Face masks have been a very important part of my overall fishing arsenal for about 10 years now. I can still remember the very first time I wore a sun-protective mask. I was on a guided trip for tarpon in the Everglades and decided to try one for both the sun and bug protection. For the first couple of hours, I still remember feeling slightly uneasy wearing this new "thing" on my face. It wasn't really uncomfortable, but it was just a feeling I wasn't used to. At the end of the day, however, I had become accustomed to the feel and thought nothing of it. It's simply one of those garments some people (like me) just have to warm up to.
I have a small collection of masks in my closet from three or four different manufacturers, yet I'm always looking for cool new variations. Like hats, face masks are just fun to own and I enjoy having a bunch of different types on hand. With that said, when I saw an ad from SA Company advertising a too-good-to-pass-up price on their Tubular Bandana Face Shields, I immediately headed to their site and placed an order!
Material: 100% polyester microfiber
Weight: 1.3 ounces
Size: 10.5 x 20.5 inches
Protection Rating: SPF 40
Price: $19.99** (see "conclusion" below!)
These are very simplistic garments with no associated "fluff" or marketing babble. The 100% polyester microfiber material features modest SPF-40 protection, stain-resistance, and is a seamless design for no discomfort against your skin. The five designs I ordered are vibrant, attractive, and look pretty dang cool. The top and bottom ends don't feature any built-in borders or added reinforcement, so the material here can curl inward a bit on its own. Aside from the cut of these top and bottom ends being slightly unrefined upon ultra-close inspection (basically a non-issue), there's no big craftsmanship problems to mention.
Four out of my five face shields fit nicely, but the one with the USA flag theme is uncomfortably tight. For some reason, the cut seems slightly narrower and therefore isn't very pleasant to wear. It also doesn't help that I have somewhat of a big head, so it may be a good fit for someone else.
The other better-fitting shields are just as I expected. The material is pretty soft (but not quite as nice as other more expensive masks I have), stretchy, stays relatively cool, and feels good against the skin. If you have any facial hair as I do, these (like all masks I've tried) can make you itch a bit from time to time—a very minor thing and something that's easily lived with. Although the material breathes well, masks such as these with no built-in mouth holes can also sometimes cause your sunglasses to fog up, so keep that in mind.
SA Company boasts that there's over 10 ways to wear these tubular shields, but I typically wear them one of two ways: covering up my entire face for maximum sun and bug protection, or under my chin if I want to get some added breeze on my face. They are built quite long and effectively cover the face and neck if worn as I do. Since there's no special shape or contour to the ends, the bottom end can sometimes pop out of the shirt collar and expose a sliver of skin between the shirt collar and shield. Of course, this also greatly depends on the design of the shirt collar as well.
As shown above, one way I've helped get around this is to cut a few inches up on each side on one end. This basically makes a couple of flaps that allow it to tuck more deeply down into the shirt collar and not pop out as easily. I did this several years ago to a Columbia face shield I own and its worked well over the long run. The material seems to hold pretty well after cutting, but to be on the safe side, I'm still careful not to harshly stretch or pull the material around the cuts so as not to rip the material any further.
SA Company's Tubular Bandana Face Shields are machine-washable but should not be ironed. All masks tout a lifetime warranty for additional peace-of-mind. These face shields are simple, look sweet, and get the job done at a reasonable (or in my case, outstanding price. Just how outstanding? Using a promo code I found online, I was able to nab my five shields for just over $20 shipped. That's a pretty awesome deal that I'm not sure can be beat! Check out their website for more info, and be on the lookout for promo codes on the site or through their various banner ads online.
SA Company Tubular Bandana Face Shields