FAQ About Our Medical PPE Manufacturing

By now, you’ve seen our range of masks, filters, gloves, and other face coverings within the Protective Essentials Collection that you can purchase online right now. But behind the scenes, we’re still manufacturing PPE that’s reserved for medical staff and military personnel - frontline workers who need the very best protection for essential jobs.

Back in April 2020 we made the announcement: Outdoor Research converted our onshore manufacturing facility in Seattle to produce Personal Protective Equipment for the medical community in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Today, we’re still fulfilling this promise and producing upwards of 200,000 masks per day.

Here, we’ve gathered some of our most frequently asked questions around this announcement to help you understand how this works, what it’s for, and how great of an impact this will make to the communities who need this most.

What types of medical masks are you making?

Fabric Face Masks - American Standard for Testing and Materials  (ASTM) Level 1 face masks (without flame resistance). These masks provide basic bacterial filtration and sub-micron particulate protection.

Surgical Masks - American Standard for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Level 3

N95 Folded Respirators

N95 Molded Cup Respirators

Learn more about our different types of Medical PPE right here.

What does N95 mean?

The N95 designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) test particles.

What machinery does it take to make the medical masks?

Along with validation test equipment, we have seven high speed fully automated machines that we use to make all three mask styles as well as the filters in our sewn essentials collection.

Will you be making other types of PPE, besides these three masks?

We are evaluating the evolution of our PPE manufacturing program, but for now the three masks detailed above are the most in-demand for the medical community, and therefore our biggest priority.

Where are the masks going, and how are you distributing them?

We started our distribution plan by working with the state of Washington, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Now, we’ve expanded that network to work directly with medical institutions.

Can I, as an individual, buy an OR surgical mask or N95 respirator?

Right now we are allocating all surgical masks and N95 respirators to the people who need them most: medical professionals. Our distribution plan was designed to have the most effective and immediate impact on that community.

You CAN purchase our masks, filters, gloves, and face coverings in our Protective Essentials Collection today. Each of these products were created using the same design ethos and expertise of our all-star PPE team.

How can my hospital get your masks?

We are selling our PPE products directly to medical institutions, to learn more and place a request please email ppeorders@outdoorresearch.com.

How the heck can OR make 200,000 masks per day?

We know - it’s a big number! Part of our ability to produce so much is due to the specialized machines that we’ve invested in, which are built for this type of manufacturing. However, the lion’s share of the credit goes to our highly skilled factory employees. Combining years of experience with delicate, precise manufacturing work, the OR employees responsible for making these masks are the reason we are able to pledge such great results.

Where are we sourcing materials?

Our mask materials are sourced in the USA, for quicker delivery and to support our local economies.

Where is the PPE being made?

We are producing these masks in our Seattle factory, where we’ve been manufacturing highly technical outdoor gear for 39 years. This building also houses our global headquarters, including our product development and innovation teams who rely on the adeptness and skill of our factory employees to design, test, and perfect some of our most popular gear.

How can my manufacturing-capable business help this effort?

We are grateful for everyone who has offered to help with these extraordinary efforts. Truly, nobody should go unthanked for their contributions. To see how your business can help, we recommend checking with your local officials and State Governor's office.

What is OR doing to protect factory workers making the masks?

We have a lengthy and thorough set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place to best protect our employees. These procedures were developed and refined over the course of several weeks with local, state and federal input. The procedures take into consideration the arrival and departure of employees from our building site and multiple by-the-minute and by-the-hour procedures while on-site. Rest assured, the health and safety of our employees is our highest priority.

How can I support OR’s factory staff? How can we thank you?

We have received a tremendous amount of interest and support since our announcement. At this time we are adhering to a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to better protect our coworkers involved in the project, and we ask that you support our staff simply by adhering to current state and federal guidelines, specific to your community.