One day last spring, I got a message from one of my IG followers asking if I’d like to try an “anti-fog” face mask that his company makes. Being a huge fan of using face masks and knowing that they all lead to goggle fog, I figured I’d try the product and show how it doesn’t stop goggles from fogging – but boy, I was wrong. I soon realized that this product was legit and a real game-changer for keeping warm, both on the up and the down, while skiing (oh and at work, snow blowing, shoveling- I’m seriously wearing this thing everywhere now). Full disclosure: I did not pay for any of the masks I have from North45, and after testing the product, I agreed to sign on to represent their product line.
The Fog Problem
If you’ve ever worn a face mask or tube while skiing, you probably know about goggle fog. The warm air that you breathe hits the fabric and somehow ends up on or in your goggles, which ends up with you trying to deal with the fact that you can no longer see while skiing down a mountain. It’s not an ideal situation. While some other products try to deal with this problem, all seem to create additional problems. For example, some tubes have mouth holes, but cold air is now funneling directly into my mouth. The North45 line of products fixes the problem of goggle fog and does so without compromising warmth or limiting breathing.
The idea behind the North45 line of masks is to move the warm air that you are breathing down and away from your goggles. They do this by using two separate products and combining/stitching them together. First, you put on an open face balaclava, then drop the face mask portion down and over your nose. Place your goggles while making sure to seal away all exposed skin, and you’re good to go. When you breathe, the hot air goes down and out. It couldn’t be much simpler, and honestly, every time I use it, I have a “why didn’t I think of this” moment.
I often call everything in the North45 line “a mask”, but it’s a bit of a downgrade to what you get. It’s actually two products in one – a full head covering plus a face mask. The material is 100% merino wool at 240 gsm and the fabric is double layered in the face mask section. Merino wool has a lot of benefits over other fabrics, the first and foremost for me is that it’s a natural fiber, whereas anything with poly in the name is basically just plastic. Merino is also temperature regulating, anti-bacterial/anti-microbial, odour resistant, stays warm when wet and wicks moisture. The construction is solid, and so far, I’ve had no issues with stitching coming apart or tearing the fabric while skiing tight trees. It’s a solid product that is made with premium fabrics.
When I first got this, I honestly thought I’d get this thing to create goggle fog. I’ve been skiing with masks, tubes, etc., all my life and I’ve never found something that didn’t generate fog or had some drawback when not doing so. On my first attempt to disprove it, I wore it while skinning uphill. Outside of being in crazy storms, I rarely wear anything on my face for skinning. The day wasn’t all that cold either, so I thought, “for sure, this will create goggle fog”, but I had zero fogging 600m of vertical later. I switched over to ski down, and again at the bottom of the run, I had no fog. I was honestly shocked by this but also ecstatic – could this be the last face mask I ever need? I did more testing, including at resorts, cross-country skiing (well, Anna did that test) and even while snow blowing. The result was the same, no fog, warm face, easy breathing – this is the real deal.
The Sure Fit model comes in at $70 (with the other models being a bit more – I’ll do a review soon for those, too), and some people have suggested that it is expensive. If you compare this to a simple, thin polyester neck/face tube, then sure, it’s about double. When comparing it to other merino brands it’s less than double. But remember, the North45 mask isn’t any of those things; it’s all of them, created in a way that stops goggle fog while still giving you full coverage to keep you warm and made from a thick, super-fine merino wool. I feel like once you realize how well it works, the price wouldn’t even matter – for me, no goggle fog and full-face coverage is worth more than its weight in gold.
Sure Fit Vs. Other North45 Products
North45 has several different products that seem to be the same at first glance. The more significant difference between the Sure Fit and the others is that the Sure Fit has a nose fitting piece that keeps the mask in place. The other models rely on a magnet that links to your goggles. Although I’ve now tested the other products, I’m sticking with the Sure Fit because it allows me to use it with goggles, sunglasses or no eyewear. If you were looking to use these masks only at the resort, then the magnet versions would be the way to go for ease of use.
No Fog, Full Coverage
Last week I was standing in a lift line at Revy, looking at everyone with their goggles on their head or their noses exposed to the cold, and I thought how crazy it seemed that everyone wasn’t using a North45 mask. From the first chair to the last, I didn’t lift my goggles, I had no fog, and I kept warm all day. For me, this is a game-changing product, one that has replaced all the other tubes and masks I used to have in my pack and closest. The North45 Sure Fit Balaclava is the last mask I will ever need.
You can check out more info and order directly from North45 using the following link: