've tried, other than the nostrils are open and the part over the mouth is perforated rather than valved. Again, heat build up (swamp face) has been the outcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by alphazz View Post
    I think the problem could be the helmet. I wouldn't be able to enjoy fat biking in the snow with a helmet, with or without a cold face.
    I'm a helmet guy, so no go without. I ride with my multi vent road helmet and with different beanies underneath depending on temps. But you make a point. I'm currently regulating my temps via the beanie thickness with face wide open to elements. It may make sense to ditch the beanie entirely when I try a face cover. That may eliminate swamp face, still need to deal with nasal flooding.

    Quote Originally Posted by tyriverag View Post
    "Currently smearing face with Vaseline."
    lol^^^
    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    lol x2 ^^^
    When you're through laughing out loud, enlighten me.

    Quote Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
    I've tried a "snow" bike Helmet (Garneau) as well as a snowboard helmet. Even without beanie, they were both way too hot within a half hour. The sweat down the temples wasn't terrible if they stayed off the glasses. The constant cold sweat down the back of the neck and back was the bigger issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nakedbabytoes View Post
    A buff?
    Buff« USA Official Store | Multifunctional Headwear

    There are no cuffs or "gasket" as you call it, so it shouldn't cause any issues with sweat retention and has easy up & down & adjustable length to it. I use them for winter running mainly since my 45nrth lung cookie works for me biking(my nose doesn't run nearly as much when I bike as when I run.
    Thanks for the link, NBT. This may be an answer. All the other facial coverings have had some type of heavy banding around the neckline that acted as a gasket and kept heat/moisture bottled up. I'll pursue this one.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billum V2.0 View Post
    Thanks for the link, NBT. This may be an answer. All the other facial coverings have had some type of heavy banding around the neckline that acted as a gasket and kept heat/moisture bottled up. I'll pursue this one.
    I use one of these sometimes. If I pull it over my nose, I get humid breath venting directly behind my glasses. Instant blindness due to fogging. So the most I'll do is cover my mouth with it, and bunch it up a little on my upper lip until I warm up. Once I'm warm, the wet buff on my face is incredibly uncomfortable, and my beard cuts the wind enough that my face is fine. I do always wear one underneath my helmet to cover my head and ears without being too warm. It works great for that. If I am covering any of my face with it, I'm using a second one, and it eventually gets rolled down to a neck gaiter, which does help with warmth.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by digibud View Post
    It's supposed to get cold in the next few days but currently we're around 0F. Yesterday's ride was about -5F. I keep my balaclava below my mouth or my breath fogs up my glasses. Cross country sk masks that warm your breath and help cover your face might be very effective for cycling. I haven't tried them. My problem is when it is -10F to -20F my forehead and sinus areas can become painfully cold. The rest of my face just freezes up nicely but it takes a bit of time before I can remove my balaclava when it's frozen to my face and beard.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Holy Snikies! As watts888 (evidently one of your riding partners) wrote - "just suck it up". Good Lord, I watched a Nat Geo special earlier this year that showed them pulling a Neanderthal out of a glacier with less ice than that.

    Evidently my solution is in the "Nancy" section of this forum.

  14. #14
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    How is a balaclava too hot? If its cold enough to warrant a balaclava, how can it be too hot? Its mainly a wind stopper not insulation..

    To me it sounds like you overdress for given temps, then are surprised when you sweat. How can you overheat with a neck gaiter + one base layer + light shell?

    Or maybe your expectations of non sweat are a little absurd?

  15. #15
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    Seconding a couple of things....

    1) Balaclava. The problem with them is that they vary radically in quality and insulation, and that for me they just tend to get too damn hot. Mine - a thin one - is sweat soaked in minutes at anything around or above 20 degrees and I'm bald. When it's really cold I use a balaclava and skull cap together.

    2) Beard if you can grow one. Since the age of about 13 I could look like Captain Caveman in about a week's time, but I know not everyone is a troglodyte like me.

  16. #16
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    I wear glasses and my nose runs. Last couple winters we rode lots in below zero temps for about 3 hour rides. I use a Minus 33 North Light wool balaclava.when I'm hot I pull it down and when I'm cold it goes up to my lower lip. I cannot pull it over my mouth ever without problems. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ishpeming View Post
    I wear glasses and my nose runs. Last couple winters we rode lots in below zero temps for about 3 hour rides. I use a Minus 33 North Light wool balaclava.when I'm hot I pull it down and when I'm cold it goes up to my lower lip. I cannot pull it over my mouth ever without problems. Hope this helps. Good luck.
    That's pretty much my experience with my balaclava. I wear it below 25F or if it's really windy.
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

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  18. #18
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    Regarding the use of vaseline, I get the face protection element of it, but there are other "temporary second skin" type things out there that are less gooey and don't smell as strong. Dermatone comes to mind, there are others.

    http://www.amazon.com/DERMATONE-Maxi.../dp/B00029WRA0
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by l3eaudacious View Post
    How is a balaclava too hot? ..........

    To me it sounds like you overdress for given temps, then are surprised when you sweat. How can you overheat with a neck gaiter + one base layer + light shell?

    Or maybe your expectations of non sweat are a little absurd?
    Quote Originally Posted by BadgerOne View Post
    Seconding a couple of things....

    1) Balaclava. The problem with them is that they vary radically in quality and insulation, and that for me they just tend to get too damn hot. Mine - a thin one - is sweat soaked in minutes at anything around or above 20 degrees and I'm bald. When it's really cold I use a balaclava and skull cap together.

    2) Beard if you can grow one. Since the age of about 13 I could look like Captain Caveman in about a week's time, but I know not everyone is a troglodyte like me.
    Quote Originally Posted by ishpeming View Post
    I wear glasses and my nose runs. Last couple winters we rode lots in below zero temps for about 3 hour rides. I use a Minus 33 North Light wool balaclava.when I'm hot I pull it down and when I'm cold it goes up to my lower lip. I cannot pull it over my mouth ever without problems. Hope this helps. Good luck.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_G View Post
    That's pretty much my experience with my balaclava. I wear it below 25F or if it's really windy.
    Balaclava overheating problems are mainly related to it acting as a gasket at the neck of my jacket. Evidently I lose a lot of heat and moisture there, because anything acting as a gasket and my neck/upper back & chest become wet. I can unzip the jacket, but then need to add an additional layer under it, which causes other overheating problems. From trial/error, the best compromise for me is current dress, other than my face.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    Regarding the use of vaseline, I get the face protection element of it, but there are other "temporary second skin" type things out there that are less gooey and don't smell as strong. Dermatone comes to mind, there are others.

    http://www.amazon.com/DERMATONE-Maxi.../dp/B00029WRA0
    Thanks Drew. I use "Vaseline" as a generic term. I've used Bag Balm/Udder Butter for decades as both chamois balm and face/hand balm. (I'm from Iowa after all). However, when I was a kid and milked in the winter months, we did use Vaseline on us to no ill effect.

  20. #20
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    Insulated Elmer Fudd hat.
    :thumbsup:It doesn't matter what I ride as long as I ride it Rubber Side Down●~●.

  21. #21
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    If you have a pair of glasses dedicated to winter riding, you can glue a wedge of neoprene to the nose bridge and across the bottom rim. Creates a sort of beak that blocks more than enough wind from whatever it's covering. I've done this, and have seen plenty of others do this, with glasses and goggles. Combine that with a very light balaclava, like an OR Option balaclava, and you have a system that should take you down to negative double digits if you don't need breathing protection. Chap stick your lips, and I like Burt's Bees Hand Salve for cheeks and chin.

  22. #22
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    In moderate temps, like 20s, I have to use a thin balaclava and keep it open over my face, if colder, usually same if I'm riding hard, if temps negative, a thicker balaclava, but as I exert more, like up a climb, I often have to adjust and open my face to prevent overheating. On any ride I guess I could be seeing wind chill from zero to -30, given that we ride, but the key is to make it so your face becomes one of the primary ways your body radiates heat, as in enough, but not too much insulation elsewhere and your body constantly sending warm blood to your face to cool other parts of your body.

    I can't think of any ride I've ever done in the winter from the 20s to about -20F where I could keep my face all covered up the whole time.
    "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

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  23. #23
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    Does your jacket block perspiration from venting? I frequently wear multiple layers of wool with a rain vest that vents to the back. I can unzip if I get warm. Sweat is not your friend, try to keep it off your skin. For my face I use a buff that I pull up if needed or just keep around my neck. When it gets colder I have a balaclava that works for me. It is fleece on the bottom but lycra on the top. The face is fleece but I can pull it below my mouth to prevent fogging glasses. Just keep experimenting to find what works for you.

  24. #24
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    So your perfect everywhere but your face. Have to leave your neck open. I say get balaclava that is the right thickness so your head and face are proper temperature.

    Spend $10 and have a seamstress trim the bottom and sew in an elastic band around the bottom. Give it enough tension so it stays below your chin. face, cheeks and nose can be covered. Neck open Hot? pull it down under your chin like any other balaclava.
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

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  25. #25
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    Was it JayP. who suggested wearing a thin headband across the nose?
    That way you don't add any coverage to the neck, where you apparently don't want it, but do add some to chin or nose depending on whether you slide it up or down.

  26. #26
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    I will sometimes fold a buff over so that it's double thick. Then pull it up to my lower lip (or over the mouth entirely) and up over my ears around the top/back of the head. I'll do that over a standard cycling cap.

    Since it's doubled up, it's shorter and doesn't have the full gasket effect around the neck (especially the back of the neck).

  27. #27
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    Be aware that there are balaclavas out there that are windproof. I think mine is Outdoor Research but I'm not sure. I have thin balaclavas, thick ones and windproof ones.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by digibud View Post
    Be aware that there are balaclavas out there that are windproof. I think mine is Outdoor Research but I'm not sure. I have thin balaclavas, thick ones and windproof ones.
    Same here. I have all sorts for winter mountaineering and mix/match for conditions.

    I also have a Buff from Wales that is pretty cool and I use all the time. It's very handy.
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  29. #29
    Yeah!
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    I can go out in my underwear in temps below 0║F and will start sweating within a minute of the start of the ride. For some of us, this is a natural response, the body starts a base level of sweating as soon as we exceed a medium walking pace worth of physical output.

    My solution has been a CTR Chaos Mistrial Multi-Tasker Pro balaclava. It's two pieces, so it can cover up over the nose, or expose the face down to beneath the chin. It's easy to move with winter gloves on, and stays in place wherever I put it.

    Got mine off Amazon, probably better to look there than Newegg, which seems to be headed downhill.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I use one of these sometimes. If I pull it over my nose, I get humid breath venting directly behind my glasses. Instant blindness due to fogging. So the most I'll do is cover my mouth with it, and bunch it up a little on my upper lip until I warm up. Once I'm warm, the wet buff on my face is incredibly uncomfortable, and my beard cuts the wind enough that my face is fine. I do always wear one underneath my helmet to cover my head and ears without being too warm. It works great for that. If I am covering any of my face with it, I'm using a second one, and it eventually gets rolled down to a neck gaiter, which does help with warmth.
    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach View Post
    If you have a pair of glasses dedicated to winter riding, you can glue a wedge of neoprene to the nose bridge and across the bottom rim. Creates a sort of beak that blocks more than enough wind from whatever it's covering. I've done this, and have seen plenty of others do this, with glasses and goggles. Combine that with a very light balaclava, like an OR Option balaclava, and you have a system that should take you down to negative double digits if you don't need breathing protection. Chap stick your lips, and I like Burt's Bees Hand Salve for cheeks and chin.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    In moderate temps, like 20s, I have to use a thin balaclava and keep it open over my face, if colder, usually same if I'm riding hard, if temps negative, a thicker balaclava, but as I exert more, like up a climb, I often have to adjust and open my face to prevent overheating. On any ride I guess I could be seeing wind chill from zero to -30, given that we ride, but the key is to make it so your face becomes one of the primary ways your body radiates heat, as in enough, but not too much insulation elsewhere and your body constantly sending warm blood to your face to cool other parts of your body.

    I can't think of any ride I've ever done in the winter from the 20s to about -20F where I could keep my face all covered up the whole time.
    Thanks for the responses. A buff will be my next experiment. Seems like the simplest solution in theory. May give the neophrene "beak tent" a try on my clear glasses I use for night rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by mactweek View Post
    Does your jacket block perspiration from venting? I frequently wear multiple layers of wool with a rain vest that vents to the back. I can unzip if I get warm. Sweat is not your friend, try to keep it off your skin. For my face I use a buff that I pull up if needed or just keep around my neck. When it gets colder I have a balaclava that works for me. It is fleece on the bottom but lycra on the top. The face is fleece but I can pull it below my mouth to prevent fogging glasses. Just keep experimenting to find what works for you.
    My initial jacket trials all ended miserably (too hot, not enough venting, etc.), so I took others advice and bought a good x-country ski jacket that has been worth every penny.
    The single biggest improvement in comfort of all my kit. Now all I wear under it is either a wool or synthetic technical long sleeve base layer, depending on temp. Now the only place I show sweat is where the hydration pack makes contact on my back, which is limited via Deuter's air mesh supports. As I wrote earlier, I'm comfortable other than my face.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff_G View Post
    So your perfect everywhere but your face. Have to leave your neck open. I say get balaclava that is the right thickness so your head and face are proper temperature.

    Spend $10 and have a seamstress trim the bottom and sew in an elastic band around the bottom. Give it enough tension so it stays below your chin. face, cheeks and nose can be covered. Neck open Hot? pull it down under your chin like any other balaclava.
    I like this. If a static buff doesn't work, I'm plagiarizing the heck out of this. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjaard View Post
    Was it JayP. who suggested wearing a thin headband across the nose?
    That way you don't add any coverage to the neck, where you apparently don't want it, but do add some to chin or nose depending on whether you slide it up or down.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wingo View Post
    I will sometimes fold a buff over so that it's double thick. Then pull it up to my lower lip (or over the mouth entirely) and up over my ears around the top/back of the head. I'll do that over a standard cycling cap.

    Since it's doubled up, it's shorter and doesn't have the full gasket effect around the neck (especially the back of the neck).
    In theory am thinking the buff route and multiple adjustments during rides. Thanks for your experiences, guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by digibud View Post
    Be aware that there are balaclavas out there that are windproof. I think mine is Outdoor Research but I'm not sure. I have thin balaclavas, thick ones and windproof ones.
    I've tried both a thick and thinner one, not a windproof one. I'm looking for a single solution to the problem, but it may turn out like the beanie solution (two different weights/amt of insulation - carry them both and wear what works best at the time).

  31. #31
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    Snowmobile helmet. They vent as the good ones are designed for all day use in cold temps, so it reduces fogging and getting too hot. Yo can also flip open the shield now and then, as needed.

  32. #32
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    I agree that balaclavas are often way too hot and prefer to have a vent at my neck to release heat. On the coldest days i can use one but only to cover the chin.

    This is what you need, the Outeru face glove: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ref=nav_search and https://www.facebook.com/OuteruGear

    These allow your nose and cheeks to be protected without any issue with fogging or restriction on blowing your nose. Kevin has been working with Titoune Bouchard of Wild Things, renowned by mountaineers and climbers for making state of the art softgoods for decades. They have many variations to suit anyone.

  33. #33
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    Wild Things makes some awesome stuff, I have some of their gear.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Nothing to see here, move along folks.

  34. #34
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    I hate both neck gaiters and balaclavas, they make me claustrophobic. I use a vented helmet with light beanie (when its really cold) and a fleece face veil that I made out of a neck gaiter. The veil attaches to the helmet up by the ears, and I can wear it anywhere on my face, from over my nose, over mouth, or over the chin. Its totally open below, and I can flip it up or down to clear snot and drink. It traps just enough exhaled air to keep my comfy, but doesn't fog up my glasses since the bottom is open. I use it downhill skiing too - it snaps onto my goggle strap. Now I just need to make one out of flame resistant material so I can smoke my weed on the lift and not melt it.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

  35. #35
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    Ha!
    "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

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    and I'm OK admitting..
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  36. #36
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    Balaclava on only the coldest days, I regulate my temperature with the zipper on my jacket....just like always.

    That or HTFU
    Mike
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  37. #37
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    I agree that balaclavas are often way too hot and prefer to have a vent at my neck to release heat. On the coldest days i can use one but only to cover the chin.

    This is what you need, the Outeru face glove: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...ref=nav_search and https://www.facebook.com/OuteruGear

    These allow your nose and cheeks to be protected without any issue with fogging or restriction on blowing your nose. Kevin has been working with Titoune Bouchard of Wild Things, renowned by mountaineers and climbers for making state of the art softgoods for decades. They have many variations to suit anyone.
    That's basically a version of what I suggested above, only attached to your face with strings/straps instead of glued to the bottom of your glasses/goggles.

  38. #38
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    Have you tried any of these options?

    Keeping face warm - the final puzzle piece.........-handmade-crochet-adult-knitted-full-beard.jpg

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