Junk in the Truck: Not Your Father’s Neck Gaiter

The Patagonia Capilene Balaclava serves a powder purpose

This balaclava is not not covered in snot. PHOTO: JOHN STIFTER

My dad used to tuck his fleecy neck gaiter underneath his wool hat. At first, I tried to emulate his steeze, but as I got older, I thought his style was too old school. Just like taking out the trash, his prodding to "wear your gaiter" became annoying and too responsible-sounding.

So when the Shaun White-inspired bandana-over-the-face look--which had a practical purpose on the summer glaciers by keeping your face from frying like sizzling bacon--became fashion, again, I didn't see its purpose outside the sunny glacier days. But after a few years of watching the bandeeze flood the lift lines on storm days, I elected to take a turn through the balaclava/Buff turnstile.

Thing is, I drool a lot when I ski, mainly because I like to give the "oh" face when skiing pow. I also smile a lot when I ski, unknowingly. And, as regular as saltine crackers at ski areas, you can expect me to have a runny nose whenever I do anything remotely active. In turn, my balaclava's, or Buff's, or contemporary fleecy neck gaiters froze up from a drool/snot combo, making me colder rather than warmer.

That is, until I tried Patagonia's new Capilene Balaclava. Patagonia used their baselayer Capilene technology, as well as Polartec's Powder Dry High design to ensure warmth and protection. It's soft, smooth, and stretchy. And because of the breathable Capilene, it doesn't freeze up when I'm drooling due to another deep pow turn. Check me out, Dad--new school is, in fact, old school.

Patagonia Capilene 4 Expedition Weight Balaclava
$35; Patagonia.com