Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cold Weather Testing

Another Day in Paradise
If I were a glass half empty kind of guy I would have looked at this morning's temperature and probably would have went straight back to bed. Today at least, that guy isn't me. I looked at the temp and thought," Hey! what a great day to test out my new Buff balaclava."
Not wanting to put it to too extreme of a test, I did decide to wait until it warmed up a bit before heading out. When I finally left on my ride, the temperature had climbed all the way to -2F.
This isn't going to be a review per se, just a few observations on how it worked for me.
Negative Two
The Buff balaclava is made of polar fleece with a wind blocking material covering the lower face and going around the back of the head. It has a cutout for your nostrils and several small holes for your mouth and ears.
I decided to keep things short and just go around the block (2 1/4 miles) in case I had any issues with my bike or my clothing choices due to the cold.
So, how did it go? The bike performed flawlessly, my clothing kept me warm, but the balaclava was a bit of a disappointment.

Negative Two
Despite the fact that it did keep my head quite warm, it fit so tightly that I couldn't pull it down below my nose, which led to my glasses frosting over completely. That is not a good thing. I have a hard enough time riding in a straight line without my vision being impaired.
Another issue I had was with the ear holes cut outs. While riding into the wind, the air rushing past my ears was deafening. I had to turn my head to the side to make the noise go away.

Negative Two
So, I guess it's back to my old stand by from Mountain Hardware. It lacks the wind stopper material so it may not be quite as warm as the Buff, but at least I can pull it away from my glasses (even under my chin if need be) to keep them clear.


  1. You've taken the next step to enjoying the extreme cold we experience here. By finding out what clothing works for you. Every one is different and it takes a bit of buying clothing to see what works and what doesn't. The picture with your glasses fogged is great. I've never figured out how to combine eye protection with face protection and not have my glasses fog up. I gave up and rarely wear glasses in this weather. I never wear balaclavas. They hold in way too much heat for me when I'm doing vigorous exercise.

    1. I think I've got by head covering down pretty good now. From 20 to 30 degrees I cover my ears, from 10 to 20 degrees I cover the top of my head too, only putting on a balaclava when it gets below 10. Even then I generally keep the mouth cover pulled below my chin.
      Another thing I learned yesterday is that I really need to get some sort of wind blocking material to cover my thighs. BRRRR!

    2. I think everyone is different when it comes down to what works for headgear but I use the Seirus Combo Clava and Bolle Mojo Snow Goggles (I have both the clear and orange-y lensed ones). Even riding in -18 I stayed warm (I also wore a headband underneath for extra ear protection) and the glasses only fogged up if I stopped and got off the bike. Frost would build up a bit on the rims of the goggles after 45 minutes or so but it never blocked my vision at all. And I just love wearing it, hehe, my only wish is that the balaclava would come in pink instead of just black, because I kinda look like a bank robber :D

  2. Bolle snow goggles! yes. Cheap on amz, and no lens fog no matter what balaclava you wear!