Review – Skotti USA – Filter scarf / pollution mask

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Skotti USA – Filter scarf/ pollution mask

Cycling to work is one of my great pleasures, I find myself seeing the natural beauty of even the dampest, coldest, days as I pass lines of exasperated, stationary drivers. Arriving at work early, feeling attentive and enthused; having caused no ill effect to the planet in my daily journey I revel at my dual purpose commute and exercise. This is a healthy lifestyle choice, but I often find my throat sore after a ride through the congested city streets. Pollution from vehicle emissions and power plants, street dust, and foul odors are frequently encountered by urban cyclists and pedestrians. These irritants can cause symptoms ranging from a sore throat to severe allergic reactions, or simply turn your commute into an unpleasant one the next time you are downwind from a belching diesel.

pollution mask from in use

Skotti scarf in use. pollution mask with style

Tourists wearing cheap face-mask air filters/pollution masks are seen as they gather around the city sights, but rarely have I witnessed a cyclist wearing something similar. Having tried the available options the reason is clear. The masks are bulky, hot, and uncomfortable. Sliding down as you begin to warm-up, these masks are quickly discarded as a nuisance which removes the joy from our favorite pastime.

USA based company Skotti was founded to give people another option when choosing to protect themselves from airborne irritants. Rather than a bulky uncomfortable pollution mask, they designed a technical piece of apparel with similar quality build and materials to that of big brand cycle clothing manufacturers. Skotti technical scarves are designed and sewn in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, a hub of technical apparel innovation. With years of experience in the biomedical industry, founder Chris Barklow invented the patent-pending scarf to fill a gap in the market by combining the health benefits of a face mask with high-end sportswear.

pollution mask example Skotti USA

pollution mask example Skotti USA

The neck gaiter or tube scarf is something that most cyclists own and wear on a regular basis. Skotti introduces to this, a barely noticeable 100% activated carbon cloth (ACC) filter which has a high microporosity to absorb chemicals and odors in the air. The mask can be used as a dust mask with the filter removed from the internal pocket and comes packaged with an ultra-light plastic frame to keep the scarf away from the mouths of the faster cyclists among us, or for use on your motorbike with the classic California style open face helmet. As an added benefit, the Skotti scarf uses no annoying ear loops or attachments to tangle in your helmet or hair.

The materials used to construct the Skotti are excellent quality and wouldn’t look out of place paired with your favorite Assos, Castelli, or other high-end cycle clothing. Stitched using a 5 thread system for durability the scarf fits well, stays in place and is extremely stretchy. Read more here. There is an adjustable nose clip hidden inside to keep the scarf located well on all shaped faces. Available in 3 sizes based on your head circumference or helmet size, my size small fitted my 57cm head just as the fit guide said it would. There are even 5 colors to choose from in 3 different thicknesses depending on your local temperature (silk weight, light or mid). My lightweight Legion blue sample would suit down to all but the coldest of bicycle rides but the motorcycle fans may wish to opt for the thicker version due to the higher speeds involved.

pollution mask Skotti filter scarf

pollution mask is now apparel

When paired with my Oakleys glasses the Skotti Scarf stayed in place extremely well, I was surprised to find it in place even after an uphill sprint. The stretch knit fabric kept the scarf just where it was needed, also held in place by the hidden metal nose clip. Moving the scarf up and down is technically a one-handed affair but two hands are needed to really get it positioned correctly if you use the plastic insert. When breathing particularly heavily the mask’s internal pocket is pulled toward the mouth which does not affect the use but takes some getting used to, breathing through the nose (as cyclists should) or inserting the plastic frame (this will prevent the mask from being pulled toward the mouth) is the way to get the best from your Skotti. With the Skotti pollution mask firmly in position, my glasses stayed steam free for a large portion of the test ride, only beginning to steam when a large hill was attacked. In this instance I would usually drop the mask down until the worst is over, popping it back over my nose when the ground flattens out.

For those who wish protection to cope with the nuisances of our worsening air quality, the Skotti is the choice of the tech savvy and fashion conscious alike. No other product meshes such quality construction with the same level of functionality. My Skotti has vaulted to the top of my bike kit-list and will stay there whether commuting, road riding or just walking through town when the air is less than desirable. The Skotti costs $49 for the silk or lightweight and there is the option of a heather gray, mid-weight version at $59. It ships with 2 carbon filters, 1 removable filter frame, nose shield and the scarf itself. Spare filters are available to order in pairs for $19. All items are packaged responsibly in reusable product packaging and 100% recycled shipping materials. Vist the shop before 3rd June to receive 15% off with code “BikeMay”

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