Best Cycling Balaclava 2023 Reviews & Buying Guide

I’ve faced my fair share of brisk mornings and biting winds. The challenge? Protecting my face and neck from the cold without sacrificing comfort or breathability. It’s a common problem many cyclists grapple with, especially when the temperatures drop. The cold can be more than just uncomfortable, as it can detract from the joy of riding and even affect performance.

This issue becomes more pressing when you consider the varied conditions we cyclists face. From freezing morning rides to foggy mountain descents, inadequate protection can turn a pleasant ride into a struggle. Traditional balaclavas might keep you warm, but they often lack in breathability or fit poorly, making them less than ideal for an active sport like cycling.

This is where my expertise and this article come into play. I’ve spent considerable time testing and analyzing various cycling balaclavas to bring you the best options for 2023 and upcoming 2024. This guide not only reviews top balaclava choices but also provides insights into what makes a great cycling balacava – from material and design to fit and functionality. Whether you’re braving the chill of early morning rides or seeking protection against the elements, this comprehensive guide is your go-to resource for finding the best balaclava for cycling to suit your needs.

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Best Cycling Balaclava Reviews

Here is my list of the best balaclavas you can wear under your bike helmet for cycling in the winter cold.

Minus33 Merino Wool 720 Midweight Balaclava (Popular Merino Balaclava)

Minus33 Merino Wool 720 Midweight BalaclavaCHECK CURRENT PRICE

Many cyclists prefer headgear made of Merino wool, and there’s enough reason behind that. Merino wool is very comfortable and light. Even if these aren’t ultra-thick, they can provide a decent bit of heating, thus making them suitable as winter wear.

If you’re looking for something made out of Merino wool, we would suggest this one from Minus33. This quality Balaclava is made of 100% Merino wool. It’s very soft and super comfortable. You can machine wash this, so it’ll be very easy to maintain.

What’s more is, this is designed to fit all sizes. So you won’t have to worry too much about the fit. It’s designed to cover your ears, mouth, and nose. The edges around the opening will be tight on your skin, so it’ll be airtight. This is definitely one of the best merino balaclavas for cycling.

Product Features:

  • Made of 100% Merino Wool
  • Super comfortable
  • Soft, lightweight fabric


  • Made of 100% Merino wool, providing comfort and lightness.
  • Suitable for winter wear with decent heating capabilities.
  • Machine washable and designed to fit all sizes, covering ears, mouth, and nose effectively.


  • May not be ultra-thick for extreme cold conditions​

SUNLAND Lycra Fabrics Balaclava (Great Thin Balaclava)

SUNLAND Lycra Fabrics Balaclava Motorcycle Cycling Bike Bandana Hiking Skateboard Head Sock 3 Pack BlackCHECK CURRENT PRICE

Next up, we have the thin and light balaclavas from Sunland Lycra. If you find regular balaclavas too heavy for your liking, then that’s because of their thickness. A good alternative that can save you from this is getting a relatively thinner balaclava. Due to the reduced thickness, the weight of these is much lower.

However, if you’re going to bike in a harsh winter climate, then these won’t be useful for you. A thinner bike balaclava won’t be able to warm you as well as a regular one.

Then again, if you’re already using a winter bike helmet that’s designed to keep your ears warm but it’s not enough for you, then you can get one of these to wear under the helmet. The thin balaclava won’t be uncomfortable, and combined with the helmet, it can provide the level of warmth you’re looking for.

Product Features:

  • Available in different color variants
  • Can be paired with a winter bike helmet
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Can be worn as either an open or closed balaclava


  • Thin and lightweight, it is a great alternative for those who find regular balaclavas too heavy.
  • Reduced thickness for lower weight.


  • Not suitable for harsh winter climates due to its thinner material​

The Friendly Swede Balaclava

The Friendly Swede Balaclava Face Mask Ultimate Protection Neck Gaiter Bandana (Standard/Nordic/Arctic)CHECK CURRENT PRICE

The Friendly Swede Balaclava is a headgear that offers optimum ventilation while keeping you warm even in the coldest winter. This is a great choice for you if you find breathing in regular balaclavas challenging. As these come with breathable portions, you can use them even in spring and autumn.

Due to the lightweight and thin build, these can be worn under a helmet as well. So, if you’re looking for an accessory to combine with your helmet, then this is one of the best cycling balaclavas that you can choose from.

The fabric that it’s made of is lightweight, quick-drying, and machine washable. This will let you wash it daily and use it the next day. If you don’t want to buy two balaclavas to use daily, then you should go with this one. It will dry overnight, so you won’t have to get another one.

Product Features:

  • Versatile can be worn in many ways
  • Can be used with helmets
  • Quicky drying and machine washable
  • Offers proper ventilation


  • Offers optimum ventilation and warmth, even in cold winters.
  • Lightweight, quick-drying, and machine washable.
  • Versatile for use in spring and autumn as well.


  • Might not provide sufficient warmth in extremely cold conditions

GORE WEAR Unisex Windproof Balaclava


The Gore Wear Unisex windproof balaclava offers everything the name implies and more. It will fit both men and women properly and without any hassle. The stitches on this balaclava are anti-fray and durable, and you won’t have any problems related to tearing if you’re careful enough.

This is a windproof balaclava, so it will keep ears warm properly. However, there are tiny perforations on the position of the mouth so that you can breathe easily. This mask will keep your face warm without restricting the airflow in your mouth and nose.

Due to the special craft of this balaclava, you can use it in any weather. It’s very stretchy, so you shouldn’t face any trouble fitting this properly.

Product Features:

  • One size to fit all
  • Warm and windproof
  • Thin and can be worn under helmets
  • Perforations to aid in breathing


  • Windproof, keeping ears warm effectively.
  • Stretchy and fits both men and women comfortably.
  • Durable with anti-fray stitches.


  • Perforations for breathing might let in cold air in extreme conditions​

TRAILSIDE SUPPLY CO. Balaclava (Affordable)

TRAILSIDE SUPPLY CO. Balaclava Face Mask Sun Hood Tactical Lightweight Ski Motorcycle Cycling RunningCHECK CURRENT PRICE

Looking for the best balaclava for cycling that also offers one of the best looks? Then you should consider these from Trailside Supply Co. This polyester balaclava comes in ten different colors, so you’ll be able to pick one that suits the rest of your outfit.

These reusable polyester masks can be washed easily as well. These are breathable and moisture-wicking, so that you can expect a more comfortable experience from them. As they are breathable, you won’t sweat as much. Then again, even if you do, the moisture-wicking property of these masks will keep you cool.

You can use these for cycling, snowboarding, jogging, as well as fishing, making them truly versatile. If you’re looking for something useful, versatile, and stylish, then you should go for these.

Product Features:

  • Available in ten different colors
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking fabric
  • It Will keep you cool even after hours of usage
  • Windproof


  • Comes in ten different colors for style preference.
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking for comfort.
  • Versatile for activities like cycling, snowboarding, jogging, and fishing.


  • Polyester material might not be as warm as Merino wool options​

Related reading: Best Cycling Neck Gaiter Reviews & Buying Guide

Cyclist Balaclava Buying Guide

Getting the best cycling balaclava for yourself can be quite challenging. However, if you know what to look for, this can get much easier. In this section, we’ll discuss the factors that you need to focus on for spotting a balaclava that’s suitable for you.


Most of the modern balaclavas come in one size that fits all. However, this might not be the case with every one of them. Then again, whether a balaclava will suit you or not also depends on your facial structure. This is why you should check if the size will fit you or not.

As you’ll be shopping online, you won’t get the chance to try the balaclava on. However, you can check out the user review section to see how it fits others. Amazon also lets you inquire directly from the seller; we recommend trying that out, too.


Do you want the bike balaclava to cover only your head and ears? Or do you want it to cover your nose and mouth too? Different balaclavas can provide a different experience in this case. While some balaclavas are designed to cover up to your nose, others will cover only your head and ears.

Then again, some of the balaclavas are designed specially so they can be worn in different styles. If you don’t have a preference, we recommend getting these so you can switch it from an ear warmer to a neck gaiter anytime.


You’ll find balaclavas made of Merino wool as well as polyester. Merino wool is a much better choice for those who are looking for soft and comfortable headgear. On the other hand, if you want something that’ll endure years of wear, then you should pick something made of polyester.

With growing environmental concerns, many cyclists prefer eco-friendly materials. Sustainable or recycled materials used in balaclavas not only reduce environmental impact but often offer high-quality performance. These materials can be both durable and comfortable, providing an excellent alternative for environmentally conscious cyclists.

Thermal Insulation

The effectiveness of a cycling balaclava’s thermal insulation is pivotal. It’s all about how well the balaclava retains heat, keeping you warm in cold conditions. Look for materials like Merino wool or insulated synthetics, which trap body heat efficiently while allowing moisture to escape, ensuring warmth without overheating.

Breathability Index

A crucial aspect of comfort is the balaclava’s breathability index. This indicates how well the fabric allows air flow and moisture escape, preventing overheating and condensation inside the balaclava. Fabrics with good breathability enhance comfort, especially during intense rides or in milder conditions.

Adjustability Features

Balaclavas with adjustability features, such as drawstrings or elastic bands, offer a more personalized fit. These features are especially useful in ensuring the balaclava fits snugly without being too tight, thus accommodating different head sizes and shapes comfortably.

Seam Construction

The seam construction of a cycling balaclava, like flatlock seams, plays a significant role in comfort, especially when worn under a helmet. These seams minimize bulk and prevent chafing, ensuring a smoother, more comfortable fit during long rides.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should a cycling balaclava fit?

A properly fitting winter cycling balaclava should feel snug but not overly tight. It should comfortably cover your head, face, and neck without restricting movement or breathing. The key is to ensure it stays in place during a ride while providing the necessary warmth and protection.

Can I wear a cycling balaclava in mild weather?

Absolutely! While balaclavas are often associated with colder conditions, there are lightweight options designed for milder weather. These are typically made from breathable materials that wick away moisture, keeping you comfortable without overheating.

How do I care for my cycling balaclava?

Most cycling balaclavas are made from materials that are easy to wash and maintain. It’s generally recommended to machine wash them in cold water and let them air dry. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as these can damage the material and reduce its effectiveness.

How to prevent glasses from fogging with the balaclava on while riding a bicycle?

There are multiple ways of preventing fogging on glasses while using a balaclava. This is a common problem most balaclava users suffer from, so no need to panic if you’re facing this. Some of the easiest ways of fixing this problem are:

  • Use a nose clip to tighten the edge of the balaclava above your nose. This will prevent the air from leaking upwards onto the glasses.
  • Use anti-fogging wipes. You can buy one-time-use wipes, or you can go for a reusable microfiber cloth.
  • Tuck the mask in. This will create an additional barrier that’ll prevent the moisture from leaking upwards.
  • Wash the goggles in soapy water and air dry them before you put them on. The presence of soap molecules can inhibit the build-up of fog.

Related reading: How To Keep Your Face Warm When Cycling In Cold Weather


Concluding my exploration of cycling balaclavas, I’ve delved into various designs and materials, each catering to different cycling conditions. The quest for the perfect balaclava is much like finding the right cycling path – it must align with your needs and the environment. Through my experience, I’ve learned that the right balaclava offers comfort and also enhances your overall cycling experience, irrespective of the weather.

Among the plethora of options, one particular balaclava has consistently stood out: the Minus33 Merino Wool 720 Midweight Balaclava. My personal experiences with this balaclava have revealed a perfect blend of warmth, breathability, and comfort. Its merino wool fabric excels in regulating temperature, providing warmth without overheating, and its moisture-wicking properties keep you dry even on more intense rides. Moreover, the midweight design strikes an ideal balance, making it versatile for a range of temperatures. Its durability and ease of care also add to its appeal, ensuring it remains a reliable part of your cycling gear for seasons to come.

In selecting your ideal biking balaclava, consider your specific needs and the typical conditions you (and your face) face. But for a well-rounded, high-performance option, the Minus33 Merino Wool 720 Midweight Balaclava is my top recommendation. It will become a crucial component that enhances your riding comfort and performance.

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