About face

About face
Skis, boots, poles … mask? Yep, PPE has now been added to the outdoor gear checklist, at least for the foreseeable future. But some of the big outdoors companies don’t want to send you out there with any old Walmart bandana. Which is why many have shifted gears to add technical – and arguably more stylish – face­masks to their quiver. 
 
Outdoor Research and KEEN are just two of the heavy hitters cranking out face masks for the discerning outdoorsperson. The Seattle-based OR expects to start churning out 200,000 reusable, nonmedical masks a day by early summer.
 
But Liz Wilson, VP of product at OR, insists it’s not about jumping on the pandemic profiteering bandwagon. “Rather than approach this opportunistically by asking what we had lying around that we could make into masks, we set about making a really great new product,” Wilson told SNEWS outdoors, a trade news site. “What happens when people go back to work, back to gyms? They’re going to want something that fits really well, that they can exercise in, that they barely realize is there.”
 
To meet that demand, OR is launching its  Essential Face Mask, an adjustable, microbe- and germ-resistant washable mask, which comes with 3 filters and a protective storage pouch. OR was supposed to start selling the $25 masks  on its website June 1, but as of this week, they were still out of stock. By fall, the company plans to expand its offering to gloves, balaclavas and face shields designed for high-output aerobic activities. And the packaging will be thoughtfully designed as well: the plastic sleeves will act as reusable sterilizing devices that harnesses UV light to kill viruses and bacteria.
 
“This isn’t a one-hit wonder for us. People are going to be concerned about safety for at least a year,” Wilson said. “In this, you’re either the ostrich sticking your head in the sand, you go into panic mode, or you adapt. We are adapting.”
 
As for footwear maker KEEN, it expects to debut washable cloth masks, in seven different colors, on its website starting mid-June. And despite the range of fashionable colors, there is plenty for the tech weenie to geek out on. OR’s masks are treated with the Swiss HeiQ antiviral textile technology. Meanwhile, KEEN’s cotton version is “consciously created” with BCI-certified canvas. The company is also making a “Hyperlite” version ($20 for five) that, like the OR version, is billed as durable, breathable and water-repellent.  Both brands come with adjustable ear loops as well.
 
“We’re not looking to make a huge profit, we’re just looking to make a great product at a fair price,” OR’s wilson said.
 
No word from Patagonia on its facemasks but we wouldn’t be surprised if a synchilla one is in the works.

Top Stories

Waste not, want not
06/25/2020
Waste not, want not
By Missy Votel

Hundreds of tons of radioactive tailings could soon be knocking on the doorstep of southeastern Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument.

Read More
County seeks input – once again – on update to 35-year-old land-use code
06/18/2020
County seeks input – once again – on update to 35-year-old land-use code
By Missy Votel

After several fits and starts, an update to La Plata County’s 35-year-old land use plan is finally gaining traction again.

Read More
The voting block
06/18/2020
The voting block
By Hayley Sanchez Colorado Public Radio

Protesters in Colorado calling for justice and police defunding over the killing of George Floyd has mobilized a new generation of young people politically.

Read More
Judge rules $25M lawsuit can roll on
06/11/2020
Judge rules $25M lawsuit can roll on
By Missy Votel

19th century law cited in train’s liability to repay Forest Service’s suppression costs 

Read More
Read All in Top Stories

The Pole

The fleecing of America
06/25/2020

A life without fleece may seem as unthinkable as a life without dogs, flip flops
or Subarus

Highly unusual
06/18/2020

How high can you really get? A new study by researchers at CU Boulder has found out that huge levels of THC don’t necessarily translate into a huge buzz

Call off the search
06/11/2020

The hunt is “fenn”ally over. More than 10 years after eccentric Santa Fe millionaire Forrest Fenn published his cryptic poem leading untold thousands on a wild goose chase across the Rocky Mountains, his treasure has been found.

About face
06/04/2020

Skis, boots, poles … mask? Yep, PPE has now been added to the outdoor gear checklist, at least for the foreseeable future.

Read All Stories in the Pole