After months of not buying a mask specifically for exercise, I finally caved in and bought one. My decision was influenced by the receipt of a coupon for REI, so I limited my choices off the bat. The only mask I found on REI’s website that specifically was made for sports was the Outdoor Research Adrenaline Sports mask. The reviews on REI’s website did not fill me with confidence (only 2, both 1 star as of the time of this writing), so I checked the Outdoor Research website for more reviews. There was enough of a better mix there that I decided to give it a try.
Even though I have the option of not wearing a mask at my CrossFit box (for now), it does seem like the right thing to do. And I had already tried running with some of the cloth masks that I own, and they had myriad issues from falling off my face to getting so soaked with sweat that I had to breathe through my own sweat to get any air at all. I was hopeful to get a decent fit with adjustable straps, but also cautious because I now know (thanks, covid) that I have a small face.
So far, I’ve worn the mask for two CrossFit workouts, with movements including double unders and burpees (both of which involve a lot of moving). Overall, I’m satisfied with it. I was able to complete those workouts without taking the mask off, and that’s really what I wanted from this mask, at minimum.
- Fit. The mask stays in place! On my face! This might be the most important factor for me. Other masks have slid up or down my face during workouts, especially with dynamic or bouncing movements. With the Adrenaline, I didn’t even think about whether it was staying in place, it just did.
- Breathable. The mask itself is mesh, and it needs filters in order to be effective. This combination is a bit cumbersome, but the design allows for a good amount of breathability – significantly better than the buff I use for outdoor running and the cloth masks when it comes to being able to breathe HARD through it.
- Adjustable. As I mentioned above, I have a small face. I was a little worried that there weren’t size options for this mask, but the adjustable loops work. They can be adjusted top or bottom, which really helps me to keep the inner flap out of my nostrils (that was a surprise during the first workout, when I tried to breathe through my nose and got nostrils of cloth instead).
- Lanyard. The ear loops have a little hook in back that allow you to fasten them together behind your head. I think this contributes to the staying in place, but it’s also a great feature on its own. I’ve been enjoying pulling down my mask after I step outside and not having to think about where to put it. It just hangs out.
- Still a mask. It isn’t all good, of course, I’m still CrossFitting in a mask. It is not comfortable. I have moments during the workouts when I want to tear it off and get a full damn breath. But I can feel the fans through it, a bit. I can breathe.
- Filters. I don’t like that I have to keep a supply of filters on hand for the mask. It comes with three, and they are “replace at your own discretion.” So far, they haven’t been getting incredibly sweaty from my workouts (amazingly). It seems like the cloth of the mask absorbs most of it while the filter stays dry-ish. I’ve just been letting them hang all day while the mask gets a post-workout wash. I’m trying to figure out what my replacement rate will need to be, and that rate will definitely influence how much of a con this is.
- Price. Yeah, I really didn’t want to spent $30 on a mask, any mask. But cheap masks weren’t cutting it for workouts.
- Sweat. I am a sweater. I sweat a lot, pretty much no matter the workout. And one of the weirdest things about this mask was how much I noticed my chin getting sweaty. It was itchy and I couldn’t scratch it. I had actually gotten into a pretty good habit of wiping at my chin with my shoulder (don’t touch your face!), but I can’t do that with this mask. More of an annoyance than anything else, but still.
One other thing I noticed when wearing the mask yesterday was how hot I got. I wear glasses, because I am super nearsighted without them, but wearing glasses and a mask covers nearly my whole face. Which makes me very hot. I discovered that if I remove my glasses, the heat from the mask became more tolerable.
Despite the cons, I like it well enough to keep using it.
|You can just barely see the filter snuggled in there.|
|There’s the lanyard.|