Editor’s note: This year, we opted for a spin on the holiday gift guide. Rest assured, we tasked the right guy — our gear-review guru — with the job of compiling a 12-day list of gift ideas (in various price ranges) for all the nordies in your life.
Day 8: More Gear
The classic rule in endurance athletics is, “If some is good, more is better,” and never is that more true than in the world of gear. If you’re comfortable, fast and sexy with some gear, well, you do the math, you’ll be even more comfortable, more fast, and more sexy with MORE gear. And what’s wrong with being sexy?
Under $30: SkiGo Kick Wax Scraper, $7
Sure, there’s nothing sexy about a kick wax scraper, but you what’s even less sexy? Kick wax all over your pants. Available at Boulder Nordic Sport.
FBD Bonus Pick: Toko Functional Sportswear Care, $14
In his play Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare wrote, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” I suppose I am very fortunate, as I have managed to check all three boxes: I was born a great person, I achieved greatness in a number of business and athletic pursuits, and what has been thrust upon me? Well, after my ground-breaking and lengthy expose on dirty underwear and single men’s mission to avoid laundry (and thusly avoid any sort of sexual contact whatsoever), I have found myself thrust into the role of “BO Analyst and Advisor,” a moniker I wear proudly.
PT Barnum is believed to have authored the phrase, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” and this is a simple rule that I have now embraced. In the days following the publication of our laundry detergent review, I have literally been stopped every day on the tracks and been asked some variation of, “Did you really wear your underwear for 10 days without washing them?” Or, “Did that stuff really work?” or my favorite, “What the hell is wrong with you?” The answers to those questions are, ‘Yes,’ ‘Yes,’ and “A lot.’ Like my boy PT says though, “No such thing as bad publicity,” so I’m just rolling with this.
Given this, when the boys up in the Toko R&D lab hit me up with their version of a baselayer restoration treatment, who was I to say no? Is it weird to have dudes stopping me to talk about washing (or not washing) their undies? A lesser man may buckle under the weight of these expectations and occasionally sexually-awkward inferences, but not me, I have never been one to back down from a challenge. Apparently the world needs an ambassador to fresh drawers and I’m the guy without a chair when the music stopped, so let’s do this.
Toko’s take is a little different than DeFUNKit, as the Toko product is NOT a detergent, rather a treatment that is applied during the fabric softener cycle. It is also designed to reduce odor that has accumulated in baselayers through repeated usage, but it’s prime objective is to restore your gear’s original wicking and softness. The timing for testing this was perfect too, for thanks to the West Yellowstone Ski Festival training camp, business travel and another trip back to West for a biathlon race, a certain someone had not done laundry in quite some time.
I was reluctant to use the Toko treatment on DeFUNKit treated clothes, as any good scientist learns very early in their career to “Never cross the streams.” The concern here is that I didn’t want the success or failure of one product to influence that of another and since all of you weirdos out there are apparently starved for regular updates on my underwear, a long-term DeFUNKit test is now also underway, so we’re going to keep these two test completely separate.
Not “crossing the streams” wasn’t a problem either. Since I’ve been traveling for about a month and observant readers will recall that we had control groups in the smell testing protocol, I had no shortage of smelly, non-DeFUNKit treated clothing which was put to the Toko test.
As much as I would love to spend eight more pages going into excruciating details of this entire process, a plethora of colorful smell references, and thinly veiled swipes at Dan Weiland’s social skills (no pun intended), my editors have threatened to kill me if I repeat that performance, so this review is going to be much more brief. (Get it, BRIEFS … damn, I’m hilarious.)
Does it work? Yes. Since my evil overlords at FasterSkier will have nervous breakdowns if I launch into another FBD sex-and-smell rant, I’m going to keep it simple here. Overall, even well-worn baselayers did emerge from the laundry feeling softer. The clock was really ticking on this one, so in the interest of full disclosure it is important to note that I was only able to get in one ski in the newly treated clothing, but the wicking properties most assuredly did indeed feel better. By design, I picked a very old, beaten up Craft top and undie combo, so the potential for improvement was substantial. We don’t yet have any data on the effects of this wash treatment on newer clothing, but in my mind this is somewhat analogous to washing an already clean car. If your base layers are still wicking like new, is there any point to applying a treatment that will restore their performance to “like new?” Ya follow?
So once again, here I am rolling around in the dirt in order to help all of you help smell better. That’s OK though, as there are many worse things to have thrust upon you (insert your own ‘thrust joke’ here). Available at TokoUS.com.
$30 – $100: Thermos Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Double Wall Direct Drink Bottle, $41.41
No self-respecting skier starts their day without a cup of coffee. In my travels around the globe with some of the world’s best skiers, I’ve also noticed a correlation between ski speed and amount of energy expended preparing said coffee. If I’m staying at someone’s house and I see them embarking on a 45-minute process to grow, roast, grind, press, steam, aerate, and serve coffee, I am immediately on high alert that the day’s ski will likely be fast. If they spend 15 more minutes explaining why they’re preparing it JUST this way and why this way is so much better, I know I am most likely in for a tough day.
While good coffee is better than bad coffee, bad coffee is still better than spilled coffee, so I am going to recommend the single best vessel to transport your liquid gold. I’m going on four years of use and testing with this particular model and have had so much success that frequent copycat and worshiper of FBD style, Josh Smullin, FINALLY went out and got one of these of his own after years of attempt to steal mine. Available at Amazon.
FBD Bonus Pick: Pole tube, $45
I don’t know if there is any bigger drag than flying to a race or a training camp only to discover that your gear was damaged en route. Thanks to the gorilla-like baggage handlers on a few of my “favorite” domestic airlines, I’ve suffered damage to skis, boots, poles, you name it. High-end carbon racing poles are particularly susceptible to breakage, as while they can withstand significant vertical loading, (even though I can, and do, ski “through them”), they are extremely fragile laterally and are easily damaged with this type of force vector. The solution? Never, ever travel without a pole tube. One of the other staffers picked this as well and it got thrown in on Day 3, but my description is much funnier and it important that my loyal fans know that my official stamp of approval is hereby placed upon this recommendation. Buy it where we told you on Day 3.
$100 – $250: Toko Coaches Pack, $140
Look around any World Cup venue and you’ll see more of these bags than any other on both coaches and athletes alike? Why? Because this baby holds more crap and organizes your ski gear better than anything else out there. Available at TokoUS.com.
Over $250: Ercolina Poling Machine, $1050-$1400
This pick is a little kooky (but you’re a nordic skier, so you are as well) and yeah, most of you aren’t ever going to actually use this, but for those that do, greatness shall be bestowed upon you. Available at Boulder Nordic Sport.
If you’re wondering how the hell we got here, or you just love my beautifully crafted preamble so much that you revisit every day before heading off to face the challenges of the working world, the introduction and backstory can be found here. If unlike most of America, you actually spend you time at work, working, you may have missed some of the previous days and they can be found here: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7
Jon "Fast Big Dog" Schafer
Fast Big Dog is a paradoxically gregarious yet reclusive, self-absorbed mystic and world traveler. In addition to his calling to right the wrongs in the ski fashion and gear world, he also brings his style, wit and devilish charm to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club as the Nordic High Performance Director and Worldwide Director of Morale and Awesomeness. Savor these articles while you can, as his Great Dane puppy may burn down his house at any moment, possibly making this his last transmission.