Product Review: Mugiro Neck Protector

Posted on September 24, 2017. Filed under: mugiro neck protector, product review, swim, swimming, wetsuit, wetsuit rash |

This is only the second product review I have ever done.

I have a philosophy that if something does what it is supposed to it is basically functional. Then it is just a question of whether it’s inexpensive or expensive and I make a judgement on whether it is good value for money. Good times. But dull times.

If it doesn’t work for me, which is rare because things should just do what they are supposed to, then I’ll take a view on a product. For example, like the only other review that I have done. Which went down like a cup of cold sick. But it was honest, for me it didn’t do what it promised. Bad times.

And then, like in this case, a product arrives from nowhere and solves a problem that I thought was unsolvable. Good times.

For years I have suffered from wetsuit rash. Not only is it uncomfortable, it is also embarrassing. Having a long garrotte scar on your neck for the whole summer basically leaves you looking like you have, ahem, unusual private hobbies that you share with politicians and rockstars.

Anyway. The script goes pretty much like this – up to 2k I am fine, at 3k I am uncomfortable in the water and have a weeping sore for a couple of days, at 5k I have an open wound and at 10k it feels like someone is trying to saw through my spinal cord with a rusty hacksaw blade. As you can imagine it has an impact on performance, and leaves a stain on the pillow. Neither of which are ideal.

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For the same amount of years I have sought a solution. Bodyglide, vaseline, baby oil, baby oil gel, lard, the saliva of a vietnamese pot-bellied pig. At least one of those might not be true. But better than the worse advice that I got.

One of those wannabe triathlon coaches, who incidentally led his advertising with swimming without any pedigree or demonstrable competence, suggested quite forcibly over social media having never seen me swim that the solution was to fundamentally change my stroke. I was 44. And had been a swimmer for 40 years. And a swimming coach. But never mind.

I expect he suggested that runners with blisters should change their run technique and cyclists with saddle sores should change their pedalling style. But there we were in the wild-west of triathlon coaching where confidence was no guarantee of quality.

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Having ruled out going back to swimming lessons to re-learn the bubble moustache, my workable solution was pretty thick taping on my neck for swims over 5k and a liberal application of baby oil gel for shorter swims. Neither were ideal. The lubing left me slippier than a bar of imperial leather in a hot bath and the removal of the tape took as much skin off as a swim down the Thames.

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And so I had given up on a good solution, I would just work around it and remain the person that was always thought of as a summer season auto-erotic asphyxiator.

That all changed in the minutes before the start of Breca Buttermere.  I was chatting to a chap and he had what the Americans would call a fanny pack. I was intrigued how it felt in the water, as I prefer to swim without any attachments, and what he was carrying. I asked and he pulled out some chocolate, ear plugs and a rubbery thing. The rubbery thing was something that he hadn’t used yet, and I had never seen before, but was a neck protector. I was all in for a new solution.

When I got back from the Lakes I searched Amazon for “a rubbery neck protector”, read a couple of overwhelmingly positive reviews, and awaited it’s arrival.

It came in a tub with instructions not to let it dry out. And it felt weird. Weird. Lets not be delicate about this, it felt like a sex thing. Vaguely reminiscent of the time that Ted, in his quest to eat everything in the world, found a fleshlight in a country lane and I had to prise it out of his mouth very much against his will. And very much against my better judgement. If you are curious, I recommend that you don’t google fleshlight unless you wish the adverts on your phone’s browser to be a perpetual shop-front for self-lovin.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s not a good look. It’s bright orange and makes me look like some kind of reverend from the church of ginger. However, it bloody well works. And it has been very well tested.

The first outing was a standard night at Lochore. About an hour and 3k, but I was slightly disappointed. While my wetsuit collar had not gnawed through my neck as usual, there was still a raw mark afterwards. No weeping, not too sore but I hadn’t got away scot-free.

I read the instructions again (yes a bright orange rubber sex something comes with brief instructions) and noticed that the neck protector was “manufactured with elastic material and vaseline” and was suitable for use with vaseline. So I lubed up.

It’s second outing was another Lochore 3k but with added lube. Perfect – not. a. single. mark.

That test swim was completed with perfect timing guarantee it’s use for the first 10k of the year at the Great Scottish Swim.  Again, absolutely no damage to the neck, no impact on my stroke, and no discomfort.

Then a more modest distance challenge with the Forth Crossing but with the new variable of salt water. I had slight chafing after the race which may have been the salt water adding in a bit of discomfort but I think more likely when I was pulling the collar over my head that most of the lube ended up in my hair. The greasy hair was not a good look although the accompanying strangle marks were modest.

The final swim of the year was another long distance epic. The Loch Earn 10k. This time, more careful, as I pulled it over my head. This time absolutely no wetsuit rash.

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The Mugiro Neck Protector has been a revelation. It does exactly what it promised to do. It’s not cool, it’s not cheap at a bawhair under £25, it feels weird but it just works. And that was all I needed it to do.

Would I recommend it? Hell yeah.

 

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