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V4 - A comfortable, larger mask

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    V4 - A comfortable, larger mask

    I was one of the winners of a raffle to test out the new V4 mask. I wanted to run it through a few tests before I made a full review so I apologize to the TB team for the delay.

    I have only used the V1 Tom Bihn masks and they are the first choice for my wife and I. We find it to be comfortable and appreciate that it’s a no frills mask. I bought the first batch before there were large sizes and was originally disappointed. The original model just did not fit me at all. I could get the medium to perch just right but the slightest facial movement would pull it off my nose or expose my mouth. The large fixed that problem! As a glasses wearer I do frequently fight with fogging and found I could get a decent fit and limit fogging with the V1. I ended up opting out of using any wire on the nose as I found I could not get a good seal and it prevented me from situating my glasses well. The heavier fabric of the sewn in channel made positioning my glasses difficult as well. The channel and the twist-tie caused the glasses to rest high on my nose or fall too far forward.

    That's my mask background. I like the V1 quite a bit (my wife and I have several each) but I occasionally struggle with the nose area and getting a good fog-limiting seal with glasses. For the glasses users out there I have the thicker plastic type that sit directly on your nose, not the nose-pad types common to wire frames.

    On to the V4! Overall I like it. The V4 seems to be significantly larger than the V1. I find that the large V4 comfortably covers my nose and extends under my chin. This extra material makes it easier for me to talk in the V4 mask without having to readjust. I also appreciated the improved nose piece on the V4. The metal used is significantly better at retaining its shape than the twist ties of the V1 and I get a much better seal. Another thing that I think contributes to this seal is a “flap” at the top of the mask. There’s a partially sewn down portion of the top that I think helps baffle the flow of air exiting the mask.

    Click image for larger version

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    Picture is the inside of the mask. Red arrows point out flap. This freshly laundered mask had significant lint as it fell out of the laundry bag during washing

    I’m a Minnesotan and its already getting a bit chilly around here so I may be biased but I find the flannel fabric of the V4 quite nice. It feels soft against the skin and is easy to breathe through. I was able to sit inside at my work desk for several hours with no discomfort. The flannel does seem to attract a lot of lint in the wash. I wash my masks in bags for delicate laundry as my old washer and dryer eat things and they already have one V1 mask kill. I really like the adjustable ear loops and while the lanyard is nice I don't generally use it.

    Overall my wife and I really enjoy the larger size of the V4 and find the cotton flannel to be quite comfortable. I think it'll see a lot of use in the winter. The V4 mask is my new go to. I like it more than the V1 but I do have a few V2 masks on the way to try out as well.
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