Essentials is a series featuring products we’re currently lusting over in quick, bite-sized posts.
Like many of you, I didn’t think the pandemic would last this long. But, here we are in February 2021. And I’ve been on the hunt for the right mask. I’ve searched for a mask that doesn’t fog my glasses up when shooting. For lots of us, that’s already a problem even without a mask. The thought occurred that maybe I needed something better than multi-layer neck gaiters and standard hospital masks. So, the credit card came out for a $55 mask. Specifically, I bought the Filson X Runabout collaboration mask. In fact, I bought four of them after my first experience.
Editor’s Note: This is not a sponsored post. Filson’s products are only sold direct, and we don’t receive any affiliate commission or money from it. This post is being written out of the pure goodwill of the Editor In Chief.
I gawked a bit at the idea of paying so much for a mask. The photos you see here are of the green one. (They’re sold out, but they have a plaid one.) That version is thicker than the green cotton one I wear in the photos here. Granted, these masks aren’t medical-grade or N95 grade, but they’ve worked for me. I’m still being super careful and keeping a distance of at least six feet away from folks: it’s rewired my entire way of going about life.
The Filson X Runabout mask is different than lots of the others out there. It’s a two-layered mask with no space for a carbon filter. The inner layer is a bit thinner, and the outer layer is very thick. I’d liken it to the thickness of a cashmere winter scarf.
What makes this mask so different is the fit. It’s a bit difficult to make it hug your nose and mouth super tightly the way a gaiter will, but it’s tight where it counts. This mask has a large metal frame that conforms to your nose and upper cheeks. Otherwise, it uses adjustable straps. I strongly suggest putting the Filson mask on and then putting on your glasses. If your glasses slip off, then wrap the straps around your ears and adjust the straps. Otherwise, I found the straps dig into your ears.
Once it fits correctly, you’ll notice the nice part about it. There’s some room for you to actually breathe. So when you exhale, your breath won’t leave the mask and travel upward to your glasses. It’s the only mask I’ve found that can do this. Otherwise, I’ve had to use surgical tape to really make sure the air doesn’t escape.
When you’re putting a viewfinder to your eyeglasses to shoot for a while, it’s easy to fog them up. I’m one of those photographers who holds their breath when shooting as much as possible. Combine that with this mask, and you’ll have no fog. The experience is very refreshing! Of course, this is even better if you’re using a tripod and an LCD screen. Then you’ll just need to worry about the fog of your own breath. And of course, it won’t happen!
In the cold, New York winter, I still encountered one problem. If you wear glasses and go from cold exteriors to warm interiors, you’ll get fogged. The good thing is that if you’re breathing a bit heavier, the air won’t escape. Just bring a Microfiber cloth with you.
Shooting with the Filson mask worked just great. I’ve been wearing and testing it out since early December. And because of this mask, I haven’t used any others. I’ve washed it once and haven’t had any problems with it. Filson masks are basically like clothing. I also tend to spray them with Lysol or something like that when I get home.