20 March 2012

Product Review: ColdAvenger

One of my goals this year is to commute by bike more. Thanks to the mild winter we have been having, I have been able to ride to the bus stop numerous times since mid-February.

Now, “mild” should not be confused with “warm and spring-like”. There have been some mornings that although it has been dry, it was still in the mid 20’s when I rolled out at 0-dark thirty in the morning – such as this morning.

Thankfully, one of the items that I was given for review at Outdoor Retailer has come to the rescue on more than one of those cold rides.

Talus ColdAvenger is designed to keep your face, neck, and ears warm, while helping humidify inhaled air and allowing you to breathe freely. Their site says that it has been tested down to -20F (I will take their word on that, as I am NOT planning on riding when it is that cold!).

How is the ColdAvenger different from using a neoprene ski mask, scarf, or simply putting a t-shirt over your nose and face? Well, it has a specially designed medical-grade plastic air chamber in front of your mouth and nose that allows cold air to mix with your exhaled, moisture-laden air. This allows the air in the mask to be 40-60 degrees warmer than the outside air. Not only does this make it more comfortable, but it can help reduce the chance of cold-induced health problems. The air chamber is also designed to allow normal breathing – even under exertion.

ready to ride!

I’ve used the mask on several occasions, and have noticed a marked increase in my comfort level when using it. The only problems I have noticed is that it does fog my glasses, and my tendencies to hyperventilate when something is placed over my face. The former may be alleviated by using the included foam insert – which I haven’t done yet. And, once I calmed down and took a few moments to regulate my breathing, I realized that I could breathe normally. The inside of the air chamber has an adjustable baffle to control how much of the outside air is allowed to enter on each breath.

Another thing I noticed about the mask, is that even though the moisture level inside the air chamber was significantly higher, none of the moisture felt like it was clinging to my face. All of the moisture was attracted to the plastic (which required a through shaking out, and laying it out to dry at work).

The ColdAvenger classic Fleece starts at $49.95. Upgrading to the Pro model – which adds a wind and water-resistant nylon shell to the fleece – is an additional $10.

If you are a year-round commuter, or have thought on starting, I would recommend this product highly.

More information can be found at www.talusoutdoor.com/coldavenvger

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