Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Made in the USA" Gear Review: Talus ColdAvenger Expedition Balaclava

No, that's not Darth Vader, it's Dave wearing a Talus Cold Avenger Balaclava! All kidding aside, this balaclava was designed for truly extreme winter weather, so that even if we sent Dave to the frozen planet of Hoth it would still keep him warm and comfortable! 

According to the Talus website, the ColdAvenger was "researched and developed in Northern Rocky Mountain winters and tested in snow and freezing weather......the ColdAvenger keeps your face warm and dry while helping humidify inhaled air and allowing you to breathe freely." Constructed of Polartec Wind Pro, it is windproof and water resistant and also features a ventilated face piece to help protect the lungs from extreme cold air. A nice touch is the face piece being made of medical grade plastic, which is inherently microbial resistant and more flexible under a wide range of temperatures.

(click to enlarge)

Balaclava Material- Polartec Wind Pro Fleece
Soft medical grade, non-toxic polyurethane ventilator
Designed to fit with goggles and helmets
Adjustable, removable interior valve controls up to 60% of air intake
One size fits most* (see the Talus website for more info)
Made in Missoula, Montana USA

We tested the ColdAvenger on several trips to the mountains in weather as cold as -10 degrees F, and it kept our head and neck nice and warm the whole time. One thing we noticed that was different from most balaclavas though is the lack of a gauntlet style neck. According to Talus, the ColdAvenger was intentionally designed this way to protect against snagging in heavy machinery (i.e. oil rigs, etc) since a large percentage of their customer base are workers in Alaskan oil fields. Though Dave and I both prefer gauntlet style balaclavas for comfort, neither of us felt like it was a deal breaker if wanting to use it for serious high mountain adventures. 

So if you're looking for the ultimate in cold weather protection for your head and neck, check out the ColdAvenger, and as always, may the Force be with you!

To buy this product directly from Talus please click here 

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ (without spaces)

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