It was about a year ago after reviewing a foam-lined cold weather head sock that a reader reached out and recommended that I try out a protective face shield. In my review I had complained that while it helped to retain some heat, the constant onslaught of chilled wind and rain was just too much for a soft, felt head sock. A face shield, he proposed, was the best thing to block cold wind and rain while retaining breathability and comfort. Admittedly, I didn’t give it much thought afterwards until one Fall day when I was caught on the lake by a sudden northern rain storm that dropped both the temperature and sheets of rain.
While a few small outfits were making single-piece face shields, I was tempted by the two-piece, detachable design marketed to motorsports and enthusiasts and, conspicuously enough, fabricators alike. Listed solely as “Safety Face Shield Mask Goggles Kits Anti Dust Mouth Filter Work Eye Protection” on eBay and all over Google, this face shield has no official brand name or even a catchy label – meaning one thing: these were Chinese made knock-offs of something else. So if you’re interested in learning more about these, you’re either going to have to Google the exact sentence I just wrote, or click one of the hyperlinks I’ve highlighted.
The two-piece system is attached using a quartet of plastic hooks on the face mask that attach to the flexible TPU frame of the goggles. The unisex goggle frame fits all adults thanks to a non-slip, wide adjustable elastic band, and can be ordered in either black, white, red, or blue. Equally, the UV-resistant, PC lenses are available in silver, yellow, grey, clear, or a prismatic rainbow. And yes, the goggles can be worn separately without the mask at any time. The contact surface of the goggles is comfortable too, allowing your skin to breathe without fogging up the lens. After a month of testing, the goggles’ lenses are not easily removed and replaced, so be warned.
The mask itself is pliable but nowhere near as flexible as the goggles. It sits far enough to not make contact with your nose, but wraps closely enough to feel enclosed (but not claustrophobic). The front mouth piece features a high-density sponge with great ventilation, all while performing its job as a breathable filter keeping out most splashes and raindrops. Two bilateral “blowhole” vents at the cheeks provide better air permeability too. With masks like these, air ventilation at speed isn’t an issue (as air is forced through the vents) but while standing still, and thankfully, breathing while stationary is just as comfortable.
Although the mask is listed as a good face shield for laboratory, carpentry or otherwise, it does not provide the necessary filtration for activities using toxic chemicals like painting, stripping, or otherwise. Therefore, I strongly recommend using it strictly for outdoor sports like motorcycling, PWC, snowmobile, airsoft, skiing and the like. My use of the protective face mask was primarily for use in cold weather, so it was always used with a soft felt-lined head sock. This kept ice from collection around the mouth and nose, as well as moisture from chilling my ears.
In all, this two-piece protective face mask-and-goggle combination has been an ideal addition to my foul weather gear. I know I’ll be packing it along year-round when I go on trips where the threat of rain is also eminent as well. If anything, the extra set of goggles are always welcomed. Priced at a ludicrously low sum of $11.59, it’s worth buying just as a backup. Again, these lenses aren’t as nice as you’d expect from superior American-made goggle companies, but the utility makes up for the cost of admission.