Last summer professional guide Curt Schaumburg took our products with him to Alaska for 5 months to test out. Curt reviews our products and documents his experience with us here. Curt is in Alaska again this summer and will have more tales for us when he returns!
Leaving On A Seaplane and I Don't Know When I'll Be Back Again
As a bearded Colorado native, professional guide, Pro Fly Angler and avid snowboarder I expose my beard and face to all the imaginable elements on a daily basis. The Mod Cabin's beard and skin care have proven to protect, manage and restore my skin and beard while guiding in Colorado. The ultimate test of their products would be when I brought their entire line with me to Alaska as I guided some of the most remote, brutal and pristine fisheries on the planet. From sun, rain, wind, salt water, mosquitoes and even the errant hook to the face, I threw everything I could at their products to see how they held up to the most extreme conditions.
With a freshly trimmed beard and a very heavy backpack I landed in Quinhagak, Alaska to relocate a fly fishing camp. Tearing down structures, rebuilding them, making roads through the tundra by hand, living in tents and fighting off freezing temps in May; my face, skin, hands, and beard were taking the exact abuse I imagined.
Washing up with the birch tar soap removed all traces of dirt and grime from my hands, beard and face. When I say all, I literally mean exactly that....ALL of it! What started as a beard soap quickly became my everyday body soap. After washing my face I would apply Backwoods Beard Balm, brush it through with a boar's hair brush and feel completely refreshed. The balm protected my face from the cold ocean winds, and my skin didn't get dry or itchy. Tearing down an old fishing camp is dirty work, and the combination of the soap and balm kept my beard and skin clean and protected.
In June my heavy old backpack and I were off to Rapids Camp Lodge where I would be guiding in the Bristol Bay Area for the Summer. There were eight guides and twenty clients a week, and I was ready to see what everyone thought of The Mod Cabin's products. I laid out a bunch of beard oils, beard balms, aftershave and toners for the guides in our bathhouse, and away we went!
Bristol Bay Bears and Beards
The beards started growing in, and the guides started using the beard oils and balms. Soon the lodge was full of shiny and full looking beards. In midsummer the guys that shaved had come to me asking for more product, telling me the toner/aftershave and cleansing mud was a godsend for their skin while they were working in AK.
Once the mosquitoes started to come out in full force I was concerned that the oil or balm scents would attract the little vampires. I don't like to use DEET on my skin and tend use natural bug spray which works great, but I still avoid using it on my beard and face. Mosquitoes are attracted to scents and soaps, which was my last concern about using The Mod Cabin's beard balm and oils out there. Since all of their products are all natural and the scents aren't too overwhelming I had no problems with them attracting bugs. The bugs that did happen to get stuck in my beard while running a jet boat up river, or standing on the floats of a seaplane while landing, brushed right out with the boar's hair brush.
So what about bears?!?! Well, there's over 30,000 bears in Alaska and on an average day I saw over 20 bears. Was it it because I was wearing Ridge Runner Beard Oil? Probably not, but I do like to think that when I wore the Gunbarrel Beard Oil it kept them further away!
So far so good! I have to say that up to that point all the products passed successfully. Aside from using the mustache wax to train my mustache away from my mouth to avoid chewing on it, I hadn't tried the wax much. My chance came when a client from Texas with a great mustache showed up to the lodge. I immediately gave him a can to try along with TMC's mustache comb (which I never saw again) for the week he was there. The next day I could instantly tell he was giving it a go; well sculpted, shiny, straight and sharp. The entire week he raved about how much he loved the wax and wanted more. He told me that he's tried all sorts of different brands over the years. They don't hold as well and dry out the skin under his 'stache. This prompted me to do a little 'stache sculpting of my own and noticed that it did hold well, even when wearing a face buff for protection against wind and rain!
Something had to come up short. I thought that the Birch Tar Soap was gonna be the candidate for failure, but as it turns out it is one of my favorite product of theirs. Still! As you could imagine as a guide in Bristol Bay we handle a lot of fish and fillet a ton of Salmon for our clients, and this soap had actually taken the smell off my hands and stripped all the blood and other daily grit from my skin, without also leaving me dry. Being my favorite product before leaving for the Summer I kinda expected the worst (Murphy's law and all), only to love it even more.
I'm stoked that I found an all natural beard and skin care line that I can trust to use everywhere I end up going and no matter the climate, elements, or other stinky and smelly stuff my life may throw at me.