All respiratory masks suck. Except for this one

By Ian Chow / 2013-11-13
Source: Explorations

I’m not a man to give reviews very easily, unless it was bad… or spectacularly amazing. And this one is it, amazing. I’m talking about the Totobobo Mask, of course.

After a few years of use, it was about time I had written something more significant.

My Criterias: Light, Not hot, breathes easy, and non invasive
When I was still working in South Korea, spring time was also a time for a phenomenon called “Yellow Dust“. Fine particles of sand specs picks up from the Gobi desert, collects air pollution as it travels through China and then dumps it in Korea. This can also last throughout the summer. Needless to say, I got sick a lot during the spring. Finally, I had enough and decided to look for a good mask. My criteria was that 1) Was light 2) Not hot 3) Breathes really easily 4) Non-invasive

Climbing with Totobobo mask

Climbing with Totobobo mask

You can rock climb with it!
After searching awhile online, reading reviews, I found that most other masks were lacking in atleast one of these criterias. Some were made of neoprene, some were “good” but once the filter goes on, it’s very hard to breath, and some were just a huge thing in your face. Just as I was about to give up, I found Totobobo Mask.

They matched all my criteria.

Light
This mask is incredibly light. You can even mash it up, fold it in your pocket and carry it around with you. No harm will come to this mask.

Not hot
Despite scorching 36 degrees and 110% humidity, the mask doesn’t make it any hotter when you breath into it. Ok, a little bit, but despite that I’m a sweaty guy, (I use a sweat band that channels sweat instead of a sweat absorber in high cardio exercises in the summer) the mask doesn’t really make that much of a difference.

Breathes Easy
Yeah, as I said, I do lots of sports outdoors. And so breathing hard into this mask is no problem. The air flow doesn’t really slow down. It does a bit, but not that significant.

Non-invasive
Once I got it, I started wearing it riding my bike to work. And wouldn’t you know, I didn’t sound like someone who had been smoking for 10 years and you can see the physical debris of dirt that gets caught up in the filters. Not only do I ride my bike with it to work, I also rock climbed with it. It never got in the way.

After using it for biking and rock climbing, I had brought it to India and Nepal. Even just sitting in the rickshaws in Nepal for 20 minutes, I had realized my mask is completely filthy and needed a filter change. With good foresight, I had bought a lot of filters.

Some other cool features?

30 minutes in a can in Kathmandu, Nepal

30 minutes in a can in Kathmandu, Nepal

Filters
How good are these filters? Well, if you don’t know what N95 is, that is pretty much the standard for “The American National Standard for Air Purifying Respiratory”. This means it filters out practically every airborne pollution, which refers to 95% of the pollution. Also, I ended up getting N96 filters too!

Changeable filters, renewable everything! Less waste!
Unlike other masks where you have to throw out the entire thing and get a new one, Totobobo only throws out the filters. This produces a lot less garbage and being environmentally aware, I feel a lot less guilty doing this. To be honest, I didn’t think this was a thing I’d really like about it, but it has grown on me. Recently doing lots of construction work, I’ve been throwing out and purchasing a lot more face masks than I feel was necessary. This changed everything

In a nutshell
Get it. My lungs and health significantly got better, you can see the pollution being filtered out, it’s not invasive, not hot, light, easy to wear and reusable. There are so many pro’s about this one filter! I’m very happy with it and you should totally get one, by clicking right here!

 

Related articles:

Top features of Totobobo mask
To buy TOTOBOBO mask
How to customize TOTOBOBO mask
Nelson Labs test result of Totobobo air filter
Why do you choose Totobobo mask (2)

Using Totobobo mask in Indonesia

Using Totobobo mask in Jakarta

I bought the Totobobo mask in 2013 because I commute on a bicycle to work in Jakarta. Indonesia is known as having some of the worst air quality in the world, and when I began cycling I really began to notice congestion in my chest and a regular sore throat, although I already was using a fabric mask. Since using the Totobobo mask, both the sore throat and congestion have disappeared. I have noticed that the sore throat sometimes comes back if I continue using filters which should have been changed.

Although Totobobo was quite costly (especially when shipping costs from Singapore are included), the mask looked very good and the ability to change filters was particularly attractive. Spread across the year, the cost of my mask works out at about US$6 per month (including international shipping & replacement filters), which is actually very cheap especially when you see what gets trapped on the filters. I Purchased the headstrap classic with extra 94% filters (92% bulk pack was sold out at the time). This review is based on 5 weeks of use.

My experience using the mask has generally been excellent, and I have recommended it to many people. Using the mask is very easy. Once it’s on, it is very comfortable and I tend to forget about it. It can easily be pulled aside when necessary which I find useful as need to be able to speak in order to purchase train tickets on part of my journey. A major advantage over my previous fabric mask is that it covers the minimum of my face and the straps are simple, thin plastic. This makes the mask much more comfortable, because the fabric mask trapped heat around my face and neck like a scarf, which quickly became uncomfortable in the Jakarta heat.

Although I was worried excess moisture might get trapped in the mask, so far I have found that this is not a problem. Furthermore, if the mask gets wet through condensation or rain, it can be wiped dry easily, or it will dry itself very quickly. With the fabric mask, I sometimes had to put a cold wet mask on if it had rained in the morning and the mask hadn’t dried before home time.


Totobobo filter after using in Jakarta for 12 hours

The filters are excellent and I found the comparison colour guide on the replacement filter packaging a very handy feature, making it simple to know when to change the filter. Changing the filter can be done in under a minute, and is very easy. In my experience in Jakarta, I need to change the filters after about 12 hours of cycling time (see photo). It’s quite alarming to see what the filters collect, that would have otherwise been in my lungs.

I think it looks a lot nicer than many of the other alternatives on the market, and many people in the street have been curious about the mask, even though wearing masks is very common in Jakarta. The clear plastic means you can easily see when the mask needs a clean. The mask packs down pretty small, and is durable, so I can easily stuff it in a pocket or in my rucksack when I’m not on the bike.

I still find it quite difficult to get a complete seal, because my nose is quite narrow and it is difficult to get the mask to seal where the nose joins the face (although watching the fitting video improved the fit a lot). However, I think that even the partial seal is sufficient to cut out most of the pollution. I’m reluctant to start cutting the mask in case I make the problem worse.

My strap snapped after 4 weeks of use, which was frustrating as I didn’t order a spare with the original shipment and the cost of ordering one now would be about US$30 (including shipping). Fortunately, the strap can easily be tied back together and I have continued to use the mask without problems.

Overall I would (and have) recommended it to anyone cycling in an urban area. I think it is an excellent product.
thanks Totobobo
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PS. I also think the website is really good and constantly improving. the videos showing how to do everything are great. Although the instructions that come with the mask are adequate, I watched the video and it helped me to improve the fit of the mask

Price of Totobobo mask to be adjusted in December

We have been holding back the price increase since the beginning of 2013, but due to the increasing labour and business cost in Singapore, we decided it is necessary to adjust the price of our final products. New price will see a 20~35% increases depends on product type. However, for now until the end of November, you can still purchase Totobobo mask at the current price.

(For more information about labour cost increase in Singapore and it’s impact : http://www.straitstimes.com/the-big-story/budget-2013/story/companies-venture-abroad-survive-20130204)