That?s what we told RZR Masks when they strongly encouraged MOABJEEPER Magazine to try out this ATV mask while wheeling our Jeeps. With reluctance, and the dismay of looking like wannabe trail bandits, we finally committed to trying out the RZR Mask during Easter Jeep Safari 2011.
Masks are cut from 1/8? neoprene with a generous number of holes (54 to be exact) to direct air through the carbon filter pad. On the exhale, dual valves with diaphragms open and close to maintain a particulate free environment for your lungs.
Since the replaceable N99 carbon filter pad is the real heart of what makes this system effective, it needs to be expanded upon. The pad itself will take care of the particulates: dust, dirt, pollen, etc? but what makes this mask special is the active carbon that takes care of those nasty exhaust fumes. This is a real plus when following one of those Jeeps that burns more oil than gasoline.
And because all noses are different, the masks' metal band across the bridge of the nose can be formed to fit your particular sniffer.
Keeping the mask on your face, neoprene straps wrap under the ears and secure on the back of the neck utilizing a generous patch of velcro. Showing a little creativity in design, RZR Masks incorporated into the strapping a small pocket for an mp3 player.
Those are the specs, but how are the masks? Immediately noticeable is the feeling of the strap across the back of the neck. Generally, people are accustom to goggle or respirator strapping above the ears. Naturally, everyone questioned whether the neck strap would keep things in place ? absolutely no complaint of the mask/neck strap slipping out of place.
The metal nose band is durable yet malleable. Even those with the most delicate of noses could get a proper form-fit to seal the mask to their face. At one point the metal band on a mask (due to improper storage under a buttock) kinked. With a little bit of reshaping, the kink appears to have never existed.
Breathing through the mask is like, well, breathing through a mask. There is a small bit of resistance as the air is pulled (inhaled) through a filter medium and blown (exhaled) out a valve that opens under pressure. Within a minute or two the resistance is no longer noticeable.
**Note: Claustrophobics may have difficulties wearing this, or any other, filtration mask. While there is no lack of air flow, those with claustrophobia felt closed-in though acknowledging it had nothing to do with the mask but their own claustrophobia.
So, everything looks good on paper, but do they actually work? Or more importantly, do they work well enough to justify breathing through a piece of wet suit all day while your friends point and laugh? Our most important evaluation of the RZR Mask was our campfire time. Each evening after a long day on the ol? dusty trail, we like to sit around the fire and tell tales of the day. Normally, this time is full of coughing and hacking from all the dust and fumes inhaled throughout the day. Those of us wearing the masks could breathe just as well as we did before our day?s trail adventure. What about those guys without the masks that were pointing and laughing at us all day? They coughed and hacked while showing quite a bit of new found interest in, ?what were those masks you guys were wearing??
What others had to say?
Sabrina Peterson: The mask is comfortable and with the flexible metal band I could shape it to my face.
Rocky Dorame: I really wished I had this at the King of the Hammers. Breathing was impossible!
Shereen Davis: At the end of the day, when everyone was coughing, I knew exactly how much the RZR Mask had done for me.
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We really loved the masks, but it did take a day to get over the feeling of being the one Dr. Seuss Sneetch different from all the others. However, that feeling of being different quickly went away after the first day when we proudly wore our mask, and unlike all the other Sneetches, we could breathe at the end of the day.
RZR Masks come in a variety of colors and sizes. Check them out at their web address below.