Monday, February 22, 2010

Review: Talus Outdoor Technologies ColdAvenger™

Talus Outdoor Technologies has created a cold weather face mask that is another big step in helping cold weather motorcyclists deal with one of the hazards of such riding:  the fogging up of helmet visors or one's eyeglasses if you wear them for riding.

Some excerpts from the Talus Outdoor Technologies website:
The Talus ColdAvenger® is designed for a variety of winter outdoor activities where protection from cold is essential. Researched and developed in Northern Rocky Mountain winters and tested in snow and freezing weather, ColdAvenger™ keeps your face warm and dry while helping humidify inhaled air and allowing you to breathe freely. ColdAvenger® has been used with comfort at -20ºF. It’s the ultimate ski mask for winter face protection during outdoor activities. 

 As you can see, with the chin bar down on my helmet, you can't really tell you're wearing something different

Check out the images of other folks doing different activities on Talus' website:  LINK

Normally, inhaled air is warmed to body temperatures and humidified at the same time by the moisture and warmth contained in the nose and upper airways. An unprotected face allows cold air to interfere with this warming and humidification process. ColdAvenger® helps keep the temperature of the air around your face 40º to 60ºF higher than outside and helps to humidify inhaled air.

The ColdAvenger® ventilation face piece is made of medical grade plastic selected for human safety, biocompatability, flexibility, inherent microbial resistance, and endurance. The soft shell stretch fabric is wind proof and water resistant with an inner fleece lining for a comfortable fit.

I wrote these folks and they agreed to supply me with a sample ColdAvenger™ to try out while motorcycling this winter.  I have to say, it works and works very well!

It's plastic it's made of is soft and remained flexible down to the mid-teens which is as cold as it got for my review rides.  I was able to wear it most of the day during my recent participation on the 2010 Elephant Ride in the company of three other Ural Riders and their wives: LINK.

The only time I took it off was to eat, I did not have to take it off to talk to my fellow riders and they understood what I said just fine.  The medical grade plastic mask and its fleece-lined material used to secure it to your face are quite comfy even when drawn in tightly for a good airtight seal.

It kept the air I breathed in warm and I believe it helped in that way to keep my core temperature warmer as well.  I went the whole day of the Elephant Ride, where temperatures never got above 20°F, without having to turn on my heated grips!  Fogging was never an issue with my KBC FFR flip-up helmet which I use as my cold weather helmet.  For the Elephant Ride, I used the clear visor with a Fogcity Fogshield attached.  This combination allowed to me keep the visor tightly shut, no need to keep it cracked open, even when stopped at stoplights and such!  Usually I have to ride with my visor cracked open slightly to keep things from fogging up, even with the Fogcity Fogshield insert.

For my next test ride of the ColdAvenger™, I swapped out the visors on my KBC FFR helmet with one that did not have the Fogcity Fogshield installed.  I rode out into temperatures that were in the low to mid 20s, with a forecasted high of only 28°F for that day.

During my ride in the snow-covered eastern prairies, I first tried things without the ColdAvenger™ mask.  My visor and glasses immediately fogged up when I closed the visor while moving!  Not good.  I stopped, removed my helmet and donned the ColdAvenger™ mask and continued riding.  There were, from that point on, no significant fogging issues on the helmet's visor or my eyeglasses.  LINK to ride posting.

Without the Fogcity Fogshield though, I did have to crack open the visor at stoplights and such to avoid a slow fogging of my eyeglasses.  The helmet visor remained fog free except for a tiny area just above where the ColdAvenger™ vents to the front.   Still, it was a significant improvement in keeping my vision fog free while moving.

 Here you can see the ColdAvenger™ medical grade plastic cup in detail

Some notes for you cold-weather motorcyclists out there:

1.  The ColdAvenger™'s mask extends about an inch from your face, so you need that much space between your face and the back of your helmet's chinbar if so equipped.  This only applies to riders with either full face helmets or flip-up helmets.  If its a tight fit now, the mask will probably not fit and get in the way of things.  As it is, with my KBC FFR helmet, it's pushed in a little by my helmet's chin bar.

The ColdAvenger™ vents through the rotatable front vent system (pretty smart actually, you can rotate it to control how much it vents forward or lets air in); and also through small holes along the bottom edge of the medical grade plastic cup.

2.  I wore my regular Gaitor neck wrap, with the Cold Avenger Mask on top of it.  Though the ColdAvenger™ covers the lower part of your fact, you still need something to protect your neck and the major blood vessels on either side of it to stay warm!

3.  The ColdAvenger™ was most effective when used in combination with a Fogcity Fogshield insert.  I imagine the results would be as good with the Pinlock anti-fog system as well.

4.  The ColdAvenger™ is designed for use during strenuous activities, sports and such.  While motorcycling is not really that strenuous, I found I always had moisture droplets built up within the plastic cup when I removed the mask after a ride.  Just goes to show how it humidifies things for your breathing air.

A great product for motorcyclists who venture out in cold weather.  Factor in the windchill you get exposed to when riding a motorcycle and it was doing just fine in temperatures around -8°F which is pretty chilly!  I could have used this product back when I was commuting in windchills that were closer to -45°F back in December of last year!  LINK.


RichardM said...

"Classic" or "Pro" model? Which did you try out?

redlegsrides said...

Richard, I was sent the Classic model. I think the Pro model has a longer bib that'll cover more of one's neck.

cpa3485 said...

Thanks for the info. Last winter I had a half helmet and used goggles over my eyeglasses. This year I half a full helmet and the fogging issues have been somewhat different. Manageable, but this looks like a very good solution.

irondad said...

I commented on the other site. Here, I see a photo that wasn't there. The one with your helmet flipped up. Maybe it would be a good idea to keep the mask covered around strangers!

redlegsrides said...

cpa3485, thanks for reading this stuff, hope this mask works out for you as well as it has for me.

irondad....what are you trying to say? hmmmmm?