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If you're thinking a fleece gaiter is going to do the trick, think again.

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#1
There's a new study out that says that fleece gaiters don't do a good job in reducing the number of particles you exhale, and may actually help aerosolize droplets so they're carried in the air more effectively.

Surprisingly enough, face covering companies have not jumped on the COVID bandwagon. I sort of expected they'd come through with gaiters that were more effective in preventing coronavirus spread. That's something I'd definitely be interested in. Maybe something will be out before ski season? Hope so.

What are your plans for face masking this year?
 
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#2
I wear 100% cotton bandanas when walking around and not in close proximity to others. I don't go shopping and still haven't gone to the grocery store. I now do curbside pick up - no contact. I wear 2-3 layer cotton masks for any appointments or if in close contact with an individual - mammogram, dr appointment, hair stylist (only went once but shut down again). I was hoping to wear neck gators in the winter . Many are "wicking" and probably do not do the trick. I have several merino wool ones but after reading the article, those are not so effective either.
Life certainly has changed.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#3
Happen to hear about Bill Nye's TikTok where he demonstrated masks with a candle. Wasn't much of a surprise that a hand knitted wool scarf didn't do much.

I'm mostly using cotton face masks, including the Ski Diva version with hairbands so it stays better and can stay around my neck if needed. I still use a neck gaiter outdoors. I'm keeping enough distance from strangers that it's not that critical. Also, I'm not stopping to chat. Timing matters. Meaning how long someone stays in one place where there is no airflow. The people I chat with while hiking are friends in my family's extended bubble, so we aren't using face masks among our group.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#4
Also this one:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/life...2bb888-db18-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html

And this from Buff Canada:

BUFF® products and COVID-19
We have been receiving many inquiries regarding whether our products are an alternative to medical facemasks. Our products have not been designed or certified as protection against viruses or diseases, so they are NOT suitable for preventing the spread of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).

Although our multifunctional headwear products cover the entire front of the face (nose, mouth, chin, and neck), they are not scientifically proven to prevent you from contracting or passing a virus/disease/illness to someone else. In response to the most common questions and concerns regarding our product, please see the below statements:
  • BUFF® head and neckwear products are not intended to be used as medical-grade facemasks or effective to prevent disease, illness, or thespread of viruses.
  • BUFF® does not produce or claim to produce products that prevent disease, illness, or the spread of viruses.
To find out more information about our product certifications, please visit the Certified Quality section on our website. Please read and follow the updates published by the Government of Canada regarding non-medical masks or certified PPE.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#5
What wearing a buff over nose and mouth does do is remind you that things are not like it used to be. Especially when it's over 80 degrees but you find yourself outdoors on a hike any way. Meaning somewhere there are enough people that having a buff or mask handy seems like a good idea.

So the question is, in the real world would someone who sneezes or coughs inside a dry buff spray out more or less than if they weren't wearing anything? What you really want them to do is remember to turn away and use their elbow.
 
#8
For now I've been using two-layered homemade masks. I tried a merino wool buff that I had but beside the fact that it felt way too lightweight for filtering, it kept sliding off my face.

For skiing I've always used thick neck gaiters over my face because I'm a wimp on getting wind lashed so that will continue to be my practice.
 
#9
There's a new study out that says that fleece gaiters don't do a good job in reducing the number of particles you exhale, and may actually help aerosolize droplets so they're carried in the air more effectively.
I suppose it's not too surprising, when you consider the purpose of most neck gaiters...not only to keep your face/neck covered, but many are made to wick moisture out rather than contain it.

I'd be interested in seeing a similar study done on different types of gaiters. I know I have probably 5 different materials in all of my gaiters, varying from a thin polyester or merino wool to thick two layer Polartech fleece. Probably won't happen...but would be interesting.
 
#11
Since Duke is in the Raleigh/Durham area where I live, happened to notice a local news article about the fact that the gaiter industry is understandably not happy with how the Duke research is making headlines. The point of the study was to show how materials could be tested. Even Bill Nye's candle test is enough to get some sense of the difference for people who want to test the difference options they have at home.

August 11, News and Observer in Raleigh, NC
Duke’s COVID mask study got much attention. But neck gaiter industry wants a do-over.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article244880507.html

" . . .
“The use of such a mask might be counterproductive,” the researchers wrote in their paper, published in the journal Science Advances. The headline on The Washington Post article Tuesday morning was more direct: “Wearing a neck gaiter may be worse than no mask at all, researchers find.”

Headlines like that have caused turmoil in the neck gaiter industry, which consists of hundreds of gaiter manufacturers and other companies that print art or words on the garments and sell them, said Chris Bernat.

Bernat works for Vapor Apparel based near Charleston, South Carolina, and sits on the board of the Printing United Alliance, a trade group that includes several textile companies. Vapor mostly sells sun-protection clothing but has seen sales of its gaiters rise 450% in the past two months as people use them as coronavirus masks, Bernat said in an interview.
. . .
Warren S. Warren, a Duke professor involved in the study, said the team has received many requests to test various masks and other products but that it’s not something their nonprofit lab wants to take on.

“Having said that, we would have no problem accepting samples that we could test, at some point, to represent the range of what is out there,” Warren wrote in an email Wednesday. “But we would very likely keep the brand anonymous (as we did with the commercial ones we tested). We are not interested in becoming the ‘Duke facemask certification facility.’”
. . ."
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
#13
Also this one:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/life...2bb888-db18-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html

And this from Buff Canada:

BUFF® products and COVID-19
We have been receiving many inquiries regarding whether our products are an alternative to medical facemasks. Our products have not been designed or certified as protection against viruses or diseases, so they are NOT suitable for preventing the spread of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).

Although our multifunctional headwear products cover the entire front of the face (nose, mouth, chin, and neck), they are not scientifically proven to prevent you from contracting or passing a virus/disease/illness to someone else. In response to the most common questions and concerns regarding our product, please see the below statements:
  • BUFF® head and neckwear products are not intended to be used as medical-grade facemasks or effective to prevent disease, illness, or thespread of viruses.
  • BUFF® does not produce or claim to produce products that prevent disease, illness, or the spread of viruses.
To find out more information about our product certifications, please visit the Certified Quality section on our website. Please read and follow the updates published by the Government of Canada regarding non-medical masks or certified PPE.
thank you for posting that since I didn’t get around to it yesterday. I think I have, and some with my boat’s logo, at least four or five buff/gaiter type items at this point. Oh well! Most of them are still UPF 50 so I can still wear them sailing to protect things! I’m glad I have at least eight cotton ones! Face masks seems to be my current obsession.
 

KBee

Angel Diva
#15
These have been the most comfortable choice for me for every day. https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/essential-face-mask-kit-283298#or_color=1047&or_size=70&

I ordered them after skiing in the rain (Oregon...) this spring and realizing that I'd probably suffocate if I had a bad fall, as my homemade cotton mask was wet, and sticking to my mouth and nose entirely!

Outdoor Research is always good for rain/water proof PNW gear, but without the little filters, this mask just one layer of nylon or poly. If I'm at Timberline, where we apparently have to share chairs, I'd definitely use the filter or some other option under or over it, and I'd probably give it a little extra waterproofing spray as well.
 
#16
Oh geez. Maybe they aren't so bad?
https://www.seattletimes.com/nation...r-over-their-virus-protection-is-unwarranted/

I don't see anyone wearing these locally anyway. On Orcas Island last week, I did see people--specifically men, and specifically, good looking men--wearing them. It was a different aesthetic than I see in daily life. Maybe more like the Hamptons. These guys looked too hip for the PNW. Not that I know anything about the Hamptons. Anyhoo. Gaiters were popular among that crowd.
 

RachelV

Administrator
Staff member
#17
You see these a ton around here on the trails. I wear buffs exclusively when I hike because they're very easy to pull up and down, so you can have it off most of the time but quickly slide it up if you're passing someone at a closer distance. I am bummed about the original study and hope if I just wait a few weeks we'll find that they're actually fine. Seems like that might be happening already!
 
#18
If Prof. Marr thinks buffs are okay, that's good enough for me. :smile:

". . .
But rather than speculate, Dr. Marr worked with Jin Pan, a Virginia Tech graduate student who studies biological particles, to test two types of gaiters using methods similar to those required by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for testing masks.
They decided to use foam heads to test gaiters as they are worn in real life, rather than tearing up a gaiter and testing just a small piece of fabric. One gaiter was a single-layer fabric made of 100 percent polyester. The other was a two-layer gaiter, made with 87 percent polyester and 13 percent elastane, a material often called spandex or Lycra.
The researchers used a liquid salt solution and a medical nebulizer to simulate saliva and to direct the particles through a tube in the foam head with a gaiter placed over the nose and the mouth. Special instruments measured the quantity and the size of droplets that were able to sneak through the mask.
Both gaiters prevented 100 percent of very large, 20-micron droplets from splattering another foam head just 30 centimeters away. Both masks blocked 50 percent or more of one-micron aerosols. The single layer gaiter blocked only 10 percent of 0.5-micron particles, while the two-layer gaiter blocked 20 percent. Notably, when the single-layer gaiter was doubled, it blocked more than 90 percent of all particles measured. By comparison, a homemade cotton T-shirt mask, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blocked about 40 percent of the smallest particles.
Tests show wide variation in how much protection cloth masks provide. Some homemade masks perform far better than the gaiters tested in the Virginia Tech study, and some perform worse. Overall, tests of fabric masks have shown that two layers are better than one, and that a snug fitting mask with no gaps is best. Most experts agree that the average mask wearer doesn’t need medical-grade protection, and that any face covering, combined with social distancing, probably offers adequate protection for the average person against spreading or contracting the coronavirus.
“I’ve been recommending neck gaiters, and my kids wear neck gaiters,” Dr. Marr said. “There’s nothing inherent about a neck gaiter that should make it any worse than a cloth mask. It comes down to the fabric and how well it fits.”
. . ."
 
#19
If Prof. Marr thinks buffs are okay, that's good enough for me. :smile:

". . .
But rather than speculate, Dr. Marr worked with Jin Pan, a Virginia Tech graduate student who studies biological particles, to test two types of gaiters using methods similar to those required by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for testing masks.
They decided to use foam heads to test gaiters as they are worn in real life, rather than tearing up a gaiter and testing just a small piece of fabric. One gaiter was a single-layer fabric made of 100 percent polyester. The other was a two-layer gaiter, made with 87 percent polyester and 13 percent elastane, a material often called spandex or Lycra.
The researchers used a liquid salt solution and a medical nebulizer to simulate saliva and to direct the particles through a tube in the foam head with a gaiter placed over the nose and the mouth. Special instruments measured the quantity and the size of droplets that were able to sneak through the mask.
Both gaiters prevented 100 percent of very large, 20-micron droplets from splattering another foam head just 30 centimeters away. Both masks blocked 50 percent or more of one-micron aerosols. The single layer gaiter blocked only 10 percent of 0.5-micron particles, while the two-layer gaiter blocked 20 percent. Notably, when the single-layer gaiter was doubled, it blocked more than 90 percent of all particles measured. By comparison, a homemade cotton T-shirt mask, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blocked about 40 percent of the smallest particles.
Tests show wide variation in how much protection cloth masks provide. Some homemade masks perform far better than the gaiters tested in the Virginia Tech study, and some perform worse. Overall, tests of fabric masks have shown that two layers are better than one, and that a snug fitting mask with no gaps is best. Most experts agree that the average mask wearer doesn’t need medical-grade protection, and that any face covering, combined with social distancing, probably offers adequate protection for the average person against spreading or contracting the coronavirus.
“I’ve been recommending neck gaiters, and my kids wear neck gaiters,” Dr. Marr said. “There’s nothing inherent about a neck gaiter that should make it any worse than a cloth mask. It comes down to the fabric and how well it fits.”
. . ."
I like it!
 

bsskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
Even on the coldest days, I use my lightweight buffs. Fleece on my neck and face is bothersome and neoprene-ish pieces are used only on the lift ride. I believe Disney World recently banned buffs so clearly, poor Buff is taking a hit with these stories. FYI, Buff came out with a mask that has 2 straps and a filter pocket which I wear to the gym and it’s awesome.
 

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