Hey, you smell. Why don’t you Stuffitt? That’s not exactly the phrase uttered in every triathlete home after a long day on the bike, on the road or in the pool. After a 2 hour run in the heat and humidity, that last thing a triathlete cares about is washing your nasty gear.
Admit it. You know you crammed that chlorine laden jammer in your duffel bag with all the intention of washing it as soon as you got home from the pool. You know you also left it in your gym bag or hiding in your floorboard of your car over the weekend and forgot about it. Now it reeks to high heaven along with anything that was within 25 yards of your nasty funky clothes.
If you’re of the environmentally conscious type that tries to use your training clothes for more than one workout, just because you lay it out to dry doesn’t mean the smell magically disappears. It permeates every piece of clothing in your closet, car seats or any upholstery in your house.
In the quest to balance life, triathlon and limit funky odor, I’ve found many products out there. Some laundry detergents are advertised for the workout community. Glad plug-ins also hold some appeal, but that just masks a bad smell with an out-of-place smell. It’s like spraying on deodorant without showering from an 18 mile run. It doesn’t solve the problem.
Somehow you have to transport your sweaty gear from point A (the workout location) to point B (washing machine) without killing your family’s sense of smell.
I give you Stuffitts.
I tried the gear bag and shoe inserts out after some foul race scenarios, and here’s the dirty.
They have options. You can get shoe inserts, bag inserts, actual gear bags and a lot of the shapes are interchangeable. Just because you bought it for the shoe, doesn’t mean you can’t toss them in a gym bag.
If you do not like a cedar chip smell, they may not be for you. The cedar chips are a large factor in the design to absorb smell. The chips try to extract the stink, leaving your clothes more tolerable.
You don’t have to wash the inserts. The antimicrobial design allows multiple uses without the build-up of fungus and other undesirable life forms on the Stuffitts. If you do try and wash the Stuffitts if you think they are losing their effect, you risk tearing the fabric and letting the cedar chips out. You may notice a loss of the cedar smell after a while, but they have been tested to work after 3 years of use.
If you must match, they come multiple colors. For the most part, the products are red and black, so if fashion is critical in your home or gym bag, you have options.
After a 4 mile race in rain and humidity, I had a pleasant mixture of sweat, dirt and water ground into my shorts and shirt. I’m a proponent of bringing a change of clothes to get home, so off they went into the Stuffitts gear bag. True to form, I forgot about the clothes until I was getting ready for the work week and emptying out gym bags. The true test, as any married man will tell you, is to have your wife smell it and see if she passes out. As I held out the clothes for my wife to smell, I braced for a verbal barrage of insults of how could my body produce such stench. Instead, I got, “and that was the shirt and shorts your wore this morning? Wow.” Did I mention I threw my under armor shorts in for extra measure? Enough said.
The Warrior Dash in Kansas City provided a fantastic cesspool of a pond with dead fish lining the shores. Being in the next to least heat on the last day, the final mud pit had washed off every armpit and shoe soul that had run the course. It was a safe bet I didn’t want to wear those clothes any longer than I had to. Sadly, the stuffitts bag was not large enough to contain the fish bait tainted clothes. I did use a plastic bag in a duffle bag and lined the duffel bag with Stuffitts she inserts. I tossed that concoction in my truck and didn’t mess with it until 6 hours later. I’m here to report, my wife didn’t throw up and I retained consciousness when I opened up the duffel bag. The clothes were still wet, but the bag smelled of cedar and upon extraction, the shorts, shirt, socks and under armor shorts smelled no worse than a minor crop dusting at the office.
It’s safe to say, the Stuffitts I tested out will remain a permanent fixture in my transition bag for the season. Lord knows how long I leave my crud in there after race day. The last thing I do is unpack the filth after a race.
Unfortunately they do take up more real-estate in what usually is already a jam packed transition bag. Mine is usually filled to capacity, so I will need to be creative. The nice part is, the shoe inserts are smaller and with two separate Stuffitts, I can jam them into a bag in any crevice I can find.
Don’t skip over Stuffitts when you’re looking to cure used gear funk.
*Writer’s note, Stuffitts donated the shoe inserts and gear bag for this review and in no way influenced the review for good or bad.
Ryan Falkenrath writes the blog falkeetriathlon.blogspot.com, married father of two young kids, owner of two dogs and trying to balance life, work and multisport. Ryan has participated in multisport events since 2001 from 5k's to Half Ironmans. Ryan is also the Kansas City Endurance Sports Examiner and you can read more of his triathlon thoughts HERE and he collects race reviews at www.Triathlon-Reviews.blogspot.com. Contact Ryan at: email@example.com or follow him on @TriJayhawkRyan.