RZ Masks Dust Mask

By Bill "BillaVista" Ansell
Photography: Bill Ansell
Copyright 2012 - Bill Ansell
(click any pic to enlarge)


Every once in a while I come across a cool product from another industry that also works really well for us in the 4x4 and offroad world. Recently, I've been doing quite a lot of ATV and dirt-bike riding with my family. This year the summer has been hot and dry - which is great for riding and camping - but means the conditions are often dusty...sometimes REALLY dusty...and with four of us riding, those at the back get a face (and lungs!) FULL of dust. So I went looking for a solution and came across the RZ Mask.

After riding with one for a while it dawned on me it would also be great to wear in the buggy on those dusty trails.


The RZ Mask is a soft neoprene mask designed by to fit snugly under helmets and goggles, but which works equally well when not wearing a helmet.

They have an N99-rated Active Carbon filter.

The N99 rating means that it effectively filters out 99.9% of particulates (dust, pollen and odors) sized .1 microns and greater.

For reference, some particulate sizes are:

Smog - 0.1 microns
Tobacco Smoke - 0.3 microns
Cat dander - 1.0 microns
Coal dust - 3.0 microns

For comparison, those common paper painting masks are N95 rated meaning they filter 95% of particulates.

This is the left side of the mask. It has a metal nose-piece that can be bent to achieve a comfortable but secure fit, small plastic exhaust valves to keep exhalation from fogging up goggles or glasses, mesh ventilation holes on the cheeks, and a Velcro closure that does up behind the neck.
The right side also has a small pocket on the neck strap that can accommodate a small MP3 player.
Tucked inside the mask there is a spare filter element and a small zippered nylon carrying pouch.
Carrying pouch, spare filter element, and RZ Mask.

This is a look inside the business part of the mask with filter element installed.

If you enlarge the photo and look closely you can see a sewn seam around the edge of the filter element. This is because the filter has an inner active carbon layer sewn inside that allows it to also absorb odors effectively.

The filters element is easily replaceable and can be changed at intervals that depend on usage and conditions. RZ Masks state that the filter remains effective for 20-50 hours of "light use" and should be changed as needed. I have only a few hours on mine and haven't changed it yet.

The directions for replacing the filter are as follows:

• When replacing filters, turn the valve to the left to the "open" position and disassemble into two pieces.
• Remove both valves and line up the filter with the white side facing the face.
• Insert valves back and assemble by turning the valves to the right to the "Close" position.
• Double check the tightness of the valves to ensure proper installation.

Nylon carrying pouch that you can use to carry the mask and store extra filters.

The Neoprene construction makes the mask light, flexible, and pretty comfortable to wear.

It should also help keep the face warm when riding / driving in cold weather.

It's also stretchy making fitting the neck strap a simple stretch and Velcro together affair.


Here I am trying the mask on for the first time.

You can clearly see the two black plastic one-way exhaust valves that help vent your breath and prevent moisture from building up.


The valves have a one-way membrane seal (centre element in pic on left) that blocks unfiltered air from coming in, but allows for easy-breathing in physical activities by allowing your exhalations to escape the mask with ease

The valves are a twist-lock design that lock the filter element in place in the mask by sandwiching it between the inner and outer halves (two black plastic parts shown at left).


Side view showing the metal strap for securing the mask over the nose, the mesh "cheek vents" and the neck strap secured in place around the top of the neck, just below the ears.

Achieving the most comfortable fit takes a bit of playing around with the nose strap and the tightness of the neck strap.



There are 3 sizes available. as follows:

Regular | Designed to Fit Most people

XL | Fits Larger Frames (235lbs+)

Youth | Fits Most Kids 12 & Under (130LBS or less)

This is my 10 year-old daughter in her "youth" size mask in "Splat Pink" design.


The masks are available in a ton of different colours and designs.

Mine, shown above, is called "Gas Mask Aftermath".

This is my 13 year-old son in his youth size "3D Camo Hunting" design.


Note the close fit, and how the mask doesn't protrude from the face much making it fairly unobtrusive to wear both by itself and under a helmet.

In actual use, the mask takes a bit of getting used to. It's worth taking the time to fiddle with the nose strap to get the best possible fit without pinching your nose or making it so loose air can get in without being filtered. With that done you have to just ride and get used to it. It can be a little warm to wear when it's hot, and you definitely know you're wearing it but it doesn't take long to get used to it and in dusty conditions the mask does an excellent job of keeping the crap out and the breathing easier. In fact, it works so well that on last weekends wheeling trip I volunteered to give up the lead on the faster, dustier trail sections where normally I would fight to get the lead! I also discovered I need to wear better goggles in the buggy instead of just sunglasses because the mask allowed me to get up closer behind the lead rig than I would otherwise do. I hate a face full of dust and I really hate having to hang back and wait for the dust to clear only to get a face full and have to do it all over when the rig in front slows or stops.

RZ Mask is also a small family-run business with excellent customer service. My wife ordered a regular sized mask, but inside the package it turned out to be a youth size. When I e-mailed RZ about it, they immediately shipped a new one direct to my house in Canada, made sure to mark the package so I wouldn't have to pay any additional customs fees or brokerage, and told us to just keep the other one for the inconvenience.

One final note - I have also found that the RZ makes an excellent mask for use in the garage / workshop. When you;re as talent-challenged as I am as a fabricator you spend A LOT of time with the grinder and my RZ Mask is way more comfortable to wear than my big old respirator and way more effective than the little paper painters masks. It's pretty cool to have a product that works great both in the shop and on the trail!


RZ Mask





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