The balaclava is a type of helmet liner or ski mask that is beloved by folks living and working in cold climates. It’s also popular with winter athletes. The design covers the entire head, neck, and nape with only parts of the face left exposed to the elements. What you may not know is that this headwear originated during the Crimean War, which took place from 1853 to 1856. During this time, the balaclava was used to help keep soldiers warm while they were fighting through the bitter cold of Russian winters. The first balaclavas were made of wool, but today you can find balaclavas made from a number of materials, including microfiber.