I've deployed to Iraq for five years between 2003-2010 and Afghanistan from 2013-present and as a former U.S. Army soldier and current Defense Department contractor. Maintaining a high fitness level in deployed environments is very important as physical and mental stressors are numerous and constant. I retired from the Army after 22 years and I always choose to ship and ride a mountain bike for fitness to save wear and tear on a set of knees that have seen many miles and years of use and abuse. Three years in Iraq without filtration during constant dusty conditions and severe dust storms motivated me to find a solution to protect the set of lungs I was born with and hope to keep.
A contract gig I had prior to deployment to Afghanistan required research of dust conditions and composition to support air filtration system decisions for airborne platforms which required long term exposure. Main lesson was the dust in Afghanistan is a calcite/silica composition that is microscopically sharp-edged and detrimental to lung tissue during long-term exposure.
Researching air filter options for riding while deployed led to the discovery of the RZ Mask design which looked to be the solution. And a very good solution for sure! I ride a MTB 40-100 miles each week and wear my RZ Mask every time. The design and fit and price are one of the best investments I've made and I spend quite a few dollars on fitness equipment and protective gear.
The first RZ Mask I purchased endured 16 months of riding use, filter changes, and deployment/redeployment shipping. For my current deployment I purchased two more RZ Masks and extra filters with no degradation of any component on the first one used. I change filters after 8-10 weeks of use and NEVER have an issue with filter degradation due to moisture from sweat or breath condensation.
I'm very impressed with the RZ Mask design and function and would recommend these units to anyone needing a low cost, yet highly functional personal air filter device. Apologies for the long story but details driving the need for an RZ Mask device are key.
Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan