Yorkshire manufacturers SNUGPAK, known primarily for their insulated clothing and rucksacks etc., have turned their hand to producing pandemic face covers.
With bales of tough Paratex Light fully breathable nylon in the warehouse and spare sewing machine capacity during the lull in clothing production for the High Street retail market, it seemed logical to manufacture face covers for those who needed to work through the pandemic and at the end of May, once the initial peak in demand had been met, the company started to offer spare capacity for private purchase.
Over the Bank Holiday weekend I ordered a couple of these reusable face covers for myself from SNUGPAK as my local main branch of a major national chemist chain, which has a monopoly on my High Street with two shops during normal times, has not had any masks for sale over the counter; though I have recently discovered, and not from their sales staff who are not particularly proactive, that if one is prepared to order a box of 50 online these can be picked up from the shop. My SNUGPAK face covers, which I ordered on the standard 3-7 days postage service, turned up at the beginning of this week and I have been so happy with them that I have now ordered some for my daughter and her husband. This turned out to be a timely decision, as in ten days time it will become mandatory to wear face covering on all UK public transport and as non-essential retail outlets prepare to tentatively reopen some are requesting customers also use masks.
In the headline I have used the work Tactical because, in addition to bright red, orange and blue, SNUGPAK are also producing their elasticated face covers in military olive green and police black plus DPM Camo. MultiCam and other licensed camouflage patterns are currently not an option for individual purchases, but of course could be supplied for bulk contracts. While DPM is not perfect if one is wearing UK MTP uniform, it should not look too out of place (look how many soldiers still carry items of DPM kit) but if a disruptive camo is not required an olive green face cover may be more suitable. Incidentally, the white SNUGPAK logo on the black face cover shown here is an option for those civvies who like to wear branded clothing.
Machine washable at 60C and able to be tumble-dried on Low setting, these double layer nylon covers are reusable so should soon pay for themselves; the flimsy, cheap and cheerful light blue masks many are currently wearing are intended for single use only and it is not unusual to go through more than one in a working day. Incidentally, after washing and drying if you carefully iron your SNUGPAK face cover – I put mine between two 5.11 shirts, a brand I wear daily – the pleats should return to give it shape. As you can see, the Adult mask is generously sized to cover from bridge of nose right down to the throat, as per guidelines, and it will even constrain ten weeks of beard growth (Jenny, I promise I’ll be back for a good tidy up as soon as you reopen your hair studio).
The Adult version of the SNUGPAK Face Cover, with its elastic straps to snugly hold it comfortably around the ears, is said to be One Size Fits All but they also produce a Junior version in a smaller range of colours. Online ordering is simple, with both cards and PayPal being accepted. Standard UK delivery, via Royal Mail, is £1.50 for small quantities and an express delivery option is available at checkout.
[images © Bob Morrison]
UPDATED Monday 8th June. This morning one of SNUGPAK’s Directors contacted us from the mill in Yorkshire to say: “We have now moved all mask production to workers who cannot get into the factory but have machines at home so we can concentrate on getting the traditional Snugpak product through as demand starts to pick up”.