Outdoor Research Ninjaclava Review - Tested in the Cairngorms

Used extensively by Cairngorm Treks throughout Autumn and Winter 2017/18 within the Cairngorm National Park, Skye and surrounding areas

Weighing in at a mere 58 grams the Ninjaclava packs some serious protection when the temps are low and stops any ice and snow penetrating the face and neck. The outer is a smooth-faced fabric whilst the inside is made up of a micro fleece which is warming, soft and comfortable against the face. The overlapping design covers everything but the eyes and although the overall design can be worn in a variety of styles as shown on the packaging, we found these to be mostly complicated and uncomfortable and often opted to wear it as a simple neck warmer or full-face balaclava. Flat seam stitching means that when using with a helmet or another hat there are no uncomfortable bumps. Another great feature are the silicon strips to hold goggles in place, surprisingly these actually work very well and keep a good bond even with quick head movements. Although it does offer some ventilation and can be easily peeled open around the nose and face to create a better air flow it can be difficult to put back in place when wearing thick winter gloves the addition of a vent around the nose would have been a welcome addition to the design.

Throughout the winter we have put the Ninjaclava through some seriously testing environments. It performed excellently on a particularly cold trip to Braeriach where in blizzard conditions and temperatures of minus 15 it kept our faces free from the cold, fitting securely to the face and not exposing any areas of skin even with full head movement.

Our Verdict

A well-built balaclava that offers protection against the cold when you need to count on it. The flat stitching means it is very comfortable to wear and it is light and packable which is perfect for winter expeditions. When wearing with goggles it offers full head and neck protection and the stretchy material meant that no areas became exposed when moving the head. We mostly used the Ninjaclava for winter and snowshoeing expeditions, but we could see it adapting to many more winter activities.

Cairngorm Treks is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...