Best Cycling Balaclava: Warmth & Comfort for Winter Cycling

Windburn, frostbite, discomfort? Not anymore! See our top picks for the best cycling balaclavas and pedal comfortably during your chilly rides.

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Putting balaclava and helmet on for winter cycling

Have you ever felt that biting chill on your face while cycling, wishing for just the right shield against the cold?

Winter is just around the corner, and every cyclist knows the importance of full-face protection. Pulling from icy morning commutes and input from fellow winter riders, this guide spotlights the best cycling balaclavas for those frosty pedals.

Whether you’re searching for windproof materials, moisture-wicking capabilities, or a snug fit to warm your ride, you’ve steered in the right direction.

Let’s delve into the warm world of top cycling balaclavas for winter!

In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top Winter Cycling Balaclavas

Top Pick
Warmest Balaclava
Budget Pick
  • 100% Merino wool
  • Provides excellent insulation
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Flexible 3-in-1 design
  • Warm and wicking fleece material
  • Durable and easy to care for
  • Hinged construction for added versatility
  • Windproof and waterproof membrane
  • Insulation and breathability
  • Value for money
Top Pick
  • 100% Merino wool
  • Provides excellent insulation
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Lightweight and breathable
Warmest Balaclava
  • Flexible 3-in-1 design
  • Warm and wicking fleece material
  • Durable and easy to care for
Budget Pick
  • Hinged construction for added versatility
  • Windproof and waterproof membrane
  • Insulation and breathability
  • Value for money

Reviews for 5 of the Best Cycling Balaclavas on the Market

Top Pick

Minus33 Merino Wool Midweight Balaclava

Pros:
  • 100% Merino wool
  • Provides excellent insulation
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Lightweight and breathable
Cons:
  • Not very wind-resistant
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If you are looking for the best cycling balaclava made from Merino wool, you can’t go wrong with Minus33. It provides excellent insulation and warmth, ensuring you stay comfortable during your ride.

This balaclava is made of 100% merino wool, a natural and breathable material that can regulate your body temperature and wick away moisture. Merino wool is also soft, lightweight, and odor-resistant, making it ideal for long rides.

The Minus33 balaclava has a versatile design that allows you to cover your head, ears, mouth, and nose or pull it back and use it as a neck gaiter.

The flatlock seams prevent chafing, and a UPF rating 50+ protects you from harmful UV rays. It is also machine washable and easy to care for.

One thing we don’t like about this product is that it’s not very wind-resistant. If cycling in extremely windy conditions, you may need to wear an additional windproof layer over the balaclava.

Compared to similar products, the Minus33 balaclava stands out due to its high-quality merino wool material. It’s also more affordable than other merino wool balaclavas on the market.

Overall, Minus33 Merino Wool Balaclava is excellent for winter cycling and delivers value for money.

Warmest Balaclava

Seirus Innovation Cold Weather Balaclava

Pros:
  • Flexible 3-in-1 design
  • Warm and wicking fleece material
  • Durable and easy to care for
Cons:
  • Fit with some helmets/goggles
  • No SPF rating
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The Seirus Innovation balaclava is a full head, face, and neck protector made from Polartec fleece, which is warm, wicking, and breathable.

It also has a 4-way stretch and flat seam construction for a snug and comfortable fit. This balaclava is suitable for cyclists who ride in cold and windy conditions, as it can prevent frostbite, windburn, and chapped skin.

Other cold protective features include a waterproof lining, sizable central ventilation holes, and a robust outer shell for enhanced durability. You can also adjust the balaclava to suit your preferences, as it can be worn as a masque, a hood, or a clava.

Some riders have mentioned that it does not fit well with some helmets or goggles, as it can create gaps or pressure points that affect your comfort. This doesn’t have an SPF rating, but it is not a massive issue during deep dark winter rides!

This balaclava is perfect for cyclists who need a reliable and cozy balaclava to keep them warm and comfortable in cold weather.

Budget Pick

Chaos CTR Micro Fleece Balaclava

Pros:
  • Hinged construction for added versatility
  • Windproof and waterproof membrane
  • Insulation and breathability
  • Value for money
Cons:
  • May fit tight on the mouth and nose
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The Chaos balaclava is an excellent option if you want a versatile, windproof balaclava that delivers warmth and comfort at low temperatures. This unisex balaclava has a stylish and user-friendly design, making it easy to use.

Made from Microflex fleece (95% polyester and 5% spandex), this winter balaclava provides excellent insulation and breathability. It also features a windproof and waterproof membrane that keeps you dry and protected from the elements.

Another handy feature of this balaclava is the windproof face cover that ensures complete face protection. It only leaves your eyes exposed.

This balaclava is hinged, so you can easily pull it down when you need more air. Since it’s multi-use, this balaclava is appropriate for various winter activities.

One thing we don’t like about this product is that it can be a bit tight around the nose and mouth area, making it hard to breathe or talk. However, this is a minor issue compared to the benefits it provides.

The Chaos balaclava is the cheapest in this roundup.

Original Turtle Fur Shellaclava Fleece Balaclava

Pros:
  • Double fur fleece layer for increased warmth
  • Breathable and sweat-wicking
  • Soft and comfortable
  • Machine washable
Cons:
  • Not very windproof or water-resistant
  • No ventilation holes around the mouth or nose
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This is a two-in-one balaclava that combines a fleece neck warmer with a hood made of Comfort Shell fabric.

The fleece is soft and comfortable, while the hood is breathable, sweat-wicking, and stretchy. This balaclava is ideal for cyclists who want to keep their heads and ears warm under their helmets without feeling too bulky or restrictive.

You can pull the hood over your nose and mouth or leave it below your chin. You can also adjust the opening around your eyes to suit your visibility. The balaclava is easy to put on and take off.

It is machine washable, and you can tumble-dry it on a low heat setting, making it easy to maintain.

However, you should be aware of some drawbacks to this balaclava.

First, it is not very windproof or water-resistant, so it might not be suitable for very harsh conditions. Secondly, it has no ventilation holes around the mouth or nose, which can make breathing difficult or fog up your glasses.

The Friendly Swede Balaclava

Pros:
  • Versatile and comfortable
  • Mesh nose cover for easier breathing
  • Machine-washable and quick-drying
  • Soft interior fabric for all-day wearing comfort
Cons:
  • Only available in one size
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The Friendly Swede Balaclava is a versatile and comfortable headgear that can be used for various outdoor activities such as cycling, skiing, and hiking.

It is made of high-quality polyester and spandex, breathable and moisture-wicking material, making it ideal for use in cold weather conditions.

Thanks to its 93% polyester and 7% spandex construction, this balaclava can uphold warmth while fitting a wide range of head sizes.

It has a mesh in the nose area for easier breathing. The enhanced breathability makes this balaclava suitable even in spring and autumn.

The lightweight fabric used to make this balaclava is machine-washable and quick-drying. It is also wrinkle-free. That means you can wash it in the evening and use it the next day, making it an excellent choice if you don’t want to invest in multiple balaclavas for daily use.

One feature that could be improved is the size range. The balaclava is only available in one size, which may only fit some comfortably.

How To Choose The Best Cycling Balaclava For Winter Cycling

Finding the best cycling balaclava can be challenging, especially if you don’t know what to look for. 

A balaclava, offering full-face coverage with strategic openings for the eyes, nose, and sometimes mouth, becomes a non-negotiable accessory for winter cyclists.

This buying guide is formulated to ensure you pick the best balaclava tailored to your winter cycling needs.

Sizing

Many manufacturers offer their balaclavas in one universal size. However, this sizing may not work for you if you are on either side of the extreme.

If you have a larger head than average, you might feel like a universal balaclava is quite restrictive and uncomfortable to wear for a prolonged period. Conversely, you might find the universal balaclava moving around too much if you have a smaller head.

If you shop online, checking user reviews can help you know how the balaclava fits specific shapes or sizes.

Material

Cycling balaclavas are usually made from natural or synthetic materials. You must consider how these feel against your face and skin as you ride through the cold.

  • Insulation and Breathability: Look for materials like merino wool, fleece, or a blend that ensures warmth while offering sufficient breathability.
  • Moisture-Wicking: To manage sweat and moisture, opt for moisture-wicking materials to keep you dry.
  • Wind Resistance: Ensure the material (like neoprene or Gore-Tex) provides resistance against chilly winds.

Check out our guide on how to layer for winter cycling, where we discuss materials and how they can help keep you warm.

Touring Biking With Balaclava on

Wind and Water Resistance

Most cycling balaclavas will deliver much-needed warmth. However, they also need to battle the environment.

  • Windproof: Ensure the balaclava has a windproof layer to shield you from the harsh winter winds.
  • Water-Resistant: While many balaclavas may not be fully waterproof, opt for at least a water-resistant model to guard against snow and light rain.

Design & Coverage

The amount of coverage a rider needs from a cycling balaclava can differ.

  • Face Opening: Consider the size and flexibility of the face opening. Some designs allow you to expose just the eyes, while others can be adjusted to expose the entire face.
  • Neck Coverage: Ensure that the balaclava provides adequate neck coverage for additional warmth.
  • Ventilation: Ensure the nose and mouth are well-ventilated to facilitate easy breathing during exertive rides.

Related article – 5 Of The Best Winter Cycling Jackets

Alterability

Some bike balaclavas have a fixed design and cannot be adjusted. Others are stretchy and adjustable; you can alter them to suit your specific needs.

You might also want to consider a “hinged” version, which features a garment that you can raise or lower for heat retention or comfortable breathing.

Winter Fat Biking

Vision

Eye exposure is another critical consideration when choosing a cycling balaclava for winter riding. Some balaclavas feature relatively small holes for eyesight. While such options will keep you warmer, you may have a limited range of vision.

Balaclavas with larger eye holes are ideal for road bikes requiring a broader range of eyesight. We opt for this version and pair it with polarized sunglasses.

It’s essential to check the size of the eye holes while considering your eye movements while cycling. Make sure you find a balaclava designed to fit glasses if you use glasses.

Easy Maintenance

Last but not least, keep your balaclava clean!

  • Washability: Check the care instructions and ensure the balaclava is easy to wash and maintain without losing shape or functionality.

Drying Time: A balaclava that dries quickly ensures it will be ready for use even after a quick wash.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the right size and fit for a cycling balaclava?

When considering the best cycling balaclava, focus on options that offer a snug but comfortable fit to ensure optimal thermal efficiency without restricting movement or visibility. 

Many balaclavas come in standard sizes but leverage stretchy materials to accommodate different head shapes and sizes, ensuring a secure fit while navigating your winter rides.

What features should I look for in a balaclava for cycling in extremely cold temperatures?

For sub-zero temperatures, focus on a balaclava that offers advanced thermal properties, full-face coverage, and windproof capabilities.

It’s vital to adequately cover the ears, nose, and cheeks while maintaining the ability to breathe comfortably.

Enhanced features like ventilation mesh, adjustable face covers, and moisture-wicking materials ensure you stay dry and warm without compromising comfort during intense winter cycling sessions.

What are alternative options if I can’t find a suitable balaclava for cycling?

If a suitable cycling balaclava is elusive, consider combining a snug-fitting skull cap with a neck gaiter or scarf as alternative winter cycling gear.

Ensure these options are made from thermal, wind-resistant materials to protect against winter conditions while ensuring they fit well beneath your cycling helmet.

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