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PolarWrap Exchanger initial review

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  • Mara Factor
    Here are my initial comments and observations based on the time I’ve had to look at the ExChanger Mask I received today. I expect to be able to provide
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2001
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      Here are my initial comments and observations based on the time I�ve had to
      look at the ExChanger Mask I received today. I expect to be able to provide
      comments on field testing after this weekend.

      Mara Factor

      Visual inspection

      Knowing that it was a face mask, when I took it out of the FedEX box, it
      seemed very heavy and bulky. My postal scale puts it at 4.5 oz. The
      primary material is a heavy lycra-like material which forms the primary
      balaclava. This lycra material forms a full hood and the front is long
      enough to cover your neck and tuck into other outer garments. The back is
      more form fitting and may not be long enough to tuck into a crew neck shirt
      or jacket.

      The mask gets interesting when you look at the part in the front of the
      face. The exchanger part seems to be around 7� wide and 4� high with a
      higher, formed peak in the middle for your nose. It is lined with a soft
      micro-fleece except where there is a 1 5/8 x �� rectangle through which you
      breathe. The entire 7� x 4� section is about �� thick to accommodate the
      exchanger. That�s why the mask seemed bulky at the initial observation.

      While there was a letter to the testers with use instructions, the
      accompanying material describing why the mask works did not include use
      instructions, cleaning instructions, or materials listing. Presumably this
      information would end up on a product tag attached to each unit when sold.
      The web site, www.polarwrap.com, does offer both use and limited cleaning
      instructions. I do wonder if it can be cleaned with some sort of soap or
      just rinsed with water.

      Fit

      When I finally put the mask on, I found the exchanger part to be rather
      stiff and uncomfortable. By scrunching it gently with my hands, it softened
      up a bit and wasn�t too bad.

      I, too, must have a big nose. I had to pull the mask down just a tiny bit
      to keep the mouth opening at my mouth. But, my nose was still basically
      where it needed to be in the nose pocket portion of the mask. For me
      though, I found that my nose pushed the mask away from my face and there was
      a gap of about a cm or a little more between the mask and my face.

      I also found the center seam in the nose to press uncomfortably on my nose
      but that may just be me and it may soften with time, too. A more �average�
      shaped face and nose might not encounter these types of problems.

      The mask fits quite well with ski goggles but does leave the forehead
      exposed. I also had small slits along my cheeks and the bridge of my nose
      that remained exposed.

      I did find that the stiff exchanger portion of the mask extended about an
      inch below my chin. This would cause the upper edge of the stiff part to
      jam into my nose if I looked down or yawned and then tried to close my mouth
      without holding the exchanger in place.

      While it�s tight and obviously not designed for this, I can just pull the
      hood portion down in back of my to get some cooling up top as needed. It
      does tend to pull the top edge of the mask against my nose so I will not be
      inclined to do this much.

      Design question

      By making the �output� area by the mouth into a �house� shape with the peak
      pointing up towards the nose, would you then also be able to breathe through
      your nose?


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