Gear Corner: Hoorag Review

Disclaimer: I was provided a free sample by Hoorag in exchange for a review.  I was not asked to write a positive review and these experiences and opinions are my own.

Being outside especially while exercising can carry a lot of demands for clothing and accessories.  You need to keep sweat out of your face and eyes.  You need to tie back your hair.  You need to protect your face and/or neck from the wind, or from the sun.  Hoorags claim to be the better bandana.

My first run in a Hoorag was an easy run with a couple of hill repeats in light drizzle, just above freezing temperature with 20 km/h winds.  I wanted head insulation, but didn’t feel like I’d need my winter hat or any other face protection, so I wore the Hoorag ‘Bandana’ style.

Pic not taken on run day.

It felt comfortable and did a good job of keeping me warm enough – I never felt the cold.  It’s breathable so I didn’t overheat either, and it stayed on without me having to fiddle with it.  I think it even looked OK on the day… this pic notwithstanding.

When temperatures dropped below freezing, I considered wearing it ‘Balaclava’ style (think ninja-mask) but I couldn’t get it to work… I ended up with extra material around the eyes mostly.  That’s OK, because I’ve always wanted to look like Strider-Hiryu…

…minus the threatening sword…

The ‘Face Mask’ style is my favourite way to wear the Hoorag.  I grew up using ‘Tube Sarves’ to protect my face (especially mouth and nose) from the cold and wind.  The problem I always had was that the elastic was on only one end of the tube… wear the elastic at the top of the scarf and it cuts into your face – uncomfortable.  Wear it at the bottom (the better choice) and the top of the scarf is somewhat loose and not protecting your face as well as you’d like.

Hoorag doesn’t have this problem – it’s stretchy top to bottom but both ends have a gentle elastic.  I could get it to hug my face however I wanted; I got a peak right up to the bridge of my nose, but it sloped down past my cheekbones far enough that it wouldn’t interfere with my earphones if I wanted.

If I did any really heavy breathing (like sprints or hills), I found it interfered with my breathing and I would get gassed.  The good news is I was usually warm by that point, and I could easily pull it down to my neck (known as the ‘Neck Gaiter’ style).  On one occasion the moisture trapped in it from such breathing got flash-frozen when I pulled the mask away from my face; other than that, I like wearing it this way and do so for most of my winter runs.

I did try wearing a balaclava once for contrast; the full face mask is the protection of choice for the coldest of cold weather.  Wearing a balaclava means extra headaches putting on headphones, and I found it interfered with my field of vision too, so I prefer the Hoorag, though if it gets cold enough, I wear both!

as well as a hat.

The Hoorag can be worn in ladies’ styles too. When I asked my wife to model it, she was a little overly concerned with how she’d look, and more pertinently: “When was the last time you washed that thing?”

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