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What’s New in Military Cold Weather Face Protection

Currently, Military cold weather protective gear for the face is considered to be a pull over balaclava made of technical grade fabric. While this may protect the head and neck, it provides little to no airway or face protection which is critical for airway health, mission performance, and survival in cold austere environments. Members of the US and Canadian military have been trying out the ColdAvenger and have praised its capability to provide the protection they require in extreme cold weather missions.

Physical activity increases the depth and rate of breathing, resulting in a shift from nose breathing (which is typical at rest) to combined nose-and-mouth breathing during exertion. Since the nose helps protect the airways from cold, dry air by warming and humidifying inhaled air, winter exercise causes breathing to bypass the nose, and allows cold air to penetrate deeper into the airways.

Relative to the respiratory tract’s moisture, cold air is always dry and a shift from nose to mouth breathing exposes the airway lining to the dehydrating and inflammatory effects of cold air which can trigger cough, bronchospasm and asthma. 

ColdAvenger’s unique ventilator is designed to dynamically mix inhaled cold dry air with hot humid air exhaled from the lungs to achieve a micro-climate of comfort around the face and airways. When you wear a ColdAvenger, even if you breathe through the mouth, your air will be warmer and more humidified, decreasing the likelihood of cough, brochospasm and asthma. The ventilator is designed for unrestricted mouth and nose breathing to support peak endurance and physical performance. ColdAvenger has even been described by some as an “artificial” nose because of the way it functions. 

In one field test ColdAvenger transformed an outside 5 degrees F and 15% relative humidity into an inside of 68 degree F and 89% relative humidity around the face and airways. In another independent test of the ColdAvenger mask, extreme cold of  -72 degrees F was transformed into a comfortable average of 59 degree F around the face and airways while preserving core body temperature.

Facial skin exposure to cold air alone can be enough to trigger asthma and cough in asthmatics and non-asthmatics even with nasal breathing. ColdAvenger’s technical fabric protects against cold and wind chill thus helping to prevent facial skin injury and frostbite. 

These features are why ColdAvenger was selected by the expedition team of The Coldest Journey, who crossed the Antarctica in the winter (www.thecoldestjourney.org), and has been selected for protection in the harshest of cold environments such as climbing the world’s highest mountains, endurance cycling races in the extreme cold of the Arrowhead 135, and the North Pole ultra-marathon.

ColdAvenger provides military grade performance, is Berry compliant, and is supplied as FRC grade and non-FRC grade depending on the required usage. ColdAvenger is both cold weather performance and cold weather survival gear. Whether you are stationary for long periods in the cold or engaged in active endurance operations in a cold environment, ColdAvenger will help protect you and your mission.