This month, I’ve been testing masks made by two companies based in my corner of Oregon. Both are designed with exercise and outdoor adventure in mind. Neither are N95, and both are designed for the general public, for the purpose of protecting the wearer and those they encounter on the trail, at the campsite, and during daily activities. Both limit the dispersal of virus-carrying droplets through speech, breathing, coughing, and sneezing.

Sunday Afternoons masks and UVShield cool gaiters:

Sunday Afternoons has been making sun-protectant clothing and hats from the start, so adding masks and gaiters during the pandemic makes good sense. I love the material Sunday Afternoons is using, which is UPF 50+ sun protective, chemical-free Coolcore® fabric. It’s so light and breathable! And it dries very quickly, which is why this is my mask of choice for water activities, such as the whitewater rafting trip I’ll be going on in August. This mask has a contoured shape with a seam down the middle, and the soft mesh liner help the mask fit comfortably over the nose and mouth. It does not have a nose piece.

It comes in a small variety of colors and patterns, and what I love: it comes in children’s sizes, too! Masks are $12, or $10 for kids.

The UVShield gaiter comes in eight colors/patterns and a kid’s size. It’s more versatile, as it can be used as a Buff-type accessory or a mask, and is made of thicker material. It also uses chemical-free Coolcore® technology, and breathes and wicks naturally to regulate evaporative cooling. You can wear it as a headscarf, hood, face mask, bandana, balaclava, helmet liner, or do-rag. And it’s also SPF 50. Pick one up for $24 for adults or $18 for kids.

BioSkin face masks:

Hypoallergenic and very breathable, BioSkin masks are made of soft, sueded fabric, and 10 percent of sales go back to local food banks. They come in two-packs and three-packs, and you can get standard black, gray or navy, plus a trio of summery solids, but where this company stands out is in their fun and often beautiful designs. Their mountain prints are my absolute favorite (see photo), but I also feel mask envy when I see the paisley trio design and the pride pack and the ‘lost in the woods’ pack.

All of BioSkin’s mask now feature an aluminum nose piece to increase function and comfort, which I think really helps to shape the mask and hold it in place over the nose. They all feature standard around-the-ear loops.

Packs of three are $35, and BioSkin will ship them anywhere!

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