Family Gear 2021

Several items on my personal gear list were used by the whole family, and thus, this page was born. I have excluded our furniture. We keep only those items that are useful and/or are enjoyed which allows our family to focus on doing things that we find rewarding rather than devoting ourselves to managing stuff. When we needed to move, it took less than 10 hours which started with acquiring boxes and included breaks to eat and a bit of play. We were able to unpack even more quickly. By the end of a weekend we were not just out of one place, but fully moved into the new with boxes put away and pictures hung on the walls. Items in bold are particularly great, and those with “*” I am not sure we would replace if they were lost or damaged. The (year) indicates when the item was acquired.

Outdoor Shelter

In our garage we have a baker’s rack which holds most of the gear we use when picnicking or camping.

Enlightened Gear Accomplice Double Quilts (2014), Montbell Down Hugger Super Stretch #3 (2005) and NuntakUSA Ghost Down Blanket/Quilt (2002). Other notes about Sleeping Bag & Quilt

Therm-a-Rest XTherm Air Mattress (2012) Big Agnes Q-Core SLX Sleeping Pad (2019). Other notes about Sleeping Pads

10×13 SIL Tarp (2005), Big Agnes Copper Spur 2 Person Tent (2013) and a MSR Carbon Reflect 3 person Tent (2012). Notes about Shelters.

A plastic bin which holds all of Mark’s backpacking and snow gear. and his hiking pole and chrome umbrella hanging.


Coleman Portable Stove/Grill shown in the “shelters” picture (2000)

Steel and cardboard coca cola crate from the 1950s holding a number of items:

Yeti Hopper “Personal” Cooler (2018) and Arctic Zone Folding Cooler (2012)

Zojirushi Mr Bento Lunch Jar* (2014) for hot and cold lunch, snack, dinners when we are doing a fun / special “picnic”.

Zojirushi Bottle* not shown (2005) which holds 51 ounces and can keep beverages warm for almost 24 hours. Nice pouring spout with a lid which functions as an insulated cup.

Alife Mayfly Chair* (2010) is a low slung folding chair which works on any surface and doesn’t have legs so it can be used at Shoreline amphitheater. 2 GoChair (2018) which we funding via indiegogo which deploys very quickly.

Insulated Wine Tote (2016) which is a good size for wine and cheese in a park: holds up to two bottles, some snacks, and a couple of glasses, with a small cutting board, bottle opener, small knife.

GoalZero Power Sherpa 100* (2020) High versatile power system. Has been used during power outage to keep our Internet connection up, as a portable power outlet for small appliances and to charge devices on extended trips without access to wall power. This can be paired with a 60w Solar Charger* to provide power off grid over an extended period of time (2020). When people were purchasing excess TP at the beginning of COVID I was beefing up my disaster kit.

Propane Hose* (2020) that allows Coleman grill to run from a full size propane tank rather than the smaller disposable tanks.

Pentax S 8×42 Binoculars not shown (1994) Nitrogen filled, excellent visual quality in a moderately compact body.

Camping Supplies

We have a Kelty duffel (1992) that is approx 40L that has three compartments which holds most of our smaller camping gear. This bag is also part of our disaster kit. One side has our first aid kit, the other end has “electronics” which will be described later, the main compartments holds most of our “outdoor kitchen” described below:

REI Dinnerware Set for 4 (2012) including wash basin, drying rack, and cutting board

Misc utensils for kitchen stored in a ziplock bag: scraper, wine opener, tongs, paring knife, mixing spoon, salt/pepper, Dr Bronner Soap, Hot Sauce, Cooking Oil, Spong, matches/lighter, strainer (1992)

MSR Duralite Cookset* (2003). Inside also our cookset for group backpacking trips: 1.3L Evernew Ti Pot (2001), Snowpeak GigiPower Stove (2001), Fuel Canister, Silicon Cup/Bowl (2010), and MSR folding Foon (2010). Typically the Duralite kit doesn’t get used a lot. We use the built in grill and griddle on our Coleman stove for most cooking.

Foil, Extra Plastic Bags, Steel Skewers

Platypus Water Containers, Gravity Filter, Foldable Water Bucket (2018)

Pack Towel (1988)

Plastic tub (2000) Used to wash dishes and pots. Use the case for the dinner set for rinsing.

Repairs & Power

Black Diamond Apollo Lantern (2018) which is a perfect size and amount of light for car camping or emergency lighting in a house in the case of a power outage. Built in rechargeable battery with the ability to use three AA batteries if the internal battery has been fully discharged and you need light.

Zebralight H600 Headlamp, SC600 Flashlight (2014) which use 18650 batteries. A bit heavy, but very bright and long run times. Zebralight H51 flood (2009), H52 beam (2012) headlamps which using AA size batteries. Compact, light weight, surprisingly long runtimes due to excellent regulation, and use standard size batteries that are easy to aquire. There are several other flashlights and headlights I recommend.

Eton Emergency Radio (2009). Internal rechargeable batteries can only charge by crank or power quality solar cells on top. Should allow to changing via USB or other external power source or at least let you swap the batteries. AM/FM plus weather band, but not weather alert. Someday would like to replace this with something that is smaller, support weather alerts, and recharges via USB, but haven’t found a good alternative.

Variety of USB cables to be used to charge a variety of devices. Car adaptor, Olight Universal Magnetic Battery Charger (2018) powered by USB, and can be used with pretty much any size battery, and charges both 1.5V NiHM, 3.6 & 3.7V LI batteries

18650 Batteries in Charger (2018) and GoalZero AA Batteries Charge (2007). Both doubles as a USB power supply. Not the most efficient chargers or power pack, but works.

Fallkniven F1 fixed blade knife (2002) and a Leatherman (2000). There are numerous other good knives I would recommend.

Matches and Lighter, Whistle

Rite in Rain Pad and Pen

Gear “Repair Kit” with zippers, glue, grommets, rope, safety pins, etc. (2014)

Disaster Supplies

Northface basecamp duffel small – 50L (1987) which we have filled with food for a week. The food is a mixture of freeze dried food, high density food from grocery store which we eat at home and while backpacking like cous cous and tuna, and some protein bars. The “normal food” rotates grocery store –> duffel –> kitchen shelves. When something gets consumed from the kitchen it gets re-filled from the duffel, new food is purchased and stored in the duffel. This way we don’t need to worry about food expiring. Also in the duffel are some plastic bags, a roll of toilet paper, and some ISObutane fuel canisters for the stove in our kitchen duffel bag.


Dekopro 126 piece Toolbox convient box with most of the tools I need. Quality isn’t want I have been used to, but mostly good enough. Originally purchased when renting out a house so there would be some on-site tools. Many of my tools (Snapon and Craftsman) were stolen a few years ago and decided to see if I could make do with the Dekopro set.

Milwaukee Hex Electric Screwdriver with right angle adaptor and multiple bits. It is mostly powerful enough to use as a light duty drill.

Additional tools that live the the Milwaukee case (avoiding pulling out the Dekopro case): metric hex wrench, screwdriver, precision screwdriver with multiple bits, box cutter, pencil, sharpie, cresent wrench, hex wrench bits, precision needle nose pliers, nitecore nu20 headlamp

Misc other tools not shown: Fluke IR Temp. Meter, Fluke Multimeter, Soldering Iron, Clamps, Calipers, Level, Micro screwdrivers


LG OLED55B6P SmartTV (2017) for family / friends movie night and other group activities that use a screen. I would be content using the screen on my laptop or even iPhone for the occasional video streaming I watch. That said, the picture quality is amazing and the webOS based controls work well. Also used as the display for the Mac mini. 4k works nicely when trying to see a lot of pictures using Adobe Lightroom.

Apple Mac mini (2017) The Mini is compact, low noise, with a good collection of ports, has enough CPU, memory, and disk for our family needs, and plays well in the Apple eco-system which we am committed to until our next refresh in a few years. It is overpriced compared to non-Apple hardware. Used primarily as a media server. Roon for audio, Lightroom for photos, various programs for video / streaming.

Roon software (2017) isn’t really an item, but it effected many of my decisions related to audio playback. Roon integrates my iTunes library which is made up of CDs ripped using ALAC codex with the TIDAL streaming service to provide loseless audio to multiple speakers around the house. Roon would be perfect if the remote clients supported off-line caching of music so playlists and favorite music was accessible when out of the house. I carry music on my phone by exporting play lists from Roon to TIDAL, and then use the Tidal client on my iPhone to do offline playback. If I didn’t care so much about sound quality the family would use Sonos speakers combined with Spotify for whole house music.

KEF LS50 wireless monitor speakers (2017) with a built in DAC and amplifier designed for the speakers. Good quality sound that fills a room, excellent for near field use in a nicely designed, compact package. Can take TOSlink, USB, Bluetooth, analog, and several IP based streaming protocols inputs over ethernet or WiFi. Roon can stream directly to it over the network, but it’s not Roon-Ready so can’t be synchronized with other Roon-Ready systems. The iOS remote application is poor. I drive the LS50 via USB on a Mac Mini running Roon which remove the need for the KEF remote and the speakers can be synchronized with other Roon Ready end-points giving me whole house music. I still prefer the sound quality of electrostatic speakers with audiophile grade full electronics, but I am happy that I downsized our stereo so we can focus on other things.

Pulse Flex Wireless Speaker not shown (2017) allows me to have synchronized whole house music since it’s Roon Ready. It also supports inputs via USB, Bluetooth, AUX, a number of streaming services like Spotify, and many free sites via URIs. Has a iOS and Android remote control app which works but has a somewhat awkward UI. Controls on the top let you select one of 5 user-defined “channels” without using the remote. I have the optional battery pack so it can be used in our backyard. It can be used away from it’s home, but you have to reconfigure it’s WiFi settings which is a pain. Sound quality is significantly less than KEF LS50. For people who aren’t using Roon, I would recommend Sonos: for it’s lower price point, better streaming options, and slightly more processed sound quality which everyone but audio purists like me typically prefer.

Google WiFi Mesh (2017) network access points easily install and just work when you have an area than a single WiFi router isn’t sufficient. There may be faster / more featureful options out there, but the Google devices work flawlessly and are visually appealing. We are using ATT fibre which so far as been a big improvement over Comcast for slightly less money.

Brother MFC-J880W not shown (2017) Multifunction Printer, Scanner, Fax, Copier has been a reliable device for us unlike several other multi-function devices which failed within a year. WiFi enabled, supports AirPrint, Google Print, and several other standards. Connected to a Obi device which lets us Fax over Google Voice.

La Crosse Battery Charger – 2 not shown (2007) which does a great job charging any combination of 1-4 AA or AAA batteries. We generally use Eneloop Pro Batteries. Reasonable power density and power retention when stored.

Small Appliances

Vornado 660 Fan (2008) air ciculation in the garage or living room

Vornado Panel Fan (2014) pull cooler outside air into bedroom to avoid using air conditioner most of the summer

Conway Air Purifier / HEPA Filter (2020) Was a lifesaver during the summer time fires summer of 2020. Took air quality from over 200 down to 25 in our study.

Dyson V10 Cordless Vacuum (2019) Expensive. There are cheaper options but works very well with no trouble.

Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven (2020) is used for nearly all our baking, broiling and toasting needs. We have a full size, built in oven, but this unit heats up more quickly, seems to heat more evenly, and is the perfect size for almost everything we make.

Oxo 11lb Scale (2014) Easy to use, accurate, the display can be separated to enable viewing when weighting oversized objects.

Soda Stream (2017) To avoid purchasing bottled bubble water. Cheaper, cuts down plastic waste, don’t have to haul water back from costco.

Rival RC101 5-Cup Rice Cooker (2017) Simple to use and faster than a rice cookers with fuzzy logic and other advanced features.

Panasonic Electric Water Boiler (2019) Holds 3.2quarts of water. Insulated to minimize energy usage and allows hot water to be used for a couple of hours when power is not available.

Zojirushi electric “Hot Pot” (2005) Hot pot is one of our favorite ways to celebrate holiday or when having a small dinner party with friends.

Waffle Maker*

Amazon 6 sheet Paper Shredder

Pulse SpO2 Meter* (2020) Purchased primarily for better insight in the face of COVID19. my wife sometimes uses to get a read of SpO2 when doing HIIT.

Baking and Mixing

Silicone Oven Mitts not shown (2014) with inner, removable terrycloth liners. Effective, waterproof, durable.

Pampered Chef Mixing Bowls (2007) Light weight, rubber on the bottom keeps them from sliding around. Useful size. Often use the larger as a salad bowl. Have well sealing lids which aren’t shown.

Electric Hand Mixer (2017) Christmas gift for Amber who loves to bake. Used to have a Kitchenaid but got rid of it because it’s ease of use compared to the hand mixer was overshadows by the hassle of pulling it out of the garage.

Measuring Cups

Rolling Pin

Hand whisk (not shown)

Strainer, Collapsing Silicon Funnel

KitchenAid Immersion Blender (2014) for many mixing, blending, and whisking tasks. There are better models on the market, but this one is good enough for my needs. Has several attachments.

Pots and Pans

T-fal 10″ frying pan (2014) replaced in 2019 when first was warped. Modest price. Anti-stick works well and is durable.

Cooking Utensils

Oxo Silicon Spatula (2012)

Plastic Spatula (2008)

Metal Spatula (2014)

Lavatools Instant Read Thermometer (2017) Replaced a Thermopen which was lost. The Thermopen is more “instant”, but works well enough

Tongs (2014)

Basting Brush (2007)

Pampered Chef Mix and Scraper (2014) – We had two, retired one of them/

Silicone Spatula/Spoon

Silicone Spatula/Spoon

Slotted Spoon


Paste Ladle*


Apple Chopper* (2005)

Hand Grater with multiple blades

Lemon Squeezer* (2000)

Scoop and Sectioner (2000)

Flexible Cutting Board (2012) and small plastic board (2005)

Spyderco Knife Sharpener (2010)

Kitchen Sheers (2012)

Bread Knife (1985)

New West Knifeworks Santoku 7″ Knife (2020) Form and function. Made from good steel, beautiful craftsmanship.

Victorinox Chef Knife (2012)

Peeler* (2007)

Victorinox Paring Knife (2012)

Steak Knives* (1985)

Serve and Store


Not Cataloged

Holiday and party decorations


Gardening equipment and supplies

Mini Cooper S (2013)

Retired in 2020 / 2021

Garlic Press

Large Cutting Board

Extra Long Tongs

Extra serving spoons

Cordless Phone

MacBook Air (2012)

External SATA drive and USB 2 memory sticks

Added in 2021

Menu Wine Decanter (2021)

Snake Blocks (2021) for a fun and a bit of color on the table.

LG HU80KA Projector and Elite Screens Yard Master Portable Screen (2021) to host “movie nights” during COVID.

BlueSound Node Audio Streamer (2021) to remove dependency on Roon for multi-room audio playback

SteadyRack (2021) to store bikes in the garage.

Keith Titanium Double Walled 250ml Cups (2021)

Works Sharpener Ken Onion Edition (2021)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *