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How to wear a balaclava?

Black balaclavaA balaclava (or ski mask) is a warm winter headgear with a long history. Balaclavas were used for the first time during the Crimean War, when British soldiers had to be protected against the extreme Ukrainian winter.

In the meantime balaclavas have been converted into masks to hide someone’s identity. The image of the balaclava is corroded as a result of its use by freedom fighters like the IRA, Zapatistas and Black Mask.

At the moment balaclavas are not made exclusively from wool anymore. Nowadays all kinds of materials are in use, depending on the purpose of the specific balaclavas.

The wearing of a balaclava


  1. Put the balaclava on top of your head with the opening(s) at the front. Roll the rim gently down till the balaclava covers the top of your head.
  2. Now roll the rest of the balaclava down till your neck and part of your shoulders (depending on the type of balaclava) is covered. If the balaclava is long enough, you can push the end into your T-shirt or collar. Pull the opening down to your mouth to make sure you can breathe properly.  
  3. Pull the underside of the mouth opening down, while you’re straightening up the eye openings. Most balaclavas are very flexible, so it’s possible to line up the face openings without any problem with your mouth and eyes.
  4. Some balaclavas have only one big opening in the upper half of the face. In most cases it’s possible to pull that opening over your head to use the balaclava like a scarf.

Extra tips for skiers and snowboarders

  • Wear ski specs over your ski mask or balaclava. In that way you protect your eyes against wintry cold. Moreover it provides you with a better view when gliding down a snowy slope.  
  • Don’t wear your balaclava in a bank, a government building or some other official establishment. 

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