When I need night vision or a head mounted camera, I wear a Team Wendy Exfil LTP helmet. Thanks to an amazing retention system, good venting and customizable padding, I’ve never felt too hot when wearing it. However, I have been cold. I like being out in the cold, but in all honesty I hate being cold. I have a small collection of beanies I like, but the Team Wendy EXF Balaclava is precisely what any helmet wearing hunter, shooter or off road enthusiast needs.
We’re not talking about a complicated product here. You know how it works already (pull over head, stay warm). What makes this product stand out is that it is designed to work under a helmet. That, and the neck is beautifully long.
Let’s take it from the top. Team Wendy balaclava skull cap component is made from a moisture wicking fabric that’s thin enough to avoid changing the fit of your helmet. It is stretchy and form fitting to accommodate the whole gamut of noggin sizes we humans sport. It’s not the warmest fabric but reminds me a cycling beanie I have. It helps.
For your face and neck the EXF Balaclava uses an insulating fleece fabric. It’s significantly heavier and warmer than the skull cap portion. The fabric drapes twelve inches from the top of the nose covering to the bottom of the neck, and that’s before you put it on and it stretches. You can turn your head and the balaclava neck stays securely inside your jacket. Win.
Ever tried breathing through fleece? Happily, Team Wendy sewed a mesh screen into the EXF Balaclava for mouth breathing, something I’m prone to doing after running across a moonlit wheat field at two in the morning while hog hunting. At that point I may also be too warm. The balaclava’s split design makes it easy to pull the face portion down around your neck without unnecessary bulk or stretching. The chin strap area is reinforced which should add to the lifespan of the balaclava.
I’d love to answer the question of what temperature range it’s good for, but the answer is super subjective. I might get cold before you do, and you might get cold before a 10th generation Siberian.
If you have helmet – any helmet – and you have occasion to use it when it’s a bit chilly outside (a relative term), for $30 I think it’s worth picking up one.