Outdoor Research Sonic Balaclava


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Deflect cold air with the wind protection of a shell and the warm feel of fleece in this unique balaclava design; the Outdoor Research Sonic Balaclava has a windproof, vapor permeable WINDSTOPPER® Technical Fleece that offers maximum winter protection while allowing you to breathe easy through a mesh breathing port. Polartec® Wind Pro® ear panels allow you to easily hear your team.


  • WINDSTOPPER®Technical Fleece
  • Polartec®Wind Pro®ear panels improve hearing
  • Flat-seam construction
  • Contoured shape
  • Mesh breathing port
  • Elastane trim

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Review Summary

4.6 out of 5

17 Reviews

  • Build quality: 7
  • Great design: 6
  • Ease of use: 5
  • Performance: 5

  • Bad design: 1
  • the tag can be bothersome: 1
Durability: 4.9 / 5
Quality: 4.9 / 5
Comfort: 4.8 / 5
Warmth: 4.1 / 5

17 Ratings & Reviews

Comfort: 5 / 5
Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
Warmth: 5 / 5
from Michigan
18-24 yrs

Sonic Balaclava
January 14, 2012

The Sonic Balaclava was a excellent product, but for me when I breathed it fogged up my glasses. I don't know if it was because I got the wrong size or that specific one I got.

Pros: Great design, Build quality, Cons: Bad design

I am very pleased with these balaclava.
January 19, 2008

I like the fact that the face opening is kinda large, makes it easier to pull the balaclava down under your chin when you want a better angle of view. I am very pleased with these balaclava.


Super Balaclava
November 12, 2008

Fits like a glove and very comfortable next to my skin. Does a good job of keeping out the wind.

Comfort: 5 / 5
Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
Warmth: 4 / 5

very high tech
December 07, 2010

This thing fits perfectly and is very warm. I have a pretty big head and the medium fits perfect.

Pros: Great design, Build quality, Performance
Comfort: 5 / 5
Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
Warmth: 4 / 5
from Oregon Coast
45-54 yrs

Save your face!
February 25, 2012

I bought the Sonic Balaclava for a 5-week expedition to the Arctic last spring. The wind was whipping off of the frozen Chuckchi Sea practically nonstop. This product was so comforting to my face I didn't want to take it off! Hardly a day went by without me wearing it. I did need to add a hat as well, on really cold days, but the material was thin enough that it easily fit under my windstopper hat. I joked that I was going to wear it back in "civilization", I was so enamored with it. It is soft and sheltering and just plain feels good to wear when the wind is howling. Once you've tried it, you'll never be in the cold without one. It's going back with me to the Arctic in May, and will figure prominently in my daily wardobe. Plus, it's oh so fasionable for the "masked bank robber look!"

Pros: Great design, Build quality, Lasts forever, Performance, Ease of use, Great value

Super Awesome- slips if you have a small face
January 28, 2010

Invaluable for bike commuting in the winter. However, if you don't have a big face, the nose and mouth holes tend to ride up. Annoying, but OR doesn't seem to make cool products like this with women's typically smaller faces in mind. So- for biking, it's perfect, because you have the helmet. The upper measurement is true to size.

Comfort: 4 / 5
Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
Warmth: 4 / 5
from runner, inline-skater, kayaker, and avid snowshoer
55-64 yrs

Great Winter Gear Choice
November 26, 2010

I love having the Sonic balaclava in my backpack when it's not on my head during the cold months. I use this balaclava in the Adirondacks of northern New York primarily snowshoeing. The Sonic keeps my head warm and I absolutely love the versatility of this piece. I usually roll it up and use the Sonic as a beanie during my many treks into the woods. I have even used it as a neck gaiter when warmed up. A great piece of winter equipment to have available in your backpack when not in use. The construction is superior and will last for many cold months in the woods or simply walking.

Pros: Great design, Build quality, Lasts forever, Performance, Ease of use
Comfort: 5 / 5
Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
Warmth: 4 / 5
from Colorado Springs, CO
35-44 yrs

Keeps your nose from freezing off!
January 27, 2012

We don't have many bitter cold days in Colorado Springs, CO, but when we do, this balaclava works great to keep my face warm all day when working outside in the wind/snow. The mouthpiece truly is breathable so I don't end up with a damp, then frozen face from the moisture.

Pros: Great design, Build quality, Performance, Ease of use

September 14, 2009

used it to climb Mt. Rainer late spring. Outstanding!!!

Comfort: 5 / 5
Durability: 4 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
Warmth: 4 / 5
from Austin, Tx.
25-34 yrs

had to keep it
July 16, 2012

Purchased this for my wife, ordered a size up after reading reviews. When it got here I tried it on and it fit me perfectly. 7 and 3/4 head in a large. Snug but just about right. Really like the thinner material around ears and nose/ mouth. Versatile without being uncomfortable, looks like it will last a winter or two, that's good for me. Guess I'll have to get her another one.

Pros: Great design, Build quality, Ease of use

Get a size smaller
February 25, 2010

Overall, it is very warm, and I like that it is very easy to breath through it. I was expecting something that was more waterproof/windproof than this thing actually was, but it is very comfortable. I went by the sizing guide and measured the circumference of my head. I ordered a large according to that measurement, but it turned out to be way too big, and I had to exchange it. Altrec makes it easy to do exchanges, but you still have to take care of the shipping costs both ways.

Perfect cold weather gear
June 01, 2009

True to size, great fit, very warm!!

December 10, 2008

Ran in 13 degrees F this morning for 8 miles. Wind was whipping. Felt nothing but warmth and comfort. Very pleased. Fit was perfect, too.

exactly what i needed
December 18, 2009

very well made. had to exchange for a smaller size. altrec made the exchange very easy.

Comfort: 4 / 5
Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 4 / 5
Warmth: 4 / 5

Blizzard worthy
November 10, 2010

Though not designed for use in a blizzard this little gem proved to be quite helpful regardless. With temps hovering at -1 C. and a steady 18km wind with snow and ice I was warm and protected from the elements while riding my bike through Uppsala Sweden. Great fit, repels water and the only two marks I have against this product are 1.) the tag is located on the inside neck area and can be kind of annoying but if you are layered it should not be an issue 2.) I wear glasses and the vent in the front is only so adequate at directing my breath down and out, the remainder not directed away resulted in steaming up my glasses, which kind of sucks in a snow storm while riding a bike... will have to look into goggles. All in all I am pleased with this product.

Pros: Build quality, Performance, Ease of use, Cons: the tag can be bothersome
Comfort: 5 / 5
Durability: 5 / 5
Quality: 5 / 5
Warmth: 4 / 5
18-24 yrs

Sonic balaclava
November 18, 2010

fits very comfortably, the different material around the ears and mouth makes it extra comfortable and breathable

Best Balaclava in the Land
December 11, 2008

I don't have any problems now with my Sonic Balaclava! The open nose flap and mesh over the mouth allow free breathing and no fogging, even when you're riding hard. And the fleece is windproof. This is the clearly the best balaclava from Outdoor Research.

Also Available

Outdoor Research Sonic Balaclava Photo


Available sizes, while supplies last, include size small, size medium and size large: s, m, l.

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