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At a time when personal protective gear (PPE) is in short supply across the country dozens of outdoor industry mainstays have stepped up to pivot manufacturing facilities to focus on PPEs for frontline workers and the public alike—from Arc’teryx committing to making 90,000 reusable medical gowns to Petzl and Goal Zero making reusable PPE face shields.
Though the N95 and KN95 masks, which block at least 95% of “very small” airborne particles, are the most effective masks for halting the spread of Coronoavirus, fabric masks are now the public norm worldwide. These particular masks are non-medical grade, but generally help slow the spread of droplets or spray either from your mouth or nose and breathing in the same from someone else.
For those not interested in making their own, a variety of outdoor companies are producing face masks that’ll offer some protection when venturing into crowded, open spaces, or even just to the grocery store. [Care Tip: if your mask is made of specialized athletic fabrics, it may be worth using a cleaner like Nikwax TechWash, which better removes dirt, sweat, and body oils that can compromise fabric performance.]
The following are our top picks for non-medical grade face masks from outdoors adjacent brands we trust.
Seattle's Outdoor Research is now making adjustable, washable masks that are resistant to microbes and germs, and come with 3-pack filters and protective storage pouch (and lots of different colors). Wearers can use this washable mask on its own as a basic face covering, or throw in the filter for high filtration efficiency. As an added bonus, the Essential Face Mask is treated with HeiQ NPJ03, an innovative Swiss technology makes fabrics resistant to harmful microbes (learn more about it here).
Price: $10 for a kit of 1 mask, 3 filters, and 1 pouch SHOP NOW
Helly Hansen has been making reputable outdoor gear for over 140 years, meaning they're over qualified to make a cloth face mask. To introduce a bit of tech to the otherwise simple product, this LIFA mask uses a proprietary 3-layer fabric that absorbs moisture, moving it away from the skin to the fabric surface where it evaporates, keeping your skin sweat-free. And, ALL profits are being donated to The Conservation Alliance. That's right, 100%.
Price: $15 SHOP NOW
Swrve is known for its durable and stylish apparel, with function and fit being top priority. So they developed a handful of mask styles in different styles and sizes, to fit a range of face shapes. One of the more interesting is the summer-weight 7oz 100% cotton twill mask, designed to fit a longer face. It’s light-weight and comfortable with a cord lock toggle adjustment for a personalized fit.
Price: $22 SHOP NOW
Filing under the “why didn’t we think of that?”, Hyperlite’s mask has a skin-friendly waterproof coating. It’s layered onto an interlocking micro polyester, which offers a tight weave and smooth skin feel. The dual loop design is a nice addition for some additional comfortable for longer wear.
Price: $20 (5-Pack) SHOP NOW
For just $14, Keen is offering a double mask pack on par with the best of whats available. Designed with comfort in mind, each mask features two ties that can be used as adjustable ear loops or secured behind the head. Plus a range of different colors and sizes are available-something we haven't seen too often.
Price: $5 for 2 SHOP NOW
The Colorado brand’s masks are built with two layers: a 100% twill cotton exterior and 3/4 oz. poly/cotton interior. It also has a built-in interior pocket for an air filter. The addition of the classic Topo badge almost makes this feel like an appropriate accessory for your new Mountain Pack. Plus, each purchase helps fund the Colorado Mask Project, wherein Topo is manufacturing up to 10,000 masks for frontline workers in CO.
Price: $9 SHOP NOW
Any outdoor adventurer can spot a Cotopaxi pack from a mile away, and this mask is no different. It’s colorful, fully reversible with a wire nose adjustment, and made from repurposed fabric. Plus, Cotopaxi will match each mask purchase with someone in need through their nonprofit partner, Mercy Corps.
Price: $6.50 SHOP NOW
Kitsbow is usually dedicated to making gear designed by cyclists for cyclists, but recently they've shifted their US-based manufacturing to focus on making PPEs. In addition to the high quality fabric and elastic, this mask also features an internal filter pocket. Kitsbow also makes face shields, which you can check out here.
Price: $25 SHOP NOW
Built in-house in Portland, OR, North St Bags is known around the country for crafting high-quality bicycle panniers and everyday bags—and now, in the age of COVID, they're making masks. The special thing about North St's handmade masks is their family deal: buy four masks, get one free. Masks come in a wide range of sizes and patterns to cater to all tastes. They've also made it easier to support your community through a convenient option to add a PPE donation when you check out.
Price: $20 SHOP NOW
Known for their noteworthy bag designs, Timbuk2’s product team has similarly created a face mask with functionality in mind. These dual layer masks are adjustable with the around-the-head tie method to relieve stress on the wearer’s ears. This design also includes an easy-to-use filter top pocket.
Price: $30 for a 3-pack SHOP NOW
The climbing brand known for unconventional thinking is building on its partnership with actor/climber/activist Jason Momoa to introduce a reusable face mask designing as part of their ongoing On the Roam collection collaboration. Available in adult small and adult large sizes in Momoa's signature "Dirty Pink" and "Black Wolf" houndstooth design colorways, the reusable masks—made in St. Louis by Snake Bite Co—are made of 2-ply 100% organic cotton and a cotton/poly blend with pocket for adding a filter. A metal nose pad and elastic ties ensures a snug fit for the sleek 3/4 face covering.
Proceeds support First Responders Children's Foundation and 1Climb, a nonprofit that builds climbing walls for Boys & Girls Club of America.
Price: $15 SHOP NOW
Bozeman, Montana-based Mystery Ranch is legendary for making the most bombproof backpacks and bags. Meaning, if there’s one mask you can trust for daily use, it’s likely this one. The brand now sews two styles—Traditional and Street—with the former being our preference. The Traditional style is made of two-layer technical DRI-LEX textiles that are breathable, durable, and machine washable. The design features a sleeve for N95 filter comparability, a bendable nose piece, and TPU stretch headband with adjustable cord lock that won’t pull hair.
Price: $16 SHOP NOW
This mask uses a “bandana style” covering, shifting a bit lower than the average mask, while offering the same protection. The exterior is 100% ripstop cotton, while the interior is a cotton muslin material for breathability and comfort. It also includes a pocket where you can cut your own filter material to fit. Although a bit pricier, this mask is easy to wash and reuse over and over again.
Price: $36 SHOP NOW
Made of pleated cotton, these surgical-style face masks from Seattle-based hat maker Coal meet all CDC requirements for non-medical protective face covering to help protect against virus transmission. Plus, they come in a couple dozen colors and prints to match every pandemic mood—from annoyed and bummed to slightly less so.
Price: $15 for 3-pack SHOP NOW
ALLIED Feather & Down, the world’s largest supplier of ethically sourced down and a mainstay ingredient brand in the outdoor industry, also has a Home devision, which has since shifted to making cotton face masks for donation and public sale. Produced in Los Angeles of tightly woven 233 thread count cotton, the “allergen barrier” face masks feature 2 elastic ear loops and additional protection via baffled fabric. For every mask sold, one is donated.
Price: $20 for 3-pack SHOP NOW