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Top Picks

How we choose: The best balaclavas highlighted here were selected based on 19 reviews of 15 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a balaclava that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Seirus Combo Clava

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

This has saved the day for me many times while cycling and working in cold conditions. It keeps your head, ears, nose and face warm so you can focus on the task at hand. Definitely not waterproof, but for heavy physical activities like work or exercise if there is good air flow over your head like cycling you will stay warm and your sweat will wick away. If you have sinus conditions the material around the mouth and nose may cause problems. It did for me in the Seirus Ultra Clava. I have washed it since that incident and I will have to see how the fleece works out after that.  Usually I will cut this area out to get good transfer of air flow.

Read more: Seirus Combo Clava review (1)

Seirus Ultra Clava

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

It definitely is worth the money. The outer shell of neoprene does seem to keep the water out. I ran water on it in the shower and the water does shed off. In heavy rain conditions I will have to see if it passes the test. It definitely keeps you warm. I actually had to tuck the mouth and nose area under my chin since I started to sweat in mild labor conditions in 40 degrees or more. I wanted to keep the front area around the mouth intact for heavy rain conditions. The fleece lining by the mouth and nose area made my sinuses go haywire.

Read more: Seirus Ultra Clava review (1)

Ridge Merino Balaclava

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

A full face balaclava that is a strikes a nice balance between light weight, comfort, and warmth.

Reasons to Buy

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Doesn’t overheat quickly
  • Hinge construction provides wearing options
  • Layers nicely with hats, hoods, and helmets
  • Three color options—black, gray, camouflage

Reasons to Avoid

  • Mesh panel doesn’t seem highly effective
  • No “big nose” version available ;-)

Fit: I have a rather large, bald head, measuring 24 1/4 inches or 61.6 cm or 7 3/4, depending on which measurement you use. Generally speaking, I fall outside of the “most” category when hats are labeled as “one size fits most.” In addition, I have a prominent (i.e. big) nose, which combined with a big head, make balaclavas that fit comfortably hard to find.   Ridge Merino’s balaclava fits my head well, in that not-too-tight and not-too-loose kind of way. Because I don’t have hair, I also asked my wife to try it on to see if there was enough room for her long, thick hair, and there was.

Read more: Ridge Merino Balaclava review (1)

Mountain Hardwear Hardface Stretch Convertible Balaclava

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Keeps your face nice and warm!

I don't know about you, but when the temps drop, and especially when the wind is blowing, my face gets really cold. And who wants to breathe in all that chilly air? There are times when a warm beanie just won't do it all. So I bought this item for dog walking on chilly mornings and for winter hiking and camping. It's made of "stretch fleece"; a woven outer side backed with soft fleece inside against the skin. It dries quickly when damp from sweat and condensation from your breath (and in a few hours in a warm environment after you wash it).

Read more: Mountain Hardwear Hardface Stretch Convertible Balaclava review (1)

Fjallraven Sarek Balaclava Cap

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Quite nice balaclava.

Reasons to Buy

  • Good insulation

Reasons to Avoid

  • Itchy
  • Wish the neck could be longer

I bought one of this for myself and one for my wife. She is always stylish and I was surprise that she actually liked. This is a very handsome tuck/balaclava. The wool is of good quality and it provides excellent insulation. I found that the wool can be itchy, yes I have lost some of my hair at this point in my life, but I wear an Icebreaker cap under it and that takes care of the problem. It has a nice cap visor, but I found that it can limit your peripheral vision. On the other hand if you are feeling that your neck is getting cold but not enough to completely deploy the neck warmer,  just turn it around and the visor will shelter your neck.

Read more: Fjallraven Sarek Balaclava Cap review (1)

Outdoor Research Sonic Balaclava

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (3 reviews)

A great baclava for all your winter needs.

Reasons to Buy

  • Warm
  • Windproof
  • Vented nose
  • Good quality

I have used this in the Adirondack High Peaks to wear while soaking in some of the best views in the country and to sleep in during winter backcountry camping. I absolutely love mine and it fits perfect, blocks wind, is warm and has some water resistance to it. If needed I always wear a beanie over it instead of under so it doesn't stretch out. I wouldn't recommend wearing a hat under it. To the other reviewer, either you have a knock off or an imperfection one since these are a one size fits all.

Read more: Outdoor Research Sonic Balaclava reviews (3)

Rothco ECWCS Polypropylene Balaclava

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Base layer, insulator, and above all vapor barrier, this balaclava is a useful tool to have in your cold weather quiver. All but supplanted by the modern polyester version the polypropylene balaclavas can still be found and are worth looking for if you're wanting vapor barrier over a wicking base layer.

Reasons to Buy

  • Great vapor barrier
  • Comfortable flece lining
  • Holds heat well as base layer

Reasons to Avoid

  • Easy to overheat if used actively
  • Difficult to breathe through, especially when sleeping

Light, small, and inexpensive, yet such a useful thing to have along when heading out into the cold for a day or a week the Rothco ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather Clothing System) Polypropylene Balaclava weighs just 2.2oz/62g on my scale. Fit & Comfort: Designed to be worn as a base layer it wraps smoothly around even overly large heads comfortably, but the face material will be more snug for those with larger heads. There is enough flex to the face opening to pull it down over the chin as seen above.

Read more: Rothco ECWCS Polypropylene Balaclava review (1)

Eddie Bauer Goose Down Face Mask

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

A well thought out and useful piece of equipment for really cold weather.

Reasons to Buy

  • 3.8 oz
  • Compresses down to a pop can size
  • Warm!
  • Blocks wind

Reasons to Avoid

  • Eyeholes don't fit everyone's eyes

I found this beautiful piece of history in a local thrift shop. At first glance, it looked rather peculiar. I knew it had to be old since I hadn't seen anything like this in recent history. After having inspected it, I realized that this was a functional piece of winter gear. The mask is filled with high quality goose down. The material is a tight weave windstopper fabric. The back half of the mask is an elastic material that creates a form fit around your head. The elastic was fully intact even after 40 years.

Read more: Eddie Bauer Goose Down Face Mask reviews (2)

More Reviews of Balaclavas

Trailspace reviewers have shared 19 reviews of 15 different balaclavas.

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