Icebreaker Oasis Balaclava
Historic Range: $17.99-$39.95
Reviewers Paid: $18.00-$26.00
Warm and snug fitting, with a low profile for excellent comfort.
- Light weight fits nicely under a helmet
- Form fitting
- Slightly itchy under certain conditions
- Face gasket a little tight when under chin
I recently had a backpack stolen from my office, which had been left unlocked as I ran down the hall to answer nature's call. Fortunately, they didn't try to steal my eight-thousand dollar road bike!
However, in the backpack were some nice Power Stretch gloves and a balaclava. I had plenty of gloves, so that wasn't a huge loss. But I bike commute to work several days a week, and sometimes that is in the cold morning and evening hours. So the balaclava was important to replace. I saw the Icebreaker Oasis Balaclava on sale, and picked it up.
The piece is made from their lightweight 200 gm merino wool. The fabric is soft and comfortable, and highly breathable. It gives plenty of warmth in the cold morning and night air, without causing me to overheat.
The only discomfort for me... and this is sort of funny. I've noticed that if I am wearing it on a morning that I have shaved, my face itches a little under the fabric. That's unusual, as I generally find their products to be itch free.
The Oasis is form fitting, which means that there's not a lot of extra fabric floating around, which has been a problem with other balaclavas that I had used. The snugness might bother some folks, but the lack of bulk in the fabric means that it fits nicely under a helmet. The only fit issue for me is, that if I pull the face gasket down under my chin, it is a little tight.
The balaclava appears to have excellent workmanship, with no loose threads or uneven stitching.
I have used it several times on cold bicycle commute rides, and recently on a snow trip in Lassen VNP, and found it to be an excellent layer, with just the right amount of warmth. It is very comfortable, as long as you don't shave before wearing it.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $18
Garbage made with nice material.
- Merino wool
- Short back of neck
- Fogs glasses
When I put this thing on, the back of it stops about halfway down my neck. WHY would you not cut it so it was long enough to easily cover the back of your neck? The one thing I really need a balaclava to do is to protect my neck from drafts. This alone is enough for me to send it back.
The second nail in an already well-sealed coffin is that when I pull it up over my face, a single exhale fogs my glasses over at room temp. The nose flap doesn't help at all.
Overall I'm a little flabbergasted by this balaclava. Back in the mail it goes.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $26