Spring may be just days away, but it’s still winter up on the slopes. The school break is a great time to do some skiing and snowboarding while the conditions are still good. Amanda Maxwell, Vancouver mom who loves snowboarding, has a review of Nibz Bandanaz. Created by Sara Niblock in 2006, the neckwarmer can be worn just over the neck, or over the mouth and under goggles to protect from the elements. With over 20 fun, new prints to choose from each season and Nibz Bandanaz are made right here in Vancouver. So what did Amanda think? Read on to find out!
The Nibz is a bandanna-style, on-slope neckwarmer, which can be worn cowboy-style as a face protector during sub-zero descents. My test-ride sample had an ultra-cute dog print woven outer layer securely stitched to a synthetic mesh lining to wick away moisture from the fleece middle. Velcro closures on the tails held it closed.
I tested it under the most rigorous conditions possible for early spring; cross country skiing, where my out-of-condition heavy breathing put the mesh liner through its paces, and snowboarding on a relatively frosty day when my hands, eyes and brain were fully occupied keeping up with my wee guy and his buddy. The Nibz passed … but I still love my turtle fur.
I liked the inner stay-dry layer on the Nibz. Even when breathing heavily on the cross country trails my face stayed dry. Breathing through it was easy too; I didn’t feel suffocated at all as I do with a neoprene face guard. However, I’m not sure it stayed any warmer than my dampened warm-when-wet fleece would have, and the stiffness of the fabric vented my breath up onto my glasses. But that’s cross country skiing – a whole different pack of huskies compared to downhilling. It was time to test it while snowboarding.
Phase Two: Snowboarding
With snowboarding goggles instead of specs, the Nibz performed better with no fogging. But the relative rigidity of the fabric seams stopped it fitting snugly around my face, allowing annoying chilly drafts to creep in. I did use the sample unlaundered so it is possible that the fabric could soften. I also had issues with lack of coverage round the back of my neck; I did think about switching the bandana round but didn’t. Since the bandana doesn’t stretch, I found getting the right fit tricky and did have to adjust repeatedly. This meant removing my mittens each time. In comparison, my fleece is adjustable single-mitten-handed. Maybe wearing the tail ends under my helmet might have helped keep it in place? Maybe I just move my head about too much when snowboarding? My fleece is a superb draft-excluder (I am spoiled).
In short, I love the cute print (much prettier than my ugly fleece neck warmer) and the stay-dry lining. But my fleece is here to stay; it fits me effortlessly and does the job even if I’m in danger of being a frumpy mid-life fashion victim on the slopes. As someone who started snowboarding when women’s gear was mostly unavailable, I’m probably not the best person to comment on slopestyle fashion. I prefer warm over catwalk.
Amanda Maxwell is a mid-life Vancouver mom who started snowboarding in the early 1990s in Europe, when all boots were hard and sidecuts were deep, and lessons took place with the student leashed to the instructor (true!).
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.