Balaclavas & Face masks in winter sleep system

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    Hello folks. I’ve ordered a Psolar BX Balaclava (with a heat exchanger), to use in the winter on hiking or cross country skiing trips. Mainly to use as part of the sleeping system, under a tarp or in a tent. From what I’ve read, it should make me sleep warmer, and as a bonus, reduce condensation in a tent.

    From a UL-perspective, do you think it is worth its weight? Or would those ounces be better spent on some other clothes, more down in the sleeping bag etc?



    Bernard Shaw


    Locale: Upstate New York

    I did not see your thread, but I have one in Winter Camping asking basically the same question, do these things actually work and if so, what % of heat retention do they provide in the whold scheme of dealing with cold challenge. I hope we get some responses also.

    Charles Maguire


    Locale: Virginia

    I use a down bacalava and love it. With a hoodless bag it is a warm addition with litte weight. Last night at about 20*, I was in a bivy, with a 25* bag, mid-weight Wickers on, with a 3/4 termal pad, and had to take my bacalava off because my head was too hot.

    I finally loosened a lot and was fine. Nice thing about bacalava is that during warmer mo’s no need to carry weight of attached hood. Plus down bacalava is soooooo warm when standing around. It;s realy multi-purpose.

    Nunatak makes a great one INMO.


    Jon Solomon
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lyon/Taipei

    That’s an interesting idea to use the PX Solar while sleeping. I’ve only been using it while hill running. Not the balaclava, but the face mask version.

    I’m not wholly satisfied with its performance. First, it forces you to breathe through the mouth. Second, the exchanger unit itself is a bit awkward incorporated into the mask. It doesn’t form a seal over the mouth.

    Now, I use it for heavy aerobic running up steep hills… breathing through my mouth causes a lot of moisture to get lodged in the exchanger. On a longer outing, you might have to worry about it freezing up, no?

    I think if you use it for sleeping, you’ll have to contend with the discomfort of the fabric around the exchanger unit getting wet over the course of the night…

    John S.
    BPL Member


    I sleep with either a 100 wt fleece balaclava or an OR PS50 balaclava pulled up over my nose. It works great for me with some nights being in the 20’s. In those temps I am also wearing the Nunatak down balaclava.

    William Siemens


    I use the Psolar balaclava quite a lot – It extends the useful range of clothing quite a bit. Would no longer care to face subzero temps and wind without it. I don’t mind the humidity, prefer it to “chapped cheeks.” I also use it when sleeping, and it SEEMS there’s less condensation on the inside of the tent. I know when you exhale in cold there is much less of a visible plume with the mask as opposed to without. Now the only way to be scientific I suppose would be to sleep under a tarp or tent for a few nights with and without, weigh the fabric in the morning?? For right now, it feels good to sleep with a warm face, and we all know its not good to breathe into our bags on cold nights. So my take is that it is worth the few ounces – about 3.5 I believe.

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