Product Review: ColdAvenger Pro Softshell

I first heard of ColdAvenger from my friend and ColdAvenger Athlete Bonnie Moebeck, who raved about its performance in the coldest of weather.  She really put it to the test at one of the world's toughest ultra-endurance races, the Arrowhead 135, that takes place each year in the "Icebox of the Nation", International Falls, MN.  Bonnie tells me she couldn't compete having asthma without the protection that the ColdAvenger mask provides for her lungs.  With a testimonial like that, I had to try out the ColdAvenger myself.  The subzero temperatures we have been experiencing in Minnesota this winter would be perfect for testing its performance.

Image Credit: Bonnie Moebeck

I would be testing the ColdAvenger Pro Softshell half-mask by Talus Outdoor Technologies, who also makes full protection balaclava models.  The Pro Softshell is made with breathable, water-resistant next generation "soft shell" insulating fleece.  It covers the neck, face and ears providing a protective barrier from wind and cold.  The soft medical grade polyurethane ventilator is designed to warm and humidify cold winter air and is not supposed to impede breathing during rigorous activity.

Image Credit:  Bonnie Moebeck
I put the Pro Softshell to my first major test on Global Fatbike Day, December 7th where temperatures during a group ride with friends ranged from -4º to -8º F.  After nearly five hours out in the extreme cold my face, ears and neck remained nice and warm.  This initial test was enough for me to include it as a vital part of my cold weather riding gear.

One of the first things I noticed when wearing the Pro Softshell was the way it warmed inhaled air.  This made it much easier to breathe, especially during rigorous activity.  I can see how this feature alone would make it a great product for people with asthma or COPD.  Unlike other facemasks or balaclavas I have worn in the past, it kept the exhaled moisture off my skin keeping my face warm and dry.  This moisture condenses and collects in the ventilator where it drains out through ports located at the bottom.  At first I thought that the ventilator may restrict free breathing, but after many physically demanding rides and a race, it never interfered with lung function.

Hook and loop fasteners make it easy to put on and get a proper fit.  The soft fleece material that covers the face, neck and ears is very well insulating and cuts the wind entirely.  I just wish it was a little longer in the neck area so I can better tuck it into my jacket.  Otherwise the cut is perfect to be worn with goggles thus offering full face protection.  The half-mask design allows me to choose a proper head covering for the temperature.  I will wear a beanie, hat or headband for just the right insulation to stay warm without overheating.

When pairing the ColdAvenger mask with goggles in very cold temperatures, I did experience some fogging.  This usually happened when I stopped riding resulting in decreased air flow that usually keeps the goggles fog-free.  When I got rolling again, the fogging would disappear.  The other instances happened when I became overheated from increased exertion causing perspiration vapor to condense on the inside of the goggles, but I did not attribute this to exhaled moisture from the mask.  To decrease this fogging, I used this little trick and it worked pretty well.

Image Credit:  Russ Lowthian
This is a cold weather mask and using it while riding in warmer temperatures (around freezing) might cause a rider to get a little too warm, but when the temperature drops, it does the job nicely.  No wonder it's the choice of Arctic explorers and winter adventurers.  The ColdAvenger Pro Softshell has made it possible for me to stay out longer, enjoy riding in the cold more comfortably and have increased lung function in very cold conditions.  I would recommend this product to anyone that enjoys getting outside for their favorite winter activities.

The ColdAvenger Pro Softshell is available for $59.95 from the ColdAvenger Store and Penn Cycle & Fitness.  Penn Cycle also carries the ColdAvenger Expedition Balaclava.  Call your nearest Penn Cycle & Fitness location for availability.

Disclosure:  Talus Outdoor Technologies provided the review sample for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.


  1. Chris,
    Does the users face have to be clean shaven for this product to be used effectively?? Is it a similar fit to say a respirator used to protect ones self from dust and fumes etc.??
    Thank you for your time!

    1. No, you can have a beard and still use it effectively. If anything, a beard will provide extra insulation. The ventilator is a unique design and is thoroughly described in this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWnk9oBmJOw


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