Andy Westlake reviews a must-have photographic accessory for 2020
f-stop Gear Dyota Ag+ Ion Mask: At a glance:
- Non-medical face mask
- Triple-layer construction
- Available in four colours
- Adult, child and infant sizes available
Six months ago, it wouldn’t have occurred to me that I might find myself reviewing a face mask. But the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has turned everything on its head, severely restricting our activities and leaving us chomping at the bit to get out again. When lockdown is finally fully lifted, we should probably all be wearing something like this, not only on public transport, but also in any busy, confined spaces.
Like many things to do with coronavirus, the messaging around wearing masks has been confusing. We’re told that only special medical masks fully protect the wearer from infection, and that these must be reserved for use by medics and carers. This is true, but it’s answering the wrong question. I first encountered public mask-wearing on a trip to Japan, and quickly learned that it’s not about self-protection. Instead, the wearer is the one who’s sick, and shielding others from their germs. It’s an altruistic act for the good of society.
To understand how masks might be effective, we need to know how coronavirus is transmitted from one person to the next. Essentially, it hitches a ride on the tiny droplets of water that we produce when we speak, cough or sneeze, in order to spread through the air to its next host. Masks should therefore help reduce its spread by catching these droplets, effectively curtailing its freedom of movement.
One of the virus’s most dangerous characteristics is that infected people can spread it readily before they show any symptoms. So masks can only be effective at limiting its transmission if everyone wears them, whether they think they’re ill or not. Masks won’t be enough to stop the pandemic on their own, but they’re potentially one of the most practical ways that ordinary citizens can help control the virus. They don’t even have to be 100% effective, as long they substantially reduce the airborne viral load. Of course we’re not used to wearing masks, and may be worried about looking silly in public. But on balance, that’s probably better than being unwittingly responsible for someone else’s death.
f-stop Gear Dyota Ag+ Ion Mask: Key features
- Triple-layer construction: The water-repellent polyester outer covers a dense non-woven filter layer, which in turn is backed by a silver ion-treated soft liner
- Washable: The mask can be kept clean and fresh by hand washing with mild soap, and should withstand this at least 45 times
- Ear loops: On the latest batches, these are made of black elastic and incorporate length adjusters
- Colours: You can choose between grey, orange, purple and black outer fabrics
- Bactericidal treatment: The outer layer is treated with a quaternary ammonium salt, while the lining employs DuPont Silvadur. These won’t necessarily do anything to kill the Covid-19 virus, they’re still very welcome for an item that’s in close contact with your nose and mouth.
f-stop Gear Dyota Ag+ Ion Mask: Verdict
So what about the F-Stop Dyota mask? I’ve used it both for exercise and shopping, and thanks to its sculpted design, smooth woven lining and soft nose bridge, have found it to be comfortable to wear for long periods.It’s clearly effective at blocking exhaled moisture, as I periodically have to de-mist my glasses. If wearing one is the price for getting back to normal again, I don’t really care how it looks.