A gas mask is a must-have for preppers, and it’s surprisingly versatile. It can protect against the three main airborne threats – smoke, chemical weapons and tear gas (CBRNE) – as well as many other things including infectious disease, toxins, and even contaminated food or water. But it’s important to note that masks are only effective if you wear them correctly and take advantage of the proper accessories that can make them much more useful in an emergency.
The most popular, and best, military-grade gas masks on the market are rated N95 or higher. That means they filter out 99% of particles down to 1 micron, which is just a bit bigger than an average human hair. The other important thing to consider when choosing a gas mask is the type of contaminants you’re most likely to face, and that’s why we have different options for different types of situations.
If you’re looking for a good general-purpose option that can be used in most CBRNE scenarios, go with the Avon M50. It’s a reliable, durable, and relatively affordable choice. It can be paired with a CamelBak hydration system to make it even more practical for long-term use, and it also has an optional microphone kit that can improve intelligibility. It’s slimmer and more comfortable to wear than some of the older, more expensive models, but it still has a large field of vision.
But if you live in an area that’s prone to wildfires or was recently rocked by BLM protests, you may want a more specialized mask. There are a few options out there that specifically address airborne contaminants, but they’re all fairly expensive. We’ll get into those later in the article.
For kids, the 4A1 youth gas mask is a great option. It’s essentially a civilian version of the military masks used by Russia, Israel, and Britain during war time. The biggest benefit of this model is that it uses NATO-standard filters, which make it easy to upgrade or swap out as necessary.
The other major benefit of this mask is its ability to shield against radiation. During nuclear explosions, the blasts release tons of radioactive dust and debris into the air. It takes a while for that dust to fall back down, but it can be incredibly dangerous if you’re close enough to breathe it in. The P95 mask can block alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, so it’s an excellent choice if you’re bugging in near nuclear facilities or other potential sources of contamination. It’s also a great option for any family planning on evacuating to a shelter in the event of a nuclear attack. Hopefully, that won’t be needed, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! best gas masks