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How Does the OR Essential Face Mask Compare?

Author: Outdoor Research

July 23, 2020

As it became clear that the global pandemic was not going away quickly, we realized our customers would need long-term solutions for personal protective equipment. People were heading to work or out for their daily errands wearing everything from bandanas to disposable surgical masks and respirators. But what kind of protection do most of us really need on a daily basis? We researched and listened to our customers, and designed a durable, comfortable and safe solution for anyone who leaves their home.

Our Essential Face Mask Kits are built to save you money over time by being durable, washable and highly effective—to keep you and others protected. We worked hard to produce the most comfortable face mask possible. Here is how our face mask stacks up against other types of protection on the market. (Specs aside, you don’t have to take our word for it. Customers love the fit, design and effectiveness of our masks—check out their hundreds of real-world reviews and comments.)

A person wearing a reusable face mask shops for plants at an outdoor market.

Outdoor Research Face Masks V. Bandanas or Simple Cloth Masks

A homemade fabric face mask or bandana may have worked as a quick fix, but our durable face masks offer significantly more protection and are designed to last longer.

Outdoor Research Face Masks V. Basic Paper Face Masks

Disposable paper face masks offer some physical barriers, but are not rated for any sort of filtration efficiency and are not designed to protect against transmission of fluids, sprays or aerosols.

A person wearing an Outdoor Research face mask looks at their watch while out trail running.

Outdoor Research Face Masks V. Disposable ASTM-Rated Surgical or Procedural Masks

Disposable, single-use face masks rated ASTM Level 1, 2 and 3 are designed for medical use. ASTM Level 1 is the most common type of medical face mask, and offers 95% filtration at the .1 micron level. Masks rated ASTM Level 2 or 3 are also single-use medical masks, but are rated for “procedure” or “surgical” and have filtration efficiencies of 98% at the .1 micron level. According to the Centers for Disease Control, these types of surgical masks are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

Outdoor Research Face Masks V. N95 Respirators

The highest level of filtration efficiency is found in NIOSH-approved particulate respirators, N95 being a common type. Respirators function differently from face masks, and this type of PPE is currently in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, according to the CDC.

Two people walk down a trail while wearing reusable face masks by Outdoor Research.

What Sets Outdoor Research Face Masks Apart

Our designers applied the same attention to function and comfort while designing these face masks as they do designing the meticulously crafted ski gloves and perfected rain jackets we’re famous for. Here’s what makes the Outdoor Research face masks unique.

About the Face Mask

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Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research® is dedicated to inspiring the journey ahead with award-winning technical apparel and accessories. Based in Seattle since 1981, we are committed to improving our customer’s experience through innovative materials, purpose-driven features, and versatile products that are backed by our Infinite Guarantee®. We rely on the real-world testing of our athlete ambassadors, mountain guides, and local adventurers involved in our core sports: alpinism, rock and ice climbing, hiking, backpacking, paddling, trail running, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding. We’re here for the fun, adventure, excitement, and For the Journey Ahead™. Get to know us at www.outdoorresearch.com or follow along on the journey via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.