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Seeings as how 2021 is now behind us I thought I would reflect on something like my own version of “Gear of the year.” I know a lot of people are doing that online but this is the blog of a running store so it seems appropriate that I would join in. Also, if any of you know me you will know that I genuinely can’t stop thinking about “gear” and “equipment” and related things. If I did not work for Reno Running Company I would still be bordering on obsessed with “gear” and its related family members. That’s just how I am.

Sometimes an unexpected product comes along that you really really like. Sometimes it is a real surprise. This time it was a “laundry detergent.” I know- I didn’t see that coming either. Now look, I loved some of my new Xero Shoes I got this year (I have been really interested and benefited from exploring minimalism in multiple areas- yes that’s funny coming from a gear guy- but also probably a good thing). I am wowed by the cool advances in lighting that we have seen from Black Diamond and Ultraspire. Even things as simple-seeming as neck gaiters from Buff have caught my eye this year (with the warmer editions for winter and magic cooling ones for summer). But at the end of the day in 2021 I have gained a new faithful gear companion. That is defunkify.

Defunkify is a “detergent” made for “technical” clothing and gear (Yes, I am aware that the word “detergent” can mean more specific and technical things in different contexts- but I will leave that aside for our purposes here). If you have running clothes chances are pretty good someone in your life would like you to clean them every now and again. Now certain detergents you can buy at the supermarket can get in the fabrics of your clothes and not rinse out completely in the wash. This residue left by those products may smell nice but it can affect the drying times and breathability (and even just the feel) of your running clothes.

I do personally like clean clothes although I certainly have spent a month at a time (or more) out in the wilds not washing a single thing even once. But even though I like that clean feeling I don’t always love strong perfumed scents. Defunkify has a powdered unscented “Active Wash” that really does do just as good a job (or better) as all the other products I have used over the decades. And it really does not leave much of a scent at all- which is fantastic.

2021 was a difficult year which came after what quite frankly was another difficult year and in times like these it can become easier to appreciate reliable little things. I was very thankful to have a home and a job and friends. While we interacted digitally more than I ever have in my life they did go out of their way at times to make sure I didn’t feel alone (Thanks guys). I also really liked how clean my clothes were when sometimes (not to be too dramatic) it felt like perhaps the world was burning to the ground all around me.

Now I know that finding a great way to clean your running clothes won’t fix all your problems or restore your faith in humanity but I also know that I started using defunkify on my regular clothes- not just my running stuff. It has been delightful and I appreciate that small little reliably good thing in my life. I am sure there is a metaphor and a life lesson here but I think that I will just take a moment to be grateful for my friends, my family, my job, and my clean clothes.

So if I could recommend one thing to you (that we sell in our shop) this year- I would recommend defunkify. I can’t just say the “Pro-Tec Orb” EVERY year (although sometimes I want to) and I am genuinely surprised by how much I have appreciated this laundry detergent powder. Give it a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed. And while you are at it give yourself and your loved ones a pat on the back- if you are reading this you made it through 2021. Be well my friends. Cheers.

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