Day 2 Experience with ColdAvenger® Pro-
January 17th, 2009, Saturday. -13F. 6 to 8” Fresh Snow. 6 mile trek at Oglebay Park and Resort. 8:30am – 10:30EST.
Today is truly a snow and cold weather lover’s wonderland! At temps that reached 13 below and several inches of fresh snow, well I could not have asked for a better day trekking through the snow covered knolls at our local park while getting to really try out the ColdAvenger®. Today is the perfect day to try this product out.
Once again I opted to not use my inhaler prior to trekking. This was my personal choice and I realize that the ColdAvenger® does not take the place of asthma medication. I dressed up in my windproof, waterproof, coldproof, moisture-wicking gear. I packed a small pack with first-aid and ‘survival’ items. I grabbed the ColdAvenger®, camera, trekking poles, ice axe, husband, and my personal traveling companion, Yukon Cornelius. I prepared for every possible situation, or so I thought.
We arrive at the park. I wrap up the ColdAvenger® and made certain it was flush against my scalp this time so that it formed a seal against my face as to prevent my lenses from fogging. I took in the beautiful scenery around me and off we went trekking down our first hill. As cold as it was outside I would not have known it with the ColdAvenger®. The air coming in was definitely warmer than the outside air. It was 13 below outside and I am guessing that the air I was breathing through the ColdAvenger® was 35-40 degrees. What a beautiful thing! However, I reminded myself that I was trekking downhill and that is significantly easier to do than ascending. I stop to allow my husband to take a picture. I thought I had prepared for every possible situation. The battery in the camera was dead. Thankfully though I had food, water, and sterno (because you never know!)
Here I find myself at the base of the first major climb in the park. It is several hundred feet up and pretty steep. I started upward and about halfway up, I noticed my breathing. Though my chest was not tight, I was still breathing hard and my heart was pounding. I had to stop and catch my breath. I assessed the situation and realized that I was hiking up this hill at a very fast pace rather than pacing myself, and this triggered the breathing issue. I reminded myself that you do not run up a hill or mountain, but that you pace yourself. The good news is that I only stopped for a minute or two and the ColdAvenger® I believe really allowed my recovery time to be so short. I am certain that without ColdAvenger®, I would have been sitting down for several minutes trying to catch my breath. I am sure that what triggered my breathing issue was pushing myself too fast up this hill in sub-zero temps.
The rest of the trek went very well and the ColdAvenger® definitely lived up to its claims of warming and humidifying the incoming air. Amazingly, no moisture froze in or on the mask. The moisture that came from the mask froze all over the front of my jacket. Awesome! The vents in the mask remained clear of ice. My glasses still fogged however and I am not sure what I should be doing differently to prevent this from happening. I made several adjustments on the trip, but I still got fogging. I did place the foam padding as instructed in the mask when I received it. This added some comfort but did not prevent fogging. (Please note: Just read your email indicating that mask is meant to be used with goggles.)
I noticed also that the bridge of my nose felt bruised from the mask. To me, this is hardly an issue because nothing can be 100% comfortable as I have found from gear that I have. The most important issue to me about the mask is that it does indeed warm and humidify incoming air. I also appreciate the flow adjustment valve. Never did I have any type of air flow restriction. I never felt like I was suffocating as the air flow was very free with the ColdAvenger®. I only wish I could keep my lenses from fogging. I did notice that if I put my head down to watch my step, I had a gap between the edge of the mask and my base layers. That being said, I believe making the mask a bit longer so that it would fit some under base layers would be really beneficial in keeping cold air out of the lower neck. This would prevent having to wear a neck gaitor or scarf thus reducing bulk and weight of extra materials.