Gear 2023

In December we will start seven months of travel, so I am doing my review / update a bit earlier than normal. Changes for 2023 include improving sun protection, a few purchases for walking the Camino, and streamlining for semi-nomadic life in the coming year as we seek to figure out where our “home base” will be in the next season of life.

Minimalism led me to simplify my possessions. I strive to use items that enable me to have an a healthy, impactful life, while minimizing friction. The following is a complete list of everything I own. Making this list was inspired by zenhabit’s one bag lifestyle and Tynan’s Gear posts. Related: items shared by our family and my travel packing list. Please do not allow your possessions to become the basis of your sense of value, security or well being.

Items in bold are exceptionally great. I happily use items marked with “*” but I would not automatically replace them. If I was a “true minimalist” I would get rid of them. The (year) is when the item became a standard part of my life, /year indicates when I re-purchased.

On My Person

Flexon Frames (1995/2020) typically with Zeiss high index progressive lens (1995/2022). Eyeglasses are an incredible blessing. I used to break frames within a year until I tried Flexon frames in 1995. They have lasted an average of 8 years with lens being changed each year. I am going to try Transitions XtrActive Polarized with my next lens update which go from almost clear and unpolarized to 90% light blockage that is polarized. Hope they work. If not, future glasses with have clear lens and I will use fitovers that are polarized.

N95/KT94 Masks (2021/2022) I like the BOTN KT94 and the classic 3M N95 but they are sometimes hard to acquire. For other good options see Masknerd reviews.

Victorinox Swiss Army Rambler (1999/2015) is the smallest, usable tool I have found with a blade, phillips head & flat screwdriver, scissors, bottle opener, and nail file. I am on my 3rd Rambler after losing a couple. I have some notes about other knives.

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

Uniball Vision Elite .5mm Pen (2015/2021) Writing feel approaching Pilot V5 and doesn’t leak after plane flights!

Apple iPhone 12 Mini (2020) on Verizon. I am tempted by Android’s superior speech recognition, notifications, and open platform, but the rest of my family is in the Apple eco-system. The upper right corner is a stretch for one handed use but smaller than most phones. Can someone please make a phone the size of the original SE with a 4″ high resolution screen? How about it Unihertz? Verizon is expensive, but gives me the coverage I want in the USA. I would give GoogleFi a try if they support multi-carrier / network switching on the iPhone. I would also consider whatever carrier supports satellite coverage at a reasonable cost. Airalo and Gigsky make it easy to acquire an eSIM for wireless data while traveling internationally.

Apple AirPod Pros (2021) are nicely integrated with the Apple eco-system and just work. Bluetooth connects quickly and reliably. Noise reduction is decent, and the “ambient mode” provides situational awareness. I have written about other headphones. V2’s volume control and “skip forward/reverse” are tempting, but not enough to replace functioning AirPods.

Garmin 955 Watch (2022) accurately tracks my activities and measures my fitness level. Has decent integration with smartphones and notifies me when I have left the paired phone behind. I find the data I get from Garmin to be higher quality than several other wrist worn sensors I have tried, being close to medical grade instruments when paired with a HRM and a power meter. There are other good sport watches. Much better battery life than iWatch and physical buttons which work with sweaty fingers. This was a gift from Jackie to replace a Garmin 935 whose battery after 5 years had degraded the point that I couldn’t use the GPS for a full day without charging.

Zojirushi Double Walled Mug (2013/2017) can easily be used one handed, locks, pours at the perfect speed, the mouth is wide enough for ice cubes, and insulating better than every other mug I have tested. When air temp is ~80F and the mug is exposed to the sun, 6 small ice cubes in cool water have just finished melting in around 3 hours – water temp is 35F, in 68F conditions ice lasts most of the day. 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 searching for it. In many countries you you can fill mug with ice (no water) and get through airport security. Once through, add water and you can have icy cold water for your flight.

Nicore NU25 headlamp – not shown (2019) Very light-weight, especially when the headband is replaced with shock cords. Decent regulation, electronic lock so it doesn’t turn on accidentally. Use when I need hands free light: repairs, backpacking, running in the dark, and it has been used when I forgot to recharge my bike light. Can be powered from a remote USB power bank making it useful in extreme cold. There are many other good flashlights. This NU25 was updated in 2022 with a better battery indicator, UI, and charges via USB-C, but I prefer the intensity levels of the older NU25.

“Office”

Tom Bihn Smart Alec (2022) durable top loading day pack. Large enough for our grocery shopping or carry two folding chairs and food for a picnic. When moving between places by car this pack holds “everyday items” and whatever “family” items than need to be carried. When flying, this bag is left behind holding the items I am not traveling with.

Plastic “Folio” (2022) Holds paperwork which is in process and office supplies.

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2006/2021) There are better performing laptops for the money, but the touch pad is more usable than most laptops and OS X provides high quality commercial applications and full UNIX tooling. I select a configuration with the maximum memory available which has allowed me to use the same Macbook for ~5 years before it feels too sluggish. I hope Apple brings back an ultra-portable someday.

“Tech Kit” items are stored in a small pouch from Muji when not in use. RAVpower 10K (2020) power bank with USB-A&C, Sharge 3-power USB charger (2020) which is small, can put out 65W across 2 USB-C and 1 USB-A ports. [No longer made, Anker 735 is similar.] An Aukey Dual USB-A Charger* (2014), 6ft, 4ft and 2 6″ USB-C cables, adaptor tips from USB-C to (A, micro, Lighting, Garmin) and a MagSafe Charger* (2021). Olight Universal Magnetic Battery Charger (2018) which charges pretty much any battery including 1.5V NiHM, 3.6 & 3.7V LI batteries.

BlueSound Flex 2i Speaker (2017/2022) moved this year from “family gear” to my list. Decent quality sound which can be driven by wire, bluetooth, airplay2, is an endpoint for a number of streaming services including Spotify and Tidal. I mostly play loseless encoded files from thumbnail sized 512gb USB drive plugged into the back of the speaker. Has an optional battery “backpack”. Multiple BlueSound speakers can be configured for whole house audio or be paired for stereo sound.

Keith Titanium Double Walled 150ml Tea Cup* (2021) small insulated cup. Moved from “family gear” since I am bringing it as we try living in some new cities. I don’t know why, but I really enjoy using it even though it’s much less insulating than my Zojirushi mug.

Travel Gear

The following are items that only get used when traveling. Most of my travel gear is the same as what I use “at home”.

Gossamer Gear Vagabond Packable (2021) 23L pack which is comfortable to carry and easily packs away in the Synik. Used for done in a day outdoor activities, as a EDC / grocery shopping bag, and as my primary luggage on trips that don’t require the Synik’s larger volume. So far it has been accepted as a “personal item” on all my flights. An Osprey Ultralight Drysack (2021) is sometimes used as a liner to protect against rain and used to wash clothing on trips that last more than a week.

Tom Bihn Synik 30 Backpack (2020) is my luggage for most trips. Wonderfully designed with just the right amount of organizational features. Large enough to hold everything in my packing list, but small enough looking that I have never needed to check it. Have notes about other travel packs. Only downside is that it doesn’t have a load transferring hip belt. If I regularly carried all the options from my packing list I would consider picking up a ULA Camino, Osprey Farpoint 40 or maybe HMG SouthWest 2400.

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. I found the face size sufficient for me to dry my body, but I am willing to carry a larger towel for the added versatility and ease of use.

Twelve South AirFly Pro* (2022) BlueTooth transmitter and receiver used on long flights to listen to audio. Allows me to use AirPods with the audio from the airplane and to drive my Westone from devices that don’t have a headphone jack. There are cheaper/better bluetooth transceivers.

Westone 5ES custom In-ear-monitors* (2012) with excellent sound quality and comfortable enough to wear on 14 hour flights. They originally reduced noise by 35db which makes flights much less fatiguing. This year I will compare using these and then using AirPod Pros to see how I feel at the end of a long flight to determine how much of a difference they make. My ear canals have changed slightly so they aren’t quite as isolating but are still more effective at blocking noise than any active noise canceling headphones I have tried while providing higher quality sound. Have notes about other headphones.

Swiss+Tech Utili-Key (2002/2022) has made it through TSA checkpoints over 100 times without being confiscated, but isn’t as usable as a Rambler pocket knife. On second after I misplaced the first.

5ft extension cord (2020). Often outlets are too far off the ground and too far from furniture surfaces for short USB cables to work. Rather than bring multiple long USB cables, I have one power cord so I can place the USB power charger somewhere convenient. Also useful to separate the weight of a charger from outlets that are often too loose.

Micro International power adapter (2018) Compact while fitting every standard outlet type in the world.

MLD SuperLite Bivy (2011) for sleeping in hostels on the Camino that don’t provide linens. Lost my silk sleep sack, so repurposing my backpacking bivy.

48″ x 60″ piece of Polartec Alpha Direct – not shown (120gsm) Used as a light and warm blanket for stays in hostels that don’t provide blankets. With bivy comfortable for sleeping down to 55F. Primarily for use on the Camino.

Sea to Summit Clothing Line* – not shown (2022) replacing a rubber cloth line. Purchase primarily for use when walking the Camino.

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 and colds. Main area has: Violife slim sonic toothbrush (was thinking about some other options but replace heads are back), lip balm, toothpaste, a micro fiber cleaning / storage bag for my glasses, a small HumanGear GoTubb to store aleve, and 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. The GOX Organizer looks to be similar.

Matador Flatpack Soap Case (2020) to carry a 100senses body bar which takes care of all my cleaning needs without drying out skin or making my hair feel like straw. One bar lasts me around six months. There are better shaving creams and shampoos, but it’s been good enough and simplifies life for me.

Gillette Power Mach-3 Razor (1999) and blades (1999/2021) Using as a manual handle since vibration stopped working. Use around 9 blades / year.

Listerine (Reach) Floss (1996/2021) 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) Compact and more effective than a comb for me.

Oral-B/Braun 6000 Electric toothbrush (2016) and USB powered charger. A recent meta analysis concluded that the rotational approach of Oral-B is likely superior to approach of Sonicare, but both are significantly more effective than manual brushing and the electric toothbrushes like my Violife which relies on a brushing motion. I leave the Oral-B behind on shorter trips.

Sleep

Newvanga Sleep Mask (2021) helps me get longer / better sleep because it stops external light from disturbing me. Cheaper and more durable than Bucky 40 Winks Sleep Mask.

ChiliPad (2019) which cools or warms water which flows through a mattress topper. I need to be significantly colder than Jackie to sleep soundly. I had problems with the heat exchanger isn’t able to dump enough heat in the summer to hit the cooling target when the unit was under the bed, but it has been fine when sitting out. Use at home and when we are staying for a month or more in a location we drive to. We tried an eightsleep system which much quieter but not worth the added cost to us. I didn’t find the automatic temperature adjustment of the eight sleep particularly helpful and the sleep tracking wasn’t significantly better than my Garmin watch.

Core Clothing

I have notes about selecting clothing for an active life which goes in detail  about how I select clothing for a wide range of activities and conditions. All of these items, my outwear, and travel items can fit in my 30L bag though I don’t take all these cloths when traveling.

Outlier Slim Dungarees – 1 pair (2014/2019) High-tech nylon pants in the style of jeans. Gives me an almost tailored fit, looks good, excellent mobility. Thanks to the NanoSphere treatment very stain and water resistant. They are perfect when it’s <75F and I am inactive, <55F when active. When active in >70F the seam that runs along the inner thighs chafes. They seem pricey, but the per day cost is the same as denim jeans. Over time the pants stretch out a bit especially around the knees which make them a bit less slim fitting. I get more than 550 days of use before the first signs of wear: pilling at the top of the pocket. I have yet to completely wear out a pair. Buffworks, Maker&Rider Western Rise, and Wool&Prince makes nice alternatives. Current pair acquired in 2017.

Western Rise Evolution Pants – 2 pair (2020/2022) Slightly stretchy nylon pants that are a cross between jeans and chinos. Compared to Slim Dungarees: less expensive, lighter material which makes them more comfortable in hot weather, less stain/water resistant, snug fitting rather than tailored. After around 300 days of wear they are a stretched and the color fades slight but otherwise are still in good shape. [Version 2 of Evolution are a bit more tight fitting and stretch more]. The coin pocket is too deep and I don’t need the zippered back pocket. Classic hiking pants like prAna Brion aren’t as refined looking but are cheaper.

Outlier New Way Shorts – 2 pair (2014) are nice looking shorts which fit me perfectly, durable, dry reasonably quickly, and resist stains. They can function as a swim suit but aren’t ideal. They are pricy but at the time that I purchased them, I hadn’t found any shorts I like as much and have had no need to replace them.

Icebreaker Anatomica Briefs – 5 pairs (2014/2021) the most comfortable underwear I have worn. I get around 600 days of wear before the waist band deforms and small holes appear. Also one pair of Tommy John’s Air Briefs which I am trying this year after several recommendations. I past I liked synthetic briefs from Ex Offico. I have heard Uniqo Airism are good and reasonably priced but haven’t tried them myself. I hear people rave about and the expensive underwear from Saxx but the pair I tried didn’t seem to justify the price.

Icebreaker Anatomica Tee-shirt – 2 shirts (2014/2021) merino wool with a bit of nylon for durability and a bit of lycra for a body hugging fit. This tee-shirt fits me perfectly, is super comfortable, doesn’t smell after many days of wear, dries fairly quickly, and my wife likes how the shirt looks on me. UPF between 15-30? It’s my default shirt unless I have to be more dressy or need more sun protection. I love merino, but synthetics technical-tees superior in three ways. First, synthetics work better when I am heavily sweating while exercising [See Xenith shirt mentioned below]. Second, synthetics dry more quickly because they absorb less water. Third, synthetics are more cost effective because they tend to be cheaper and longer lasting. I get around 500 days of wear before an Anatomica Tee looks tired, and 600 days before the first small holes appear which is 2-3x longer than 100% merino in the the same fabric weight. There are a number of other good merino wool tee shirts from Smartwool, Outlier, Wool&Prince, and several other companies.

Bluffworks Hopscotch Blazer (2022) Blazer which doesn’t wrinkle, can be washed in a machine, and is light enough to wear in hot weather.

Solbari Weekend Shirt (2022) White button up which is UPF50+, resistants odor for a several days, dries quickly, and under a sport jacket can be mistaken for a more formal dress shirt. In cooler weather blocks a bit of wind, surprisingly comfortable in hot weather. Downside is that it doesn’t resist stains very well and I could do without the straps to secure rolled up sleeves and the “security pocket”. Use it when I am going to be outdoors all day when UV index is >8.

Western Rise Unlimited Button Down (2022) Blue Merino / Polyester blend button down shirt. My wife tells me it also looks like it was just ironed as it comes out of the my luggage. My default “nice” shirt. Reported to be UPF 40. Fairly air permeable, resists odor, comfortable in a wide range of conditions.

Xoskin Toe Socks – 2 pairs (2022) prevents blisters forming between my toes when walking or running for extended distances. I have worn them 12 days in a row doing 10-20 miles of hiking each day without blisters. They weren’t stinky after six days of continuous use. They are significantly more durable than my previous merino toe socks. I have logged 350 miles in the first pair with no signs of wear.

Darn Tough Socks* – 2 pair (2013/2019) are unsurprisingly durable since they come with a lifetime warranty. Icebreaker and the Smartwool PhD line are good alternatives. Worn out and replaced 2 pair of the no show light socks last 12+ years after >5000 miles of use for each pair. None of my light crew have been worn through. I have loved my darn tough socks, but if/when they wear out will likely be switching to the xoskin toe socks.

Vivobarefoot Gobi II (2017/2022) are comfort, zero-drop, minimalist ankle boots which look good with casual clothing or dressed up with a blazer. I have used them around town, hiking in the backcountry and even run in them. Sending my original pair to be resoled after walking more than 1500 miles. With an occasional brush and polishing the uppers still look good after repeatedly soaked in rain storms, covered in mud, etc.

Inov-8 Trailfly G 270 (2022) Zero drop trail running shoe that is a good amount of cushion and a 12mm stack. Great fit for me: enough room for my toes to splay while gripping my heel perfectly. Mostly used for backpacking or trail running when the terrain is too technical for my Luna sandals. This model used to be called the TerraUltra G 270. I don’t have enough miles to determine if the graphene infused soles are any more durable than typical trail runners.

Luna Venado Sandals (2012/2022) I can walk 15 miles / day for a week on hard surfaces and my feet are still feel good. I love the feel of running almost barefoot and the tiny space they take when packed. These are my “shoes” unless I am facing technical terrain or if social convention would have me wear closed toed shoes.

Alpaca Blend Socks* (2021) are soft, warm, and cushioning with non slip “dots” on the bottom. Work well as slippers at home and are very pleasant on cold days inside shoes.

Outerwear

GoreWear R7 Trail Running Jacket (2020/2022) I can actually wear it and not be soaked by sweat when active! For example: doing a zone 2 run for an hour in 48F rain… 1gram of water accumulated in my running shirt. I am also often using it as a wind shell. Downside is that the fabric is fragile. expect to replace after 2-3 years. Previous Shakedry jackets developed pinpoint holes in the shoulders after 2 years of use, but didn’t impact performance. Zipper broken on my first R7 and GoreWear replaced it under warranty. The “new R7” is a bit more boxy, 50% heavier (4.2->6.4oz), has stretch fabric on the cuffs, and a double zipper which isn’t as stiff. I wish the branding on the jacket wasn’t so obnoxious / ugly. Other options are discussed in my post about rain gear.

Zpacks Vertice Rain Pants* (2018) are simple, light, breathable, waterproof rain pants. Used when in cool rain when commuting by bike, hiking, or backpacking. After a few years of light use I am getting some minor leaking in the seat, and the bottom cuffs are worn. When they are dead will likely replace with something more durable.

Macpac Nitro Pullover (2021) Made from Polartec Alpha Direct (90gsm). Highly breathable and dries super fast. Very light insulate without a shell, surprisingly warm under a shell. Great when active in cold conditions. I can feel air flow by walking in still air. Worn whenever my tee-shirt isn’t warm enough. I am comfortable sitting in 68F wearing the Nitro and a tee-shirt, but when I pull up the hood and layer on a shell I am comfortable down to 40F doing light work (casually walking). There are lots of good options for an insulation layer.

Montbell Plasma 1000 Down Vest (2021) Incredibly light weight vest which provides moderate insulation for my core. I have the Japanese version which has pockets. When combined with a tee-shirt, Macpac Nitro, and GoreWear R7 Shell allows me to be comfortable while casually walking to 25F. Combined with Nitro and Micro Puff keeps me warm enough in any winter conditions I am likely to encounter in the next few years. Less than perfect for me: cut is a bit too boxy the neck doesn’t seal well.

Montbell Unbrero (2021) is a 1.8oz folding hat which fully shades my face, ears, and neck. It’s fully waterproof but still provides the best ventilation of any hat I have used. It deforms but usable in 20mph winds. Montbell says the hat doesn’t provide UV protection which I fixed by applying UV absorbing paint on the inside. I think it’s silly looking but others have said it’s pretty cool. There are lots of hat options

PolarBuff* (2003) Generally I use the hoods on my garments, but sometimes I want extra insulation for my neck or head.

Exercise / Active Clothing

Xenith Delta Shirt (2021/2022) is the most comfortable shirt I have worn in hot weather, especially when I am exercising and sweating heavily. UPF 30. The shirt maintains air permeability and doesn’t stick when wet. The shirt dries at the perfect rate: faster than wool or cotton, but slower than classic “fast dry” shirts, and feels cool against the skin. I have also found that is it the most odor resistant synthetic shirt I have tried, though not as good as wool. My first shirt has holes after around 1500 hours of exercise. If day to day wear-and-tear is similar, I would only get 90 days of all day wearing. Hopefully future shirts will last longer.

De Soto Mobius Tri Shorts (2018/2021) works well cycling, running, and swimming. They are comfortable for all the activities I engage in when the temperature is above freezing. 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 to wear for vigorous physical activities…. I just grab a pair of Tri Shorts. I get around 1000 hours of use from each pair.

Black Diamond Alpine Start (2021) is a 6oz hoodless ultralight soft-shell which is very air permeable (40-60 CFM) and extremely water resistant thanks to the Schoeller NanoSphere treatment. Very comfortable bicycling at pace (~220watts / ~18mph) when it’s <55F or doing a zone 2 HR runs when it’s <50F. In a light rain find it easier to manage moisture than the Shakedry shell because the higher air permeability helps me dump heat (reducing the amount I sweat) while resisting the rain. Normally I like a hood, but the lack of a hood is useful when cycling and running with a hat. Windshirts are great!

Castelli Light Arm Sleeves (2021) and Leg Sleeves (2022) UPF 50 sun protection I combined with short sleeve shirt and shorts to avoid hassle of sunscreen. We in direct sunlight, limbs actually feel a bit cooler than when uncovered.

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

ArcTeryx incendo Trail Running Pants* – not shown (2022) are very light, wind and water resistant pants which have a good deal of stretch. Great when you want a lot of mobility and modest protection from the elements. Pockets aren’t great. Being used for when exercising outdoor (like Tai Chi) in cooler conditions and running in freezing conditions.

Sports Gear / Technology

Garmin HRM-Pro (2021) get higher accuracy during interval training than built in optical sensor on smart watches can provide and works when swimming. Can record data without the watch being connected, but I don’t generally use that feature. Also provings running power which has been somewhat useful. Supports ANT+ and Bluetooth.

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. Body composition numbers not accurate.

o2Trainer (2022) Working on improving my breathing. Not used enough to have an opinion..

Stored in Car

I leave some items in car trunk in case we encounter unexpected conditions. I rarely need to use these items, but have often loaned them out to friends.

ArcTeryx Squamish Wind Shell (2012) is a 5oz windshirt with an air permeability of ~30 CFM. When combined with a heavy base or light middle layer provide comfort over a huge range of conditions. Comfortable against the skin.

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody (2020) Keeps me comfortable ~25F lower than I would be without the jacket. Provides just the right insulation for me for winter nights in the SF Bay Area and shoulder season backpacking in the sierras. Combined with down vest it’s just right for winter trips in the sierras. Reasonably light and compressible. Long enough to cover my blazer.

Icebreaker Quattro Hoody* (2012) is a medium weight merino wool sweatshirt. After several years of near constant use starting to pill so has been “retired” to the car.

Keen Clearwater CNX* (2014/2018) are the lightest sandals Keen makes. The toe cap has been effective at protecting my toes. When worn with gray socks they can “pass” for shoes most of the time. Keens ground feel is a bit “dead”. I am back to using Luna as my primary sandal. Sometimes Jackie and I meet somewhere after a bicycle ride. Handy to be able to switch out of cycling shoes.

Tilley LTM6 Hat* (2014) durable hat that provides good sun protection. I prefer the LTM8 which has more ventilation. Replaced a 20 year old canvas Tilley that was lost on a river trip.

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

Matador Freerain24 2.0* (2017/2020) The waterproof zipper on a 1.0 model wore out after 2 years of daily running commute with my laptop and other supplies. Keeps contents dry in the worst rain. Weights only 5.5oz, and stuffs into a fist size package. Carries reasonably well.


Items which will stored in our home as we travel


Sentimental Items

There are a several items I have kept as a specific way to honor people I love or past experiences.

Box which I store these things, my spare glasses, some old documents, etc.

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

Libby’s pins (<2000) of a nativity scene, 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.

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

Dad’s (<1980) tie tacks and Alox Swiss Army Knife which remind me of his love of the outdoors and his care for his students.

Knit Cap with 23andme logo (2016) — Not shown: 23andme Tee-Shirt (2016) Hashicorp Cycling Jersey (2021)

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

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

Grandpa’s Yamaka (<1980)

“Variety” Clothing

While I normally like to wear my “uniform”, but I sometimes want to wear something a bit different. I know my wife likes variety in my clothing. I sometimes call the following my “Jackie clothing”. While traveling the clothing can be rolled over their hangers and be stored in a $4 Ikea Frakta Duffel (2022) along with my beach items.

Toni Richards Hawaiian Shirt (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 to be one of the most comfortable materials when it’s hot and humid. Alas, UPF is quite low.

Montbell Wickron Dry Touch Short Sleeve Shirt* (2021) for when I need to be more dressed when it’s is hot. The seersucker fabric is more comfortable than many other materials when it’s hot and humid. It resists accumulating odor better than many synthetics shirts I have used. A gift from my wife. Alas, UPF 20.

Arcteryx Cormac Zip Neck Shirt* – not shown (2022) A casual UPF 50 shirt. Slightly calendared which I find reasonably comfortable when I am hot and sweaty. Resists odor for around 2 day of normal activities, 1 day of vigorous activity. Used when need full sun protection and the Solbari is too formal.

White Cotton Button-up Shirt* (2012) Was my default when I want to wear something more formal than a tee-shirt. Appropriate in almost any setting. Shirts which have more sun protection and dry more quickly have replaced it.

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

Muji 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. Gift from Jackie.

Wool and Prince 210wt Burgundy Oxford Shirt* (2020) Slim fit, classic oxford cloth look while being 100% wool. Christmas present.

Outlier AMB Merino Wool Button Up Shirt (2019) Very comfortable. It doesn’t wrinkle and if I don’t spill food on it can be worn many days without washing. Good air permeability, surprisingly comfortable in warmer conditions.

Banana Republic 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. Gift from Jackie.

Grey Cashmere V-neck Sweater* (2019) for fall and winter evenings when I need more warmth than just a shirt and my hoody is too casual. Love cashmere but durability is low, it pills very quickly.

Boss Blazer* (2014) for dressy events in the fall and winter that don’t require a formal suit. Christmas present.

Boss Wool Suit – not shown (2012) slim/european cut in super 140 wool. 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 for weddings, funerals, and special nights out on the town. I won’t naturally choose to wear a suit, but sometimes it’s appropriate.

Carots Shoes* not shown (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 an evening.

Softstar Shoes Merino Moccasin* – not shown (2021) Comfortable slippers that have a bottom that can be used when walking into the backyard.

Ultrafino Santa Fe Hat* – not shown (2021) is “Panama” straw hat. Purchased expecting better coverage and ventilation. Alas, this hat’s weave is so tight that the ventilation is minimal, and the brim isn’t large enough to consistently shade my face and neck. The function of this hat isn’t as high as I expected, but I have held on to it because it’s a great looking hat.

Also have “extra” clothing stashed for when my existing clothing wears out. Most of the extra clothing were purchased on sale, lightly used, or I had been wearing and decided to drop the number of items I have in a weekly rotation. I currently have 1 pairs of outlier slim dungarees (2019), 3 outlier new way shorts (2014), 3 western rise evolution pants (2022), 4 tee shirts (2018-2021), 3 pairs of briefs (2019-2021), 6 pairs of darn tough socks (2015-2019), 3 pairs xoskin socks (2022), Montbell Peak Dry Jacket (2021), Sikta Shakedry Jacket (2022), Macpac Nitro hoodie (2022), 2 delta tee-shirts (2022), tri shorts (2021), and luna retro oso flaco sandals (2022). These items will be pulled out when my current clothing wears out. It’s useful to have have an unused items purchased at the same time as one which is in “heavy rotation” to see how much wear and tear accumulates over time.

Beach Clothing and Gear

When we spend extended time near a tropical beach I pull my “beachwear” out of storage.

Bluesmith Spartan Board Shorts* (2016) For days that I am living in swimming suit, going in an out of the water. These shorts dry very quickly. Could use my Tri or New Way Shorts if I was trying to minimize more.

Patagonia R0 Longsleeve Shirt (2022) UPF 50 shirt for water activities. Tight fitting, dries quickly. Jackie approved. Picture has my older Bluesmith shirt rather than white R0.

Matador Pocket Blanket* (2019) to sit on when at the beach.

Matador Droplet Wet Bag* (2019) which holds items on the way to the beach, and wet items on the way home.

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

Akona 2mm Neoprene Socks* – not shown (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.

Backpacking / Winter Gear

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. I have not taken pictures of any of these items. The “winter gear” is not used “at home” because the Bay Area never gets cold enough to need these items, but they are pulled out when traveling to winter destinations. These are stored in a old Coke crate in the garage.

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

Enlightened Gear Visp Rain Mittens (2022) Minimalist rain protection from hands.

Mountain Hardware Grub Gloves (2015/2020) 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. My second pair almost worn out. Alas, this model has been discontinued.

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.

Traction Devices* (2020): Gives trail runners and other shoes grip on snow and ice. Picked up when we were facing icy trails in Grand Canyon. Don’t remember the brand and it’s not stamped into the chains.

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

Bicycling Stuff

Specialized S-works 2019 Roubaix (2021) an endurance bike that smooths out the road making it easy to be confident on less than ideal road surfaces with a responsiveness that approaches the Cervelo R-series. A huge improvement from the 2013 version of the Roubaix. Fitted with an Infinity Seat (weird looking but the most comfortable seat I have used), 2 water bottle cages, and a small seat bag which holds a pump, inter-tube, bike tool, and 2 tire levers. A charger for DI2 which is powered via a micro USB cable gets used every month or so.

Felix BC21R Bike Headlamp and Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150 (2019) The BC21R uses a removable 18650 rechargeable battery.

Power Tap P1 Pedals (2015) because I like objective measures. No longer made. The Garmin Vector 2 pedals use standard Keto cleats, and are lighter.

Bicycling Shoes (2013) with cleats for PowerTap peddles.

Giro Air Attack Shield Helmet (2013/2016) provides protection, good ventilation while having a streamlined aerodynamic profile. Has snap on optical shield. On my second Air Attack helmet due to a crash which broke the helmet but protected my head. If you ride a bicycle, wear a helmet!! I have been able to walk away from at least two accidents thanks to the protection of a helmet. Helmets don’t lead to more injuries due to a false sense of security. These days there are helmets which are more aerodynamic than mine, and also cheaper while providing equivalent protection.

CoolNet UV Buff – not shown (2022) Protects my neck and ears from sun and also functions as a headband to keep sweat out of my eyes. A set of magnets made to “pin” race bib to a shirt keep the buff from riding up and exposing my neck.

Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Cycling Gloves – not shown (2021) Keep hands comfortable on rides when it is cool and maybe wet. Cheap thanks to a clearance sale at sierra.com

Exercise and Health Devices

These items stay in our in Mountain View home when we travel. When away from home I often join a local gym or use body weight exercises.

MX Select MX55 Adjustable Dumbbells* (2021) 20-55 lb in 5 lb increments. Smooth and fast to change weights. Considered the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, but local store told me they were a service problem and stopped carrying them due to mechanism failures.

Pullup Bar* (2020) To work upper body without going to gym.

20lb Rucking Plate* (2020) – Held in a backpack and used to add weight to walks, pull-ups, squats, etc.

Bowflex Adjustable Kettlebell* (2020) Useful for several sets from my Simple Six workout. Likely better options out there: max weight is 40lb (I would like it to be 60lb) and there is a 10lb jump between 25-35 lb rather than the 5lb for every other increment.

Cervelo R3* (2013/2015). Pricy but wonderful road bicycle. Replaced with identical bike when my first was stolen. Comfortable enough for an endurance ride, responsive like a race bike, great for climbing. Wore out drive train which has now been mostly replaced… still looking for Rotor chain rings. Now primarily lives on a Kickr for indoor “rides” and is mt “spare bike” and if my Roubaix is out of action.

Wahoo Fitness Kickr* (2013) is a trainer for when it’s not convenient to hit the road. Integrated power meter and variable resistance which can be controlled via ANT+ or BlueTooth. Very useful if doing structured training based on power.

Lactate Plus Meter* (2022) for determine zone 2 and zone 5 thresholds to optimize training.

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

Biosense* (2022) ketosis breath meter to simplify measuring ketosis when experimenting with diets and fasting

Small combination lock* (2012) for use at the gym. Not using lockers now.

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

Entchin Fanny Pack (2020) Inexpensive fanny pack which is a good size for half day activities. Can hold a headlamp, mini first-aid/emergency kit, water bottle, a protein bar, and small volume jacket. Use rather than daypack so my back is ventilated.

Stored – Possibly Retire

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 provides some insulation. 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 with hoods up. 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 in cool conditions. Mine was actually called Capilene 4 because it pre-dates the renaming to “thermal weight”. Likely retire because light base + macpac alpha direct hoody is more versatile and has better performance.

REI Swiftline Running Shorts Shorts* – not shown (2022) are very light shorts which dry quickly and pack down into a tiny space. Over the years I acquire light running shorts, barely use them, give them away, and the re-acquire a couple of years later. I should either hold on to them and decide once and for all that I don’t need them.

Rudy Project Ketyum Frames with Transitions DriveWear manufactured by Sports Optical* (2021) provides excellent protection for my eyes while cycling and any other daytime activity. Ketyum is one of the few wrap around frames that can handle a prescription as strong as mine. The lens are thick but not too heavy. Transition lens work well during daylight but are a bit too strong at dusk.

Immersion Water Heater* (2019) carried primarily for Jackie when taking trips to cold destinations where the hotel rooms don’t have any way to heat water. We generally stay places that it’s not needed.

AWS AC-650 Digital Pocket Scale* (2012) a small scale which makes it easy to weight food on the go.

Portable 14″ 4K Monitor* (2022) for more screen real-estate. Was needed when I was doing a lot of Zoom meeting and needing to also have screen space for documents. Now that I am not in back to back meetings likely not needed. A better solution might have been xebec since the screen is attached to the laptop rather than sitting to the side.

HiFiMan RE800 Silver IEM* (2022) Light weight, good quality sound which doesn’t completely cut me off from my environment. Used when I want to listen to music without disturbing family. Great deal at $100.

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 decent sound quality (though Chord Mojo is better) and can even drive Sennheiser HD800 to reasonable sound levels. Put to the side because AirFly Pro can do an adequate job and is usable to transmit and receive.

Geyes Bluetooth Keyboard* (2015/2022) I have repeatedly searched for a compact bluetooth keyboard to use with my phone. In the last few years I twice settled on the Geyes keyboard. Yet, I end up giving up on it. Certainly better than typing on the screen, but falls way short of a real keyboard. Either I should decide to give up on a compact bluetooth keyboard one and for all, or I should hold onto this keyboard for the next time I think a compact bluetooth keyboard would be a good idea.

RunScribe Plus* (2020) to get information about running form. I am not getting particularly actionable insight but provides more data on running form that Stryd.

Kindle Oasis* (2019) Lets me carry the majority of my library 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 ebooks outweighs this for me. The Oasis ergonomics allows reading with a single hand and I like the warm backlight in the evening. I have been tempted by e-paper Android tablet such as those made by Boox which are a more versatile devices. If I lost the Oasis I would likely use my phone and laptop to access my Kindle “library”.

Retired

Icebreaker Spector Tee* (2021) I decided to try a lighter weight tee that isn’t as body hugging and is more colorful. I quickly decided that I prefer the Anatomica fit, and black for daily wear. After 300 wears it was looking tired. The first hole appear around 400 days.

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 off of my face and glasses.

Altra Running Superior Trail-runners (2017/2022) zero drop, modest cushion, trail running shoe which are light weight with a fairly grippy sole for mixed trail conditions. Beside wearing them running, they are my primary footwear in the backcountry, and I wear in town when my feet are sore and need some extra cushion. I have worn 18 pairs. Wish I could get more than 400 miles before they wear out. Pair 17 soles came detached after around 75 miles. Alta sent me a new pair under warranty. Something changed in version 5 (or maybe my feet changed) and they aren’t as comfortable as they used to be.

Bluesmith Kanaha Shirt (2021) Hydrophobic treated shirt which protects from the sun and absorbs very little water. Very comfortable to wear and works well when swimming without being extremely tight. Replaced a misplaced “rashguard” shirt. I experimented with it as a general fitness shirt but I don’t think it’s hydrophobic approach to moisture is better for me that Polartec Delta in hot weather. Downside if not used for water sports is it quickly accumulated body odor, upside is that a quick rinse seems to wash the odor away. Its effective, but Jackie really hates it style so it’s being retired.

Muji Sport Jacket (2013) A casual blazer which doesn’t wrinkle and has served me well. Retiring because it was never a great fit and there are some stains that aren’t coming out.

Osprey Transporter 46L (2004) similar to the current Osprey Porter 46. Used for 10 years as my primary travel bag until I downsized to a Tom Bihn bag in 2014. Very fond of it, but it’s no longer needed. Used to transport items to family and left with them.

Patagonia Tres 25L Bag* (2016) 23andMe swag which I don’t need.

Moved from me to Family

Apple iPad Air 4* + Smart Keyboard Folio* (2021) Purchased as a second monitor (via Sidecar) for MacBook for when I am working away from home. I have found the iPad also works well for consuming media. The Folio keyboard is compact making it compact for onebag travel, but the keyboard feel is mediocre and not stable enough to use on the lap. I tried to do most of my “personal” computing on the iPad with a Magic Keyboard to see if a iPad could replace a laptop: it was a failure. There is too much friction integrating information from several windows and often the app experience on the iPad fell short when compared to the experience on a real laptop or Chromebook. This is my third iPad since they were introduced. While each was useful for a particular task, I have yet to find it a compelling device for general use. A portable UCB-C powered screen is more effective for me as a second screen. I have abandoned using the iPad. Jackie is now seeing if she can “live on it”. It looks like it’s no better for her.

Magic Keyboard* for iPad (2021) Works much better than the Folio Keyboard, decent feel, can actually be used sitting on my lap, and the keys are lighted which is handy in the evening. Alas, the weight of this keyboard + the iPad is as heavy as a real laptop.

LG 27BN88U 27-inch 4K Display* (2020) No longer doing endless Zoom meeting for work. Left in our guest room for visitors.

Foldable Desk (2012) which the above monitor is mounted on. When folded up small enough to fit in the trunk of our car for transport. No longer needed by me. Now functions as a desk in our guest room.

USB Power Task Light* (2020) In guest room.

RAVpower 120w USB-C Charger* (2021) A compact power source with 2 USB-C, 2 USB-A ports allows me to rapidly charger all the devices I might use in day. Only downside is it sometimes gets confused how much power to deliver to which port and I need to disconnect / reconnect devices until each is getting power. Now in living room to be used by anyone who is sitting on the coach and needs power.

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

Leave a Reply

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