VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — For ages, troops facing cold weather environments had only a cloth face mask or the standard balaclava to keep them breathing warm.
But that setup does little to keep the air from drying out and draining a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine on the move.
Cold Avenger is a company and product that has developed a simple solution to keep the cold away.
On display recently at the annual Warrior East Expo, put on by ADS, Inc., the Cold Avenger consists of a plastic ventilator cup sewn into either a standalone face mask wrap that can cover the cheeks, neck and ears, or as part of a full, traditional balaclava.
Cold Avenger CEO John B. Sullivan III said the balaclava design came out of work with U.S. Army Alaska Cold Regions Test Center personnel feedback. It gives users a way to adjust the gear to their level of warmth.
Sullivan called it a “three-in-one unit," that helps someone find their own comfort zone, depending on the cold.
But the mask goes beyond keeping your cheeks from freezing.
“A cold weather mask ought to do more than just cover your face,” Sullivan said.
It should provide warm, humid air, let you breathe freely, remove moisture from the user’s face and prevent the breath from fogging up goggles or glasses. Sullivan said the Cold Avenger accomplishes all of those tasks.
And it can be cleaned in a washer and air dried. The ventilator cup material is the same used to make intravenous bags used in hospitals.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.