It’s been a cold, windy and snowy go of it here in New Jersey this winter. Though I’ve left my real gear monkey tendencies behind years ago, each season it seems I pick up a few new things and one of them really stands out and makes me wonder how I ever did things without it. This winter it was the Mountain Hardware WINDSTOPPER Half Flex Balaclava.
A lightweight neck and face mask great for those winter activities.
One key to keeping warm in the winter is staying dry by regulating temperature and avoiding sweat. I find being able to pair this half balaclava with different weight hats or just rip it off when too warm [instead of wearing “double” hats like rolling a full face balaclava up] goes a long way towards helping regulate things. Whether its for hiking and snowshoeing on the local trails, biking, or going on slow paced photowalk with lots of stops and starts the thin weight windstop fabric keeps the cool and wind off without making my face sweat from my own breath. I’ve used full fleece windstopper balaclavas in the past and they can be just too bulky and overly warm for the 25ºF winter weather we see most of the time in this area. As its made for mountaineering it also works well and doesn’t get in the way of a bike helmet.
This is a “one size fits all” item and I’ve found it fit me well and I think it would be comfortable going up or down the spectrum. Those with small heads may want to find a way to pin or sew a small pleat to get it to fit snugly and stay up.
MSRP for the Half Flex is $30 and it was money well spent. I purchased this in the beginning of the season at Paragon Sports in Manhattan, but check the Mountain Hardware product page for dealer locations. Product photo from the Mountain Hardware site.