Bioscarf: The Prepper’s “Gray Man” N-95 Mask You Can Take Anywhere
Product Review: Bioscarf by Petrichor SA, LLC
by Melonie Kennedy
4.5 of 5 stars
As a person with chemical sensitivities and minor pollen allergies, currently living in an area with frequent dust storms and wildfires, I was very excited to give the Bioscarf (www.Bioscarf.com) a test run.
What is the Bioscarf?
This lightweight synthetic fleece scarf is designed to filter out more than 99% of all airborne particulates (over 0.1 microns in size). The scarf contains a built-in particulate filter, which is sewn right in between the two sides of fleece material.
According to the manufacturer, the Bioscarf will help wearers address multiple airborne concerns. They state that the scarf protects against:
- air pollution (such as smog, smoke, and airborne chemical pollutants)
- germs and bacteria (such as cold, flu, and even tuberculosis and pneumonia)
- allergens (such as pet dander and pollen)
It protects one from all this while keeping the wearer looking fashionable. Basically, having a Bioscarf is similar to having an N95 mask – but way more “gray man” and less obtrusive.
What is the Bioscarf like to wear?
Speaking of N95 masks, based on their material, I must confess I expected the Bioscarf to be crinkly, hard to wear, and abrasive on my skin. I worried that the filtration fabric sewn into the scarf would make it stiff or crinkly, but it absolutely did not. Win!
As someone who prefers natural fibers and has a dislike of synthetic fleece due to bad experiences with scratchy pullovers and static that makes my hair stand on end, I was truly thrilled to pull the Bioscarf out of the package and have a lightweight, non-itchy fabric with a very nice drape to it.
Then I realized I was holding a black scarf while surrounded by pet hair from a yellow and white dog. Eek! Shockingly, very little dog hair has attached itself to the Bioscarf, which makes me wonder if there’s a magic coating on this product as well – there are very few fabrics out there that aren’t a magnet for little white hairs.
Best of all, the Bioscarf didn’t give off any kind of chemical smells that I normally have to deal with when breaking in a new synthetic, nor did the packaging the scarf was shipped in give off anything that irritated my senses.
It’s good in various kinds of weather.
Because I live in southern Arizona, I’m dealing with a marked lack of humidity, particularly in winter. I’m quite accustomed to being shocked when I turn on light switches and having my clothes turn a ponytail into a “poofy tail”. I was able to wear my Bioscarf both wrapped around my neck under a vest and slung over my shoulders on top of a synthetic fleece jacket, and while it wasn’t always static-free, I was surprised at how little static I dealt with.
The Bioscarf performed as well as a silk scarf I normally wear and was significantly warmer on windy days due to the solid construction versus the loosely woven silk scarf. While out and about, I benefited not only from protection during flu season, but the biting wind that will take my breath away just trying to get from place to place.
You can wear the Bioscarf in many different ways.
I’m no fashion plate, but as a knitter, I do enjoy playing around with different stylings for scarves and shawls. The Bioscarf website provided a few videos with styling suggestions to get me started, but the sky is the limit, particularly because this scarf is LONG.
The whole point of the Bioscarf is to make sure you have adequate coverage of the mouth and nose when in an environment where you want to have protection, so being able to wrap it multiple ways is a must.
An additional benefit to such a long scarf was apparent to me as a mother: I’ve been caught outside in haboobs (dust storms) several times and this scarf is long enough that I could have taken an end and given the other end to my child as we tried to get to shelter.
I can also foresee this longer scarf being useful in a vehicle should we have to evacuate our home during wildfire season – it will reach across from the driver to passenger in my full-size pickup truck if need be.
Here’s what I didn’t like about it.
Lest you think the Bioscarf was all roses and rainbows, I’ll tell you what I did NOT like about it.
As mentioned above, I much prefer natural fibers and would love to see the Bioscarf available in lighter weights and non-synthetic material. This wish is twofold: it would be more enjoyable for those of us who prefer not to use synthetics and would work way better in warmer climates and seasons.
Here in the Southwestern USA, it is not uncommon to have a linen, cotton, or poly blend scarf or shawl wrapped about one’s shoulders or tied to a bag as a fashionable accessory that comes in handy when moving from triple digits to frigid indoor air conditioning.
Can you imagine how unpleasant it would be to have fleece wrapped around your neck when it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade? I don’t even want to think about how awful that would have been when I lived on a subtropical island with high humidity, even though we very much needed good protection like the Bioscarf due to coral dust, pollen, and automobile exhaust.
Additionally, a spring/summer Bioscarf in lighter materials would blend right in with the general population’s garb in hot areas, which keeps the prepared person a better shade of “gray man” and helps those we are trying to lead into preparedness get their bearings one attractive scarf at a time.
The other thing I disliked about the Bioscarf was the large plastic (maybe silicone?) logo pieces sewn onto each end of the scarf. It seems like they are there to provide some weight and keep the ends of the scarf from blowing around if you have it knotted more loosely around your neck, but they are hard to work with if you enjoy tying your scarves in a lot of different styles, and they are not very attractive. The one upside is that, in my case, they were the same color as the scarf itself so they blended in a bit, rather than totally outing the scarf as a preparedness tool.
If I had the opportunity to change them out, I’d ask for a heavyweight embroidered logo. It would still give a nice weight to the ends of the scarf and let wearers share the company’s information when they want to, while keeping things less obtrusive and obstructive.
All in all, I loved it.
Even with those caveats (which knocked a mere half a star off my rating), I love my Bioscarf and will continue to wear it when seasonally appropriate. Here in the desert, the nights can be quite chilly even in spring and fall, so I hope to have many opportunities to test it further.
Bioscarf offers their scarf in three solid colors (black, white, and green) as well as camo; they also offer a Biogaiter in black and camo. Several of these are on my gift buying list for family members for 2019, particularly individuals with medical needs who really need to keep germs and winter air pollution at bay.
Also, Bioscarf donates their product to people at risk from poor air quality and air pollution-related illnesses through their “Plus One” program. It’s nice to know that my purchases will serve others outside my immediate community.
With an MSRP of $44.99 (USD) for the scarf and $34.99 (USD) for the gaiter, that’s a very fair investment for a super handy piece of personal protection equipment that looks good and appears to be well made. I will be waiting rather desperately for a version that will work well for those summer dust storms and will snatch some right up if Bioscarf chooses to offer them!
I received one (1) free Bioscarf product for review purposes. No financial compensation was received from Bioscarf or The Organic Prepper/Daisy Luther. All opinions expressed are my own.
Melonie Kennedy is a military wife and homeschooling mother whose work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications. Look for her upcoming book, Prepare Anywhere!, late in 2019. Visit her online at www.MelonieK.com and on Facebook and Instagram as @AuthorMelonieK.