Face coverings are an indisputably important tool in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other air-transmittable diseases. After almost a year of the pandemic, the market has responded with all kinds of face cover options, from simple disposable masks to full-head helmets.
- The DIOP has an amazing fit and is comfortable to wear for extended periods.
- The Vaja has an away-from-the-face design that makes it much easier to breathe through, has a washable filter and a durable construction. Great for the cold New England weather.
Both masks have the “behind the neck and over the head” bands we favor. We like that approach more than the ear loops because on/off is quick and the mask will hang around the neck when not needed. Of course, we know that style doesn’t work for everyone (like people with hair), but it works for (one of) us.
Still, even with all that we like about the masks, we found some aspects of them less than ideal:
- The DIOP is a cloth mask and does not take any disposable filters, so it must be washed periodically, especially in hot weather. Having two does make the issue less of a problem, but then you need to keep track of them.
- The Vaja mask has a removable/washable filter, but the leather is too hot for Summer wear. This issue also occurs when one is very active, even during the winter.
Now that we know the features we like in a mask, we wondered whether we could find one which had them all.
After a bit of a search, Airpop Active mask came across out radar and ticked all of the important boxes:
- Away-from-face design with a good seal;
- Disposable filters with high filtration; and
- Light-weight durable materials.
There is a lot to the Airpop mask. The molded outer shell creates a pocket for increased breathability. The inner webbing gives support to the slotted outer material. Together, they form a more rigid structure to house the replaceable particulate filter.
The Airpop has:
- a durable Airknit soft shell;
- very good materials: jacquard knit, both PP and TPE polyester;
- rubber reinforced flaps; and
- adjustable ear loops.
The outer layer provides a barrier from airborne contaminants, and the inner layer provides a skin-friendly hypoallergenic contact with the face. There is an integrated seal around the entire filter.
- Filtration Efficacy: 99.3% of particles, 99.9% of bacteria.
- Wear time before replacement: 40 hours.
The Airpop has two flexible lips that run around the entire filter to fill the hard-to-seal area around the nose bridge, which prevents leakage and fogging, a real plus if for eyeglass/sunglass wearers.
The Airpop is the best mask we have looked at to date.
The design is well thought out, the materials used looks and feels high-quality, and the fit is the most precise we have experienced so far.
The Airpop Active mask does have ear loops, but they are adjustable. We’ll see if we can live with that once we have had a chance to wear it for a while.