Bring a little extra weather protection on your climb with the Outdoor Research Option Balaclava.

The Outdoor Research Option Balaclava's lightweight, low-bulk design makes it ideal to bring along on winter trips where you run the risk of encountering an unexpected storm. Its stretchy polypropylene material provides a close fit, which allows this Outdoor Research balaclava to be worn as a hat or neck gaiter when less-than-full coverage is preferred. The Option Balaclava's 1.8oz weight appeases weight-obsessed alpinists.

  • Reviews
  • Q & A

Warm and good moisture control

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I don't usually wear these face masks, but this one is perfect. Thin profile and great moisture control. True to size.

Thanks so much for the review, Sven.

OR Rep

Pretty Great Piece of Cloth

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This balaclava fits comfortably under helmets and works great as That Extra Layer when you really need it without taking up much space in your pack. My only complaint is that the face hole is a little small.

The only thing better would be Baklava

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size
  • Size Bought: S/M

This balaclava is awesome! My head circumference is 22 inches, and the size S/M fits perfectly. This thing keeps my face even warmer than my beard does! I have appreciated it the most on windy alpine starts on volcano climbs in the PNW. I was at a presentation by Colin Haley recently and he said he is a big fan of balaclavas. They have a great weight to warmth ratio. If I’m bringing bivy gear, I’ll often throw this Option balaclava in my pack. At 1.8 ounces, it’s lighter than most beanies and provides a lot more coverage for the face and neck.

The small fits kids okay

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
  • Fit: True to size

I purchased two for my children (aged 6 and 9) and it seemed okay for them as well. Would buy again.

Not for extremely cold days

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
  • Fit: True to size

I use this balaclava more at work (police officer on foot patrol in the north east). It does a great job keeping the cold air directly off my ears and neck, but it is very thin so it's not the warmest. When I pull it up to cover my face, it has a tendency to get very cold and wet where I am breathing -- not so good. Also, the face opening is very small. Overall, it's a decent basic layer and washes well, but if you're going to be in extremely cold/windy conditions, I recommend something thicker.

Thanks for a heads up on this product; good to hear from other ladies that have to deal with extreme cold weather conditions...I\

like a ninja!

    killer balaclava! it instantly adds ninja stealth and skills. it will also keep you warm without working up a sweat, and hanging onto a nasty stench.


      Killer for warm and cold weather. Super snug and doesn't get nasty after a few hours of use like other options. I use it every time I hit the slopes.

      does what it's supposed to do

        I love outdoor research & use many of their products ~ this does the job

        does what it's supposed to do

        I am happy

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

        This is my all around hat. It is normally in my backpack, but I also backcountry ski in it. Work good, dries good, and is not too warm.

        O.R. comes up short... literally

          Tried this one on when I recieved it and was convinced I was shipped the wrong product. Looking at the product photo I was expecting the length in the neck to be significantly greater than what it truly is. Maybe I am wrong but isnt one of the purposes of a balaclava is to cover the head neck and face? Just too short at the lower end of the neck and wouldnt tuck in into collar of jacket. Nice fit, feel and construction, I give it that. Just not for me.

          BTW measurement from bottom of opening down to seam at the neck is 7 inches / size L-XL

          Powder Lovers Must Have

            If you love skiing the pow than you must have the OR Option balaclava. It keeps the freshies from getting into your jacket plus its polypropylene material is super lightweight, packable, comfy, and warm which is a must on the slopes. Plus it stays dry! What more could you ask for?

            Great at what it's supposed to do

              I needed something to cover the lower half of my face and neck while on my motorcycle. This works perfectly. Fits under my moto helmet without bunching or getting annoying. Best of all it keeps my bare skin warm down to 25F while going 30-50mph. Worked great on my mountain bike too. Probably looked like a creep but who cares? My ears face and neck were warm.

              Toasty warm...!!!

                I love my OR Balaclava, I use it for everything from ice climbing to sled ridding. On really cold day I combine it with a thin winstopper hat to retain more heat. It does ice up a bit from my breath when I cover my mouth and nose, but this is to be expected. It has a great fit, not too tight, and the neck doesn't sneak up while I wear it.

                I am looking for one to use with a road...

                I am looking for one to use with a road bike, under the helmet. The opening needs to be large enough to easily wear glasses, and just go to the chin. All the ones I tried on in stores today have too small an opening. Do you think this model will help??

                looks wide but most are small do to the fact people want the face to be kept warm the can be pulled under the chinbut it does not feel great. they can be cut have seen that before

                this one would work

                Outdoor Research Option Balaclava

                  This Balaclava is awesome. It's not windproof, but it blocks out the majority of the wind that comes against it. It's very warm, and doesn't ride up too much. It looks a bit odd when you wear it as a hat, but it is still functional.

                  HOW DO YOU SEE OUT OF THIS HAT?

                  HOW DO YOU SEE OUT OF THIS HAT?

                  The balaclava fits snugly on your head and the hole is large enough to expose your mouth, nose and eyes. You can pull it up to cover your mouth when it's really cold.

                  see with no problem