Ski Mask vs. Balaclava: Advantages and Disadvantages for Your Child

You're almost packed for that well-deserved Colorado vacation to hit the slopes with your family. So far, you've included a pair of durable ski pants with suspenders for your child and yourself, weather-resistant mittens for your kiddos, and ski jackets for each of you. The outfits you'll wear each day are ready to go, except for one detail. You can't decide whether to buy ski masks or balaclavas to protect your faces in the cold. 

What's the difference anyway? Aren't ski masks and balaclavas nearly the same thing? You should see the difference between these masks for yourself to best prepare for your trip. These clothing accessories are both cold-weather essentials, but they have distinct features you may find more or less attractive. First, let's look at the ways both masks are alike. 

How Are They Similar?

The most important similarity between a ski mask and balaclava is that both accessories protect your face from the cold, wind, and other elements you might encounter. They cover your neck and ears for an intimate warmth under your ski helmet. 

Both articles have a snug fit to keep your head and neck securely guarded against freezing temperatures. When it comes down to choosing which one, that depends on your stylistic and comfort preferences. 

Differences Between Ski Masks and Balaclavas 

Both of these items primarily differ in the holes featured on the front of the mask. “Ski mask' and 'Balaclava' are names for each mask's shape, so they don't necessarily have material distinctions. Ski masks primarily feature individual holes cut out for the eyes and mouth, while the nose remains covered. 

A balaclava offers slightly less facial coverage with just one hole cut-out for the entire face. This coverage difference may be an essential factor to you, depending on how much wind and snow you plan to encounter.

Pros and Cons of Ski Masks 

There are benefits and disadvantages to having more or less coverage for your face. Ski masks provide more protection for your face by covering your cheeks and nose. Here are a few pros for ski masks:

  1. In freezing conditions, every bit of added comfort matters. A covered nose means more warmth for your face, which can be a vulnerable area in the cold. 
  2. When you're in a windy climate for any length of time, the wind can damage your skin. Ski masks have extra material that fits snugly to help shield your face from fierce winds.
  3. A ski mask allows you to talk without having to pull your mask off entirely. The mouth hole also allows for taking a quick snack break more easily and breathing more comfortably. 

Ski masks provide snug warmth and protection from the elements for your face. There a few cons worth noting for this accessory, however:

  1. Ski masks generally leave a hole for just your lips and eyes. Though the hole is convenient for talking or snacking, your lips might become chapped or blister from being exposed to the extreme cold. 
  2. Freezing weather can often lead to a runny nose. Having your nose covered by the material when experiencing this may be inconvenient.
  3. Some people find ski masks to look a little scary. Of course, the garment is not intrinsically to blame. Wearing one in public may still cause people to feel unsettled, however.

Pros and Cons of Balaclavas 

The balaclava is not much different than the ski mask, but it has its own pros and cons. Which one you prefer is ultimately up to your preference, but it's good to know what to like about each option. Let's take a look at the benefits and disadvantages of this type of head covering:

  1. Having your face accessible could be more comfortable for you than your face feeling confined by a ski mask's material. This opening might be perfect for cold days that are less windy.
  2. Some balaclavas feature multiple ways to wear the head covering, giving you options for how much coverage you'd prefer. For example, if you want only your eyes to be visible, you could adjust the material to cover your nose and mouth. If you'd prefer to have only your neck covered, you could pull the fabric down to uncover your head. 
  3. Balaclavas reveal your face, which can make you appear more approachable than a ski mask could. Ski masks are somewhat alarming to see in public. A balaclava is a less-intimidating face covering of the two. 

While it has several advantages, the balaclava has a couple of downsides as well. Let's explore reasons you might not prefer this kind of head covering:

  1. A balaclava leaves your face more uncovered than a ski mask does. While your neck may be warm and protected from the elements, parts of your face may suffer from dryness from wind exposure.
  2. Balaclavas are sometimes one-size-fits-all, which could lead to discomfort when wearing one. 

What's the Right Head Covering for Your Child?

When you have a balaclava that fits properly, it can add to your snowboarding or skiing experience. If your child plays wintertime sports, staying protected from the cold is a priority. Having clothing that fits well is crucial to your child staying safe while they play in harsh conditions. A balaclava that is snug to their neck and face will help them stay focused on having a wonderful time in the snow rather than focusing on the elements' discomfort. 

Tumbles, falls, and accidents are frequent occurrences in winter sports. Of course, we hope they don't happen to your child. Should they experience an unfortunate fall, you want your child's clothes, accessories, and gear to stay securely put. A balaclava will remain in-tact with their helmet and the rest of their ski suit if they take a tumble. Since they don't have to spend time readjusting it to their head, they can quickly get back to their tricks out on the slopes. 

What Makes A Quality Balaclava? 

If you've decided that a balaclava is the right choice for your child's cold-weather activity, you'd want them to have a good one. We make our Mallary by Matthew LEGO Wear Kids' Balaclava with a comfortable wool micro-fleece blend. It's durable and cozy, so your child can play hard while staying warm. It also features a wind-stopper membrane, which will help keep your child's ears safe from the wind. Another incredible feature is the reflective badge for safety in dark conditions. 

Benefits of Shopping with Mallary by Matthew 

When you shop with us, you're choosing sustainable clothing. Buying from us is a responsible way to care for the earth while enjoying the clothing essentials you need. What's even better is that we offer free shipping on all orders of $25+ within all U.S. states. On top of that, if you find that you're not enjoying your order, email us, and we'll take care of the return or exchange. 

In Conclusion 

If you're going on a one-time ski trip with your family or living in a frigid climate, you're going to need extra cold-weather accessories to stay warm. A ski mask and balaclava are perfect additions to your snowsuit for skiing. They're also excellent additions to any outdoor activity you'd like to do in the cold while remaining comfortable. 

Ultimately it's up to you to decide between a ski mask and a balaclava. Either way, you'll be choosing a clothing article that will stay secure while you have adventures in the cold.