Balaclava – wait, what is it? Maybe you’ve heard this term already, or this is your first time encountering this word. But whichever you are, we know you’re curious. And people usually ask questions about it. Aside from what it is, is if it is considered as a hat.
For starters, a balaclava is a type of headgear that provides warmth in cold weather. It covers your head, ears, neck, and face, with only your eyes, mouth, and nose visible. People usually wear this headgear for warmth, safety, and, on occasion, camouflage.
Sound interesting, right? Well, then read on, and discover more things about Balaclava.
Is Balaclava a Hat?
The Balaclava (Balaklava) is more of a head wrap rather than a hat. It is typically wrapped around the head and neck, exposing only the face. It’s a snug-fitting hood that includes the warmth of a beanie with the protection of a neck gaiter in a single sleek, low-profile piece.
Balaclavas can cover the entire face, excluding the eyes, and it has an opening for the whole face. Or it has entirely separate vents for the mouth and nose, depending on the style.
It is made of various materials depending on your needs, such as wool, microfiber polyester, nylon, polypropylene, polar fleece, etc.
The wool mask provides warmth, is breathable, and helps regulate the temperature of the body. The ones made with microfiber polyester provides moisture-free skin while also keeping you warm. The layers of nylon and polypropylene repel liquid and keep your skin dry on the inside.
The Balaclava, worn by the most dedicated outdoor enthusiasts, is a must-have for skiers, winter hikers, snowshoers, and hunters alike. Because winter sports enthusiasts trust this type of headgear, skiers and snowboarders use it to protect their skin from blistered skin. It also helps protect their skin from harsh conditions such as frostbite.
Winter mountaineers wear balaclavas for added warmth and protection. The headgear is also helpful for snowmobilers, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. It is because they keep the wind from causing damage to their skin.
Where Does Balaclava Come From
The origin of the Balaclava is fascinating. To keep warm during The Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War (1853-1856), British soldiers wore a knitted headpiece. The headpiece covers their face’s top and the lower portion, exposing only their eyes.
Also, the town of Balaclava was nearby, and the name became related to the distinctive face masks worn by the troops over time. Balaclavas were traditionally made of wool, but they are now made of various fabrics.
Firefighters, police, race car drivers, electrical workers, SWAT, and special forces personnel wear it too, for protection.
How Should a Balaclava Fit
You’ll know your balaclava fits if you can move and breathe freely in it. It should also provide adequate protection for the environment you’ll be in. If you intend to wear it with goggles, glasses, or a helmet, we recommend that you try it on first.
You can also move your head from left to right, up and down, and do some jumping jacks to see if it stays where you want it. Remember that you don’t want some lifts or gaps around your face; the Balaclava’s edge should rest nicely or slightly snugly.
Different Kinds of Balaclava
When selecting a balaclava, it is critical to review the materials. You wouldn’t want a heavier balaclava in late fall and early winter because you’ll sweat your face off. And you’ll surely want a headpiece that will execute in the middle of the winter when you’re looking for powder hideouts. Below are some kinds of Balaclava that you can choose from if you’re planning to buy
Neck Warmer Balaclavas
Not everyone likes the fact that he has a cloth wrapped around his face. Some people prefer to protect only their heads and necks, i.e., the area below the chin. Neck Warmer Balaclavas are the most suitable choice for such people. Furthermore, if you don’t need to cover your mouth and nose, this type of Balaclava is the go-to ski mask.
You can also fold it to cover your face when it’s too cold outside and fold it down when they’re indoors. It is ideal for wearing one that complements your outfit because black goes with all colors.
The most popular balaclavas are hooded balaclavas. Because they cover the head, these provide all-around cold protection. These are suitable for use on beginners and advanced ski slopes where helmets are not required. While some are made of a thinner but warmer fabric, they are ideal for wearing under a helmet.
Covering the head also provides a lot of support for the mask and keeps it from moving while skiing. Most skiers prefer this because fast pace movement can be irritating while skiing and may result in a disaster.
Windproof Balaclavas fit very snugly on your face and head, preventing wind from passing through the facemask. Some windproof balaclavas have an elastic lining that adjusts to the wearer’s face, providing a snugger fit.
It is entirely dependent on the material of the Balaclava, whether it could be worn in hot or cold weather. It also protects you from scorching winds if it is made of hot weather-friendly material.
As a result, these are useful for skiing and dune-buggy-ing and wearing casually in both types of weather.
With technological advancements, you can now wrap an electric blanket around your head even when skiing. Even though it looks like a joke, balaclavas using batteries that perform the same function are now available in the market.
These are equipped with an on/off switch and a temperature monitoring system. It is an excellent investment for professional skiers who travel frequently.
Sun Mask Balaclava
Balaclavas aren’t always used as ski masks. They are sometimes used for sun protection as well. And this is precisely what a Sun Mask Balaclava is for. And because they are worn in hot weather, sun mask balaclavas are typically made of lightweight, breathable, non-warm materials. These are incredibly comfortable and completely cover the neck, preventing sunburn.
Since the material is so thin, it can also be worn under a helmet. It entirely covers the face, with only a small portion around the eyes visible. But don’t worry because a pair of goggles will easily cover this.
The Bottom Line
Balaclavas are essential headgear and ski equipment that provide cold-weather protection while also making you appear very professional and stylish. And on the other hand, it can also be worn for sun protection – talk about flexibility.