Tool Review #1 - Base Camp Dust Masks
Disclosure - BASE CAMP provided the products discussed below to me for review. In no way have I been paid additionally for the opinions provided below. These are all my words and opinions.
As Woodworkers and Makers we all know the importance of safety in the shop. Norm Abrams stressed this in every single video I ever watched with my dad on a boring Saturday afternoon when the day's project had been completed. But, I find myself as I'm sure you do drifting at times from the protocols you're supposed to follow and squinting while making a cut without safety glasses or holding your breath while sanding without a mask on. Most of the time due to comfort, rushing to get something done or just sheer laziness. No one likes wearing a mask all day especially in these times we live in, but saw dust has been proven a horrible heath hazard and needs to be taken more seriously.
Most of the masks I've purchased in the past were your standard hardware supplier dust masks. Usually disposable and very uncomfortable! These ended up hanging near my tools and not getting much use. As well, I had purchased some online marketer style masks which were a much better fit, a little more comfortable but got dingy and worn out very quickly as they were cheaply made. Finally the mask I probably used the most was my good old fashioned respirator mask. This unit always offered the best filtration with standard charcoal filters, but was highly uncomfortable as it was heavy and I always felt like Darth Vader having it on about to fight my son…..OK stop nerding out!
In comes BASE CAMP M Plus Dust Face Mask with Extra Activated Carbon Filters. I was contacted by a company representative on Instagram and was asked if I would give them a try if they sent me a sample pack. The mask kit provided was a dual mask unit with six extra carbon filters. The packaging of the masks was simple and resealable for storage of the additional items not needed at first. Additionally, a small instruction booklet was provided which was nice to explain the use of the additional optional support band.
I instantly put the masks to use as my old one was ready for the trash! Upon first wearing the mask I could tell it was better made and it seemed to fit my face more ergonomic than previous versions I tried. The ear hoops are almost unnecessary as the neck strap is able to be velcroed tight enough to keep the mask on your face as you use it, but they help keep the mask in place over the course of the day. The nose support is easily adjusted by simply pinching the flexible plastic to your nose shape, which helps in comfort and to minimize the air flow out of the mask causing your safety glasses to fog. I would love to tell you this mask prevents that completely, but that would be a lie. The fit and adjustments minimized safety glass fog, but does not completely prevent it… Sorry!
After a few days of use I found myself wearing the mask much more than I had done in the past. The mask doesn't cause any ear or face fatigue nor does it cause any neck discomfort from the rear strap as other masks have caused me in the past. I also noticed it had become part of my shop routine….
Shop Apron - Check!
Safety Glasses- Check!
BASE CAMP Mask - Check!
Woodworking Fun - Double Check!
After about a solid month and a half of use in the heart of the Christmas cutting board rush I noticed the filter getting pretty gunked up. So I quickly popped out the two air respirators in the mask, grabbed an extra filter, chucked it in and replaced the respirators. The mask was as good as new, and smelled good again too!
All in all this is a solid well made product in my humble opinion. It seems to hold up very well to the wear and tear of the shop, it is priced very reasonably, and most importantly it does it’s job which is all you can ask from a shop mask. Below you will find a link to BASE CAMP’s site where they are presently offering the kit I mentioned above for $29.90. I hope you found the review helpful, and get a pair for yourself! If you have the time please sign up for the newsletter below as well. Finally, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.