Thursday, April 14, 2011

REVIEW: Dye I4 Mask, DyeCam

        Those of you who know me, and those who have been around to read the reviews of the V-Force Grillz and Sly Profit masks which appeared in close proximity to each other, know I'm often in a bind for a mask that agrees with me. My old Grillz is hanging on for dear life in my gear bag as I wright this, and the Profit mangled my head so bad I sold it as promptly as I could since returning it over the border was not cost effective. I had no idea what I should do for a mask this season and was seriously contemplating the Angel Eyes up until Dye announced their plans to hop on the Milsim bandwagon and release the Dye I4 in “DyeCam” (homage to Crye Precision Multicam). Being the obsessive compulsive that I am, I decided I should try them since DyeCam camoflage scheme would
compliment the Valken V-Cam gear I was planning on ordering at the time.
        So what is the mask like? Tiny, for one thing; this is Dye's ultra small profile mask for itty bitty speedballers with a camoflage skin draped over it in lieu of the vibrant colorful highlights the mask typically has. Fit-wise, it's tight, at least on me. When I put the mask on my abnormally large head, I need to loosen the straps of the mask all the way to make it slide it on and then it fits just right. My jaw line is definitely quite exposed when I wear it but surprisingly my chin is not, and fully opening my mouth does not quite expose my teeth which is a plus given this issue on some other small masks. The other highly exposed part of my face is my forehead, again, larger than most (it is my room mate, not me in the pictures). The mask comes with no visor in case you didn't know, however this adds to the masks very small profile as a result, and lacking that visor definitely does something for air flow to prevent fogging. There isn't much more to the mask than the lens itself, the rubbery material along the bottom and pads on the ears make up an exceptionally small part of the masks remaining surface area and are just barely adequate to protect the remaining parts the lens does not cover.
That optic is not on a riser, and if it weren't for the blur caused
by all the extra glass, you would see the shooter's eye
        It's a small mask with a minimalist design for sure. If you're interested in buying one and have done your research you likely know this already. If it sounded like I had some complaints in the last paragraph, I really didn't. I don't mind any of exposed areas on my face that wearing this mask results in, it actually provides almost equal protection to the Grillz without having excess material hanging off my face. My forehead is big, so no matter what mask I wear, that's going to be exposed for sure, I'm only a little worried about my jaw line and even there not so much given my jaw is protected by the stock of my gun usually while the other half is tucked behind my cover. Weight wise, you can barely tell the mask is on your face but here's where the mask really shines: a tight enough profile to use your iron sights. We've all put a stock on a Milsim gun at some point, whether we play with one on all the time or not. This mask is so tight to my face that I can put my head to the stock and sight in a target using the iron sites that are normally unusable due to mask bulk preventing one from getting their head low enough to do so. No riser is needed with this mask to look down an optic, and no pressure is needed to force your head down low enough to use the sights, you can literally rest your head on the stock and see down them as you would if you weren't wearing the mask at all! Coming from a guy who's head is as enormous as mine, that's really saying something.
You can see the jaw line below the mask, as well as a little bit
of chin, the forehead is not quite as visible on my model in
this shot
        Some who've read the Sly Profit review might be wondering why I'm showering the Dye I4 with praise after griping about size and protection issues with the Profit the whole way through. I was really expecting a heftier mask when I purchased that one. I did my research before ordering since I couldn't try before purchasing given my semi-remote location and was really expecting the V-Force Grills with newer anti-fog features, a different profile and that neat dual strap feature. It turned out to be a vice grip on my head that was fogging before the day was half over and I wasn't even exerting myself much since it was a reffing day. This time around I was expecting the smaller size and knew I'd be exposed with a Dye I4, I did try it on and liked the feel, the profile was nice, and although it's tight to my head, it doesn't hurt my ears nearly as much as the Profit did.
        I must confess that aside from fit and feel tests, I haven't run this mask through sufficient trials just yet. Testing the mask thus far has included wearing it around the house for long periods at a time, a hot shower which didn't induce any fogging, and two days of reffing games at the local field. Those field days yielded some impressive results though: Fogging was a huge issue for all the renters, regulars, and other refs on both days as it's still cold there while remaining hot in our masks. The Dye I4 had no issues with even a little condensation anywhere but directly in front of my mouth. This condensation was much more manageable than that which occurs on the Sly Profit as this mask doesn't hook under your chin, causing spittle to transfer onto, and later dribble down your neck. *shiver*
        I plan on putting up and addendum review for this mask later in the season once it's been beat on some more, and I'll probably do a few more follow ups on things like the Valken Zulu and Sierra line (soon to be reviewed) as well as the Milsig RRV vest once those have been run through some more paces. Until then however, I'm very pleased with these goggles from Dye and have a feeling they'll be in my gear bag for a very long time.
       ADDENDUM: I still love the mask, have worn it in every kind of weather imaginable barring a tornado or hurricane and they have never once fogged on me or any other heavy breather at my field whose purchased one. Since buying one and sporting it at my field earlier this season, it's become the most sought after mask in Kamloops. Most people still wear JT hard plastic Flex masks at KPG but those are usually what they purchased as a first mask. If an upgrade from an entry level face protector is what those people are after, then they usually end up buying an I4, the I4's only competition up there being the Sly Profit and more than 50% of those who have purchased those are having buyer's remorse! I have encountered two issues though, one very small, and one somewhat bigger: Due to lacking a visor of any kind, the vent above the lens are exposed to the elements, this allows paint spray to fall into the mask sometimes, as well as rain water. Not a huge deal if you clean it quickly after but if outside pollutants fall inside and aren't cleaned quickly, it will lead to problem 2. The mask will bubble a bit. The coating itself doesn't come off or rise off the surface of the mask and it's only the inside surface where it's an issue, but anywhere I had outside pollutants touch, there is a permanently distorted spot if I didn't clean it immediately. On the bright side, if you have this issue, Dye makes very affordable replacement lenses at only 30$ CAD from

PS: this is the same mask as in the Feb 22nd Valken Milsig gear shoot a few posts back, you can find more mask media Here


  1. Was thinking about going with that exact combo myself, good to see it works :) - holding out for the phenom magfed kit before I start buying anything. Also, have you tried or seen the milsig solid gear fast mags?

  2. It's a fantastic mask, I actually had a chance to play a few games in hard core snowy weather at the foot of the ski hill I ref at, no fog, not once, everyone else had to exit each game once or twice to clean out condensation, it's really amazing! As for Milsig's fast mags, I haven't tried them but on my Milsig RRV for fast reloads what I do is open one of the double pouches and tuck the cover behind one or both of the magazines in advance so they are exposed, makes for a nice quick reload when I need it. The Fast mags worry me on account of them being held in place by a piece of bungie cord. Best luck with the Phenom, I'm hoping there's some way I can review one this summer!

  3. Great review and nice to see someone mention being able to sight with a stock. This is very improtant for me aswell as being able to use optics. I've always ran with the JT flexface design for that reason.

    Though after seeing one of my team mates with one of these and reading your review I'm very tempted to pick one of these up. They sound as if they don't fog (most important) and the ability to quickly get the lense off for cleaning is very attractive as with the JTs it's a major pain!

    Love the pics of it in the MILSIG review. I'm running MC myself so it's nice to see it goes well.

    Keep up the good work and happy hunting!