When the scientific community made it clear that masks are the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many of us discovered that we already owned one: a neck gaiter. Despite confusion over their effectiveness — which scientists proved to be quite sufficient — Buff, one of the most widely known makers of gaiters, set out to make its neck tubes as successful at containment as possible.
One of the primary takeaways from a recent study redeeming gaiters is that the number and quality of layers in a mask plays a more significant role than its shape (the CDC advises two or more layers; the WHO says three). It's no surprise, then, that Buff's latest innovation is a multi-layered gaiter.
Specifically, Buff's recently released Filter Tube includes a slot for a new proprietary filter. It's sized to cover your nose and mouth and blocks bacteria with 98 percent filtration efficiency. It has three layers, with two water-repellent — this is an important trait — outer sheets sandwiching a nanofiber one between them, without glue or latex. The pocket that holds it in place is a lightweight mesh treated to prevent bacteria and germ buildup.
Gaiters have become popular face coverings because, without ear loops or string ties, they're convenient (and with colder months ahead, their warmth will become a factor too). Buff's Filter Tube adds an extra layer (or three) of protection. And if you're looking for a mask to wear for long periods without it slipping down, Buff also now makes such a product, and it includes the same filters.
Everything You Need to Know About Face Masks
So far this year we've gone from scrambling for face masks to being overwhelmed with options. To make things a little easier, we're compiling our roundups of the best masks and where to get them right here.