It has been a favorite headgear of skiers and robbers and before that was worn by British troops unaccustomed to the bitter cold Russian weather during the Crimean War. They were also used as helmet liners as they could be rolled up to just cover the head.
It started being called Balaclava almost 30 years later and the name
comes from the town of Balaclava in present-day Ukraine where an
important battle in the Crimean War was fought.