From the dead of winter to the height of summer, sun protection is something that must always be on an angler's mind. In particular, your face and neck are two body parts that can really take a beating from the sun's direct rays as well as reflection off the water's surface. In my younger years, it would be common for me to come home with the dreaded "sunglasses outline" or a red border around my neckline where I missed applying sunscreen. What better way to avoid these unsightly occurrences than to simply cover up?
You've heard me say it before, but I love wearing sun masks. It can feel kind of strange at first, but once you get used to wearing one, the convenience and protection is addicting. The selection of these items continues to grow every year, with new patterns and styles constantly being introduced. This time around, we take a look at masks from a company called Aqua Design which is one I hadn't heard of before.
While Aqua Design offers a large selection of different products, they sent me three of their Camo Tube masks for review because they are designed with anglers in mind.
As the name implies, each one is a long, tubular design measuring about 19 inches in length. Standard features include AquaPoly Microtwist fabric (85% polyester / 15% spandex) with 4-way stretch, UPF 50+ protection, and flat lock seams.
Each mask sports Aqua Design's proprietary Skyward 3D print camo. Designed using actual underwater photographs, they are said to mimic what a fish would see as it looks up at the sky through the water. Available in versions for both women and men, there's several color schemes to help you blend in with various sky conditions or backgrounds. Above, our testers included (bottom to top) Pacific Sand, Aqua Sky, and Black Water.
Image by Aqua Design
A unique aspect of these masks is that they come in five different sizes ranging from XS to XL. While the lengths of my M, L, and XL testers remains the same, each step up in size offers a slightly larger diameter to accommodate all kinds of head sizes, hat thicknesses, hair styles, etc.
I found these masks to be quite good. They feel slightly more substantial than some other masks do, but the material is super smooth and very comfortable. The inside of the masks are so smooth that they don't grip onto some of my hats as well as other masks do and thus have a tendency to slip down easier, but I solve that by just wearing them a little higher in the back than usual. Thankfully, the material is satisfyingly cool to wear even on days that hovered around a hot and sticky 90 degrees.
The top and bottom of each mask has a thin border stitched-in which seems to help prevent the ends from chafing or curling too badly — a constant problem on border-less masks. Otherwise, there is just one other larger stitched seam running down the entire length of the mask, but that'll be on the backside of your head when the mask is worn properly.
The long length of these masks doesn't really equal added neck or shoulder protection because the material basically just bunches up at the base of the neck. If you're wearing a shirt with a standard or low neckline, all tubular masks such as these with no taper or contour on the ends can leave little slivers of skin exposed, especially when you're moving around.
The trick I always do is to take the bottom of the mask and cut up several inches on each side. This basically forms a front and back flap which can tuck deep down past a shirt collar and stay there. Since these masks are quite long, I was able to cut longer flaps which stay tucked-in extremely well! I really like this because they rarely if ever pop out which means very few annoying readjustments.
So far I'm really liking these masks and I've had no issues durability-wise through the last couple months of wear. Priced at $15.95 to $19.95, they offer a good value for the comfort and solid quality they offer. Check them out at the link below...
Aqua Design Camo Tube Masks