Rating: 4 / 5
The OR Ninjaclava is a balaclava like many others, but it's in the small details that it differs. The Ninjaclava is cut differently than other balaclavas, having a "hinged" lower front pane that is sewn at the temples. This allows for the piece to be worn more comfortably in different ways than other similar headgear (as cap/doorag, as neck gaiter, etc.). This also gives it an aggressive styling that may appeal to some. It weighs 1.8 ounces.
Its lining is a microfleece not unlike the interior of a Marmot DriClime windshirt, and its outer surface is a smooth polished polyester. It is adequate for eliminating drafts while sleeping, but in sustained winds it feels less than windproof. If the lining was a bit longer or nappier it would impart more warmth...but these factors also make it a versatile piece.
The fit is snug - my size large may simply be too small for my oversized noggin - and it compresses the ears after a while. Prolonged use may losen it to a higher degree of comfort, but this remains to be seen.
This is an outstanding replacement for a cold-weather cap and is a great addition to a sleeping system (perfect for when all parts are toasty except your nose and cheeks). In (relatively) warmer temperatures I swap this for a Buff neck gaiter (which is easier to breathe through while sleeping). This is a solid performer, also, for activities like snowboarding, backcountry skiing, and snowshoeing. For almost any 3.5-season trip I take, this and a Headsweats race cap takes care of all head and neckwear needs.