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Talus ColdAvenger Pro Face Mask

Talus ColdAvenger Pro Face Mask
Talus ColdAvenger Pro Face Mask

I’m always on the lookout for new gear to prevent my goggles or glasses from fogging up when I’m hiking above treeline in winter.  I believe that poor venting of moist exhalations is the main culprit behind lens fogging, and if your breath can be vented farther in front of your face, it’s likely that you can curtail moisture buildup.

In good conditions, I try to get away with sunglasses and a balaclava when I’m on top of unprotected summits and there’s little or no wind. There are times however, when have to put on a face mask and goggles to prevent frostbite. Everyone I know hates doing this, but them’s the breaks.

When required, I use a Serius Neoprene facemask that I’ve modified slightly to enable drinking and eating while wearing It still causes my glasses to fog though, so I was open to trying the Talus ColdAvenger Pro Face Mask, as an alternative.

Talus ColdAvenger Pro - Exterior Closeup
Talus ColdAvenger Pro – Exterior Closeup

The ColdAvenger Pro

The ColdAvenger is really odd-looking.  Unlike other face masks, it has a rubbery snout-like protuberance that fits over your nose. Honestly, it looks like a gas mask. But it’s advertised to ward off fogging better than a regular mask, particularly if you wear glasses, so I put it to the test.

The snout has an adjustable air vent inside that lets you regulate how much air can get flow in and out, enabling you to regulate the temperature of the air you breathe. It also has drain holes along the bottom of the snout which are needed to drain the snot that invariably flows from your nose in colder weather.

Interior Closeup with Airflow Valve
Interior Closeup with Airflow Valve

The mask itself has velcro tabs on the ends that connect behind your head and allow the mask to be worn with a ski helmet. When worn without a balaclava, the mask covers your ears, nose, cheeks, ears, and neck. Talus also sells a combination face mask and balaclava, which looks worth a try. I like the way the sides of the mask attach directly to the balaclava.The drain holes are significant because the the ColdAventger is made out of a softshell fabric and not neoprene like other mountaineering face masks. A neoprene mask can stay warm, even when it’s damp, but I’m not sure that a softshell fabric (of unknown composition) can insulate as well in subzero windchill.

Test Design

To test the ColdAvenger Pro Face Mask, I set up the following test matrix with the different kinds of head and eye protection I use above treeline, including Smith Knowledge Turbo OTG Snow Goggles (includes a small built-in fan in the goggle frame), Chilis OTG sunglasses, and an OR Sonic Windproof Balaclava. As a control, I also alternated using the Serious face mask and the ColdAvenger Pro, so I could do a side by side comparison.

Then I went snowshoeing for three hours to build up my body heat, warm up my breath, and test the variations.

Test Results

Here’s the bad news. The ColdAvenger Pro doesn’t prevent my glasses from fogging any better than my current Seruis neoprene facemask. It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing goggles or OTG sunglasses, or if the built-in fan on my Smith goggles is on low or high speed. It also doesn’t matter how open or closed the venting on the ColdAvenger snout is, or if I wear the optional foam nose bridge included with the product for eyeglass wearers.

But all is not lost. The ColdAvenger Pro does successfully add a new element of COMEDY to cold weather activities that you don’t want to pass up! Especially, if you have children.

As your nose runs, your snot runs out of the holes in the bottom of the ColdAvenger snout, freezing to the front of the face mask in an alarming way. It is unbelievably gross, but funny. How can you pass that up?

Disclosure: Talus Outdoor Technologies LLC provided the with a ColdAvenger Pro Softshell Face Mask for this review.

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  1. Just three cases: L – O – L

    i'm just imagining the snot running out of the holes :D

  2. Phillip,

    I bicycle to work in Cleveland all winter long and have always struggled with cold, wind, fogging glasses, watering eyes and dripping nose.

    I don't know that the ColdAvenger will work any better than the 2-part glasses & goggles + facemask that I currently use. But it sure looks scarier. Maybe all those cars coming towards me in the opposite lane, that just desperately seem to want to make a left turn right across my path, will recoil in horror and stop, instead.

    Alternatively, it might work next October on Halloween.

    Thanks for the review.

    Marty Cooperman

  3. I think the best use of this mask is for inactive snow sports like snowmobiling, where you're not huffing and puffing like winter hiking/mountaineering or bicycling, but sitting on your butt and going vroom, vroom.

    Bicycling in winter. I thought I was crazy. :-)

  4. psolar makes a balaclava with some form of a heat exchanger which is supposed to reduce fogging too. I haven't tried it though, so something else to test :-)

  5. I too had goggle fogging issues for years but I found a solution. It's called Smith Turbo Fan goggles. I've had mine for a few years and they work extremely well. Fog is now a thing of the past.

  6. Ah I just realized that your problem is not with your goggles but your eyeglasses. Hmmm.. It's surprising to me that the Turbo Fan goggles don't solve that issue.

  7. Exactly – it's the glasses. And you see I used the Smith Turbos above in my tests. They are slick goggles and a single AAA last a very long time. I also bring a second pair of goggles too, just in case.

  8. I've been also thinkign about face protection for very cold and windy condititions. How about a hard plastic face mask + goggles combo with awindproof balaclava? It works well while skiing in blizzard in the (ant)arctic regions.

    The goggles I linked do not work well with glasses but there are other vesion that might. The hard mask also enables easy drinking and eating: just lift it a bit if necessary. Important thing is that the balaclava should be windrpoof in the front and cover the chin.

    Psolar might also be good, or Finnsvala's balaclava + breath-warmer combo

  9. You need a good seal across the bridge of your nose to prevent exhaled breathing from getting in under your goggles.

    Lately I have pulled my face mask/balaclava combo down so that the nose piece is over my mouth. That pretty much eliminates fogging but thn I have an unprotected nose…

  10. I figure that duct tape is the answer. Put on two strips above along the top of the balaclava over your cheeks and it will stop the hot air from rising behind your glasses.

  11. I have the Cold avenger with the full balaclava thing. I've used it all Winter to pretty good effect, haven't noticed any fogging.

    There is a kind of sticky foam piece that is supplied with the mask that is supposed to be attached if you have problems with fogging, did you try that? Or maybe it just comes with the full balaclava thing? It looks like a small butterfly made of foam.

  12. Yes – I included it in my test sequence. It didn't work for me. Let too much steam up under my glasses. Do you wear glasses under your goggles?

  13. Nope, I switched to contacts a few years ago. Those kind of disposable ones that you just leave in for a month and then throw away. I do remember all the shit with glasses fogging up though. Very annoying.


    I bike 30 miles a day 5-6 days a week in the frozen tundra -20 -25 degrees. I purchased the Cold Avenger and have used it every day bike riding along with a Gore Windstopper face and head mask placed underneath. Am trying to figure out how to get the drool and nose dripping from running down the front of my shirt. I like the mask but it seems like there needs to be a better design where drain is angled at a 45 degree angle outward away from the neck on piece that sticks out. Currently it is angled at a 45 degree angle inward towards the neck this is draining inward and collects on my shirt so am pretty soaked after each ride. Any suggestions or has anyone else had this issue and resolved it?

    I was thinking about maybe putting a hanker under where it drips to catch anything coming back inward. Pretty gross but didn’t have a better way of stating it.

    Also if you are having a problem with steaming goggles I have dragon Mace googles that don’t steam along with a Smith Avenger Snowboard helmet.

  15. I fixed the fogging issue on mine by cutting some 1/2 inch wide strips of foam off a beer coozy and sewed it the length of the top ridge of the mask. I did 2 layers of foam to fill the gap that allowed me to blow hot air under my goggles. The second layer had a gap at the ridge of the nose about 1/2 inch wide. It took about 10 minutes to do and I havn’t had any fogging issues anymore.

    Really, this thing worked great for me since I have some exercise induced asthma which was triggered by some -5F temps we saw in pennsylvania recently.

    • Try thoroughly cleaning the inside and outside of you lens (glasses or goggles) with a lint free cotton like makeup pad and rubbing alcohol. Condensation accumulates on microscopic lint, oil, etc. If it has nothing (or next to nothing to cling to) then there is significantly less fog. Try it.

  16. I work for ColdAvenger face masks. We have upgraded our product to include a hidden nose-wire over the ventilator piece. This seals hot air from escaping. We designed the ColdAvenger to be used with ski goggles, not glasses. As you know, glasses are hard to stop from fogging. I would take a look at adding an anti-fog coating to them in tandem with our mask.

    The ColdAvenger was designed to humidify airways to protect your lungs from the harsh effects of cold/dry air. By passively humidifying each breath, you prevent bronchial passages from drying out and in-turn prevent Asthma symptoms associated with breathing in cold air. Another nice thing about the ventilator, is that it keeps excess moisture away from your skin. The ventilator will also help maintain core temperatures to make it feel as if you are wearing an extra base layer.

    As far as the extra moisture freezing to the outside of the mask, that same moisture will freeze against your skin with any other mask. Personally, I would rather my mask allow free-breathing all day without freezing up.

    The ColdAvenger has been used in the coldest temperatures on the planet by Antarctic explorers, It is also used by top athletes and regular folks with breathing issues in the winter. If you are worried about looks, you may need a different product. If you are looking for a simple solution for staying warm in the harshest conditions, check us out.

    Let me know if you have any questions about our products, I am here to help answer.

  17. Hi Phil,
    A couple of years ago I received the BlackStrap Hood balaclava as a monthly online item delivery thru the Cairns subscription service. This is the most breathable balaclava made sofar to my testing. The Advenger Pro looks like another gear gimmick.

  18. Hi Phil,
    A couple of years ago I received the BlackStrap Hood balaclava as a monthly online item delivery thru the Cairns subscription service. This is the most breathable balaclava made sofar to my testing. The Advenger Pro looks like another gear gimmick, as well as my old army gas mask!

  19. bit late but can i ask could i sleep in this in my tent . i suffer with my breathing in cold weather to the point were i have to get up and have a hot drink as my chest is so tight on cold nights in tent

  20. This mask rocks! Love it. The updated version is amazing as well as the US edition ones on the business website.

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