by Holli Childs
Have you seen people walking around wearing masks that look like something out of Star Wars? When I first saw the RZ Mask, I thought of Bobba Fett. Despite the science fiction appearance, however, they have been a hot-selling item this winter. The reason? The inversion.
What is an Inversion?
This is how inversions are explained by the Salt Lake City Government home page:
Inversions occur during the winter months when normal atmospheric conditions (cool air above, warm air below) become inverted. Inversions trap a dense layer of cold air under a layer of warm air. The warm layer acts much like a lid, trapping pollutants in the cold air near the valley floor. The Wasatch Front valleys and their surrounding mountains act like a bowl, keeping this cold air in the valleys. The snow-covered valley floors reflect rather than absorb the heat from the sun, preventing the normal vertical mixing of warm and cold air. Fog exacerbates the problem, facilitating chemical reactions that create even more particles and higher pollutant concentrations. The longer the inversion lasts, the higher the levels of pollution trapped under it. The warm inversion air layer is usually displaced by a strong storm system which restores air quality to healthy levels.”
The RZ Mask is designed to filter dust and particulates out of the air that you breathe. The mask uses a carbon filter to remove smog, dust, and particulates out of the air before you breathe it in. The mask comes with a filter, plus a spare filter. Additional filters are sold separately. Each filter lasts between 20 and 50 hours depending on the quality of the air and the frequency and intensity of use. The filter was originally designed for four-wheeling and other outdoor high speed activities, but has recently made a grand entrance into the running world in Salt Lake.
Hear what other runners are saying:
“I have one & have ran in it 3x, including hill repeats. I am claustrophobic & was concerned when I first started using it (I walked the dog several times using it to get used to wearing it) I did feel a bit claustro, but it passed. Don’t notice that now. I find best way to keep in place is to Velcro at an upward angle. My ponytail keeps it in place. I suffer more than avg person in this nasty air & this mask has been a lifesaver in allowing me to exercise outdoors. I also notice breathing the warm air from within the mask I cough a lot less after a run.” – Deb
“I love the RZ Mask, it is a big relief to not breath dust and dirt on trail rides. The filters are ingenious and last for quite awhile. I especially like the fact that I can hand wash the mask and re-use numerous times. This mask is awesome for cold weather, especially if you have asthma or any type of lung issues, it helps to breath warm air when shoveling snow or on winter rides. I did notice a faint “new mask smell”, but it dissipated after the first ride. Overall, I am very satisfied with my RZ Mask.” – Sandy
You can watch our YouTube review here: RZ Mask Review
Overall, reviews have been very positive, and even if we don’t have any more bad inversion days this year, try it out while you can so you will be ready for next year! They are $29 at any of our three locations.
Learn more about running on a bad air day.
Originally Posted: February 10, 2014