Gear 2021

Minimalism led me to simplify my stuff. I keep items that are regularly used and appreciated. This list was inspired by one bag lifestyle and Tynan’s Gear posts, but I am by no means living that lightly. I strive to use items that enable me to have an a healthy, impactful life, while minimizing friction / burdens. At the end of each year I review what I have used in the previous year and decide what I plan to use in the coming year, and what should be retired. This post is the complete list of everything I personally own.

Items in bold are exceptionally great. I happily use items marked with “*”, but not so much that I would automatically replace them. If I was a “true minimalist” I would get rid of them. The (year) is when this item became a standard part of my life. In 2020 I fell off my shopping diet but I am back on it. My traveling list is a subset of these items. Items that are used by the whole family on our family gear page.

Please don’t use this list to fuel consumption or as a challenge to create a curated list of minimalist styled possessions. Do not allow your possessions to become the basis of your sense of security or well being.

On My Person / Day Activities

Flexon (2019) eyeglass frames with Zeiss high index progressive lens. Eyeglasses are an incredible blessing. I used to break frames within a year of getting them. I started to use Flexon frames around 1995. They have lasted an average of 8 years through numerous prescription changes.

Garmin 935 Watch not shown (2017) accurately tracks my activities and measures my fitness level. The watch is light enough that I don’t mind wearing it continuously. It can last ~5 days without charging with 1-4 hours of GPS use each day for runs, hikes, and/or bike rides. Has decent integration with smartphones and notifies when the phone is left behind. There are other good sport watches.

Flowfold Minimalist Wallet (2012) which holds my IDs, 2 credit cards, and a few bills taking up minimal space.

Victorinox Swiss Army Rambler (1999) is the smallest, usable tool I have found with a phillips head & flat screwdriver, scissors, knife, bottle opener, and nail file. When flying I switch to a Swiss+Tech Utili-Key which is not as usable as the Rambler, but for years has made it through TSA checkpoints without being confiscated. I am on my 3rd? Rambler after losing a few to TSA. I have some notes about other knife options.

Uniball Vision Elite .5mm Pen (2015) and Post-It Notes (1990) for jotted down ideas until I can get them into an electronic system. I have stopped using Pilot V5 (best writing feel I have used) because several have leaked even when I didn’t fly with them.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini (2020) on Verizon. Not as small as the original SE… the upper right corner is a stretch for one handed use but smaller than most phones. Obviously plays well in the Apple eco-system. I used to think iOS UI was superior to Android, but I think Android 10 is pretty close for most things and has superior notifications and speech recognition. Replaced my iPhone SE whose battery wouldn’t make it through the daytime hours. Can someone please make a smart phone with a high resolution screen that is 4″ on the diagonal running a modern OS?

Apple AirPods (2017) have decent sound quality while letting in ambiance noise providing situational awareness, stays in place during exercise, no wires to get tangled, has good user interface with iOS, so/so with Android. They aren’t rated for water resistance, but after more than four years of using them while sweating heavily, rides and runs in the rain they continue to function. In 2020, after three years the battery life was poor, so I paid $98 for Battery Service (which is really a replacement). I used to love the AirPods, but recently the microphone is not always connecting to the phone when receiving phone calls. This is happening with both Android and iOS and I have heard other people complaining about the same things. What’s going on?! When the batteries die for a second time I will investigate alternatives.

Nicore NU25 rechargeable headlamp (2019) Very light-weight when the headband is replaced with cords. Good regulation, bright enough for trail running, a decent electronic lock so it doesn’t turn on accidently. Use it for when I am running in the dark and it has been a backup for when I forgot to recharge my bike light. In cold weather can be powered from a remote USB power supply. If I lost this light I would choose the NU20 for it’s simpler UI. I have a post about other good flashlights.

Sony RX100 VI Camera (2020). Great quality image capture in daylight, ok performance in low light situations, with a 200mm optical zoom that fits into my pocket. I purchased this after the VII was released but concluded the added features didn’t justify the added cost for my uses. After 2 years of trying to use the camera on my phone I found that I wanted a better sensor and lens. Geotagging mostly works through Sony’s smartphone ImagingEdgeMobile app.

Original Joby GorillaPod* (2012) for when I need more stability for the Sony.

Purell Hand Sanitizer (2002) Carried for a long time, but more important than even in the time of COVID.

Zojirushi Double Walled Mug (2013) can easily be used one handed, locks so it doesn’t open accidentally, pours at the perfect speed, the mouth is wide enough for ice cubes, and insulating better than every other mug I have tested. I have a Deep Cherry color mug which I picked up after misplacing my silver mug at work. The striking color make it easy to spot when I forget it in a conference room. When flying you can fill the Zojirushi with ice (no water) and get through TSA security. Once through, add water and you can have icy cold water for your flight. For several years I have been tempted by the very pricy Snowpeak Titanium Kanpai Bottle for it’s beautiful design and versatility. I have resisted because my Zojirushi is working, has better insulation, is already paid off, and the sipping lid doesn’t leak.

Entchin Fanny Pack* (2020) Inexpensive fanny pack which is the good size for most of my done in a day activities. All of the items above, a protein bar and small volume jacket fit. I switched to a fanny pack because the strain of a courier bag or sling on a single shoulder would be painful after several hours. Likely going to use it less in 2021 as most hikes now including a 20lb plate in a daypack to make hikes more of a work out.

My Office

For the last few years most of these items (and items listed as temporarily retired) were either everyday carry or travel items. Since COVID struck I have been working from home so this is now office gear.

MacBook Pro 13″ (2020) provided by Hashicorp. Been using MacBooks since 2006 as my primary computer because I get the best of a UNIX environment and high quality applications. There are better performing laptops for the money, but I like the ergonomics of the Macbook, especially the touch pad. When I purchase one for personal use I select a configuration with the maximum memory available which has allowed me to use the same Macbook for 4-6 years before it feels too sluggish.

LG 27BN88U 27″ 4k Display (2020) provide by work. Historically I have worked from the display on my laptop, using an external monitor only occasionally when needing to display a lot of data. In the era of Zoom meetings I use the laptop screen for displaying people, and the external monitor for notes, presentations, and general work.

Westone 5ES custom In-ear-monitors (2012) with excellent sound quality and comfortable enough to wear on 14 hour flights. They reduce noise by 35db which makes travel much less fatiguing while being much smaller and having better sound quality than over the ears active noise canceling headphones. Stored in a medium size HumanGear GoTubb with adapters. I have written about other headphones options.

Radsome EarStudio ES100 (2018) bluetooth/DAC/headphone amplifier allows me to use Westone IEM (or other wired headphones) with devices missing a headphone jack. Can also function as a USB DAC. The ES100 is tiny, with good sound quality (though Chord Mojo is better) and can even drive Sennheiser HD800 to reasonable sound levels. I have written about other DAC and Players

Nekteck 4-port 72W USB C Charger (2018) with 1 USB-C and 3 traditional USB ports which allows me to charge every device I use on a daily basis from a single power brick, including the 13” MacBook Pro from work. When the MacBook Pro isn’t being charged can rapidly charge all my devices.

Small fabric tape measure (2012) to measure packages and other smaller items.

Kindle Oasis (2019) Lets me access the majority of my library with me and every book can be displayed with large print for my aging eyes. Love being able to quickly search for notes / highlighted passages. I miss physical books and I know knowledge retention is better when reading paper books, but the convenience of the Kindle outweighs this for me. Replaced a PaperWhite because the Oasis ergonomics allows reading with a single hand and I like the warm backlight, especially in the evening.

USB Power Task Light (2020) to replace a task light my wife needed somewhere else in the house.

Portable File Case (2002) Holds current paper items I am working on.

Mikikin Fan* not shown (2020) Gift from my wife for hot days I need some air circulation.

Bathroom

REI Micro Shower Bag (2017) is the perfect size for my toiletry kit while providing just enough organizational features to make it easy for me to find everything quickly. Inside pocket holds a few doses of medicines for allergies or colds. Main area has: a small HumanGear GoTubb to store aleve and tylenol, lip balm, toothpaste, and most of the bathroom items listed below. Outside pocket holds first aid kit which includes waterproof Band-Aids, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic cream, superglue, a couple of safety pins. No longer made: the GOX Organizer looks to be similar.

Gillette Mach-3 Razor + Pacific Natural Shaving Oil (1999). I am sure there are better razors and many people would suggest that shaving oil is a prep step which should be followed by shaving cream… but I have found this combination effective, reasonable cost effective. 1 bottle lasts me a year. When traveling I often leave the shaving oil behind and use Dr Bronners to lather my face.

Listerine Floss (1996) is the most effective dental floss I have used. Gentle to the gums while still getting plague and food wedged between teeth out.

PaRaDa Nail clipper (2014) with a trimmings catcher to make cleanup easy.

Retractable Bristle Hairbrush (1994) which is compact but effective.

Dr Bronner’s Soap (1978) – small bottle for travel, larger bottle in shower`

Micro Fiber Cleaning / Storage Bag + Cleaning Fluid (2008). When traveling I typically leave the cleaning fluid behind.

Oral-B/Braun 6000 Electric toothbrush (2016). Oral-B and Sonicare both make excellent toothbrushes which are significantly more effective than using a manual toothbrush. When traveling I leave the Oral-B behind and bring a Violife Slim Sonic toothbrush which isn’t as effective, but is much smaller. On an extended trip I would be tempted to purchase a USB powered charger for the Oral-B.

Precision Xtra Ketone and Blood Glucose Meter* (2017) for times I am fasting or engaged in a new diet and want some objective data.

Linen Towel (2020) Lighter weight, dries faster, and less likely to get less smelly than previous cotton towel but isn’t as soft.

Sleep!

ChiliPad (2019) which cools or warms water which flows through a mattress topper. I need it to be significantly colder than Jackie to sleep soundly. Allows me to sleep without requiring the room to be cold and Jackie needing heavy blankets.

Bucky 40 Winks Sleep Mask (2015) lets me sleep even when it’s not completely dark outside. On my third purchased in 2020

Sports & Exercise

Withering Body WiFi Scale (2014) makes it easy to track weight which is well integrated to Garmin, Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, and numerous other health tracking eco-systems.

Pullup Bar (2020) – To work our upper body when gym closed

Bowflex Adjustable Kettlebell (2020) – Useful for numerous exercises. Used for several of sets in the Simple Six workout.

20lb Rucking Plate (2020) – Helps to turn my my daily walks into a workout.

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

Grip Strengthen* – not shown (2020) to build my hand strength which has dropped dramatically compared to when I was climbing.

RunScribe Plus* shown below (2020) to capture run’s intensity better than using pace or heart rate and to get information about running form. Jury is out if I am getting actionable insight to justify use. They have been a bit troublesome to use because it sometimes a couple of tries to get a bluetooth connection to them.

Garmin Swim Heart Rate Monitor shown below (2019) because optical heart rate monitors aren’t sufficiently accurate for HRV measurements and aren’t responsive enough to track interval training. Works when I am heavily sweating and swimming.

Clothing

I have notes about selecting clothing for an active life which goes in detail  about how to select clothing for a wide range of activities and conditions.

De Soto Mobius Tri Shorts (2018) works well cycling, running, and swimming. They are comfortable for all the activities I engage in, in a wide range of conditions. They have reduced issues with chafing, dry fairly quickly, and are reasonably comfortable when wet. They have side pockets large enough to hold some nutrition and my phone so I don’t need to use a special cycling jersey. I never need to think about what shorts to wear for vigorous physical activities…. I just grab my pair of Tri Shorts. Earlier used Zoot shorts.

Vroomi River Run Shirt (2020) ultralight wool poly blend with great air permeability. The only sun protective long sleeve shirt I found which is comfortable to wear in hot weather while active. Resist odors almost as well as 100% merino wool shirt. Downsides are that it is expensive, already lightly piling, and easily stains. I have heard the Patagonia Men’s Capilene Cool Daily Hoody could be a good alternative.

Columbia/Montrail Titan Trailrunning Shirt (2018) Omni-Freeze fabric that helps cool when working out in moderate to hot conditions. Super light weight and breathable. Dries very quickly! Anti-stink is ok when keeping in mind it’s make from synthetic fabric.

Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Hoody (2009) for cool/cold weather outdoor activities. Without wind protection the grid weave lets air flow through speeding the release of heat. With a shell it insulates well. Comfort down to 30F when running without a shell, below that with a shell. When walking around town keeps me comfortable down to 45F when combined with a wind shirt. I am reasonably comfortable engage in high energy activities when it’s 65F by fully opening the zipper and pushing the sleeves up to my elbows. Dries amazingly quickly and feels more comfortable than any other shirt I have used when it’s wet. Mine was actually called Capilene 4 because it pre-dates the renaming to “thermal weight”.

Outlier New Way Shorts – 4 pair (2014) are nice looking shorts which fit me perfectly, don’t have cargo pockets, are durable and dry reasonably quickly. They are pricy but at the time that I purchased them, I hadn’t found any shorts I like as much

Icebreaker Anatomica Tee-shirt – 4 shirts (2014) merino wool with a bit of nylon for strength with just a bit of lycra for a body hugging fit. This tee-shirt fits me perfectly, looks good, is super comfortable, doesn’t smell after several days of wear on the road, and dries fairly quickly. There are two downside. First, they are pricy. Second, they don’t work as well as synthetics when engaged in high energy activities producing heavy sweat. There are a number of other good merino wool shirts from Smartwool, Outlier, and Wool&Prince. Since my original purchase two shirts have been replaced when they wore out. The new shirts have a bit of nylon for strength. They seem to be more durable.

Black Webbing Belt (1996) Easy to adjust to exactly the right length and has no metal so metal detectors don’t get triggered.

Icebreaker Anatomica Briefs – 7 pairs (2014) the most comfortable underwear I have worn. Earlier version developed holes after around 100 days of wear… the newest pair which has a bit of nylon with the wool. One pair has made it to 300 days of use without holes. Some people prefer boxer style but I see no reason to have extra fabric on my thighs. Good alternatives are the synthetic travel oriented briefs from Ex Offico and the comfortable but expensive underwear from Saxx. Worn out and replaced 4 pairs.

Darn Tough Socks – 8 pair (2013) are unsurprisingly durable since they come with a lifetime warranty. I have a mix of no-show mesh and light cushion crew. Icebreaker and the Smartwool PhD line are good alternatives. Worn out and replaced 2 pair.

Akona 2mm Neoprene Socks (2019) which protect my feet when using flippers or with Keens if I am on a trip which is constantly going in and out of water.

Outlier Slim Dungarees – 4 pair (2014) High-tech nylon pants in the style of jeans. Wonderful fit, looks good, excellent mobility. Thanks to the NanoSphere treatment very stain and water resistant. They are perfect except when it’s >80F and I am active. They seem pricey, but the per day cost of wearing is about the same as denim jeans. I have gotten more than 400 days of wear on some pairs. Maker&Rider and Wool&Prince makes nice alternatives. All my original pairs retired at the request of my wife: 1 looked wore out, 1 stained from a leaking Pilot pen :(, 2 a color my wife didn’t like. Current pants acquired in 2018 and 2019. When these next wear out might be replacing with Western Rise.

Western Rise Evolution Pants (2020) Stretch nylon pants in the style of jeans. Think of these as cheaper, lighter, slightly less advanced Slim Dungarees. Find that they are more comfortable in warmer conditions. Don’t know yet if they are as durable as Slim Dungarees. My only complaint is that the coin pocket is too deep.

White Button-up Shirt (2012) for when I need to be dressed up.

Outlier Air Forged Oxford Shirt (2014) Fits me well, made from durable nylon Supplex weave so it dries quickly and doesn’t wrinkle, and looks like a normal dress shirt rather than a “travel” shirt. Used backpacking when I need protection from biting bugs but is also appropriate for business meetings.

Toni Richards Hawaiian Shirt in picture below (2019) Everyone needs at least one shirt for “Hawaiian shirt day”, though some might argue that white and blue with sharks rather than flowers isn’t very Hawaiian. I find the cotton lawn fabric used by Toni Richards is more comfortable than other materials when it’s hot and humid. This is my favorite shirt for when I am in tropic locations.

Boss Wool Suit pictured below (2012) slim/european cut. Fits me perfectly though not bespoken. First suit that I wear rather than the suit wearing me. Light enough that it’s usable in the summer. I use it anytime I need to be properly dressed up: weddings, funerals, a very special nights out on the town. Have two ties… one that is “serious” and one that is “fun”. I won’t naturally choose to wear a suit, but sometimes it’s a necessity to show respect.

Clothing for Jackie

The following are worn because my wife cares more about how my clothing looks than I do. When we are doing a special activity together, I give Jackie the option to select clothing that will match what she is wearing. This costs me nothing and she appreciates seeing some variety in the clothing I am wearing.

Vroomi Running Shirt* (2020) in Bright Yellow

Flower Print Short Sleeve Shirt* (2019) for festive summer outings.

Peach Button Up Shirt* (2014) for a change from a white shirt when we are going out for the evening.

Wool and Prince 130wt Blue Oxford Shirt* (2014) Slim fit, crisp look while still having all the advantages of 100% wool. Very business casual. I would retire it because it hasn’t been worn: tee-shirts are fine at my work but my wife loves it.

Wool and Prince 210wt Burgundy Oxford Shirt not shown (2020) Slim fit, classic oxford cloth, while being 100% wool. Christmas present. A bit of color is a durable and versatile shirt.

Black/Grey/White Checked Button Up Shirt* (2013) for something that is casual but a bit more dressed up than my tee-shirt or hoody.

Outlier AMB Merino Wool Button Up Shirt* (2019) a bit more dressy than a tee-shirt or hoodie but don’t need to wear a suit.

Mid-Weight, Purple Merino Wool Sweater* (2013) for cool days or when some color is called for. Purple is the color of royalty… so it can function as a Christmas or Easter sweater.

Grey Cashmere V-neck Sweater* (2019) for fall and winter evenings when I more warmth than just a shirt and my fleece jacket is too casual. Will move to retired if not worn in the next year.

Muji Sport Jacket* (2013) for dressed up but casual date nights.

Boss Blazer Jacket* (2014) used when going out and it’s appropriate to be wearing something more dressy than a fleece or a sweater.

Footwear

Keen Clearwater CNX (2014) are the lightest sandals Keen makes. I liked the minimalist sandals made by luna but the toe protection of the Keens makes them a clear winner for me. When worn with gray socks they can “pass” for shoes most of the time. Comfortable in a wide range of conditions. Replaced pair in 2018 when my original pair wore out. If I could only have one pair of “shoes”, these would be it.

Altra Running Superior 4.5 (2017) zero drop, modest cushion, trail running shoe which are light weight with a fairly grippy sole for mixed trail conditions. Wear when I need extra cushion when feet are sore or in the back country when I need good traction. I am on pair 10. Wish I could get more than 400 miles before they wear out.

Merrill Vapor Glove 4 (2019): are the most minimalist running shoes I have found that fits me, “like a glove”. Great for travel because it packs into a very small space. Sole last around 400 miles for street running. Downside is that any moisture (rain, wet grass, etc) goes right through the uppers. For people who need more cushion and a wide toe-box I would recommend Alta Running & Topo, or if you need extreme cushioning Hoka OneOne. Worn out and replaced 6 pair.

Vivobarefoot Gobi II (2017) are comfort, light weight, zero-drop, minimalist ankle boots which I have been told are acceptable to wear with casual clothing through dressed up with nice pants and a sport jacket, but not a full suit.

Booties* (2020) because I shouldn’t be wearing shoes inside according to the rest of my family, and this passed winter my feet were cold wearing just socks.

Carots Shoes* (2017) are formal looking zero drop shoes. These are the only minimalist shoes I have found that looks like traditional dress shoes (heels and and tapered toe) that are sufficiently comfortable for day long wear. Jackie thinks this are much more appropriate with my suits than the Vivobarefoot Gobi boots.

Head and Hand Wear

Visor (2012) keep sweat and sun and sweat out of my eyes while maximizing air circulation for my head.

REI eVENT Rain Hat (2013) a discontinued ball cap made from waterproof / breathable eVENT. Used when hiking or running when I know it’s going to be raining. Keeps rain out of my face and glasses.

Tilley LTM6 Hat (2014) provides good sun protection while offering decent ventilation. I think it’s one of the more stylish hats which provides good sun protection. Jackie says I am wrong… that the OR SunRunner I used before was better looking. I have a list of other hats that you might prefer. I used a canvas Tilley hat for more than 20 years. Purchased the LTM6 when I lost my old Tilley.

DIY Facemask & Under Armor Sportmask (2020) What a year it has been. The DIY is three fabrics as recommended by the Northwestern University study which combines two tightly woven cotton layers with a layer of chiffon.

Mountain Hardware Grub Gloves (2015) medium weight PowerStretch gloves with a quilted mitten cover which folds away into the back of the glove making it comfortable to wear in a wide variety of conditions. Alas, this model has been discontinued. On my second pair. The PowerStretch palms are starting to wear out on the second pair, will likely have to replace in the coming year.

PolarBuff (2003) Sometimes configured as a hat, sometimes as neck gaiter.

Outer Wear

Montbell Chameece Inner Jacket (2004) is a very light weight fleece. About the same warmth as a sweater but much more convenient to put on and take off. On third light fleece (1 worn out, 1 replaced due to weight loss). In the coming year will live in the back of our car for days that are surprisingly cold.

Icebreaker Quattro Hoody not shown (2012) is a medium weight wool sweatshirt which had been living in the back of the car for the last couple of years for days that we experience a surprise drop in temperature. At the request of Jackie it’s swapping places with my Chameece fleece. I will add the Quattro whenever a tee-shirt isn’t warm enough by itself.

ArcTeryx Squamish Wind Shell (2012) is a 5oz windshell. When combined with a air permeable base or middle layer provide comfort over a huge range of conditions. Lost my Montbell Tachyon which compressed to 1/2 the size of the Squamish. I retrieved the Squamish from our car trunk where it was stored for “emergency” use. While the Squamish isn’t my favorite windshirt, if it was lost or damaged I would immediately purchase a windshirt. I think windshirts are one of the most useful pieces of outerwear.

Gore Gear R7 Shakedry Hooded Rain Jacket (2020) is an ultralight and ultra-breathable rain jacket designed for trail running. I can actually wear it and not be soaked by sweat when physically active! Other options are discussed in my post about rain gear. Cut isn’t as form fitting as the ArcTeryx Norvan SL, and has a huge logo which I don’t like, but the zipper has made it through a couple of multi-hour rain storms without leaking, but you have to be careful, the zipper can easily get jammed by the rain flap.

Zpacks Vertice Rain Pants (2018) are simple, light, breathable, waterproof rain pants. Used when commuting by bike, hiking, or backpacking in the rain.

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody (2020) is the perfect insulation for me for winter in the SF Bay Area and for 3-season backpacking. When standing around, makes me comfortable in conditions which are 25F lower than without the jacket. This means when layered over a thermal weight base or tee-shirt + light fleece, keeps me comfortable when standing around down to 20F. Reasonably light and compresses reasonably well. Has a good hood. This jacket is long enough to cover my suit jacket on nights that are cold and formal. I am still very fond of Montbell Down Jackets, the low cost down outerwear from Uniqlo, and the great price performance of Cumulus Primelite.

Travel

Tom Bihn Synik 30 Backpack (2020) is my luggage for all my trips Wonderfully designed with just the right amount of organizational features. Large enough for every trip I will taken, while small enough that it should fill under seatand not viewed as “luggage” by transportation operators. Replaced a Tom Bihn Synapse 25 purchased in 2014 which worked for 80% of my trips but on trips that I needed to have a suit and outdoor clothing was too small. Have notes about other travel packs. The pack is also used for grocery shopping in town and to hold a rucking plate when exercising.

Matador Freerain24 2.0 (2017) on v2 now. v1 wore out after 2 years of nearly everyday use which was logging 6 miles each day. Weights only 5.5oz, carries well. easily folds into a small stuff sack, and keeps contents dry in the worst rain. Used for done in a day activities and for when I was primarily running rather than biked to work.

PackTowel Ultralight (2009) Bodysize/XL – dries amazingly quickly, is compact, and is very effective. The XL is large enough that I can wrap it around my waist like a small sarong.  For awhile I used a medium/face size which packs in a tiny space. I found the face size sufficient for me to dry myself after a swim or shower, but I am willing to carry a larger towel for the added versatility and ease of use.

Google Pixel2 Phone* on Google-Fi (2020): Android 10 fixed most of the issues I had with audio out being routed to the “right” device. Notification management is better than iOS. Normally left deactivated, but brought out when traveling internationally. Purchased refurbished for less than $100 + a month of Google Fi is cheaper than international roaming on Verizon, and more convenient than purchasing local SIMs in each country. Alas, just after I purchased it our plans for a lengthy international trip were canceled. Will need to retire when Google stops updating the OS.

Tech “Survival Kit” is stored in a small  pouch from Muji updated in 2020 to reflect more use of USB-C. RAVpower 10K battery with USB-A&C outlets, Sharge 3-power USB charger which is small, can put out 65W across 2 USB-C and 1 USB-A ports. 6” USB Lightning, USB micro, and USB-C cables with some adaptor tips which let me connect pretty much any two USB devices.  Was part of my of my EDC when I commuted to work.

Extra long Lightning Charging Cable, sink stopper, Micro International power adapter (2018). If I was doing more international travel, I would drop my power adapter and swap my USB power supply for the Card Travel Adapter.

Montbell Trekking Umbrella* (2012) has the best balance I have found between small/light and useful canopy size. It has survived 40mph wind/rain storms but one of the ribs has broken (and then repaired). In warm to hot weather much more comfortable than wearing a rain jacket but doesn’t adequately protect my legs in a hard rain.

TYR Corrective Optical Performance Goggles (2012) so that I can actually see when I am swimming.

Beach

Every few years we spend extended time near a tropical beach. When we do this I pull extra “beachwear” out of storage which includes:

White Rashguard Long Sleeve Shirt* (2019) to protect my skin from sunburn when swimming and snorkelling.

Bluesmith Spartan Board Shorts* (2016) for trips where we are spending all day by the ocean.

Matador Pocket Blanket* (2019) for trips to the beach

Yeesam Prescription Snorkeling Mask* (2019) which lets me actually see underwater life when snorkeling rather than just blurs and flashes of color.

Backpacking / Snow

I have a 3-season packing list which makes use of a number of the items on this list and has several items which are specific for backpacking. In addition to the items on my backpacking list, I have several items which come out when I am heading to the mountains and expect snow. I have not taken pictures of any of these items. They are stored in a plastic bin which holds all my backpacking gear except my quilt.

Patagonia Cap 3 Tights (2007): added to my legs when facing below freezing conditions.

Outdoor Research Meteor Mitts (2004): which have a removable 300wt fleece inner mitt which folds back to let you use your fingers and a durable, waterproof shell. Can use the shells without liner when it’s warmer. The magnets on the inner mitt detract from overall comfort. Many people replace the liners. Dries faster than all-in-one handwear.

Unremembered-brand Traction Devices (2020): Gives trail runners and other shoes grip on snow and ice. Picked up when we were facing ice trails in Grand Canyon.

OR Gaiters: (<1988) for keeping snow out of shoes/boots and the lower legs dry.

Bicycling Stuff

Cervelo R3: (2013, replace 2015 when stolen) pricy but amazing road bicycle. Comfortable enough for an endurance ride, but responsive like a race bike. Fitted with an Infinity Seat, and a small seat bag which holds a pump, inter-tube, bike tool, and 2 tire levers.

Giro Air Attack Shield Helmet (2013) provides protection, good ventilation while having a very streamlined aerodynamic profile. Has snap on optical shield which is great because with my eye prescription, it’s hard to find sports oriented sunglasses. These days there are helmets which are more aerodynamic, and also cheaper while providing equivalent protection. If you ride a bicycle, wear a helmet!! I am alive today because I was wearing a helmet when I was in an accident. On my second.

Felix BC21R Bike Headlamp (2019) which was purchase when my Expilion 850 was stolen. The BC21R uses a removable 18650 rechargeable battery. I think I slightly preferred the quality of light from the Expilion, but the BC21R works well enough to stick with it, and I do appreciate that the battery can be charged outside light housing.

Power Tap P1 Pedals (2015) because I like objective measures about how my physically condition is changing. The Garmin Vector 2 pedals integrate better into the Garmin eco-system, use standard Keto cleats, and are lighter / more streamlined at about the same price point.

Bicycling Shoes (2013) with Cleat for PowerTap peddles.

Wahoo Fitness Kickr* (2013) is a trainer for when I don’t want to hit the road. Integrated power meter and variable resistance which can be controls via ANT+ or BlueTooth. Wahoo built the Kickr with an open API so there are numerous companies which have applications which can control the Kickr. At the beginning of 2020 I was thinking about selling it, but once shelter in place started, I found having a way to exercise at home was useful and held on to the Kickr.

Sentimental

There are a several items I have kept as a specific way to honor people I love. Serveral are functional, e.g. they are still used during the year.

Wool Blanket originally owned by my grandfather. It has been on countless fishing and camping trips and to virtually every picnic and outdoor concert I have ever attended. Everytime I see the blanket I think of my dad and many wonderful moments.

Various buttons collected over the years related to projects or movements that were important to me.

Libby’s pins (2000) of a nativity scene and of a mother and child. Originally worn by Libby on special occasions, they became daily decorations on the hats she wore during chemotherapy during the last months of her life. They remind me of Libby’s courage and the two things most important to Libby, family and Jesus.

Dad’s (<1990) tie tacks and Alox Swiss Army Knife which remind me of his love of the outdoors and his care for his students.

Gumby (2011) which was given as a reminder that when life is difficult, we need to be flexible.

CatBus Plushy (2018) given to me my Jackie because it reminds me of the gentle film My Neighbor Totoro which has delighted my family. I wanted a real CatBus, but no one can find one for me 🙂

Water Bottle Sling (2004?) which reminds me of our traveling grandmother Nancy, who brought this back from South America.

Computer Wizard’s Tee Shirt (1977) from high school group club… still fits.

Temporarily Retired

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger (2001) The small size is just the right size for my daily needs. My first bag was used from 2001-2017 and was still usable when I switched to a backpack. I gave it to someone in need. I am back to a Timbuk2 which I purchased in 2019. I prefer courier style bags over backpacks because they are easier to access on the go and leave my back with ventilation. I appreciate the water resistant fabric and that the fabric is heavy enough to retain it’s shape, but light enough not to be a burden. It’s been put in storage because I am working from home and don’t need to carry items to work.

AWS AC-650 Digital Pocket Scale (2012) is a small scale which makes it easy to weight food on the go. Typically at home so use kitchen scale.

Humangear Gotubb small (2012) to hold some medicine

Small combination lock (2012) for use at the gym… but can’t go to the gym right now due to COVID.

Likely Retire

These items have been put away but I still own.

Stryd Footpad power meter (2015) to capture run’s intensity better than using pace or heart rate. Replaced with RunScribe which should provide better information about run form. If I can’t make the data from RunScribe actionable, I will go back to using Stryd and retire the RunScribe. The Garmin Running Dynamics Pod is a cheaper way to get running power metrics.

Uniqlo Ultralight Down Vest (2012) is decent quality, low price. Combined with my fleece and a shell keeps me warm enough in the coldest weather I encounter in the SF Bay area. The Patagonia Micro Puff is my go to solution now because it’s more convenient and Jackie thinks it looks better.

Xero Terraflex* (2020) are zero drop trail shoes with has a sole reported to survive 5000 miles, rather than the <600 most trail runners. Trying them to reduce the number of shoes I go through in a year. I wear them for hiking, backpacking, and for around town walking. I have experimented with using them for trail running, but lacks the energy recovery of trail runners like Altra Superior and Inov-8 G 270. After wearing them for several weeks my heel started to become sensitive to pressure. Once my feet recover I will try to determine if it was these shoes or something else.

GoLite Snow Cap (2002): polarguard insulated bomber style hat which can be layered over other hats. Fairly windproof, warm, and light weight. Not needed give Micro Puff hood, but hasn’t been made in years so tough to replace.

Knit Cap with 23andme logo (2016) Worn to show company spirit and because Jackie likes seeing me wear bright colors. Back to using my Buff because I now work for Hashicorp. Maybe migrate to sentimental.

Patagonia Down Shirt with 23andMe logo (2015). I now work for Hashicorp! Away with the old, in with the new. My new Micro Puff is a better match for the conditions I regularly encounter.

Refurbished Google Chromebook Pixel LS* (2020) – Getting tired of Apple prices, the time it takes for OS updates to run / machine to restart, and increasing security threat. Given that most of my work is web based these days seeing if I can make do with an Chromebook as I make a hard separation between work and personal use. Purchased refurb unit for $200 to run the experiment since March 2020. While I prefer a MacBook, it’s going surprisingly well. Just wish was a bit lighter and have biometric unlock.

Retired

Icebreaker Wool Hoodie (2012) Oasis 200wt merino wool hoodie with 1/4 length zipper. Simpler to combining my tee-shirts with a light fleece or sweater so sold them to fellow backpackers who love merino base layers.

ArcTeryx Norvan SL (2016) Shakedry Rain Jacket which was very breathable, but it’s zipper leaks after 2 hours in the rain. Sold on ebay and replaces with a Gorewear Shakedry jacket which is cut as nicely but so far hasn’t leaked.

Smartwool Full Zipper Wool Fleece with 23andMe logo (2018) Team swag. Very nice, but I prefer the mobility and weight of puffy jackets. Donated to friend at 23andme.

Western Mountaineering Flash Hooded Jacket (2012) When I purchased this jacket it was one of the warmest / weight jackets on the market. Just 10oz but keeps me comfortable <10F when combined with a Patagonia Thermal Weight hoodie… too warm for bay area winters or Sierra’s when I am active. Don’t need a jacket that is this warm in this season of life. A warm base + Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody has taken care of me so far. Sold to a fellow backpacker.

Tom Bihn Synapse 25 (2014) which was close to perfect, but just a tad too small on the last several trips when I needed to mix formal events with outdoor adventures. Replaced with a Tom Bihn Synik-30 and sold on eBay.

Patagonia Ultralight 15L Courier Bag (2008) is perfect size for day use and compact enough that I can pack it away in my backpack when moving between towns. Easy access without taking it off, in hot weather maximized ventilation, and can be used at the same time that I am carrying a backpack. The fabric wore out after being used several months a year for the last 15 years. Jackie said it made me look like a homeless person. When I need a bag while traveling use FreeRain24. Given away.

Sennheiser HD800 Headphones (2012) very high quality sound without bother others too much (sound does leak).  Sold because I was not using them, always listening to our KEF LS50 which let family share listening experience. These are the second best sounding pair of headphones I have ever used, at 1/3 the cost of the best (Stax SR-009). Sold.

Chord Mojo DAC (2015) offers a nice design, good quality sound, good price / performance ratio, portability, has enough power to happily drive Sennheiser HD 800, and has an internal battery which enables it be driven via USB from phones and portable DAPs. Sold because unneeded with HD800 are being sold and the EarStudio ES100 is adequate when I am using my Westtone 5ES on the move.

Olight Universal Magnetic Battery Charger (2019) no longer carried because I don’t normally have removal batteries. Moved to family emergency bag.

Aukey Ultra Compact USB Charger and Anker 30w GaN USB-C charger (2018) replaced by a single unit which can go to 65W which is in my travel bag. Now with family electronics, the 30w is used to charge battery pack which is by our front door.

RAVpower Portable Charger/Flashlight (2014) stopped working

RAVpower 6700Mah USB Charger (2014) was replaced by charger which has more power and supports UCB-C. [6700Mah is now used by my wife]

Dreem2* (2020) Interesting data. Found that it matched the graphs from my Garmin. Also interesting is that when I look at the graphs from the Garmin there are times I thought “that looks like deep sleep” but the Garmin didn’t identify it as such, but the Dreem2 did. I don’t know what algorithms Garmin is using, but they really need to be tweaked. Sold on eBay.

Refurbished Apple SE (2019) Retired due to battery life being poor and the iPhone 12 mini being released. For the next year it will be a “backup” phone that family members can use if they break their phone. The next iOS release in 2021 will likely not support it. It’s a great size and has a headphone jack.

Jelly2 Phone (2020) Purchased to replace Pixel2 (Pixel2 updates ended Dec 2020) while traveling internationally and hopefully my iPhone 12mini. About the size and shape of an old fashion flip feature phone, e.g. small and nearly 2x as thick as most modern smart phones. I was ok with the 3 inch screen for viewing information, but it was too small for me to effectively type on. I also later realized all the Google Fi features wouldn’t work on it. Returned in the 30 day trial window.

Changes During 2021

Rudy Project Ketyum Frames with Prescription Transitions Drivewear lens from Sports Optical ordered at the end of 2020.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also

Matthew 6:19-21

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