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Friction Labs Secret Stuff Review

When you need all the friction you can get, this chalk cream delivers
Friction Labs Secret Stuff
Credit: REI Co-op
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Price:  $19 List | $19.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great Coverage, Excellent friction, almost no dust
Cons:  Not a great value
Manufacturer:   Friction Labs
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 29, 2019
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Friction & Overall Feel - 25% 8.0
  • Coverage - 25% 9.0
  • Mess - 25% 9.0
  • Value - 25% 4.0

Our Verdict

For climbers looking for that little extra something to help them perform their best, there's Friction Labs Secret Stuff, a liquid chalk that finds its way into to every crevice and wrinkle in your hands, potentially making the difference between frustrating failure and glorious sending. For humid conditions, it's great to have a tube of Secret Stuff in your kit. It's also the most expensive chalk in our review, and if liquid chalk is your jam, the Mammut Liquid Chalk is a much better value.

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Price $19.00 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Great Coverage, Excellent friction, almost no dustWidely available, good texture and friction, nice priceAwesome resealable packaging, easy to dump in the chalk bag, good value, consistent textureExcellent value, good friction and coverageCoats hands well, least expensive "climbing specific" chalk
Cons Not a great valueEasy to spill, creates a lot of dustNo hard chunks for making tick marksUnusable if you have cuts and abrasions on your handsLow friction, doesn't last as long as other chalks
Bottom Line When you need all the friction you can get, this chalk cream deliversThis magnesium carbonite keeps your hands dry without costing an arm and a legWe love the solid reusable container and the solid value of this chalkThis liquid chalk lets you apply a solid base layer of chalk on your hands without creating a cloud of dustThis chalk is the most cost effective way to keep your hands dry
Rating Categories Friction Labs Secre... Black Diamond White... Trango Gunpowder Mammut Liquid Chalk Metolius Super Chalk
Friction & Overall Feel (25%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Coverage (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Mess (25%)
9.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Value (25%)
4.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
10.0
Specs Friction Labs Secre... Black Diamond White... Trango Gunpowder Mammut Liquid Chalk Metolius Super Chalk
Resealable Packaging? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price Per oz $7.60/oz $1.84/oz $1.13/oz $1.94/oz $0.80/oz
Type Liquid Loose Loose Liquid Loose
Drying Additive No No No No Yes
Texture Liquid Chunky to fine Fine Liquid Fine

Our Analysis and Test Results

While there are some subtle differences in texture between the liquid chalks we tested, we didn't experience a noticeable difference in performance. It's worth noting that liquid chalk creates the least amount of dust in the air, so if you are sensitive to particulates in the air and you train in a small home set up, liquid chalk may be your best option. It creates substantially less dust than loose chalk and chalk balls.

Performance Comparison


Friction Labs Secret Stuff climbing chalk - mmmm creme de magnese. friction labs sells its chalk cream in 75ml...
Mmmm Creme de Magnese. Friction Labs sells its chalk cream in 75ml tubes and in small single dose packages.
Credit: Matt Bento

Friction & Overall Feel


Straight out of the tube, Secret Stuff has a finer, creamier feel that Mammut liquid chalk. Think lotion, where Mammut feels like frosting. This is in part from whatever chalk-to-alcohol ratio Friction Labs uses in their mix, and also from the fact that they use a finer textured chalk than the Mammut. Does this make Secret Stuff a better performer? Well…The majority of our testers didn't notice one liquid chalk having any advantages over another until they looked at the price. In short, once the Secret Stuff dries, its texture is closer to powder, and the Mammut Liquid Chalk is more granular.

Friction Labs Secret Stuff climbing chalk - once dry, this chalk has a finer texture than mammut liquid chalk.
Once dry, this chalk has a finer texture than Mammut Liquid Chalk.
Credit: Matt Bento

Coverage


After rubbing your hands together and letting the Secret Stuff dry, you'll find yourself with a thin, even layer of chalk covering your palms and fingers. The alcohol mixture allows you to rub the chalk in deep, so it sticks to your hands better than when you dip into a bag of loose chalk. Most aficionados of liquid chalk aren't re-applying liquid chalk every time they need do chalk up since each time you have to wait for it to dry. More practical is to apply it as a base at the beginning of your session, and then maybe re-up again later in the day.

Friction Labs Secret Stuff climbing chalk - a thin layer of this stuff will help loose chalk stick to your hands...
A thin layer of this stuff will help loose chalk stick to your hands better through your climbing session.
Credit: Matt Bento

Mess


Liquid chalk makes for a pretty tidy operation, as it creates very little dust. If it gets into your clothes or carpet, it's harder get out than loose chalk, but as long as you give it time to dry, it's overall the cleanest way to get chalk on your hands. Folks who can't be bothered to wait for the liquid chalk to dry (read: children) should not use this product.

Friction Labs Secret Stuff climbing chalk - easy, mess free application is an attractive quality for this chalk...
Easy, mess free application is an attractive quality for this chalk cream. Make sure you always seel the container tightly, or it will clog with dry chalk.
Credit: Matt Bento

Value


A 75-ml bottle of Secret Stuff costs $19, where a 200-ml tube of Mammut Liquid Chalk is $12.95. No competition here in terms of value. The frugal climber should choose the Mammut variety, and honestly, we didn't experience much of a difference in performance between the two.

Conclusion


A tube of Friction Labs Secret Stuff is a handy tool to have around for humid conditions or if you have especially greasy mitts. Keep in mind that the combo of evaporating alcohol and fine chalk powder is an extremely effective drying agent, so folks with dry, cracked hands need not apply.

Matt Bento
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