Keeping my face warm- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Keeping my face warm

    I was riding this week at the California low temperature of 45 degrees with a big north wind in my face and more than a bit of speed and my face was getting pretty cold.

    This question is for those who ride in the arctic climes of the upper midwest and new England (where I fled from). What do you wear for keeping your face warm? Skiing, I've actually had my face freeze hard for a moment or two until I took action. There I wear a chamois face mask but is is a lousy solution at best.

    So, what do you wear?
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  2. #2
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    In very cold temps, such as 20˚ down to below zero, I'll wear a balaclava with good ski goggles. Just have to make sure everything is in the right spot and you'll stay pretty toasty. I generally have to ride in the dark during the winter too, so no help from the sun.
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  3. #3
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    I have a double layered balaclava, goggles and a Lazer winter helmet. Fine down to zero, hands and feet are alot harder to keep warm.

  4. #4
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    When it's really cold, I wear a balaclava. When it's 28-40 degrees, I wear a beanie under my helmet and a really thin neck gaitor over my face that I breathe through.
    There have been days where I wear the balaclava and the gaitor but that's much colder than you're asking about.
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  5. #5
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    Usually I just suffer. But if I am feeling soft I use a buff.

    Just never apply heat rub to your face, very very bad idea (At least that is what a friend told me).
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  6. #6
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    Thin beanie for those temps.

    Thin balaclava for significantly below freezing. Stretchy thin ones can be used as neck gaiters, cover partial face, or everything but eyes. Ski helmet also helps. Ski helmet and thicker balaclavas for significantly negative F temps, some of the time when its -10 to -20 I cant breath air straight without a mask of some kind, but in a race or during significant exertion that goes away. Have no need for goggles, but I dont generally ride below -20, generally, you still build heat and need a way to regulate it, so you adjust your balaclava, etc., and your face becomes your radiator.
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  7. #7
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    45F.... skull cap, my summer helmet and a hoodie if the winds from the north are blowing.

    Below that a balaclava if Im on my road bike

    45-55f in the woods in a normal day is UA cold gear base layer, thin skull cap (which is usually soaked in sweat by the end of a ride), half the time Im in shorts still

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  8. #8
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    Today's ride was 0F and I was toasty warm in my ski helmet with a cheap knit neck gaiter pulled up to my nose. Goggles were too warm.

  9. #9
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    I've never worn a balaclava while riding. If it get's below 20F I'll either wear or pack a thin wool neck gaiter. I also don't ride in sub-zero conditions. If I did that might change things, but we don't often see those temps where I am. Sometimes I'll bring clear glasses, but I almost never wear them, unless the precip turns from fluffy/liquid to ice. That sometimes hurts the eyeballs.

  10. #10
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    Fatbiking all winter in northern Pennsylvania.

    Large beard works most of the time plus a balaclava for really extreme temps.

  11. #11
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    I ride a motorcycle to work everyday and noticed the biggest help for me was to wear a scarf on my neck, My face can take the cold better if my neck is warm.
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  12. #12
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    I always wear wind proof balaclava and wind proof wool toque. Both of them will keep me warm.

  13. #13
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    Keeping my face warm

    I have a beard but i just use a buff fatbiking down to 5f. Once my body temp is up i pull it down off my face. Colder i have a air hole face mask that i pull over the buff and remove that when im up to temp.

    This is on the trails... out in the wind i usually pull the buff up or wear the facemask.
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  14. #14
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    Ski mask works good, if you lengthen the helmet straps enough for it to fit comfortably. It's so warm I often take it off later, I usually use it only for downhill street rides going fast into a cold wind. Also you'll get strange looks from people thinking you are going to rob them, oh well.
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  15. #15
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    At 45F, I don't use anything special. Just my beard. Frankly the best reason for facial hair, IMO.

    When it does get cold enough that I need to do something about it, a Buff is pretty much the most I need. For biking, if I put anything more over my face, it feels like I'm wearing a wet, frozen washcloth.

  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by iliketexmex View Post
    So damn true!!!

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  18. #18
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    Hinged balaclava for cool temps. Can wear as a neck gator, chin to forehead exposed , eyes only exposed, or anywhere in between. I like Chaos CTR as they have hinged balaclavas in several different materials. They also have the "Headwall Chimney" balaclava for cold tempos that has a water/wind shell and either a wool liner, or thinsulate with fleece liner. The upper is thin fleece that works vents moisture under my helmet fairly well. When it's really freaking cold, an additional fleece cap over it make for some toasty brain cells.

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  19. #19
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    I wear a windproof balaclava that I used to were when riding my Harley. It is nice and thin and keeps me warm and cozy. It stretches and can easily be pulled down under my chin.

    This is the one that I use. https://www.cyclegear.com/gear/freeze-out-balaclava
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  20. #20
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    y'all do some serious over-dressing for 45 degrees.

    This is about the most I've worn. As the caption says, 1F at ride start. I wouldn't even start considering face coverage unless it was colder than that. And even then, I'd only pull my neck gaiter Buff up over my face. It'd have to be seriously cold before I grabbed an insulated balaclava.


    Coldest Ride to Date. 1F at start by Nate, on Flickr

    2 Buffs. 1 as a neck gaiter. The other doubled over for a skullcap. Beard for the face, and only a little bit of ice beard going. But it's enough to demonstrate that the beard does offer insulation and wind blocking. IIRC, I still sweated through that particular softshell jacket.

  21. #21
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    This was me on saturday, 21F.

    How Harold or anyone else can do single digits or below without face protection is beyond me. We're seeing -10f or worse at night here right now and if Im outside longer than walking to my vehicle as soon as a breeze hits my face, Im instantly cold.

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  22. #22
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    I would say much depends on type of riding...if you're doing technical, hilly singletrack your speed does not get very high (less wind chill) and you are working harder. If riding flat less technical terrain, you're travelling faster with less work and you need to dress differently.

    I did a 23 deg ride yesterday with light riding jacket, thermal riding pants, a thin balaclava under helmet for my ears...not over face. Clear glasses to keep eyes from tearing up. Foot warmers tucked inside riding shoes above toes and shoe covers (wrapping shoe with duct tape also works well). Med weight gloves are fine once I get blood flowing. Very comfortable...had a sweat going when I got back to truck after 1.5hr ride.

    Occasionally we ride on super cold days (+/- 0deg). I go with ski helmet and goggles, heavier gloves, more layers, put on platform pedals and use warmer boots vs riding shoes.

    Never felt the need for covering face when mountain biking. I ski a lot in New England during winter. I never cover my face with a balaclava and skiing 50-60 mph is common when ripping groomers.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    This was me on saturday, 21F.

    How Harold or anyone else can do single digits or below without face protection is beyond me. We're seeing -10f or worse at night here right now and if Im outside longer than walking to my vehicle as soon as a breeze hits my face, Im instantly cold.

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    Riding is significantly different, although at -10F I often can't breath without a mask at the start, but when exerting and my body is creating heat, then my face, lungs, body are exchanging heat rather than just being cooled by the temps, so breathing through the mask makes me over heat and I have to pull the mask away from my face and uncover more. Make it a race and this happens in no time and I often have to expose my entire face, but gotta be careful because long DHs can super-cool you too. To be certain, at single digits I'm using face-protection, but I'm not running around with a small slit for my eyes with goggles over, that just traps way too much heat.
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  24. #24
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    One thing I need to get asap now seeing as we seem to be getting a real winter since I got my fat bike is ski goggles.

    Anytime ive gone out when its been teens or single digits (my coldest has been 5F) a sieres balaclava and glasses have been enough for my head as long as Im in the woods. I learned quickly the pains of over insulating lol.

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  25. #25
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    I'm in "warm" SoCal, so I don't hit the extremes. My general rule for my road commute is (reading at my house):

    Sub 50 - Socks, sleeves
    Sub 40 - Add gloves, replace sleeves with my new wind breaker (Christmas present from mom )
    Sub 35 - Add dorag or beenie (I have long hair) and shoe covers
    Sub 30 - Haven't hit this year, not sure when I will add the balaclava (short hair previous years).

    I always wear safety glasses, regardless of weather. Definitely helps when the temps get cold. I used to have glasses that had a seal, but they need new lenses and gasket (I need to work on that). But all these things change when I am doing longer rides or on the mountain bike. The harder the efforts, the less I need to wear to stay warm. On the MTB, I might only need gloves (I always have pads on too, regardless of weather).

  26. #26
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    Depends on your fitness and riding for sure. Im way fitter and lbs lighter this season and my goggles dont fog... i also have to wear an extra layer under my shell compared to last year.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    I would say much depends on type of riding...
    I'm averaging 16mph with a few sections where I hit 30. Our average for November is 58F, with 35F in December, so there's a bit of an acclimatization curve moving towards Christmas.

    I like the balaclavas most for how they keep the back of my neck warm. I end up pulling the bala down off my nose and mouth once I've warmed up to prevent excess sweat accumulation, and adjust from there as needs dictate.

    If I'm truly over-dressed, I'll sweat myself into a quick turnaround to prevent hypothermia. No amount of internet shaming will dictate otherwise
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    I ride a motorcycle to work everyday and noticed the biggest help for me was to wear a scarf on my neck, My face can take the cold better if my neck is warm.
    Agreed. In cold temps I always have a bandana around my neck. I can pull it up to meet my goggles (which I usually wear in cold temps) but most of the time just having it around my neck is enough.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAKC Ind View Post
    One thing I need to get asap now seeing as we seem to be getting a real winter since I got my fat bike is ski goggles.

    Anytime ive gone out when its been teens or single digits (my coldest has been 5F) a sieres balaclava and glasses have been enough for my head as long as Im in the woods. I learned quickly the pains of over insulating lol.

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    Bike specific goggles may be a better choice, they are better ventilated for the slower speeds.

  30. #30
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    couple of buffs in this current frigid north east but the biggest thing for me is lip balmride ing is tougher

  31. #31
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    40 or below, underarmor camo balaclava.

  32. #32
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    If you do this and dress like the one on back, the heat will transfer through the four others and keep you super toasters!


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