How to Throw an Epic Dog Birthday Party

Posted by Katie Sowyrda

Aug 12, 2016 3:42:56 PM

 

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A little background for you before I get into the nitty gritty of dog birthday planning - let me introduce you to the birthday girl, Daisy:

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In case it's not immediately apparent from the photo, Daisy is the best Labrador-mutt sidekick of all time. She hikes, fishes, naps and cuddles like a champ. For the past 11 years, Daisy has been an "only child", but life is about to change drastically for her as she's going to get a human sibling this fall. So, we (and I use the term "we" generously as my husband is more of an obliging enabler to my crazy dog-loving antics) figured, "what better reason to give her a big ole birthday bash before she relinquishes her only child status?" Meanwhile, I thought I'd share a few tips with you about what I've learned.

Now, on to the nitty gritty of dog birthday planning...

The key to throwing any successful party is to go big or go home. So, chances are Step 1 will be easy for you (you are, after all, the person reading an article titled "How to Throw an Epic Dog Birthday") it is simply to embrace your inner-crazy dog person. Will your friends think you're crazy for throwing a dog birthday party? Maybe. But, chances are they already know you are, and trust me, they're still going to come because let's be honest, who doesn't love free beer, snacks, and a reason to celebrate - especially a cute, fluffy reason?

Step 2: Choose a Location

You may love the idea of a bunch of dogs galloping around your house, or it might be your nightmare. If it's the latter, maybe look into hosting it at your local dog park, or there are even doggy day cares that will let you rent out their pools and host a doggy pool-party. We decided to go with the backyard party and to keep the chaos at home.

Step 3: Plan Your Activities

You are going to have a host of people and pets looking to be entertained. Lucky for you, just throw on some music and the people will probably be entertained, or at least preoccupied enough with their pets not to think about much else. We did set up a little makeshift station in the yard for folks who wanted to get a family portrait taken with their dogs which seemed to be a hit.

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For the furry guests of honor, we held a little "doggy rave". I work for an awesome company called Nite Ize, who sponsored our activity for the night with a host of LED dog toys and lights for our guests. Each four-legged guest received a Nite Howl LED Necklace, a SpotLit Collar Light, a GlowStreak Ball, and a Flashflight Dog Discuit. So, once the sun set, we lit up the backyard, cranked the music, and let the dogs run wild with their new toys.

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Step 4: Invitations & Guests

I like to use PaperlessPost for online invitations, they have a lot of cute easy-to-design options but there are tons of other user-friendly email invite sites out there as well.

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Step 5: Food & Drinks

Let there be cake! You can find dog bakeries everywhere that make great birthday cakes specifically for dogs. If you happen to be in the Boulder, CO area, our favorite is P.C.'s Pantry which makes these apparently delicious "Barkday Cakes" and we found out their most popular selling flavor is liver - yum.

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On the "people food" front, we made it easy on ourselves going with pizza, beer, and cupcakes. One thing I recommend doing before planning your menu though, is to check out the ASPCA's website, they have a helpful list of foods that can be toxic or harmful to pets that you’ll want to avoid. (Ok disclaimer - so beer is on their list, but just make sure your guests are responsible and not giving beer/alcohol to dogs - hopefully this shouldn't be a tough request).

Step 6: Puppy-proofing & Decorating

If you're having the party at home, be sure to do some puppy proofing. A roving hoard of dogs can get into all sorts of trouble. Check the fence for anywhere little dogs might escape and block off areas like stairways and carpet to keep all your fuzzy friends in an easy-to-spot area. It's also a good idea to set up a little "time out" area for dogs that might be getting a little over-excited or worn out during the party.

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Step 7: Party Time - Sit back and let the chaos begin!

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Topics: LED Pet Products, LED Dog Products

The month of May is National Bike Safety Month, are you prepared?

Posted by Brian Dekle

May 4, 2016 9:14:26 AM

Have you ever been out for a night ride and had a car pass by too close for comfort? Do you ride with a repair kit at the ready to handle any setbacks or quick adjustments on the go? Do you and your love ones, practice good habits when riding or sharing the road? Whether you’re a casual cruiser, the competitive cyclist, or a considerate motorist it’s always great to double check that you’re prepared and knowledgeable for any misadventures that the road or trail may throw at you. May is National Bike Safety Month, and I’d love to share some thoughts to keep you out and keep you safe.

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For an easy tip, here’s rule one… wear a helmet! I’ve seen this first-hand, wearing a helmet can save your life… no matter how slow you’re riding it’s only to your benefit. There’s a ton of options out there, so if you want a casual or a high performance life saver you’re going to be covered, literally. Here are a few great brands to consider: Nutcase, Bern, Smith, Giro, and Poc. The key to a great helmet is all about fit, as well as making sure it’s appropriate for the level of activity at hand. Be sure to pop into your local bike shop and try on several options to ensure you get the best fit possible.

Safety is a necessity in our lives, though the concept of the word doesn’t exactly inspire joy or fun I’ll admit.To explore that a little further, you may believe bike lights aren’t as necessary during the warmer seasons ahead. To some degree you’re right; however, you may be interested to learn that most cycling accidents occur during daylight, as well as low-light times such as sunrise or dusk. So how do you add safety and a little character to such a dry subject? Easy, you add LEDs. Thanks to LED lighting you can ride with a little extra personality. It’s always important to BE SEEN & BE SAFE… but you don’t need to be bland about it. For front & rear visibility I’d suggest a simple solution, like the TWISTLIT - LED BIKE LIGHT which is an easy “on-the-go” item. It’s a small, simple, and easily stowable form of visibility that can give you that extra bit of attention to others on the road. Another safety item with a bit more color for your night ride is the SPOKELIT - LED SPOKE LIGHT. The SpokeLit is a quick and easy install to your wheel spokes, and greatly increases your side to side visibility. There are a ton of color options as well. But that’s just the bike… what about keeping you seen? This is where one of my favorite Nite Ize products comes into the fold... the  SLAPLIT - LED SLAP WRAP.

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The SlapLit takes me back to my youth and the days of the Slap Bracelet. I mean come on, we all had them… and how do you make that better? Yep, you add LEDs. What was once a toy from my early days is illuminated to keep you visible in the dark, and it’s completely bike friendly as well. Most riders wear the SlapLit around the ankle for visibility and to keep your pant leg away from the chain. I personally prefer wearing it on my wrist, which enables me to use the light as a turn indicator to motorist that may not be able to see my arms clearly on dark roads.

There’s more to safety than visibility though, you also need to be prepared. It’s great to have a general knowledge of your bike and how to maintain it. A great resource for this is your local bike shop or REI as most will offer free courses in basic bike maintenance. These resources keep you connected with your local cycling community and are a great way to pick-up the skills to keep your bike in proper form should you get a flat or need to make some basic adjustments. Before every ride I suggest checking that your brakes are working properly, and that you have good tire pressure. To that effect, you should always be ready to tackle these issues when you ride. I highly recommend carrying:

  1. A new tube/patch kit
  2. A bike tool
  3. A tire lever
  4. An air pump/CO2 system


Having these items with you, as well as the knowledge to put them to use can be the difference between a ride and the dreaded “hike-a-bike” home. One of my favorite ways to keep your repair kit organized is to keep them together with our new BETTERBAND™ 5" ADJUSTABLE STRETCH BANDS. This is an easy way to secure your tools together, and keeps them easily stowable in a jersey pocket.

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So let’s do a quick recap: now you have a great fitting helmet, you’re ready to illuminate the day or night to be seen and safe, and you have some basic tools and bike knowledge to keep your rig rolling. That’s a great start, but be sure you know the rules of the road and how they keep you safe in your area. Here are a couple good resources to consider: bikeleague.org, safekids.org, as well as peopleforbikes.org. You may also be able to find some great programs in your neighborhood. Local to Colorado, I’ve had the great fortune of working with two programs that are reaching out to increase bike awareness and safety for children. Both are actively engaging youth communities to be safe, knowledgeable, and courteous riders. Our very own Boulder Valley School District is working with various age groups to develop good fundamentals early, as well as put these techniques to work on the road. It’s pretty inspiring to see a local education program coach student health and safety at such a priority. Another great program is tripsforkidsdenver.org which works with at-risk youth to foster life skills of personal empowerment. They focus on kids who have had no experience on a bike, while all the way creating achievement based programs in which these young participants can even earn a bike.

The important thing to remember on the road is to be safe, be courteous, and always remember to enjoy the ride. I can still remember when my Dad took the training wheels off my bike. For me it was a day of accomplishment and triumph… I found a new sense of exploration and freedom. For my family it was a sense of trust, a belief that they had instilled the proper knowledge and respect in their son to keep him alert, safe, and happy. I can say first-hand that this passion is still alive inside me today. I hope that you too have the same smile on your face during every ride.

Stay safe - Rubber side down,
Brian

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Topics: Emergency Preparedness, Visibility and Safety, Commuting, New Products

American Rivers Announces America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2016

Posted by Kelly Richardson

Apr 21, 2016 4:02:36 PM

Collapsing ecosystems...dwindling water supplies...destructive pollution; these are serious threats to communities across the United States. In an effort to raise awareness about these important issues and stimulate change, American Rivers exists to protect wild rivers, restore damaged rivers and conserve clean water for people and nature. Last week, the organization released its annual America's Most Endangered Rivers® report for 2016.

American-Rivers.pngThe report highlights how outdated water management is threatening rivers and communities from the East Coast to the West Coast. In the Southeast's Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin (no. 1 on the list), and on California's San Joaquin River (no. 2), wasteful water use and outdated management are killing the lifelines we depend on for drinking water, agriculture, industry and recreation. More than eight million people depend on clean drinking water from these two river systems combined, and water shortages threaten billions of dollars in agricultural production and fisheries.

There's a lot at stake, and we have a choice: will we let waste and mismanagement drain our rivers dry, or will we work together to ensure healthy rivers can benefit all generations to come?

Water is one of the most critical conservation issues of our time and Nite Ize® is enthusiastic about supporting the efforts of American Rivers. We must move away from an era of water conflict to a new era of water cooperation. This means working for better balance among all users and ensuring a legacy of healthy rivers benefitting communities upstream and downstream - today and far into the future.

Together, we will make a difference for this year's #EndangeredRivers. Find out how to join Nite Ize and take action to be part of the solution at AmericanRivers.org/EndangeredRivers.

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Topics: endangered rivers, clean water, take action

The Best Flashlight You’ll Ever Have

Posted by Matt Smoot

Apr 5, 2016 9:40:23 PM

When you work for a flashlight manufacturer, there are a few questions that you'll be asked at nearly every tradeshow and event that you attend. What's the brightest flashlight? Which is the most expensive? And, of course, which flashlight is the best?

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The INOVA® T4R shines brightly on Shiprock Peak in New Mexico (Photo by Bradley Adventure)

The first couple of questions are easy to answer. At 672 lumens, the INOVA® T5 LED Flashlight is the brightest light in the lineup, and for $149.99 you can purchase our most expensive flashlight, the INOVA T4R LED Rechargeable Flashlight. But, which flashlight is the BEST!?

It turns out that is not an easy question to answer. Identifying the "BEST" flashlight for you depends on many factors. For what activity will you be using the flashlight? How long will the flashlight be used? A couple of hours, or all night? Does it need to be waterproof? Will you need to keep your hands free while using the flashlight? Are you on a search and rescue mission, or taking your dog for a walk in the park? As it turns out, many factors play a role when determining which flashlight is the best for you.

INOVA STS Headlamp

I can recall two recent instances from Nite Ize Ambassadors who's "best" flashlights were not the ideal lights for the situation. The first came from Forrest Galante, whose primary dive light had broken during a trip at sea to hunt lobsters 25 feet underwater. Faced with the decision to either not dive or to come up with a backup, Forrest took a look around and realized that he had his STS Headlamp with him and thought he'd at least give it a try even though it was only rated as being waterproof  to three feet. Luckily for Forrest and his dive partner, the INOVA STS Headlamp exceeded his expectations and performed well throughout the dive even after taking over 60 plunges below the rated depth of the light (read the full story at LifeView Outdoors.com).

In another situation, ambassador Matt Moniz and his climbing partner Willie Benegas were descending from the 8000m peak Makalu in the Himalayas when Willie realized that he had forgotten his headlamp at the last base camp. After a quick search for a backup light, the only flashlight Willie could come up with was the STS Microlight that was attached to his gear. While not ideal for the situation, the STS Microlight was the best light in this situation and provided just enough of a beam for Willie to safely navigate his way down the mountain over the next several hours.

So, what's the moral of these stories? Be prepared and always have a backup. Had Forrest or Willie not had a backup flashlight, there is no telling how their days would have turned out. For me, there is one flashlight that I've made part of my everyday carry and that has come in handy more times than I can recall. My go to flashlight, and #1 backup, is the INOVA XS.

INOVA XS

The lip balm sized XS has a powerful 80 lumen LED, will attach to a key chain, and has an impact resistant aluminum body. From finding my car in a dark parking lot to setting up a tent at night, the INOVA XS has always been there when I've needed some extra light.

By now I hope that you've come to the same conclusion that I have. Ultimately, the best flashlight is the one that you have on you when you need it. Plan ahead for your adventures to determine which type of light would perform the best for your activity based on how you will be using it, the amount of time you'll be using it, and how bright of a light you'll need. No matter which light you determine is best for your situation, bring a backup. It could be the same light, or something more compact. Just bring a backup. After all, even the brightest and most expensive light can't help you when it's out of batteries or broken.

 

 

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Topics: LED Flashlights

Wherever You Go, There We Are

Posted by Ian Capezzano

Apr 1, 2016 7:23:07 AM

You never know where you will find Nite Ize products. From campsites to jobsites, you can find our products almost anywhere you go. Here are some of the unusual places you can find Nite Ize products.

When we combined our Steelie Vent Mount and Pedestal into the Desk & Dash System, we thought we had you connected everywhere you needed your mobile device. But, you can’t bring your Pedestal everywhere, so we are now offering our Steelie Mega Ball to businesses everywhere to ensure you have a Steelie to dock your phone to. From waiting rooms to board rooms, you and all of your coworkers will have a space to call your own.



 

Wearable Technology is all the rage today and Nite Ize was a pioneer in this burgeoning area. Our first foray was the Action Armband, but we knew our knowledge of bike safety was where we would really have success. While not fiscally reasonable for anyone to own, the BugSquatch LED Macro Flashlight was an early example of our engineers pushing the boundaries of fashionable bike safety.

 

From the highest peaks to the wildest jungles, Nite Ize products have been part of many adventures.
The Figure 9 has been a trusted knot tying alternative of many who seek to push their limits. And, when your adventure requires all the brute strength you can muster, you can only depend on the best. That’s why we are the go-to source when the world’s strongest people do their thing.

 

Our relationship with inventors is well documented. But, we rarely talk about our contributions to the world of science. Here’s a few examples of recent partnerships.

When you’re floating around in space, you need equipment that is versatile and dependable. The Gear Line Organization System was an obvious choice for the International Space Station Repair Crew. The Gear Ties easily affix to the outside of the ship and the S-Biners are easy to use, even with your space gloves.

 

Inova UV Flashlights are very popular among scorpion hunters, but did you know entomologists use our Micro Collars to help wrangle their specimen collections?

 

Some Nite Ize products are designed for one task, but wind up having practical use. You might use your Gear Tie Loopable for organizing clutter in your garage. But, many scientists have been using tiny versions to help move cells around when viewing under a microscope.

 

But, the most incredible discovery of a Nite Ize product has to be when CERN released images of the Higgs Boson Particle. When we zoomed in, we were not surprised to see the universe is made up of Gear Ties.

 

What interesting places have you seen our products?


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What to do with an Extra 24 Hours this Leap Day

Posted by Kelly Richardson

Feb 19, 2016 8:56:22 AM

Every four years we add one day to the books to make up for a slight difference between the orbit of the planet and the Gregorian calendar. A complete revolution of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days but our calendar is based on 365 days so this adjustment is necessary to synchronize the four seasons. It’s always been interesting to me that we can bend the rules like this but understanding a little more about why helps to make sense of it.

2016 is a Leap Year which means we all get a bonus day! Unfortunately February 29th is a Monday so most of us have an extra day of work but maybe you have special plans to celebrate these bonus 24 hours. If you don’t have any ideas yet, here are a few to consider:

  • Have a birthday party - If you were born on February 29th you are a “leapling” or "leaper" and, sadly, you only have a real birthday every four years. Typically leaplings/leapers celebrate on either February 28th or March 1st but this is your year so make it count and throw a big bash. Some cultures believe those born in a Leap Year have good luck so maybe you should buy a lotto ticket.

  • Propose - In the United States, February 29th is often referred to as “Sadie Hawkins Day” and celebrates gender role reversal. This is certainly more commonplace in the 21st Century but Leap Years are officially known as an opportunity for a woman to propose to a man. According to some accounts, this tradition dates back to the 5th Century when St. Patrick granted women the chance to “pop” the question themselves. Others say this started in 1288 when Queen Margaret of Scotland issued a law that makes it legal for a woman to propose to a man on Leap Day. Another opinion suggests that before Leap Day was recognized by English law, this day had no legal standing and therefore it was acceptable to break convention.

  • Do something you’ve been putting off - We’re all guilty of procrastination and some of us are expert excuse-makers. February 29th is the bonus day we all get to tackle the things in the “I’ll do that later…” or “If I had the time I would…” category. It’s not too late to plan a trip, volunteer, organize the garage, call an old friend, finish a book, etc. The list goes on and on and this year there is no excuse not to do any one of those things or maybe even all of them. Of course if you decide to organize the garage, Nite Ize can help with Gear Tie Dockables or KnotBone Adjustable Bungees

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Our team will spend the extra day doing what we do best – innovating new and useful products just for you. No matter how you decide to make the most of this Leap Year – we hope you stay safe and healthy.

Happy Leap Year from Nite Ize!


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Topics: leap year, Garage Organization, Gear Ties

Six Standout Products from the OR Winter Show

Posted by Matt Smoot

Jan 21, 2016 9:04:04 AM

As an avid outdoorsman, I look forward to attending the Outdoor Retailer Show (OR Show) every year as it is THE place for all outdoor brands to unveil their latest and greatest products. The 2016 OR Winter show was held in Salt Lake City, Utah at the Salt Palace Convention Center where over 1,000 companies exhibited in the roughly 700,000 square feet of space.

 

  1. The Wacaco Minipresso espresso maker - If you’re like me, then I think we'll agree that coffee is an essential part of any outdoor adventure.Minipresso-1.jpg Enter the Wacaco Minipresso espresso maker, a lightweight (0.8lb/360g), compact (6.89in/17.5cm), and easy to use portable espresso maker. The Minipresso is the ideal backcountry coffee companion for the coffee snob, like me, who enjoys a frothy cup of espresso. And the best part, it makes a pretty good cup of joe!

    I wasn't the only one that took a liking to the this Minipresso, the folks over at Gear Junkie did too and nominated it as one of their "Best In Show" Top Gear 2016 picks (read more here).


  2. Vibram's Arctic Grip sole - The new Arctic Grip™ sole technology released by Vibram® may very well have been the most groundbreaking new technology that I was able to experience during the OR Show . This new rubber compound provides traction on ice without the addition of any type of spike or traction device. During a quick test at the Vibram booth, I was blown away by how much traction the Arctic Grip provided compared to an identical shoe with a regular sole. It's truly one of those products that you really need to experience for yourself. This new rubber compound will be available in exclusive shoe models from Merrell, Hush Puppies, Wolverine and Saucony in the fall of 2016 with other brands to follow in the future.


  3. Good To-Go dehydrated meals - Good-To-Go-Meals.jpgIf you've spent time in the backcountry, then chances are pretty good that you've tried some ready to eat meals and may not have been impressed. Unlike those other ready to eat meals, the Good To-Go meals use real food in their recipes and no additives or preservatives. They also dehydrate the meals rather than freeze drying them. The four different meals are all gluten-free with vegetarian and pescatarian options, and are sold in single serving sizes and two serving sizes (unlike some of their competitors). I tried the Thai Curry option at the show, loved it, and am looking forward to taking some of these with me on my next adventure!

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  4. Arbor Snowboards - With many options to consider when looking at snowboards, none compare to the beauty of the boards from Arbor. With natural woodgrain decks, Arbor Snowboards are a work of art. Seriously though, you'll want to hang these boards on your wall when you’re not using them to plow through the freshy pow-pow in the backcountry. The Abacus model, in particular, stood out to me as being one of the best crafted split boards that I've seen.

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  5. Topo Designs - Functional and aesthetically pleasing is the best way to describe the packs and apparel from Topo Designs. In particular, I really liked the durable materials used, variety of colors, and simple design of the packs that Topo offers. If you're looking for pack that will last you a lifetime, while still being stylish, then check out the packs from Topo Designs.


  6. GlowStreak LED Ball by Nite Ize - It’s true. I love our new LED ball, the GlowStreak! The GlowStreak is a motion activated LED ball with auto-shut off feature that will keep you and your pooch playing outside long into the night. GlowStreak.jpgAnd, unlike its predecessor the MeteorLight, the GlowStreak is not only easier to turn on but also features a threaded plug that completely seals the ball making it waterproof (it floats too!).

    One feature that I found particularly helpful about the ball during the show was the rugged, durable material that the ball is made of. The material is strong enough to stand-up to any abuse from your dog, but also worked great for rolling out the knots in my leg and back muscles (using trigger point techniques) when I was back in my hotel room after the long days of standing on my feet at the show.



While I couldn’t cover everything that I saw during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Show in this short post, I’d love to hear what new products are catching your eye. If you discovered something that was released at the OR Winter Show, and that you thought was noteworthy, then please share it with us in the comments below. We love learning more about our supporter’s interests.


*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. I was not compensated in any way for this review, and have used images provided by the retailers to help compile this review. You should also know that my personal interests skew towards backpacking, snowboarding, climbing, hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. These are the types of outdoor products that I focused on in this review, and as a result I may have missed something that you may have found exceptionally “cool” or innovative at the OR Winter Show.

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Topics: Tradeshows, Outdoor Retailer Show, New Products

From the "Batmobile" to the Jetson's Fridge, Products we saw and Liked at CES 2016

Posted by Kelly Richardson

Jan 12, 2016 4:54:27 PM

For the consumer electronics industry, the New Year kicks off with one of the largest international tradeshows - the Consumer Electronics Show. The Nite Ize team just finished breaking down our 1,500-square-foot booth following this year's showcase in Las Vegas. Our heads are still spinning, feet are still throbbing and bodies still trying to adjust to the lack of sleep and stimulation overload but we already can't wait to do it all again next year. Why? Because we thrive on innovation and love any opportunity to talk about our new products and see what other innovators are doing.

Nite Ize was among thousands of companies launching new product at the show and, although it's impossible to see everything, we were able to break out of our bubble to check some of the hot new tech products for 2016.

One of our favorites? The Faraday Future FFZERO1 Concept car.

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This "Batmobile" takes the future of electric cars to the next level. If developed, the FFZERO1 will have more than 1,000 horsepower, a top speed of 200 mph and a zero-to-60 time of less than three seconds. The vehicle is door-less so the driver enters through a canopy that opens like a fighter jet. Like many technologies introduced at CES though, this is not necessarily consumer-friendly but it certainly is impressive.

 

Another awesome find on the showroom floor was the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator.

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With a giant built-in Wi-Fi touchscreen, this Jetson's-style kitchen appliance features an app you can use to order groceries online and another app to control lighting and temperature in the fridge. There are also cameras on the inside so you can check inventory while you're at the store. This is not the first smart fridge from Samsung but it just might be the one that changes the way we interact with our appliances.

 

It's hard to compete with ultra-advanced, high-tech products like these but one product that proved to catch on during the show was the new Nite Ize Gear Tie Cordable.

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Awarded a "Best of CES" award from iPhone Life Magazine, the Gear Tie Cordable is a reusable rubber twist tie with a strong wire inside that holds its shape and provides a unique method to secure tech cords. Our booth was swarmed with consumer electronics' enthusiasts looking for something to "wow" them and the convenient simplicity of the Gear Tie Cordable sure did.

These products will reign over the next year until CES 2017 when the newest generation of technology and innovation emerges and we can't wait!

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Topics: Mobile Device Accessories, CES, Consumer Electronics

Be a Nite Ize Brand Ambassador

Posted by Brenda Isaac

Dec 16, 2015 3:44:14 PM

MMP_US_Open_of_CX_283.jpgMy experiences at Nite Ize over the years have taught me many things, but speaking to the people that actually use and support our products is one of the reasons I love working at Nite Ize. In many ways, they've sold me on our products - over and over again. Just when I think that I've heard every crazy story or unusual use for a Gear Tie, someone stops me at a show or sends us an e-mail that makes me pause, shake my head and say "why didn't I think of that?", or "what an amazing story!" We've had customers whose lives have been saved by our INOVA LED Flashlights, wheelchair users who swear by our SpokeLit LED Wheel Lights to help keep them be seen and safe when out at night, and plenty of lucky pups who have found themselves in the middle of the road wearing our PetLit LED Collar Light helping drivers see them just in time. The list is long, and its inspiring, quirky, creative, and downright amazing. At Nite Ize we say "Discover Your Solution", and people take that to heart.

These loyal Nite Ize fans, and their stories, are the reason I'm so excited to announce our 2016 Nite Ize Ambassador Program. A lot of companies who have ambassadors or sponsored athletes tend to focus on big names with fancy agents. I love big name athletes as much as the next person, but also believe in supporting ambassadors who feel true inspiration and passion towards Nite Ize products, in whatever community they belong. You don't have to be an Olympic athlete or make a million dollars a year to spread the word about how Nite Ize products make your hobby, sport or passion easier, safer, or more fun.

We've got some great ambassadors lined up for 2016 already, but are looking for more. Please visit our ambassador page to learn more about our current partners, and about the application process. It's a pretty simple relationship - you promote the Nite Ize products you use and love on your social media accounts, events, or blogs and we load you up with free products and support from the Nite Ize family.

Whatever your passion, if you feel passionate about Nite Ize, we want to talk to you.

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Preparing Your Car Emergency Kit for Winter

Posted by Katie Sowyrda

Nov 24, 2015 11:01:02 AM

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In the wise words of Game of Thrones - winter is coming. As I look out at a bluebird-Boulder day from my office, I know it’s only a matter of time before our first big snowstorm hits. Which reminds me, I still need to clean the gutters, replace my balding tires, and blow out the sprinkler system - oh, and update my car emergency kit which somehow always falls to the bottom of my list, even though I know it could be the most important item on there.
Having worked in the survival industry for five years and now at Nite Ize where I have access to myriad products which are specifically designed to perform in a pinch, and on top of that having a dad who always gives us “kids” Christmas presents like 2-way crank radios and “Avian flu emergency kits” (everyone’s dream gift - thanks, Dad!), I have no excuse for not having an up-to-date, comprehensive emergency kit in my car.  So, as I am getting ready for my annual kit update, I’d like to share some preferred kit items and other great resources to check out that I hope will help you to build or update your own car emergency kit.

What to get:

  1. A sturdy container

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    Once you have all your items, you’ll have a better idea of what size this should be, but make sure it’s something you can close like a rubber bin or sturdy nylon bag that zips shut. You can also use a good backpack in case you need to carry it, however it’s important to note that if you are stranded on the side of the road, it is NOT recommended that you leave your car. Your car is the best protection from the elements and where rescuers are most likely to find you - so, hunker down for the long haul. If you are in an accident on an icy road, you also should NOT leave your car, if an icy patch made your car spin out, it’s very likely that other cars will do the same, if possible move your car out of that trajectory.

  2. Flashlights

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    Most references tell you a flashlight - I may go a little overkill, but I have three flashlights. For my primary light I use the INOVA X3R LED Rechargeable Flashlight which I can recharge through my car’s USB port. I also keep an INOVA STS Headlamp in my bag in case I need to be hands-free for looking under the hood or under the car. Lastly, I have the Nite Ize 3-in-1 FlashStick, which can be used as a flashlight or lantern, but most importantly in an emergency it has a glowstick on one end which can be set to SOS mode to signal for help. In addition, I stock extra batteries for the two non-rechargeables.

  3. High-visibility Vest - In the case that I do need to get out of my car on a roadway, you better believe other motorists are going to see me. I keep a Nite Ize LED Run Vest in my bag which is neon yellow, has two bright red LEDs that glow and flash, and reflective accents. Paired with my 3-in-1 Flashstick, I feel confident that I will be seen and therefore safer on the side of the road.

  4. Chargers - If you have cell reception, your phone will be your lifeline, but it won’t do you any good if it has a dead battery. There are classic chargers to plug into your car or innovative external batteries and battery-integrated phone cases like the LifeProof FRĒ Power that can be life-savers in a pinch.

  5. Shovel and/or Kitty Litter - If you are stuck somewhere safely away from traffic, a shovel to dig yourself out and kitty litter or sand for traction can help you get moving again. If you don’t have either of these things, you can try wedging your floor mats under your tires to help them gain traction.

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  6. Blankets or Bivvies - Wool blankets are a classic staple for a reason - they are really warm. I keep two heavy wool blankets in my car - they’ve never been used in an emergency, but have come in handy for many a road-trip naps and as extra layers on camping trips. The one downfall of wool, is that if it gets wet, it’s miserable. That’s why I also keep two Escape emergency bivvies in my kit as well (so my husband and I don’t have to have that awkward conversation about who gets the bivvy to survive the night). These bivvies reflect 75% of body heat back to you, but are also breathable so you don’t get sweaty which is a pitfall of traditional mylar. In general I recommend staying away from mylar blankets and bivvies as they shred very easily and are flammable - it’s worth spending a couple bucks more to get a durable upgrade. Along the lines of warmth, I always make sure that I have a hat, gloves, and extra socks in my kit - even in the summer months here in Colorado it can drop below freezing at night, these don’t take up much space and are probably at the top of the list for most used items in my kit.

  7. Other Warming Items - I keep fire starting supplies in my kit (fire cubes and a sparker in case I need to start a fire outside my vehicle), one family in Nevada survived two days in sub-zero temperatures, building a fire inside their spare tire to help keep warm. Some people suggest using emergency candles as well for warmth and light inside the vehicle, though I’m noticing them mentioned less and less on recommended lists, probably due to safety concerns. If using one, you should crack your window to avoid possible asphyxiation, and ideally burn the candle inside a coffee can or tin because many parts of your car (and your kit) are flammable.

  8. First Aid Kit - This is essential, don’t bother with kits that are just chock-full of Band Aids, take your time researching kits and find one that meets your needs. If you have kids, there are family-focused ones that have kids’ dosages of meds and more often-needed items for them. As someone who does a lot of camping and fishing in the backwoods, I carry an Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Kit which has comprehensive medical supplies in case of an emergency including QuikClot, and most importantly, the kit includes a book on how to use all the supplies in there in case I am far from medical care.

  9. Water - For drinking, for wound cleaning, for staying alive - I keep a gallon of human-water in an unopened jug, and then I also have a liter of water in a separate Olly Dog container/bowl combo for my pup since most often she is along for the ride too.

  10. Food - Food isn’t essential for short term survival (you can theoretically go for three weeks without it), however, eating does allow your body to produce more heat, and it can make a huge difference in your mood and attitude which will often determine how well you handle an emergency situation. I go for the classics like jerky and energy bars (peanut butter is a popular choice too), and then swap them out annually (or if you just plain get hungry and eat them then replace as needed). A good rule of thumb is to go for items with a long shelf-life that are high in protein, and that you actually like. If you have an ever-hungry dog like mine, make sure your food bag is securely enclosed in your kit, or they might just rip open your kit and gleefully eat all your jerky when you’re not looking.

  11. Car Essentials - Jumper cables, Fix-A-Flat, ice scraper, a siphon (hopefully you’ll find a friendly motorist who doesn’t mind sharing fuel), a tire iron, and jack are some basics that I keep because honestly, those are probably the only tools I would know how to use in a break-down situation. For those of you who are more handy with cars, the DMV has a helpful list that includes more suggested car repair items: http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/emergency-kit.php

  12. A Knife - You won’t find this on most lists, but my grandfather taught me that the most useful item you can have on you at any time is a knife, and throughout the years it’s a piece of advice that has served me well. And so, I am passing it on to you. One small one in your pocket or purse, and a utility one in your car kit - just trust me on this one, they come in handy!

  13. The add-ons - A few other items have accumulated in my kit over the years: Duct Tape (need I say more?), a hatchet which most often doubles as a hammer (this particular Gerber hatchet also has an integrated handsaw that slides out of the handle which is a nice bonus), a poncho, CamJam Tie Down Straps and Bungees, Gear Ties because they are just too useful not to have a handful, and lastly, a quality whistle for signaling in an emergency.

Pre-made kits and other helpful tips for safety on the roads:

There are pre-made kit options on the market as well, some are decent some are very cheap and not worth the money. Do your homework, and if you do go with a pre-made kit, remember that you will still need to personalize it to you - if you are frequently on the road with your spouse, kids, and a dog, you need to remember to add supplies for them. If anyone in your family has a serious medical issue always pack extra medication and supplies - you never know when a quick trip can turn into an overnight on the side of the road.

Other helpful resources:

    American Red Cross, Red Cross Recommends Preparing Your Vehicles for Winter:
http://www.redcross.org/news/article/pa/bethlehem/Red-Cross-Recommends-You-Prepare-Vehicle-Now-for-Winter-Weather

    The CDC, Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter:
http://www.cdc.gov/features/winterweather/

    Chicago Tribune, Tips to Keep You Going When Your Car Stops:
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-01-03/news/8902220535_1_trunk-car-candle

 

That’s all I’ve got - I hope you found this useful, I hope you won’t need it, but I know you will be glad to have it if you do!

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Topics: Emergency Preparedness

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