Mystery Ranch Street Mask Review

Mystery Ranch Street Mask review

A lot of backpacking gear companies are making masks these days, but I like the Mystery Ranch Street Mask the best because it has a head strap like a surgical mask and not just ear loops, so you get a tighter, more secure fit. One end of the head strap runs around your neck which the other can be secured on top of your head to behind it and tightened with a cord lock. Pulling the mask tight also seals the sides against your face providing more protection for you and everyone you come in contact with because it blocks airflow in and out of the mask.

Specs at a Glance

  • Exterior: Dri-Lex Starlight 1033 fabric
  • Liner: Dri-Lex Dri-Belle fabric
  • TPU extruded stretch headband
  • 3D bendable nose piece
When you tighten the mask loop it pulls the sides more closely against your face
When you tighten the mask loop it pulls the sides more closely against your face

The Mystery Ranch Street Mask is a two-layer mask, as recommended by the CDC, with a shapeable nose wire, so it creates a better seal around your nose that also helps prevent fogging if you wear glasses. It is conically shaped making it more comfortable to wear for an extended time period, rather than flat or pleated masks, and is even compatible with short beards.

Interior View: The mask has two fabric layers and a TPU strap that is adjusted with a cord lock. When you tighten the strap the side of the mask are pulled flush with the sides of your face for increased protection, unlike ear loops which are much looser.
Interior View: The mask has two fabric layers, a bendable nose wire and a TPU strap that is adjusted with a cord lock. When you tighten the strap the sides of the mask are pulled flush with the sides of your face for increased protection, unlike earloop masks which are much looser.

The Street Mask is available in two sizes, a small and a large, and costs $16, which isn’t bad considering how robust and durable they are. In fact, I like the Mystery Ranch Street Mask so much that I bought 20 of them and shipped them to friends and family around the country.

Laundering the Street Mask

The Street Mask is quite durably built like everything Mystery Ranch makes, and the claim is that they can go through many laundry cycles. That’s true, with one caveat. While we’ve experienced very little shrinkage of the mask fabric, the TPU strap can melt if your drier is too hot. Mystery Ranch does not warrant the product against this issue, and they won’t replace the strap or send you a free replacement, which I found pretty disappointing from a brand that’s usually good about such things.

The workaround is to wash the masks (with soap) in the washing machine or by hand since exposure to soap destroys the Covid19 virus molecule. Instead of running the masks through the drier which would be my preference, we just hang them up to dry outside. They’re still very good masks, and remarkably bomb-proof, so this is an extra step that we’re willing to take to keep using them. Here’s a link to the CDC’s recommendations for washing and drying masks. 

Sizing

The Street Mask is available in small and large sizes. The small size fits people with smaller faces, like my teenage niece and my mother-in-law, while the large size fits adults with larger faces and heads, and even a modest amount of facial hair. A medium-size is not available, but it probably should be. See the Mystery Ranch website for fitting instructions and sizing details.

How to Enhance Mask Effectiveness

The primary purpose of wearing a mask is to minimize the transmission of virus molecules that you exhale if you have the virus or are an asymptomatic carrier. But they provide limited protection to the wearer unless the edges of the mask are sealed tightly around your face.

You can enhance the effectiveness of any mask by covering it with a strip of panthose to seal the edges shut

You can increase their self-protective effectiveness from about 30% to 50%, by wearing a strip of pantyhose over the mask to tightly seal the edges around your face. You can read about a study that demonstrated this that was reported on by Fox News and NPR. My wife and I do this whenever we go food shopping, which is pretty much the only time when we can’t social distance as much as we’d like.

Availability

Mystery Ranch sells through its inventory of Street Masks very quickly whenever a new batch becomes available. However, they refill their inventory continuously so you won’t have to wait long if they’re sold out when you visit their site. Leave your email address and you’ll be notified when they restock their inventory.

Questions and Comments – Please Read

If you’d like to ask a question about the Mystery Ranch Street Mask or how best to use it, please leave a comment below.

If you are opposed to mask-wearing, please don’t leave a comment about it.  I have an 86-year old mother who hasn’t stepped out of her apartment for 3 months as a precaution against catching COVID19 and is likely to remain imprisoned there until a vaccine is available. Needless to say, I’m adamantly pro-mask for her sake and the rest of my friends and family.

Disclosure: The author purchased these products.

Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.

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10 comments

  1. How would you rank it in its ability to avoid glasses fogging? Nose wires help, as you say, but I haven’t yet found one that keeps all the fog off.

    • I have never had a problem with glasses fogging using them. Ever. That could be the nose wire, but I don’t know if its 100% responsible for the lack of fogging. There are a few simple tricks you can use to prevent glasses from fogging up though.
      1) Dilute baby shampoo with water and rub it on your glasses. Let it dry.
      2) buy some cat crap and rub it on the lenses to coat them.
      https://www.walmart.com/ip/Anti-Fog-Lens-Cleaner-Spray-On-0-5Oz-Cat-Crap/193591085
      3) (more extreme) buy a pair of ski or paintball goggles with a built-in exhaust fan. These can be are surprisingly inexpensive. :-)

      • It can also be helpful to place a piece of medical tape on the bridge of your nose over the mask. This will block airflow quite effectively and prevent fogging

      • Thanks! Been thinking about ventilated prescription goggles for biking and hiking. This is a good variable to add to the decision.

  2. I’m also a big proponent of masks. It is like wearing a seat belt in your car. It may not always be enough, but it is so easy to do. My mother sewed masks of various sizes and patterns for everyone in our family. One request: Those people using disposable masks and gloves, please put them in plastic bags and then in the trash. I often pick up litter I find on trails, and in parking lots but I’m not willing to pick up other people’s masks and gloves, which I now see everywhere.

    • Shampoo, soap, shaving cream may be a bad idea because it could affect the coating (UV, anti reflective) on the lenses. Talk to your optician. Go on YouTube and you will find some alternative. The one I’m using is to twist the ear loops. The strap from the top goes to the bottom of the ear while the strap from the bottom of the mark goes to the top of the ear. I am using a surgical true made with elastic ear loops and metal in the bridge.

  3. For picking trash up on the trails I carry doggie bags. No issue with picking up whatever I find as there is no need to touch the stuff.

  4. Hello,

    Thanks for this recommendation. Reviews at the website say that the large is huge. Do you wear the large or small size?

    • I wear the large. It fits fine and I have a pretty small head. Note how it covers my chin. That’s by design.

  5. Bought a couple as it’s hard to find well made and good fitting mask right now and section hiker hasn’t let me down on finding good gear to date. I would say this is definitely one of the better masks out there. I have two issues; one is that the interior fabric can pull away from the front material and can give a bit of suffocating type feel; with a little fiddling you can reposition til it feels right or just get used to it. Other issue is that it puts more pressure on my nose bridge than I’d like but the ergonomic fit is really good. Both of these items arnt deal breakers just minor annoyances. Note that I got the small and I’d say I have avergish size face and the fit is good. Measure your face with flexible tape and compare to sizing for best results.

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