Best Ski Masks & Ski Balaclavas

The Best Ski Masks & Ski Balaclavas: Top 5 of 2024

Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by James

Ski resorts are beautiful, but they can bring adverse weather. Freezing temperatures, frosty winds, falling snow and intense sun are all possible during a day on the slopes.

Protecting your skin from the harsh weather is important. That’s where ski masks and balaclavas come in handy, providing a vital layer of protection for your head, face and neck.

In this article, we have reviewed the best ski masks and ski balaclavas on the market. We have analysed the pros and cons of each option to help you make an informed decision.

Best Ski Masks & Ski Balaclavas At A Glance

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Summary

Price

    • Lightweight, stretchy and breathable construction

    • Polyester blend retains heat and wicks away moisture

    • Versatile design can also be used as a neck warmer

        

        

    • Soft fleece lining provides good insulation

    • Venting allows you to breath freely

    • 3D design stops goggle fogging

        

        

    • Polyamide fabric is water resistant and breathable

    • Comfortable and stretchy fit

    • Long enough to double as a neck gaiter

        

         

    • Merino wool provides lightweight warmth

    • Great windproofing ability

    • Can be used as a gaiter, neck warmer or beanie hat

           

           

    • Thermal fleece fabric provides good insulation

    • Breathable mesh design around nose and mouth

    • Water-resistant and windproof material

           

           

    Why Do I Need The Best Ski Mask or Ski Balaclava?

    Ski resort weather is constantly changing, so you need to be prepared for any situation. Windburn, sunburn and frostbite are all possible if you leave your skin exposed to the elements.

    Wearing a face covering is a great way to protect your skin and add an extra layer of warmth. Having one handy at all times will improve your comfort on the slopes, since you can carry it in your ski backpack and wear it when necessary.

    The best ski masks and ski balaclavas come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Offering a range of weatherproofing capabilities, they are a great way of staying protected on the slopes.

    If you are looking for predominantly neck and lower face protection, as opposed to full face, we have also reviewed the best neck gaiters and warmers.

    Best Ski Masks & Ski Balaclavas
    The best ski masks and ski balaclavas provide vital skin protection

    How To Choose The Best Ski Mask or Ski Balaclava

    Material

    Ski masks and balaclavas can be made from a variety of different materials. Each fabric has its own unique pros and cons, which we will discuss below.

    • Polyester is a popular choice due to its durability, water-resistance and quick-drying capabilities. However, polyester does tend to lack the breathability of some fabrics.
    • Fleece might be the way to go if you’re looking for warmth. It continues to insulate when wet, while also having water-repellent and breathable qualities. However, the main drawback of fleece material is its poor windproofing ability.
    • Cotton is a material that is often used due to its great temperature regulating ability. However, it tends to absorb moisture and perform poorly when wet, so it’s not always recommended for skiers.
    • Merino wool is a popular fabric amongst skiers. It provides good insulation, moisture wicking and anti-odour properties. However, it tends to be expensive and can lack the durability of some materials.

    You will also see many face ski masks using spandex or elastane blended into the fabric. This gives them a snug and comfortable fit, while also helping to retain their natural shape.

    Best Ski Masks & Ski Balaclavas
    Material has a big impact on ski mask performance

    Weatherproofing

    If you want your face covering to be effective, it needs to protect you from the elements. The best ski masks use quality fabrics and manufacturing techniques to protect your skin from harsh conditions.

    If you want to look for solid protection, you need to make sure your ski mask is wind resistant. Wind chill can have a big impact on your warmth, while also giving you windburn without sufficient protection.

    Water-resistance is also important. If your balaclava is wet, it will quickly become cold and frosty. If you want full protection, look for the term ‘waterproof’ within the key features.

    Most ski masks do a good job of blocking out harmful UV rays, which is often underrated in its importance. Mountain weather can cause serious skin irritation, so good all-round protection is of high importance.

    Insulation

    Ski masks and balaclavas provide varying amounts of insulation. Some will provide lightweight weather protection, while others use insulation to improve overall warmth.

    If you’re heading to a colder resort, or suffer from heat retention issues, look for a balaclava with good insulation. They are usually made with thicker fabrics, or use an insulating layer – such as ‘polar’ fleece.

    If you’re less prone to cold weather issues, a thinner ski mask should be sufficient. Although not providing much insulation, it will work well to protect your skin from adverse weather.

    Best Ski Masks & Ski Balaclavas
    Every ski balaclava will have various insulating properties

    Best Ski Masks & Ski Balaclavas Reviewed

    Tough Headwear Balaclava Ski Mask

    Key Features

    • Material: Polyester, Spandex
    • Weatherproof: Wind, UV, Water-Resistant

    The Tough Headwear balaclava ski mask provides lightweight protection from most weather conditions. It uses a polyester fabric that is naturally water-resistant, while also having great windproofing capability.

    The 4-way stretch fabric design includes spandex for a snug and flexible fit. It also features a mesh panel that improves breathability and decreases the chance of goggle fogging.

    The Tough Headwear balaclava ski mask provides solid all-round protection from the elements. Its water-resisting and windproof design is ideal for frigid temperatures, while it can also wick moisture on warmer days.

    Pros

    • Windproof polyester fabric
    • Water-resistant and moisture wicking
    • Blocks harmful UV rays
    • Breathable mesh ventilation
    • 4-way stretch fabric gives a snug fit
    • Comfortable fleece lined interior
    • Can also be used as a neck gaiter

    Cons

    • Some skiers might want more insulation
    • Lacks a certain amount of breathability

    IRELIA Winter Ski Mask Balaclava

    Key Features

    • Material: Fleece, Polyester
    • Weatherproof: Windproof

    If you’re looking to combine warmth with breathability, the IRELIA Winter ski mask balaclava is a good choice. It’s constructed from soft fleece fabric that provides insulation, while also remaining breathable.

    Breathability is further enhanced by the 3D mesh vent design around the facial area. Additionally, the outer material is windproof and naturally water-repellent in snowy conditions.

    The IRELIA Winter ski mask balaclava is designed to provide an added layer of warmth in extreme weather. It has good weatherproofing capability and a breathable design that is super comfortable.

    Pros

    • Soft and insulating fleece interior
    • Windproof outer material
    • Breathable mesh design
    • Comfortable 3D fit
    • Can be used as a hat, gaiter or neck warmer
    • Naturally breathable fabric

    Cons

    • Vents can let in a lot of cold air
    • Interior stitching can be uncomfortable

    Oakley Balaclava

    Key Features

    • Material: Polyamide, Polyester, Elastane
    • Weatherproof: Wind-Resistant, Water-Resistant

    If you’re looking for a durable and reliable balaclava, this product from Oakley might be your best bet. It uses polyamide and polyester fabric for high-quality wind and water resistance.

    The fabric is blended with elastane to provide a snug and comfortable fit. It’s also a versatile option, being long enough to be used as a gaiter or neck warmer when necessary.

    Oakley are a known producer of quality ski products, with this balaclava being no exception. Its soft material blend has good weatherproofing capability and it uses a quality design that will last for many years.

    Pros

    • Wind and water resistant fabric
    • Durable construction
    • Stretchy and snug fit
    • Breathable polyamide material
    • Can also be used as a neck warmer
    • Long design provides a good level of protection
    • Works well to prevent goggle fog

    Cons

    • Pilling can occur over time
    • Some will prefer a softer insulated lining

    MERIWOOL Ski Mask

    Key Features

    • Material: Merino Wool
    • Weatherproof: Windproof, Water-Resistant

    Merino wool is a popular fabric choice for many skiers, making the MERIWOOL ski mask a good option. Its 100% merino wool construction provides excellent insulation without added weight.

    This ski mask is highly breathable and odour-resistant, which makes it a great choice in all weather conditions. It also has flatlock seams and a quality knitting pattern that make it exceedingly comfortable.

    If you’re looking to stay warm on the slopes, the MERIWOOL ski mask might be your best bet. Its merino wool design is windproof, water-resistant and provides great insulation.

    Pros

    • Lightweight insulation
    • Windproof and water-resistant
    • Temperature regulating fabric
    • Odour-resistant
    • Comfortable design
    • Quality durable construction

    Cons

    • Can cause goggle fogging for some skiers
    • Waterproofing capability could be better

    Sireck Balaclava Ski Mask

    Key Features

    • Material: Fleece, Lycra
    • Weatherproof: Windproof, Water-Resistant

    The Sireck balaclava ski mask provides the insulation and weatherproofing required to stay warm on the slopes. Designed predominantly from fleece material, it is windproof and water-resistant in snowing conditions.

    The nose and mouth area use a mesh design that allows you to breathe freely. In addition, the use of spandex makes this balaclava stretch to your requirements for a snug and comfortable fit.

    If you’re looking to stay warm on the slopes, the Sireck balaclava ski mask is a good choice. It’s constructed from solid insulating material that provides reliable protection.

    Pros

    • Windproof and water-resistant
    • Mesh nose and mouth area for easy breathing
    • Lightweight fleece insulation
    • Stretchy and flexible fit
    • Can be used as a neck warmer

    Cons

    • Waterproofing could be better
    • Can cause ski goggle fogging

    Summing Up

    Protecting your face from the elements is important. It will help you stay warm in freezing conditions, while also protecting your skin from harsh weather.

    Choosing the best ski mask or balaclava can be tricky. Every option has its own pros and cons, designed to provide comfort in various scenarios.

    If you stick to the products in this guide, you’re sure to improve your time on the mountain.