Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
With the amount of running, hiking, biking, skiing, walking and other things the SNEWS® team does, anti-chafe lubes are an important part of the workout bag o’ tricks. We’ve tried them all over the years, with some success, but none have yet become an item that we won’t share for fear of running out.
However, that might be changing as we’ve noted squabbles can break out over the last tube of Friction Zone, made by Canadian manufacturer Brave Soldier.
Interestingly, in the 18 months or so that we have tried the product — in winter, in summer, on the trail, in the club, in the house – we actually have a lot of teeny complaints, but those complaints are overshadowed by the product’s staying ability and its ability to truly prevent skin irritations in almost any weather condition.
Complaints? In the winter, the lubricant can become quite thick, forcing you to work pretty hard to get it out of the tube. And we aren’t talking freezing temps here, but even in the 40s and 50s. We haven’t used it in freezing conditions and it likely wouldn’t work (Tip: Lube up before you head outside). In the summer, it gets kinda runny, so when you open the tube, the first squoosh out is nearly liquid (Tip: Apply over the sink or outside). We tried storing it both standing on its flat cap and balanced on its tip to see if it made a difference, to no avail. We had also tried several tubes that had little itty-bitty solidified bits buried in the lube. It felt odd applying something that felt gritty, but we found it didn’t create issues and just melted smooth once applied.
Why then do we like it so much despite what seems like pretty substantial quality-control issues? It does the job like no other lube we have tried. It doesn’t rub off or wash off or sweat off as soon as you put it on, but has real staying power. Since its formula lacks petrolatum, the manufacturer says it’s also safe for wetsuits, running shoes, and other gear, too. And if your face gets chafed from winter winds, Friction Zone can create a barrier there too. For our purposes, it worked swell on skin-to-skin, clothes-to-skin, and gear-to-skin chafe points.
Its key ingredients include soybean oil, siliconized beeswax, shea butter, and other butters, waxes and some other words we can’t pronounce. Luckily, it has no scent and not enough menthol to cause irritated spots to burn.
If you have true chafing issues and can put up with the other qualities, Friction Zone is for you.
SNEWS® Rating: 4 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $16, 3.4 ounce tube
For more information:www.bravesoldier.com