Last March, we first heard about the North45 scarf. Created by Canadian entrepreneur Dimitri Poliderakis, it's designed to keep winter sports enthusiasts' faces warm while simultaneously not causing their goggles to fog up – a feat that regular scarves often can't manage. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, it went on sale at the end of last winter. I got a chance to try one out this winter, and I can tell ya right now ... it works just as advertised.
The problem with a regular scarf/goggle setup is that when the wearer exhales through the scarf, their impeded breath isn't able to get sufficiently clear of their face. As a result, if they're not moving quickly or there isn't a strong wind, the water vapor in that breath ends up condensing on the front of their goggles. It's a problem that I certainly encountered last winter, when trying out a fatbike.
The North45 gets around this problem by diverting the user's breath down and out of its bottom, away from the goggles.
Made from non-scratchy Merino wool, the main part of the scarf takes the form of a tube-like neck gaiter. Attached to that tube is a separate front flap that covers the user's mouth and nose. A magnet in the top of the flap holds it in place against another magnet, which the user sticks onto the nose bridge of their goggles.
This allows the flap to hang slightly out in front of the mouth and nose, creating a passage for the breath to escape downwards. Additionally, if the user wants to stop and talk or take a drink, the flap can easily be temporarily pulled out of the way without having to pull the whole scarf down.
I recently tried the North45 out on a couple of fairly frigid fatbike rides, and it worked like a charm. I initially had some problems getting the one magnet to stick to the goggles using the included adhesive-backed silicone, but Poliderakis subsequently sent me a packet of Sugru adhesive putty, which so far appears to have done the trick. He will now be including the Sugru with all his scarves.
Other breath-diverting anti-fog masks do also exist, such as the Fog eVader. When I tried that particular product, however, I noticed that it had a strong neoprene smell. I also tried a similar one-size-fits-all mask made by another company, but found that its mouth hole wasn't remotely big enough – as a result, I had difficulty breathing, plus the inside of the mask quickly got very wet and yucky.
The inside of the North45's front flap does also get wet, but because it's hanging out in front of your face, it's not touching your skin. Additionally, the Merino wool helps wick away the moisture – although you probably still wouldn't want to wear someone else's right after they'd been using it.
The North45 scarf is priced at CAD$50 (about US$42), and is available in four sizes.
Product page: North45
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