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I've found a hand strap to be a useful addition to my e-reader.

I bought the TFY Security Hand Strap for my Kindle Paperwhite 18 months ago. It makes holding the e-reader for long periods of time much more pleasant – especially when reading in bed and holding the device up above my head. No pinch grip required. It doesn’t add noticeable bulk or weight to the Kindle, and I can ignore it completely when I’m not using it. Originally I went looking for some kind of case with a cover that could be folded into a more ergonomic shape to hold, but when this strap appeared in my search results I realized it was a simpler solution to the problem. The strap could probably be made with a wire hanger and some elastic webbing.

Kindle Handstrap at Lunch

Sawyer Squeeze

I’m a satisfied user of the Sawyer Squeeze. My first Sawyer water filter was the Mini Squeeze, which had a terrible flow rate that made it a piece of garbage. If I were buying a new filter today I’d look at the Micro Squeeze, which is supposed to combine the performance of the standard Squeeze with the size and weight of the Mini. For the time being, I am content with my standard Squeeze.

I use a CNOC Vecto 2L for a dirty bag. It’s heavier than the Sawyer pouches or a 2L Evernew Bottle, but I appreciate both the durability and the ease with which it can be filled. It makes it easy to collect water from small trickles through a rock face, and I feel comfortable throwing it around if I’ve climbed up some place to collect water and need both hands to get back down.

I prefer to carry clean water rather than sucking straight on the filter. My preferred drinking vessel for this system is a recycled Smartwater 23.7 oz bottle. The one with the sport lid. It holds an acceptable amount of water, is decently durable for the weight, has threads which are compatible with the Sawyer, and fits easily into a Hill People Gear 3” Bottle Holster.

If I don’t want to squeeze the water through, this setup can easily be suspended to make a gravity filtration system. I carry a Sawyer Cleaning Coupling to attach the bottle to the output of the filter. The bottle will fill in a couple minutes in this setup. Occasionally, when the bottle gets about half full, the flow of water will diminish due to pressure buildup in the bottle. Unscrewing the bottle slightly is enough to burp the excess air out of the bottle and allow the water to continue to flow.

CNOC, Sawyer Squeeze, Smartwater

I always carry my vintage MSR 2L DromLite, primarily as storage for additional clean water. I’m unlikely to use it during the day, but having it allows me to camp away from a water source without any stress. With the DromLite, Smartwater bottle, and CNOC Vecto I can carry just under 3 liters of clean water and an additional 2 liters of dirty water. That’s plenty for drinking, washing, and cooking between water holes.

To integrate the DromLite into the Sawyer filter, I purchased a Sawyer Hydration In-Line Adapter and dug out an old MSR Hydration Kit that I had stopped using. I cut the MSR hose so that I was left with the piece that screws onto the DromLite lid and about 10” of hose. Then I jammed half of the Sawyer adapter into the open end of the hose. Now I have a small, lightweight accessory that I can pull out whenever I want to use the DromLite as part of a gravity system.

CNOC, Sawyer Squeeze, DromLite

The Squeeze does need to be backflushed every now and then. It comes with a syringe for this, but I never carry it.

The Smartwater bottle threads directly onto the input of the filter, allowing me to backflush with that, but doing so is pretty annoying. It’s hard to get enough pressure by squeezing the hard plastic bottle. However, I can also use the cleaning coupling and my hacked together MSR adapter to backflush via the DromLite, and that works great. I can push a full 2 liters at high pressure through the filter element. This takes minimal effort to accomplish (the hardest part is remembering to perform the backflush before you’re out of clean water), and keeps the filter running like new.

I still carry Aquamira chlorine dioxide on some trips. My decision is dependent on the type of trip and the expected water sources, but I find myself leaning towards the Sawyer Squeeze more often than not.

CNOC, Sawyer Squeeze, DromLite

The Squeeze runs about $35 to $41 depending on which package you go with. Given it’s versatility and the claimed unlimited life of the filter element, it’s pretty easy for me to justify that expense.

This post was published on . It was tagged with water, gear.

Toothpaste Capsule

When travelling, I store toothpaste in a 10 gram round pill container. I bought mine from The Container Store. Depending on the thickness of the toothpaste, I find that I can get 14-20 servings out of this volume of container. I brush my teeth twice per day, so this translates to 7-10 days of travel.

These containers probably wouldn’t be leak-proof if they were used to store a liquid, but they are up to the challenge of securing a higher viscosity substance like toothpaste.

Toothpaste Capsule

After using these for a while I bought a set of 15 gram containers, thinking that this would allow me to carry a two week supply. They accomplish that, but the containers aren’t as nice. They have fewer threads, which make me think it is possible for them to pop open in my bag (though I haven’t experienced this), and their slightly greater height makes them a bit less convenient to pack. I stick with the smaller containers, which are an adequate volume for most of my travel.

I think these toothpaste capsules are superior to travel-sized toothpaste tubes. I can fill my container with whatever toothpaste I prefer, instead of being limited only to those toothpastes for which I can find the elusive travel-sized tube. When I run out, I can refill the container with whatever toothpaste is around, instead of wastefully disposing of a used tube and beginning the hunt for another travel-sized tube. The capsule is easy to fill, unlike other options for repackaging. And they don’t take the time and forethought (and low-humidity environment) that is required for Mike Clelland’s toothpaste dots.

After finding that these toothpaste capsules worked well for me, I began using an identical pill container to carry sunblock. Sunblock can be repackaged more easily than toothpaste into mini dropper bottles, but it’s impossible to clean those bottles out after use. The pill containers are simple to empty and clean, and applying sunblock from them is just as easy as it is out of a dropper or squeeze bottle. Unfortunately the toothpaste capsule and sunblock capsule look identical in my bag. So now I have the habit of sniffing my toothpaste and sunblock before I use it to make sure that I don’t brush my teeth with sunblock or rub toothpaste into my skin. I should probably label them.

This post was published on . It was tagged with ablution, gear.

The Tube Roll

I carry a spare tube underneath my saddle.

The Tube Roll: Mounted

  • The Tube Roll: Unrolled
  • The Tube Roll: Rolled

With my Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires I rarely get flats. When I do, I usually prefer to use a patch, but sometimes you need to replace the tube. To protect the spare tube from the elements – UV rays, abrasion from dirt, etc – I wrap it like a burrito in a piece of black Tyvek. This is then stuffed underneath my Brooks B17 and secured to the rails with a 12” nylon buckle Voile Strap.

The package is easy to get to when I need it, doesn’t move until then, and isn’t very visible unless you’re looking at it. When I moved the spare tube from my pack to my bike, I wanted to avoid a noticeable bag like my Revelate Jerry Can. I’ve yet to have anyone steal this setup, but if they do, I’m only out $5 for the Voile strap, $8 for the tube, and a few pennies for the Tyvek. I can live with that.

In the case of a tire blow out, I’ve wondered if a piece of the Tyvek could be cut, folded, and used as an emergency boot like a dollar bill. I have not had the opportunity to test this, because I buy good tires that don’t blow out. The repair kit I carry in my bag also contains a couple actual reifenflicken, more so because carrying them increases the opportunities that I have to say reifenflicken than because I feel I actually need them.

This post was published on . It was tagged with bicycle, gear, edc.

The Burrito Bag

As a cyclist in San Francisco, one of the great challenges in life is how to carry all the burritos you’ll consume. The quality of a burrito as a fuel source is directly correlated to its slopiness. If placed directly into a backpack, it will inevitably leak through the imperfect foil wrapping and soil neighboring equipment.

To solve this problem I revisited my DIY Tyvek Stuff Sacks from years past and created the Burrito Bag. The burrito is placed into the Burrito Bag for transport, containing any mess, which is later easily rinsed out.

Burrito Bag

The Burrito Bag is constructed from black Tyvek I had from another project, rather than a USPS Priority Mail envelope. I cut out a piece 13” x 16”, folded it in half and used the awl from my Expedition Sewing Kit to close the bottom, side, and create a channel for a piece of Technora (because it’s cool) and cordlock to use as a cinch cord.

The Burrito Bag is strategically engineered to contain dual burritos, or a single burrito with a generous side of chips. Actually it was patterned off of one of my original Tyvek stuff sacks, which I still use to contain my Trail Designs Ti-Tri cook system. It seemed like the right size for this application.

The Burrito Bag weighs in at 8 grams (0.3 oz), and when not in use folds down to a size smaller than that of the napkin you forgot to grab on your way out of the taqueria.

The Burrito Bag is multipurpose. Despite its name, it is also capable of holding a shawarma wrap from the neighborhood Lebanese joint. I even once used it to takeaway a sushi roll.

Burrito Bag

This post was published on . It was tagged with gear, edc.

Tightening the Bedrock Cairn

I bought a pair of Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandals when they were released back in 2016. They are my favorite sandals. In addition to being great everyday and hiking footwear in the warmer months, the Cairns are my preferred running footwear year round.

Bedrock Cairn Running

My only complaint with the Cairns was that the adjustable strap would occasionally slip, loosening the sandal. The webbing would only slip a couple of millimeters over a handful of miles. If walking or pedaling I wouldn’t notice it, but when running this allowed just enough movement of my foot across the bed of the sandal that I would eventually develop a hot spot if I didn’t reach down to tighten the strap every 6 miles or so.

I mentioned this in one of Bedrock’s customer surveys. They reached out to me and suggested that when tightening the strap, rather than keeping the loose end of the webbing inline with the part connected to the wing, I kink the webbing slightly forward. This allows the buckle to get a bit more bite. The added friction from this adjustment has eliminated any loosening of the sandal on my runs.

Bedrock Cairn Webbing Angle

Oatmeal Capsules

When I began mixing my standard issue oatmeal I stored it in Ziploc bags. The thicker freezer bags were reusable for a couple months before they needed to be replaced, but I wanted a longer lasting solution. This led me to the Sistema Klip It 1520. At 200ml this container is the right size for a single serving. The seal and locking clips keep the contents fresh. It is durable enough to last pretty much forever, and the stackable design makes it convenient to store multiple units.

Oatmeal Capsules

I’ve been using these as oatmeal capsules for about a year now. Five of them suffice for my weekday breakfast, but the size is useful enough that I purchased a handful more. I use them to store tea and snacks like umeboshi, dark chocolate covered almonds, and baby carrots.

Tea Storage

Sistema makes a handful of other containers that can be used with the 1520 to build a modular, stackable system that stores well in small spaces. The 1540 has the same footprint as the 1520, but is twice the height. The lids are interchangeable between the two. The 1550 is the same height as the 1520 but twice as wide. The 1600 has the same footprint as the 1550, and shares the same lid, but is the height of the 1540. These four units work well together.

This post was published on . It was tagged with gear, review, food.