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How to Wear a Balaclava- A Guideline for Skiers & Snowboarders

how to wear a balaclava
Written by Colin Kint

Balaclava has been the talk of the town and a major head-gear style that has been in style. You might wonder, what is so special about the gear? Here you go; the face shield is a necessary accessory just like hand gloves that helps keep the entire face and head warm and also helps to keep your identity. Today, we’ll share tips on how to put on a balaclava mask and discuss more on this ninja gear.

What is Balaclava?

What is Balaclava

Balaclava, which is also known as a ski mask, is specially designed for winter purposes. This head-gear was first used in the Crimean War. During the war, the British army used it to shield themselves from the extreme Ukrainian winter. In modern days most people use balaclavas as a face mask to keep their identity hidden. Balaclava has its image corroded as to this effect; the face shield is used by most freedom fighters like Zapatistas, Black Mask, and IRA.

Currently, balaclavas are no longer made from wool exclusively but are crafted from different types of materials; and this is solely dependent on the purpose for which it is manufactured.

Why Should You Wear a Balaclava?

A well-designed balaclava covers the entire head and neck. Here are some reasons why you should consider the use of a balaclava.

Hygienic Layer

The use of any form helmet can lead to excess sweating, and this results from poor breathability that is generated from the outer protective material. Without the use of a balaclava, the sweat generated can be reabsorbed into the supporting inner lay foam, and this can often lead to odor. The use of a balaclava that is lightly weighted will help to absorb sweats that are formed under the helmet and also makes washing the entire helmet stress-free.

Head Protection

Balaclavas can serve as insulating materials, and help to protect your neck and head at the same time. If you intend to experience a similar level of protection without using one, then it’s advisable to detach the hat, face shield, and the headband. All these features are not just bulky to the face but also expensive. However, from a beginner skier to the pro, everyone should wear a ski mask that also protects the head.

Adaptable Design

Balaclava is made with adaptive designs; as to this regard, it is considered as a piece that is very suitable for emergencies and allows you to fall back on it –in cases where you experience an emergency change in weather.  Balaclava is designed with enough flexibility that can provide your nose with enough coverage and help filter dust from the air you breathe.

Heat Retention

Balaclava scarf provides your head with enough covering; as a result, the heat generated by the body has little room for escape.  You can also adjust the heat resistance; this depends wholly on the nature of the material that the balaclava is crafted from. You can use a balaclava that is lightly weighted under a helmet and can also be used in autumn and spring.

Look like a Badass

Balaclava gives you the “Bad Ass” appearance. But ensure you take it off once you intend to get into a bank.

How to Wear a Balaclava?

You can use the balaclava as a neck gaiter, once you fold it down the neck. However, here are some of the steps that adopt to when wearing balaclavas.

How to Wear a Balaclava

Step 1: Place the balaclava on your head, ensure the opening is located at the front. Now roll gently roll the rim downwards until the cover of the balaclava is located on your head.

Step 2: Afterward, roll the remaining part of the downward to get to your neck and part of your shoulders, although this will strictly depend on the nature of the balaclava you’re using. If you have a long balaclava, push the end of the balaclava into your collar or T-shirt. Now drag the opening a bit downward, to create enough space to breathe.

Step 3: Drag the underside downwards while you try to straighten up the openings that are meant for the eyes. Doing this appears easier if you are using a flexible balaclava. You can line the opening that is meant for your face.

Step 4: Some balaclavas are designed to have a bigger opening that is located at the upper face half. In some cases, you can choose to pull the opening that is located over and use your balaclava similarly with the way you use a scarf.

Tips for Skiers and Snowboarders

  • Try to wear the balaclava with a ski mask. By so doing, you tend to protect the eyes from wintry cold. The ski mask will help improve your view whenever you glide downwards from a slope.
  • Make a ski mask all by yourself if you want to fit it perfectly yet provide ultimate comfort.
  • Avoid the use of balaclava in government buildings, banks, or any form of an official organization.

Hopefully, now you know the right way of wearing a balaclava. It’s not rocket science alright, but people do make tiny mistakes. A balaclava is designed to cover the entire head and neck and has an opening that is sizable enough for the eyes, nose, and mouth. If you know how to use balaclava, it could be a game changing experience. So, if you don’t have one, then I guess it’s time to get it and get ready for the next winter season.


1. Can you wear a balaclava with glasses?

Ans: Consider it as a NO. Most of the time, in cold temperatures the glasses get foggy by your hot breath that hit the cool lenses.

2. Are balaclavas warm?

Ans: If you are in an extra-cold environment you should go for the insulated or lined balaclavas. They are the best choice. There are balaclavas you can use for cold temperatures like Active wear fabrics.

3. What material is best for balaclava?

Ans: For balaclava, polyester is the most common material. It helps you with breathability and keeps away the moisture. Neoprene provides great warmth and protects from wind even though the material is quite thin.

4. How did balaclava get its name?

Ans: The balaclava is mostly connected with war strategies than runway trends. During the Crimean War in 1854, the mask got its name from the Ukrainian city of Balaclava. Where the British and Irish soldiers were sent to fight in extremely cold conditions with the Russian soldiers.

About the author

Colin Kint

I’m a professional skateboarder and have participated in most skateboarding competitions in San Francisco. I believe my innate passion for the sport drove me to pursue my career as a professional skateboarder.

Another reason I’ve got so good at it is because of my relentless practice sessions with my friends. As an environmental activist with an undergraduate law degree, I volunteer in different community awareness programs. I’m also into photography and do most of the photography for this site.

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