Since the Crimean War, balaclavas have been considered an essential piece of winter wear for explorers, athletes, and adventurers. If you are looking for the best balaclava for skiing our handy buying guide can help. In addition to completely unbiased reviews of the very best balaclavas on the market, we also will give an overview of the features to look for when shopping for the best balaclava and answer the most frequently asked questions about balaclavas for skiing.
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top 3 PicksInvalid table id.
Reviews of the 5 Best Balaclavas For Skiing
Our buying guides include unbiased reviews of the very best products that are currently available on the market. Comparing and contrasting the following balaclavas can help you determine which features you want in your own balaclava. We only review top-rated products that have been tested for quality and assurance.
1. Tough Headwear Balaclava Ski Mask for Men & Women
- WINTER READY: Winter has nothing on our Strike balaclava. Ready to brave all the elements from snow...
- LIGHTWEIGHT COMFORT: You’ll be surprised by how warm this lightweight, breathable, and...
This balaclava by Tough Headwear is our pick for the best overall balaclava on the market for skiing. For all kinds of outdoor activities this balaclava does a great job of protecting you from the elements, but it is especially great for skiing because of the streamlined design. Even in the coldest conditions your face is protected, and you can also use it in hot conditions to protect from sunburn.
The balaclava is very comfortable as it is made out of a stretchy and breathable fabric. The lining of the headwear is especially made to hold in heat so that you stay warm even in super chilly environments. One of the reasons why we think this is the best balaclava on the market is because it is so versatile and can be worn as a full face cover or as a half mask.
- Versatile design can be worn many different ways
- Made out of comfortable stretchy materials
- The breathable fabric will also retain the heat of your skin
- Use in hot or cold weather to protect your skin
- One size fits all
- Lifetime warranty
- Comes in different colors
- It is not waterproof and will become wet in the snow or rain
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2. KINGBIKE Balaclava Ski Mask Motorcycle Running Full Face Cover
- WIND-RESISTANT; Wind-protectant fabric paneling over vulnerable areas to protect against a variety...
- HIGHT BREATHABILITY; Feature mesh breathing panels to increase airflow while minimizing condensation...
Our runner up for best balaclava is the KINGBIKE Ski Mask. It is a versatile design and can be used for a variety of sports, although it shines best when used for skiing. The breathable and lightweight materials are perfect for skiing because it is waterproof and windproof to keep you warm and dry. It keeps you warm without making you sweat and when using goggles will minimize the condensation that forms from your breath.
This is a comfortable balaclava which is very soft and warm. The inside is lined with fleece to help keep you warm and comfy. There is a one year warranty on this product so you can return it if it does not fit you or you are not pleased with the performance. It is completely adjustable as well and can be worn as a full head cover or a partial head cover such as for just the neck or for half of the face.
- Breathable material
- Fleece lining
- Waterproof and windproof
- One year warranty
- Use as a full head cover or partial
- Can be used in heat and cold
- The fleece lining makes it a little thicker and may affect how your helmet sits on your head
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3. Balaclava Ski Mask – Cold Weather Face Mask for Men & Women
- LIGHTWEIGHT PROTECTION: The Hinge Balaclava is a super lightweight balaclava that is ideal for...
- LIGHTWEIGHT PROTECTION: The Hinge Balaclava is a super lightweight balaclava that is ideal for...
Another great balaclava ski mask by Tough Headwear, this balaclava is our pick for the best budget option. It is a less expensive version of the balaclava from Tough Headwear that we consider the top pick. It is a great value because it is versatile, made out of high-quality materials, and it can be easily worn under a helmet and with other accessories.
This balaclava is made out of stretchy and soft materials that is super breathable to prevent your goggles from fogging up while skiing. The inside of it is lined to retain heat so that your face stays warm while you are in cold conditions. For both men and women the size and stretchiness of the balaclava is perfect.
- Stretchy and breathable materials
- Versatile design can be worn many ways
- Can be used for skiing or other activities
- Will keep the face warm
- Not made out of waterproof material
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4. EXIO Winter Neck Warmer Gaiter/Balaclava
- Neck warmer(scarf) for Winter (size : free) – 53% Nylon, 39% Polyester, 8% Spandex.
- Our special function(Air hole) - It makes you breath easier, Even when you wear glasees, the lens...
If you are not a fan of the full face balaclavas, many of them allow you to pull them down and wear them as a neck gaiter or as a half ski mask. If you know that you just want the neck gaiter/lower face area covered then you should go for a neck warmer balaclava such as this one by EXIO. It comes in a few different colors and is super effective at keeping the face warm while skiing.
The fabric used in the construction of this balaclava will keep you warm while also preventing sweat from building up, so you will be both warm and dry. There is an air hole for breathing so you never have to worry about the breathability of the fabric unlike some balaclavas. The design of this balaclava makes it one of the most comfortable on the market which is why so many people prefer it.
- Super comfortable seamless design
- Very breathable (has air hole)
- Fabric wicks away sweat
- Only covers the bottom half of the face
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5. RIGWARL Thermal Balaclava Face Mask
- ❄ULTIMATE PROTECTION Against DUST, WIND and COLD Sandy Desert Environment: Our balaclava face mask...
- ❄LIGHTWEIGHT& BREATHABLE BALACLAVA:The face mask balaclava is lightweight and breathable, made of...
Most of the balaclavas on the market are for one size fits all, but this RIGWARL model of balaclava face mask is perfect for everyone in the family because it comes in small, medium, and large sizes. You should check the size chart to see which one is best for you, but for women and children this may be the balaclava because the one size fits all models are often too big on small heads. This versatile face mask also comes in three different styles.
The design of this balaclava is amazingly comfortable on your skin. The breathability and softness are one aspect that make it very comfortable. It also has a seamless design which will leave less indentions on your skin and be more comfortable to wear for long hours.
- Breathable fabric
- Protects from the cold, dust, etc.
- Lightweight yet durable
- Three sizes and styles
- The return policy is very strict (return within three months for your money back)
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Now that we have given a list of the best balaclavas that you can currently buy, let’s delve deeper into the features that matter. Having the right kind of balaclava for your next ski trip is essential if you want to stay safe and warm.
Each of the balaclavas included in this guide are some of the top-rated on the market, but they each have special differences that set them apart from one another. In this section of the article we will explore the features that you should be looking for when shopping for a balaclava for skiing.
One of the most important features of the balaclava to consider is what kind of materials are used in the construction of the mask. You definitely want the mask to be comfortable to wear, especially if you plan on wearing it for a full day of skiing. Here is a list of questions to ask about the material to determine if it is the right mask for you.
Is it waterproof?
It seems like about half of the balaclavas on the market are waterproof and the other half aren’t. There are some benefits to having a waterproof balaclava, such as if you are wearing it in the rain, or if you fall down while skiing a lot, but it may not be necessary for it to be completely waterproof in some cases.
Waterproof materials may be more expensive, so if it is waterproof this could bump up the price. Another thing to keep in mind is that waterproof materials are sometimes less stretchy and comfortable. They also may cause the balaclava to be bulkier and not fit as well under goggles and a helmet. If the balaclava gets a little wet this is fine as long as it retains the heat well.
Whether or not you require a waterproof face mask is up to you, but many find that the non waterproof masks work just the same if not better when used specifically for skiing (not taking into consideration other sports such as biking which a waterproof mask may be better for).
Is it breathable?
Balaclava type masks cover your face partially or completely, including your mouth. If your mouth and nose are covered, you may wonder whether or not you can breath. Balaclava face masks are made out of special breathable fabrics to allow you to breathe comfortably, all the while keeping your face safe and warm.
While some masks are made completely of breathable material, others may use an “air hole” or a piece of breathable fabric only over the mouth and nose, and then use a thicker material for the rest of the mask to optimize heat retention while still allowing you to breathe comfortably.
The breathability of the mask will affect not only your comfort while wearing it, but it can also have an effect on whether or not your goggles will fog up with your breath. A good balaclava will allow you to breathe comfortably and will prevent your hot breath from fogging up your ski goggles if you are wearing any.
Is it windproof?
More important for skiing than waterproofing is wind-proofing. The thing that is going to chill your face the most will definitely be the wind, especially at the fast speeds of skiing. If the balaclava ski mask is not windproof, the cold air can cut right through and chill your face. Do not even waste your time with a ski mask that is not windproof, because it will not do an effective job at keeping you warm.
Is it comfortable?
The materials used should be comfortable. You do not have to sacrifice your comfort to stay warm, and many of the face masks on the market are so comfortable to wear you will forget that they are even there.
Considering the materials you should take into account that you will likely be wearing a ski helmet and ski goggles on top of your balaclava, so the material will need to be thick enough to keep you warm while also being thin enough to fit comfortably under any other accessories that you want to wear.
The stretchiness of the fabric is very important, especially for a one size fits all model. If the material is too tight it will not be comfortable, but if it is not tight enough you may struggle to keep warm if air sneaks in the cracks where it is loose fitting.
Is it seamless?
For the maximum comfort and wearability, seamless stitching should be employed. Many of the best-selling models use seamless designs, but not all of them, which is why you should be on a look out for this particular feature. If there are seams in the balaclava, you will be left with indentions in your skin after wearing it for a long time. This is especially true for the areas where the mask is held down by goggles or by a mask. Seamless ski masks are preferable to those with seams for your comfort.
When shopping for a balaclava ski mask, you do not have to leave your fashion sense at the door. In fact, as reported by the HuffPost, many runway designers have been inspired by the style of balaclavas. The typical balaclava is black, but there are some bright colors that are available. You can match the color of the balaclava to your skiing outfit, goggles, and helmet. Black is a good neutral color that works well for most people, but there are other options available as well so do not limit yourself to looking at only one kind.
Is it reflective?
One feature that is included in some balaclavas is a reflective logo or a reflective piece of some kind. The best part of adding a reflective logo or fabric to the balaclava mask is that it will help to prevent accidents. Other people will be able to see you coming more easily if there is a reflective logo on the ski mask rather than if it is solid black, which may be hard to see or invisible at night.
For the best results you will want to make sure that the balaclava for skiing is the right size for your head. Although the stretchy materials used in the construction of most balaclavas is ideal for most average sized people, for large heads or for smaller than average heads the one size fits all models may not be appropriate. Here is a guideline to balaclava sizes.
One size fits all
The most common size that balaclavas come in is a simple universal one size fits all. The material used in the construction of balaclavas is very stretchy, which means that it will stretch to fit most head sizes. For men and women of average head size, the one size fits all option is perfect.
Small, medium, and large
For children, teenagers, and petite women an one size fits all model of balaclava ski mask may be too large. In this case, you should look for models of ski masks that come in a variety of sizes such as small, medium, and large. If the company provides a size chart this is ideal because then you can measure your head and figure out exactly what size balaclava would be best for you.
Some balaclavas will have a one size fits all size, and then a loose-fit option. The loose-fit option is great for men with big heads. Women and young teenagers will generally not need the loose-fit styles and should stick to medium, small, or in some cases a one size fits all balaclava.
There are a few different styles of balaclava face masks for skiing. The most popular style of ski mask is the type that covers your entire head. However, not everyone loves these. Some people find a half face mask more comfortable, or they prefer to only cover their neck. There are balaclavas that come in half face or neck only variations, and most of the full face masks can convert (but not all of them).
Full face mask
The full face mask will cover the entire face except for the eyes. These are ideal for keeping the entire head warm. Most of the heat escapes through the top or your head so these are the most effective at keeping your entire body warm. A lot of full face masks convert to a half face or a neck only style as well.
Half face mask
There are balaclava masks that cover only the bottom half of the face and neck. For some people this is more comfortable, especially if the entire head version makes you feel claustrophobic. It can be hard to remove a balaclava face mask quickly if there is a helmet or goggles over it. You can more easily pull down a half face mask which is why a lot of people prefer to wear it this way.
A neck gaiter is made out of the same materials as a ski mask but it only covers your neck and not your face. Skin masks can often be pulled down and worn as a neck gaiter.
When shopping for a high-quality balaclava one thing to consider is whether or not a manufacturer’s warranty is included with your purchase. A warranty will guarantee that your product will be replaced or refunded if there are any defects. Some products may have a limited warranty, so it is important to be aware of what your benefits are. Buying a product that comes with a warranty is the best way to protect your purchase.
Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about balaclavas.
Are balaclavas one size fits all?
Most balaclava ski masks are one size fits all and will be suitable for average sized men and women. For children, teenagers, and people with small or large heads you may need to look a little harder to find the right balaclava. The RIGWARL thermal balaclava is one balaclava that comes in multiple different sizes. Having different sizes to choose from is good for those who are not average sized. Some balaclava manufacturers include a “loose-fitting” option which is ideal for men and those with larger heads.
Are balaclavas waterproof?
Some balaclavas are waterproof and some are not. It may not be necessary for all balaclavas to be completely waterproof, however it is important that even if the balaclava gets wet that it will still maintain some of its warmth. For skiing, having a waterproof balaclava is nice, but not completely necessary.
Unless you fall down or it is precipitating while you are skiing it is unlikely that the balaclava will get wet. For activities such as motorcycling a waterproof balaclava may be necessary since you could get wet in the rain.
In this buying guide we have given a list of the features to look for when shopping for the best balaclava as well as an unbiased list of reviews for the top models currently available. We recommend the Tough Headwear Balaclava for Men & Women as our top pick because it is very versatile and a great value. Tough Headwear is one of the best manufacturers of balaclava ski masks and they also have a less expensive version of that same balaclava which is our top pick for the best budget option.
If you need a balaclava ski mask that fits children, teens, or larger/smaller than average heads, we recommend the RIGWARL Thermal Balaclava because it comes in a variety of sizes unlike the one size fits all Tough Headwear balaclavas. Comparing and contrasting all of the features of these models can help you determine which is best for you.