Wind River Balaclava
Merino-X Protection

The First Lite Wind River balaclava was designed for those cold fall and winter days when concealment, warmth and comfort are what you need to make your hunt a comfortable success. Slip the Wind River over your head and you will feel the comfort of Merino-X as you spot and stalk the trophy you have been waiting for. A must-have accessory for any type of hunter.

$40.00
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Product Details

Layering Position

  • - Next to Skin
    • Features

      • - Merino-X construction
      • - Merino is naturally odor resistant with no treatments or chemicals to wear out
      • - Retains heat when soaking wet for safety
      • - Unique two-piece design with ear holes to aid hearing
      Size OSFA
      Cut Accessory
      System Position Accessory
      Material 100% Merino Wool
      Actual Product Weight Size MD 1.8 oz.
      Primary Usage Spot & Stalk, Tree Stand, Waterfowl

Product Video

Wind River

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Reviews

4.5
of 5
48 Reviews
Fit
Runs Small
Perfect
Runs Large
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Nice but too loose 12/28/2018

The wool is really comfortable, but i agree with other reviews, after an hour or so of wearing it the nose won’t stay up. This is annoying and ineffective. Not extrememly warm. If you are sitting and not moving you will need at least a beanie as an add on. I would have leveled up to a warmer balaclava but FL did not offer in black.


How it fits
Loose,

Nickname: Dforti1
Height: 5'8" - 5'10"
Weight: 160lbs - 170lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Texas
Use: Tree Stand
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Essential despite fit issues 11/28/2018

I wear this every time I am in the field. This piece raises the bar on concealment and is comfortable from spring turkey as a solo piece to rifle elk with a beanie on top. I love wearing this under the 5 panel tech cap in almost any condition. Hey First Lite! Add some spandex piping on the face piece for some additional stretch without having to change materials. Also cut the front and back of the neck deeper to tuck further inside of jackets as it tends to creep out.


How it fits
Neck too short, does not stay tucked. Face piece too loose.

Nickname: Mark from Oregon
Height: 5'10" - 6'
Weight: 150lbs - 160lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Oregon
Use: Spot & Stalk
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Simple and Effective 11/8/2018

This has been on my FL wish list for a while. Love the simple and effective ear holes. My other UA balaclavas definitely muffled the sound. Gotta be able to hear those big antlered squirrels coming in!


How it fits
Wish it was a little bit tighter and form-fitting. I have a big and bulbous head - and it's still a little loose.

Nickname: TC
Height: 5'10" - 6'
Weight: 230lbs - 240lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Virginia
Use: Tree Stand
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Simple and Effective 11/8/2018

This has been on my FL wish list for a while. Love the simple and effective ear holes. My other UA balaclavas definitely muffled the sound. Gotta be able to hear those big antlered squirrels coming in!


How it fits
Wish it was a little bit tighter and form-fitting. I have a big and bulbous head - and it's still a little loose.

Nickname: TC
Height: 5'10" - 6'
Weight: 230lbs - 240lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Virginia
Use: Tree Stand
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Needs spandex 10/9/2018

Great head cover for early to mid season hunts. After one wash the fabric that covers your mouth area became very loose and struggles to fit snug around your nose. I like the warmth of the merino but I think a touch more spandex added to this product would allow it to function better for face concealment.


How it fits
Loosens after use. Perfect fit initially before wash.

Nickname: Austin
Height: 5'8" - 5'10"
Weight: 190lbs - 200lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: New York
Use: Tree Stand
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Great piece to keep you going when it's...THAT COLD! 8/31/2018

I purchased this before my elk hunt 2017, Although the hunt wasn't successful this balaclava kept me in the field longer when the cold would have been too much! My only problem is that I wear glasses so I get a lot of fog when pull this up over my nose but that is not a failure of the product. Highly recommended!

Nickname: J
Height: 5'6" - 5'8"
Weight: 130lbs - 140lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Utah
Use: Spot & Stalk
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Excellent 8/30/2018

Great for staying toasty warm on cold mornings. Ear-holes are a nice touch.

Nickname: Louis
Height: 5'10" - 6'
Weight: 220lbs - 230lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: California
Use: Spot & Stalk
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Great but tends to slip 8/30/2018

Use this face mask hunting and skiing. Really warm for the weight, and the ear holes do make a difference for sound detection. Only complaint is that the face mask portion tends to stretch out after one or two uses, causing the need for pretty constant adjustment. I put it in the dryer and it tightens back up, but is a pain to have to do after every outing.


How it fits
The face mask tends to stretch a bit after use. Neck gaiter portion could be a bit longer

Nickname: Ethan
Size: OSFA
Location: Montana
Use: Lifestyle
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Never Leave the truck without this! 8/30/2018

I have used this balaclava for the past couple of seasons and LOVE IT! Whether for early season high country mulies or late season rifle hunts, it serves 3 purposes for me: first and foremost as camo when up close and personal, secondly to keep the sun off my neck and face on hot early season days when glassing, and finally as my base layer when the snow’s falling and I’m onto tracks in the later seasons. I don’t leave the truck without this item. If it’s it’s not on my head, it’s in a cargo pocket ready to be used. I highly recommend this item as a multi-use product!


How it fits
I’ve got a big dome, and it stretches out quite nicely to fit well.

Nickname: Camo Ninja
Height: 6' - 6'2"
Weight: 160lbs - 170lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Colorado
Use: Spot & Stalk
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Great for tree stand hunting in early to mid season 8/30/2018

As comfortable as only merino wool can be. Warm enough for colder fall mornings, but not too hot for keeping concealed in the early season. Definitely not warm enough for me in the late season, but I take this on all of my hunts from opening day of bow season. Great balaclava!

Nickname: Greg
Height: 5'10" - 6'
Weight: 200lbs - 210lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: New York
Use: Tree Stand
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Great piece of headwear 8/29/2018

Comfortable and warm. Cuts the wind and holds heat, ear holes are nice. Fits under beanie well.

Nickname: AARON
Size: OSFA
Location: Minnesota
Use: Waterfowl
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Good for early season, with some drawbacks 8/29/2018

I’ve used this for 3 seasons now and I like it. But the face cutout isn’t the greatest. It loses it’s elasticity after a while and I find it slipping further down.


How it fits
The material in the neck could be longer to tuck into your jacket.

Nickname: Glen
Height: 5'8" - 5'10"
Weight: 160lbs - 170lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Missouri
Use: Tree Stand
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Useful and warm 8/29/2018

As others have said it's a bit loose around the face (as least for people with small heads like me). It can be difficult to keep it straight as you move you head it can get twisted, and for me it fogs up my glasses. But it is warm, I can hear fairly well with it, and it cover my face enough that I don't have to bother with paint (which I can't stand).

Nickname: Adam
Location: Washington
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Nice piece 8/29/2018

This is light enough that you could use it still hunting and not be annoying and hot. I imagine using this for ducks and in the sleeping bag when its chilly.

Nickname: Duane
Height: 5'8" - 5'10"
Weight: 180lbs - 190lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Utah
Use: Spot & Stalk
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Very Flexible 8/29/2018

Great for actual warmth well into the season, super comfortable and breathable, and can work great as a neck gaiter if you drop the hood. Much more versatile than expected.

Nickname: Scott
Height: 5'10" - 6'
Weight: 170lbs - 180lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Pennsylvania
Use: Tree Stand
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Okay 7/31/2018

I love the idea, but I just don't find me wearing that much. The area around my face is too lose, and it keeps blocking my peripheral vision.


How it fits
Needs to be a more accurate cut around the face, and longer in the back.

Nickname: Ripsaw650
Height: 5'8" - 5'10"
Weight: 210lbs - 220lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Utah
Use: Spot & Stalk
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Good product. Warm, little loose. 7/28/2018

I like this piece. Its pretty warm, too warm for early season. Like the ear holes.


How it fits
Fits a touch loose.

Nickname: Mark
Height: 6'2" - 6'4"
Weight: 250lbs - 260lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Wisconsin
Use: Tree Stand
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Breathable but warm 7/28/2018

Definitely one of my favorite pieces, from spring to fall I don’t leave hone without it while I’m in the field. Fits great and the warmth to weight ratio is incredible, it’s also breathable enough to wear on warmer days in spring and fall without overheating. Highly recommended.

Nickname: Garrett
Height: 6'4" - 6'6"
Weight: 220lbs - 230lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: California
Use: Spot & Stalk
Fit
Small
Perfect
Large
Comfortable 7/25/2018

I bought this balaclava because FirstLite’s neck gaiter was out of stock and I needed a gaiter for turkey season. The balaclava was surprisingly comfortable in 60-70 weather.


How it fits
Optimal

Nickname: Rob
Height: 5'10" - 6'
Weight: 170lbs - 180lbs
Size: OSFA
Location: Indiana
Use: Spot & Stalk
just what I was looking for 3/8/2018

I bought the balaclava in Cipher. This is the first item I have bought in this camo pattern. I have other items in the "other" camo pattern, but I think this might be my new favorite. It works well in the drier western hunting areas I am usually in. As for the balaclava? It's exactly what I was looking for. Soft merino wool that doesn't itch or stink when I sweat because I left it on too long. Thick enough to keep my face warm from those cold winter winds. Enough stretch to be comfortable. I would recommend to anyone.

Nickname: Richard
great fit, amazing material 3/3/2018

The feel, wicking, and warmth of the material is amazing. The fit is great but my only thought when wearing it is that I wish it was just a couple of inches longer so it would stay tucked into my jacket better.

Nickname: Paul
greatest warmth keeper made 2/22/2018

Its so lightweight you think its useless... UNTIL you use it in the cold!! This thing does a perfect job for the hiking hunter to keep the cold/wind off your neck/ears. I take it everywhere with me and it doubles as a great predator mask as its not too hot.

Nickname: Mitch
Great 2/18/2018

The best balaclava I own.

Nickname: Travis
Works as advertised 1/22/2018

Used it this winter when we had that cold snap on the east coast. Worked pretty well. Good fit and well made. Would definitely recommend to hunting buddies.

I would like some small perforations near the mouth to help with the moisture building up in the fabric. The wool makes it tolerable when moist but I’d rather have it a bit dryer.

Also, few extra inches in the back of neck for us freakishly tall folks would be a welcome addition or option in the future!

Nickname: Steven
Excellent 12/6/2017

Out in 25 degree wet weather this morning. Warm as hell. Paired with the Puffy Jacket and their wool pants, pure bliss. Wonderful gear, I will only buy First Lite for as long as they stay around.

Nickname: Nick Gann
Love this thing 12/5/2017

This is a very well made balaclava. Can’t beat merino wool in the fusion camo. Super comfy and versitile. You can wear it a bunch of different ways. The ear holes are a really nice touch, so you don’t loose too much sound. It will also probably be replacing my snowboarding balaclava. Great product.

Nickname: Kenny P
Thin but surprisingly warm 11/27/2017

I wore this everyday on my colorado elk rifle hunt for a week. I was skeptical with how thin it was, but believe me it’s very warm and keeps the chill off of bare skin. It kept my head warm when cold, and cool when I got a little heated. As I breath it would create a lot of moisture and make it wet but with the merino wool it didn’t matter. The only draw back is the bottom part that covers from the nose down. Doesn’t not have a way to stay on the face unless you take the excess material and tuck it under a hat or beanie. I also wear this when I got atving and it really helps with the wind and keeps my face from drying out.

Nickname: Mark
Love it! 11/14/2017

I love this thing. I'm a bald guy and very picky about my head wear. This is not itchy, its warm and comfortable. I'm going to buy several so I always have one around. Highly recommend it!

Nickname: Jeff
Stays home 11/12/2017

This thing is super comfortable and is decent for concealment in warm weather archery hunting and helps on cooler days. What I don't like is that it loses some elasticity in the face cover portion. I find after I pull it off my face one time it stays looser the rest of the day and is tough to keep in place after that. The neck is also not long enough to keep the wind or cold out. I'd like to see this product revised with a longer neck and a mouth hole or mesh in front of the mouth. The main time I want to use this is when I'm on a windy hillside glassing and it just fogs my binos because my breath has nowhere to go but up. I have had some good experiences using it for duck hunting but need to pair it with a neck gaiter due to the short length. There are some uses for it but it mostly stays home these days as there are better options like pairing the Aerowool neck gaiter with a brimmed beanie

Nickname: JayCreegs
awesome 3/16/2017

awesome balaclava. Light and breathable enough to wear early season yet can keep you warm through mid into late season. love it would totally recommend it to anyone

Nickname: dlc
Wash / dry 11/15/2016

My initial review was the piece was too loose and material not snug.

Send her through the wash and she snugs up fine. No shrinking - just wool snugs up just enough.

Now 5 stars.

Nickname: Michael B
Very good but 11/5/2016

Hunted with this today and I like the style and design allot, but it could be improved. As it has been said in other reviews, the neck needs to be longer. If you layer a hat under balaclava the back of your neck is somewhat exposed. Also I'd say my head size is normal, without a hat underneath you have allot of material around the head / face. Meaning, an improvement would be to snug it up.

Saying all that, the wool is great. Soft and not itchy. I would recommend.

Nickname: Michael B
Good enough but sometimes that's not enough? 10/21/2016

Great concept, great material.
Ear holes are wonderful but they dont stay with moving around or wearing the chama hoodie over the top.
The face mask part that can go up and down is not nearly snug against my face as would hope. If you dont pull it up pretty high it may slide right down. Its a bit too loose there in otherwords.
The neck part is long enough when wearing my hoodie but as a stand-alone with t-shirt or longsleeve tee, it could be longer.
The long and short of it is that its a piece of kit worth having but I will have to do some tailoring to make it fit and I dislike that.
Usefulness 5 stars
Material 5 stars
Design Idea 5 stars
Design practicality 2-3 stars (expect tailoring needed)

Nickname: Joel S
Great 9/28/2016

A really versatile piece of gear. No problem hearing or breathing properly and the merino wool is great for regulating heat. If you're looking for something to wear mostly on the bottom half of your face, however, go with a neck gaiter since the balaclava doesn't fit as tightly around the neck when pulled down.

Nickname: Carl
Easily my go-to headwear 8/5/2016

I bought this balaclava for Northern Ontario spot-and-stalk deer hunting and waterfowl. I didn't realize how warm it was for how thin it is. It is easily warmer than any other winter hat I own. It's thin enough to layer with other hats (blaze orange cap for legal reasons) and if it gets too warm you can just pull it down around your neck and wear it as a gaiter.
I have already purchased my second one in a different pattern and look forward to using it this season.

Nickname: AFil
Good for warmer temps 8/4/2016

Overall great for warmer temps and it can certainly be used for cooler temps but the neck portion does not come down as much as I initially thought it would leaving at times some of your neck exposed to the elements.

Nickname: Jonathan
GREAT PIECE OF GEAR 7/28/2016

Love this balaclava! It adapts to every hunting situation and the ear hols are the best. Used it deer hunting in November paired with the brimmed beanie and I was toasty! Kept it with me during turkey season this past spring to help knock off the chill on those cool April mornings. Never quit making this product, its a must have!

Nickname: Jimbo
Great piece 5/12/2016

This is a must have piece of gear! It is by far the best designed balaclava I have worn. It has enough elasticity to stay in place were you want it but not so tight that it's uncomfortable. As most of you here already know, the temperature regulation of merino is the perfect material for a balaclava. It keeps you warm on cool days and cool enough to conceal you on warm ones.

Nickname: Johnny Mac
Fits "like a glove!" 5/5/2016

The fit on this product is awesome. No baggy parts hanging off of your face and obstructing you from shooting your bow. Combined with the chama hoody, and brimmed beanie, this thing has also done a fantastic job at keeping me warm while concealing me. Pick it up, its a great piece!

Nickname: DialedInHunter
Versatile 4/18/2016

I use this from early season hunts to cold late season hunts. Very comfortable and feels great. I even use this to keep my head warm in the sleeping bag. Doesn't get damp from your breath.

Nickname: Clint
good stuff 4/11/2016

take it on ever trip. I use it for turkey and on the late season hunts

Nickname: lucian
it works 4/9/2016

this it a good balaclava. It works, and works well with the brimmed and regular beanies.

Nickname: N. Hedrick
Great piece of gear 10/22/2015

I had it with me during early archery season and it was great during the cold mornings. Wore it around my neck during the day and was easily slipped over my head during a stalk. Will always be a part of my gear!

Nickname: Nick
Great product! 5/12/2015

Well made functional product. It's light, breathable, a good fit and quick drying. The black is perfect for ground blind hunting.

Nickname: Gary
Good piece of Gear. 1/19/2015

Pros: light weight, fits in your pocket, dries fast (mouthed breathed through this thing in a deer stand in 30 below temps, looked liked I blew my nose in it for an entire morning. But it dried fast and still kept my visage warm.) Makes you look like a ninja.

Con's: crowds my peripheral vision a bit, so I just take it off, or pull it off my nose and mouth when moving.

Nickname: Chad
Awesome Headwear 11/13/2014

Love this thing! Wish I had one of these sooner. It is wearable in multiple configurations based on weather conditions and concealment needs. Can be worn under a hat or by itself in warm to cool weather. I am going to get another one in camo pattern and ditch camo head nets for good.

Nickname: Erik
Great but...... 11/12/2014

The balaclava is great but needs to be longer. When pulling it over a hat it leaves your neck exposed. I have started wearing the neck gator and the balaclava which works but it is another layer to pack around.

Nickname: Joe
Great product! 10/30/2014

Great for bowhunting, cool enough for early season bow hunting. Warm enough for those cold mornings. A must have for any hunter who wants the best!

Nickname: Maple3
love it 10/22/2014

Super versatile. Could use it to cover my head, ears and most of my face or use it as sort of a neck gaiter. Wish the ear holes were a bit larger.

Nickname: Jarrod
Good but not great. 10/20/2014

This item is good but there is room for improvments. In my opinion the face mask part that can go up and down is not nearly snug against my face as I would like it creates a bit of a "bacon neck" like you can get on some t shirts after a while. Also as I look at the ones pictured above I coudl swear my neck part is not as long, I may be mistaken but I wish my neck was longer.

The holes for hearing are a great idea, and the head piece is light and warm.

I will probably be ordering the brimmed beanie and neck gaiter in the future.

Again this item is good just not great in my opinion.

Nickname: Jimmy Wallhanger
Best Balaclava hands down 6/18/2014

Over the years I have tried multiple balaclava's and was never satisfied with what I found. The comfort was never at the level that I found acceptable. That has changed! This past turkey season I was able to put in many hours wearing this and I can't wait to get the opportunity again. The cut and fit are wonderful. The overlap of the face area makes adjustments possible while still keeping covered. The ear holes were great to have during turkey season and I am sure they will be the same during deer season.

Nickname: Kentucky Whitetail Farms
With me on every single hunt! 6/18/2014

About three years ago, I purchased my Wind River Balaclava in Realtree Max1. Since then, it has seriously been on my head, in my pack, or in a pocket on every single hunt (and I spend a good portion of my year out in the field).

I've been a fan of balaclavas for as long as I can remember for one simple reason: we lose something like 80% of our body heat through our heads and necks. Balaclavas give you more bang for your buck in the warmth-to-weight department than any other piece of clothing!

There are tons of balaclavas out there on the market, and I've owned many of them. But as far as I can tell, First Lite is the only company that makes a 17.5 micron merino wool balaclava in camo. The wool is top-quality, DOES NOT ITCH, highly breathable, and will amaze you with its ability to negate odor.

Love the ear holes, too! What a great idea.

Nickname: Devin Brewer
Great piece of gear 6/18/2014

I bought my Wind River the first year they came out and it works great. I have worn it in temps anywhere from 70 to -15. your can adjust it to cover everything but your eyes or wear it exposing most of your face. It is versatile, comfortable and warm.

Nickname: ScottP
Must Have item!! 5/29/2014

The Wind River Balaclava is one of those items NO Hunter should be with out. It allows you to adapt to any type of weather change. Its small enough you can take it with you every time. From Duck Hunting the frozen Missouri to Deer hunting late season this Balaclava does it all.

Nickname: Anthony Lopez