Gear Up for Winter Fun

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Dec 16, 2020 10:47:52 AM

Gear Up For Winter Fun

Winter is officially coming, and many of us might be dreading this one more than usual. If you live in a part of the country that doesn’t exactly get a lot of patio-weather days during this time of year, you might be desperately seeking safe ways to get out of the house. The great outdoors has been an absolute gift throughout 2020 to help us stay sane while saying safe. So, let’s think about winter recreation to help fill your free time – maybe you can even try something new!

Of course, you’ll have different options depending on where you live. Here in Colorado, ski and snowboard season is ramping up. In the upper midwest, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and snowshoeing are popular pastimes. Whatever activity might be up your alley, we’d like to share some of our favorite products that help us enjoy our sport of choice better.

 

Hit the Slopes

Skiing Hacks

My winter sport of choice is skiing, and it’s the one I have the most personal experience with. I ski with a small hydropack backpack, which does not give me a lot of storage space. For this reason, I always use the RunOff Waterproof Wallet because of its slim design, and because it keeps my cards and cash nice and dry in case of the occasional “yard sale.” (Hey, I never said I was a good skier!)

Hitch Phone Anchor + LanyardI also like to keep my phone handy to snap photos, but fumbling with it while on the lift always makes me nervous (Jerry alert). I started using the Hitch Phone Anchor + Lanyard for days on the mountain because I know I won’t lose it through my butterfingers, and it also makes it easy to pull out of my jacket whenever I want to check my season pass app or take photos. The Hitch Phone Anchor + Tether is also a popular choice for this use, and you can attach the S-Biner MicroLock to an anchor point on your jacket, or the belt loop on your pants.

My third essential for skiing is S-Biners. Did I mention my pack doesn’t have much storage? I keep a couple S-Biners clipped to it to hold things like my gloves or helmet when I head into the lodge for a toddy. You can also use one to attach to your lift tickets or season pass to your clothing or bag.

 

Gear Tie LoopableFinally, I always keep my skis and poles bundled with Gear Tie Loopables at each end for transporting and storing.

Because we’re lucky enough here in Boulder to live driving distance to the ski slopes, many of our team members are avid skiers and snowboarders. I asked a few of them what products come in handy for days on the mountain, and here’s what they had to say:

Cinch-A-Lot Stretch Strap: Great for attaching gloves that don’t happen to have loops, bundling poles, or holding small items like lip balm or hand sanitizer.

GearLine Organization System: If you’re staying in a hotel or rental unit, this is indispensable for organizing gear and drying out wet clothing.

RunOff Medium Travel Pouch: The perfect size RunOff bag for your paper trails map, so it doesn’t wind up soggy after you end up in the deep stuff. (I always carry a paper map as a backup just in case my phone runs out of battery or I lose signal.)

DoohicKey+ Key Tool: Good to have around for emergency repairs (or… emergency bottle-opening).

INKA Key Chain Pen: Keep this handy as a quick-use pen for signing bar receipts or making notes on your trail map. But the real bonus here is the pressurized cartridge with waterproof ink, allowing you to use it at any altitude, any angle, and in wet conditions.

 

Snowshoe the Trails

Snowshoeing

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Tie

If you live somewhere that has great hiking trails that are now covered in a blanket of snow and ice, you might give snowshoeing a try! You can rent a pair at many equipment shops, but you can also buy yourself a pair at reasonable prices.

Snowshoeing is a great way to get out, connect with nature, and enjoy the winter wonderland. For this activity, you’ll definitely need a backpack full of safety and survival essentials – always be prepared for the worst! Here’s a helpful guide of gear you’ll need to bring along, which includes a first aid kit, headlamp, and knife. Better hook an S-Biner on your pack too, because you never know when that will come in handy. For storing and transporting your snowshoes, wrangle and hang them with a Gear Tie.

No snow in sight? Go on a chilly hike! Bring those essentials, layer up, and hit the trails.

 

Try Cross Country Skiing

Cross Country Skiing

If you’ve never had the opportunity to try cross country skis, it can be a fantastic way to spend a bluebird day. Dip your toe in with some rental gear and head to a nordic center, or research some Cross Country spots in your area. Much the same as snowshoeing, you’ll need a pack filled with your essentials so you’re well prepared for any unexpected scenario.

 

Chill Out in an Ice Fishing Shanty

Ice Fishing

If you live in the upper midwest, you may already be familiar with the winter pastime that is ice fishing. Whether you catch a big one, or just spend the day hanging out in the shelter with family, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. While you’re waiting on the fish to bite, you’ll need a beverage. Use a SlapLit LED Drink Wrap to keep your cold drinks cold, your hot drinks hot, and click on the light for some colorful flair. A GearLine will come in handy inside the shelter to hang and organize your equipment and damp clothing. You’ll need some light inside your shanty, so bring along a lantern or two. A DoohicKey FishKey is a perfect multitool for any angler, and can help with tasks from fixing rods to opening bottles. For hauling your shanty to and from your lake of choice, our Dual CamJam Tie Down Systems will be perfect for the job.

 

Get Your Thrills on a Snowmobile

Snowmobiling

Adrenaline junkies will love the thrill of snowmobiling, whether you’re in the mountains or the great plains. Rent a vehicle for a day to give it a try, and if you love it, you can always think about buying one of your own someday. Remember that everything your bring along may get wet! Protect your things in the safety of a RunOff bag or packing cube, and secure it to your ride with a Gear Tie.

 

Give Fat Tire Biking a Go

Fat Tire Snow Biking

If you’re an avid cyclist, you might be getting that sad feeling when the weather turns snowy. With the new fat tire bikes built for snowy conditions, you can turn that frown upside down. Fat tire biking is a fun way to explore off-the-beaten-path trails, and you get a great workout to boot. You can rig a RunOff Bag with a couple of Gear Ties to create a waterproof handlebar bag full of your snacks and essentials. Because daylight is fleeting these days, be sure your fattie bike is equipped with front and rear lights, just in case you get caught out at dusk (or if you’re on dawn patrol).

 

Find Your Perfect Sledding Hill

Snow Tubing

On those magical mornings when you wake up to a blanket of fresh snow, grab a sled or tube and head for the hills! I would advise you to know your sledding location of choice at the very beginning of the season, so you know exactly where to go and won’t waste precious downhill time driving around for a hill. Because we know you’ll want to capture the fun on video, bring a RunOff Waterproof Phone Case. It will keep your device dry, and you can wear the included lanyard around your neck so you don’t lose it in the snow on your way down.

 

What winter activity are you most looking forward to? Report back, and give us a shout if you discover a new Nite Ize hack that helps you along the way.

Topics: Gear Ties, outdoors, Adventure, Bike, Fitness, fishing, runoff, gearline

Last Call For Fall Fun: 10 Autumn Activities

Posted by Taylor Orebaugh on Oct 21, 2020 10:10:49 AM

Last Call For Fall: 10 Autumn Activities

The leaves are changing, the days are shortening, and there’s a chill in the air. It’s fall time, and before you know it, winter will make its icy appearance. But before we head into months of snow, slush, and shivers, let’s get out there and soak in the fall fun.

Keep reading for 10 fresh ways to make the most of our Autumn days and "nites."

 

1. Leaf through town

Leaf Peeping Drive

What’s fall without a leaf-peeping drive? If you live in a state with changing seasons, you might be able catch the vibrant Autumn colors come to life in person. Research the best leaf-peeping spots in your state (and make sure to check you haven’t missed the color change) and set off on your journey with your Steelie® Phone Mount to give directions along the route.

If you prefer to get out of the car and see the changing colors up close, nothing beats an Autumn hike or bike ride. Just make sure to bundle up and gear up your bike with one of our tool-free bike lights! Especially adventurous folks can take their leaf-peeping trip to the next level on a four wheel or ATV too — check out local rentals if you’re craving a little adrenaline rush.

 

2. Carve Out Some Fun

SpotLit XL Pumpkin

Carving pumpkins is a universal way to embrace the spooky season, unleash some creativity, and step up your decorating game while you’re at it. Grab a gourd of your choosing from your local pumpkin patch or grocery store and make sure to get durable carving tools that can get the job done (or kid-safe tools for little ones). Once your masterpiece is complete, throw in a SpotLit® XL or NiteGem for color-changing, fire-free illumination that will shine for nights to come.

Not up for a pulpy mess? Painting pumpkins might be a safer bet.

 

3. Drink It All In

Pumpking Beer

Get in the Autumn spirit with some spirits. Check out local cideries to sample sweet and spicy hard cider varieties, or pick up your favorite 6 pack of pumpkin ale for an at-home happy hour, complete with an Ahhh… Bottle Opener. If you prefer the winer things in life, visit your local vineyard or winery to sip on some fall blends.

 

4. Plan A Picnic

Fall Picnic

If you live in a state with harsh winters, you know you’re in for months of being buried under a heavy winter coat, scarf, boots, and gloves get-up. Soak in the sun while you can on a peaceful picnic at the park or even in your backyard.

 

5. Train for The Long Run

SlapLit Rechargeable LED Slap Wrap

Local Fall 5ks and Fun Runs are a popular way to get your blood pumping and raise money for a great cause. Sign up and start training — you can even get the whole family involved to get some fresh air away from screens.  If you're training in the morning or after work hours, be sure you’re staying safe and visible. The Rechargeable SlapLit LED Slap Wrap and TagLit Magnetic Marker are great ways to stay visible in the dark mornings and evenings, and a headlamp will help light your path.

 

6. Bake Up a Storm

Apple Pie

After watching a few seasons of the Great British Baking Show, you’ve probably learned a thing or two. Put your skills to the test and try out a homemade pie, pumpkin bread, candy apple, or other Autumn recipe everyone in the house can enjoy. Free fall aromas included!

Keep the recipe on your phone visible and flour-free with a Steelie Bendable Arm + Ratcheting Clamp or Steelie Pedestal Mount to make your baking adventure a breeze.

 

7. Game On

Flashflight Light Up Flying Disc

Make the most of the warm days we have left with an outdoor family game everyone can play. Pick up a Flashflight Light Up Flying Disc to keep the games going after-dark, or even a GlowStreak LED Ball so your pup doesn’t miss out on the nighttime fun.

 

8. Paddle Your Own Canoe (Or Kayak)

RunOff Waterproof Phone Case

While the chilly temperatures might make swimming out of the question, an Autumn kayak or canoe trip might be just the thing to appease water lovers already missing summer days at the lake. Research around for leaf-peeping spots and their nearby streams to find an especially gorgeous Autumn route.

You can rest assured that your phone, gear and snacks will stay safe and dry in one of our RunOff Waterproof Bags while you paddle the waters.

 

9. Gather 'Round The Fire Pit

Campfire SlapLit LED Drink Wrap

Nothing screams fall like scary ghost stories told around the fire. Crack open an Autumn ale (wrapped in a SlapLit to keep it lit and chilly), and come prepared with your favorite spooky stories to set the mood. After everyone is scared silly, lift their spirits with a toasty S’more cooked over the fire.

 

10. See Stars

FallFun-Stargazing

Grab a blanket, snacks, and a Radiant® 300 Headlamp set to red mode for a cozy night under the stars. Whether in your backyard or off the grid, you’ll be in for a night of out-of-this-world views, nonetheless. Three meteor showers are due when the moon is in crescent this Autumn, giving you the best view possible. Look out the Orionids shower on the night of October 20th through the 21st, the Northern Taurids on the night of November 11-12, and the Leonids on November 16-17.

And don’t miss the especially rare (and especially spooky) full moon on Halloween night!

Topics: Visibility and Safety, Games & Toys, outdoors, Fun & Games, Flying Disc, Bike, Fitness, LED Products, runoff, waterproof bags, Holidays, headlamp, kids, daylight savings

5 Ways To Embrace “Fall Back” Time

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Oct 8, 2020 5:14:46 PM

5 Ways To Embrace “Fall Back” TimeVery soon we’ll all be setting our clocks back an hour on a Saturday evening, relishing an excuse to get an extra hour of sleep, yet dreading everything else that comes with the end of Daylight Savings Time. Most of us don’t tend to look forward to shorter days, and have trouble adjusting to the change. It’s amazing how just an hour of time can make that much difference, right? Along with that extra hour of z’s, there might be a few things to actually look forward to when we fall back, as well as several ways to help breeze through the adjustment better than ever.

 

1. Enjoy That Extra Sleep (Responsibly)
Steelie Pedestal Mount

Most Americans are already sleep deprived, so it’s likely you could use a little extra shut eye when you can get it. Although it may sound like a good idea to stay up late the night before while enjoying an adult beverage or two, resist the temptation. Get the most out of that extra hour by not shifting your bedtime schedule too drastically, and for a more restful night, limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Practicing good sleep hygiene is important for a good night’s sleep, and better sleep leads to better health. Check out these tips for better sleep from Healthline.

 

2. Savor the Sunlight
Ways to adjust to fall back

Seasonal depression is real, and it tends to make an appearance as the days get shorter, with less sunshine to soak in. Not only will getting out in the sunlight before and after we fall back help you sleep better, it can also improve your mood. Knowing that it will get dark earlier, plan to get outside in the morning or mid-day. Consider taking a walk, run, or bike ride at lunchtime. Getting out in the sunshine will also help your body absorb vitamin D, and align your circadian rhythm with the solar clock, which will aid in better sleep.

 

3. Brighten Your Nights
Pet lights

Just because it’s dark, doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun outside. With the right accessories, you can still get out for your evening activities. For bike commuters, check out our Radiant Rechargeable Bike Lights and Rechargeable SpokeLits, so you can see and be seen from all sides on your ride home. If you prefer to run after work hours, be sure you’re staying safe and visible. Our Rechargeable SlapLit LED Slap Wrap and TagLit Magnetic Marker are both great for staying visible after dark, and a headlamp will help light your path. Heading out for your nightly dog walk? A Rechargeable NiteDog Collar and Leash will make sure you and your pup are seen by oncoming traffic. Check out all our other ways to illuminate your pup here.

 

4. Winterize Your Attitude
Help adjust to fall back time

It’s time to get cozy! The annual time shift might be a good opportunity to officially change your wardrobe over to winter mode. Find those comfy sweaters at the back of your closet you forgot you owned and bring them back into rotation. A good way to think about the time change is how it symbolizes the start of the colder months and holiday season. While that might not sound exciting to everyone out there, we imagine there is something fun to look forward to for each of us – whether that be plush blankets and a roaring fire, cooking your favorite cold weather meals, decorating for the holidays, or indulging in an occasional pumpkin spice latte. Plus, you can start your movie nights earlier without having to employ the blackout shades.

 

5. Make An Annual Home Checklist
Annual home checklist

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t exciting in nature, but it is a good habit to form. Consider making the end of daylight savings a reminder to perform some annual maintenance around the home. Here are some tasks you might want to include in your yearly rounds:

    • Change the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Clean your gutters (or use a service to have them cleaned)
    • If you live in a region that freezes, winterize your sprinkler system if you haven’t already 
    • Change your air filter, and check your furnace and water heater
    • Check and restock your home emergency kit and/or go bag
    • Flip and/or rotate your mattress
    • Reverse ceiling fans for winter energy efficiency

Daylight savings time change

And finally, make sure you set your clocks back! Although most of our devices will set themselves on their own, check your wrist watches, and clocks around the house and turn them back on Saturday evening so you won’t be confused when you wake up refreshed from an extra-long night’s sleep.

Topics: Visibility and Safety, outdoors, LED Pet Products, Run Safety, Home, Pets, LED Products, daylight savings

First Aid Kit Checklist For Hiking & Camping

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jun 18, 2020 10:34:58 AM

How to make your own first aid kit for hiking and camping

Warmer temperatures and sunshine have arrived and the outdoors are calling. June is National Safety Month, so we’d like to take this opportunity to share how you can stay safe when out in the wilderness. Before you head out on your next day hike, camping trip or backpacking adventure, be sure you’re prepared for the worst, so you can enjoy the great outdoors worry-free. Although there are a variety of pre-packaged first aid kits out there, putting one together yourself can allow you to tailor your kit to your own needs, and become more familiar with what exactly is inside. Here you’ll find a checklist of items to build your own basic first aid kit for your summer adventures.

 

Basic First Aid Kit Checklist:
✔️ RunOff Waterproof 3-1-1 Pouch (to keep your kit organized, protected and dry)
✔️ Medical tape
✔️ Alcohol wipes
✔️ Gauze
✔️ A couple pairs of latex gloves
✔️ Blunt-tipped shears
✔️ Pocket knife (the DoohicKey Key Chain Knife is a great choice)
✔️ Band Aids (variety of sizes)
✔️ Butterfly wound closure strips
✔️ ACE bandage
✔️ Antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin)
✔️ Hand sanitizer
✔️ Ibuprofen
✔️ Antihistamine such as Benadryl (in case of allergic reactions)
✔️ Tweezers
✔️ A few safety pins
✔️ Moleskin for blisters
✔️ Emergency contact card
✔️ Pocket-sized first aid guide (in case your know-how is a little rusty)

 

First aid kit for hiking

 

Beyond first aid, here are a few more safety essentials to consider when packing for a day hike, so you can be prepared for the unexpected:

✔️ Plenty of water
✔️ Prescription medications (if you take them)
✔️ Epi Pen (if you have one)
✔️ Sunscreen
✔️ Aloe vera for sunburns
✔️ Lip Balm with UV protection
✔️ Bug spray
✔️ Anti-diarrheal medicine
✔️ Electrolyte tablets or powder (Scratch Labs and Nuun make good options)
✔️ Protein snacks
✔️ Feminine hygiene products (as needed)
✔️ Duct Tape
✔️ Gear Ties (you never know when they’ll come in handy)
✔️ A good headlamp (in case you get caught after dark)
✔️ Map of the area
✔️ Whistle
✔️ Compass
✔️ Bear spray (if there are bears in the area)
✔️ Emergency blanket (such as this one from SOL)

 

How to make your own first aid kit for hiking and camping

Be sure to maintain your kit regularly by replacing any used items or expired medications. Did we miss anything? Let us know what else is in your kit in the comments below, and we wish you a safe and happy hiking season!

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, outdoors, Adventure, dry bags, camping, Mountaineering

Camping For Newbies: The Beginner’s Guide

Posted by Taylor Orebaugh on May 27, 2020 9:58:51 AM

Camping Tips for Beginners

After a few months stuck inside, the great outdoors has never looked more inviting. And with summer appearing before our very eyes, taking a good ole’ fashioned camping trip sounds like just the ticket. But if you’re a camping newbie like I once was, there are a few things you could learn (and use) to make sure you’re not lost in the dark. Keep reading to learn from my camping blunders and make the most of your night under the stars.

 

Step 1: Select your site wisely

Plan you camping trip

Setting off on a spontaneous camping trip is virtually impossible in 2020 – especially if you’re planning to set up camp in a particularly stunning area (ahem, all of Colorado). Basically, if you think you’ve found the perfect camping spot, chances are, other people are thinking the same thing. Save yourself the disappointment of a day-long campground tour around the state scouring for an open spot and plan ahead. After learning this lesson the hard way and wasting a few gallons of gas in the process, I won’t hit the road until we either (1) Have a spot reserved in advance, or (2) Have read enough reviews/forums to know that our first-come, first-serve spot in question isn’t too popular. If you opt for route 2, keep in mind that you’re always taking a gamble and prepare a backup plan. And don’t forget to check weather forecasts and know the route to the closest hospital before you hit the road!

Semi-pro tip: If you’re looking for a true camping experience, don’t bother with a “family” campground chock-full of pools, small sites, and Wi-Fi. Check out some dispersed camping sites for unbelievable views that are easier to come by, but be prepared for zero access to plumbing and a rough ride to get there. But first, check your local and state regulations for dispersed camping policies, and if/where it is allowed.

 

Step 2: Pack accordingly (and then some)

How to pack for camping trip

Once you put that first stake in the ground, there’s no turning back, so make sure you’ve got all your essentials packed tight. If your site is near water or sand, be prepared for everything (and I mean everything) to end up muddy and sandy. Sidestep some of the mess with a few RunOff® Waterproof Bags in tow. I personally love the RunOff® Waterproof Phone Pouch, as well as the Large Packing Cube, to keep my clothes, gear, and phone dry. And if you’re planning to have a wilderness shower (or showers are available on the grounds), the RunOff® Waterproof Toiletry Bag is a must.

On top of staying dry, keeping your things organized is crucial. Bundle up your camping cutlery, tent poles, lighters, bottle openers, and other must-haves with a few Gear Ties. And don’t forget toilet paper, bug spray, firewood, adequate lighting, warm socks, a first-aid kit, and a deck of cards. You’ll thank me later.

Semi-pro tip: Running out of room in your car? Take your larger duffels and gear to the roof, securing with the Dual CamJam® Tie Down System.

 

Step 3: Make the most of your daylight

Camping tips for newbies

If your spot is near water and the sun is out, aim to set up camp earlier in the day to enjoy a dip or two. You can set up a GearLine Organization System to hang your wet clothes, swimsuits or towels out to dry (as well as clip and hang your water bottles and other essentials).

Once you’ve arrived at your dream spot, pitching a tent is usually the biggest struggle. There’s no shame in bringing along a tent manual and brushing up on a tutorial or two before setting off on your trip—but remember, once you’re there, data service is bound to be limited, so don’t expect the internet to help you. Once the sun sets, you’ll surely have some difficulty navigating around your tent. Avoid tripping over your virtually invisible tent line (like I have in the past) with the high-tension, knot-free, and light-reflective Figure 9 Tent Line Kit.

Semi-pro tip: If you’re not up for sleeping on hard ground, buying an air mattress is worth its value and then some. And it may sound obvious, but if you bring an air mattress, don’t forget the air pump and extra batteries too. Again, learn from my mistakes.

 

Step 4: Get your lights ready to shine

SlapLit LED Drink Wrap

On your first night out in the backcountry, you’ll be shocked by how truly pitch-black it gets in the later hours. Protect yourself from a night of frustration and mishaps with plenty of portable illumination. I love the lightweight, hat-friendly Radiant® 170 Rechargeable Clip Light for prepping and cooking our dinner by the fire and when walking around the site. And the SlapLit™ LED Drink Wrap will solve all of your drink mix-ups and spills, while some NiteGems will allow you to easily dig through your cooler and spot your favorite snacks and drinks.

While the pure peace of sitting around a campfire can’t be overstated, that doesn’t you mean you can’t enjoy the rest of your site, too. When you get an itch for entertainment, gather 'round for a game of cards – a BugLit® Rechargeable Micro Lantern is a camp table lighting solution the kids will love. Bring along a Flashflight®  to toss around under the stars for some nighttime fun (bonus points if you snap some color-changing long-exposure shots).

Semi-pro tip: Camping is better with dogs, plain and simple. Keep your furry best friends protected and visible with a NiteDog™ Rechargeable LED Collar or Rechargeable NiteHowl®.

Semi-pro tip 2: While the whole point of camping is to unplug, keeping your phone charged is always advantageous for photos, music, or safety reasons. Pick up the Radiant® 314 Rechargeable Lantern for campsite or in-tent illumination with built-in USB charging.

 

Step 5: Rest easy (and critter-free)

Camping tips for beginners

After a night of making memories (and s’mores), all that’s left to do is hit the hay. Bear in mind, you’re not the only creatures out there. Avoid any encounters with bears, raccoons, and other scavengers by cleaning up your site and stowing away any trash in sealable bear-proof containers. We like to put our trash, cooler, and extra food in the car to be safe, but some opt to hang theirs up in a tree — just make sure to never leave it with you in the tent. Once your site is cleaned up, make sure to put out your fire completely by dousing it with water and spreading out the embers to prevent any reigniting.

Semi-pro tip: You’ll likely wake up colder than you expected, so make sure to wear extra layers and thick socks. My secret weapon to a warm night in the tent is cuddling up to my dog.

 

Stay safe, happy campers!

At this point, congrats! You’ve weathered through your first camping night. You might wake up early with a few backaches, but as they say, "No pain, no gain." Bask in the beauty of pure, natural views with the smell of sweet campfire as you enjoy a fresh breakfast and coffee à la French Press. Enjoy your trip, happy campers!

Note: As the world continues to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic, many campgrounds and National Parks may be closed or operating with strict guidelines. Refer to your local resources for the latest updates and camping practices, and stay safe out there!

Topics: outdoors, LED Pet Products, LED Dog Products, Flying Disc, Flashflight, Adventure, "travel", LED Products, runoff, waterproof bags, dry bags, camping, headlamp, slaplit

Life’s Adventure Kit: Vanlife Edition

Posted by Sunny Stroeer on Jul 18, 2019 10:27:24 AM

By Nite Ize Field Team Member Sunny Stroeer

I am many things: I am an adventurer, a record breaker, a wife; a Harvard MBA, a recovering strategy consultant, and – as of the last four years - I am also somewhat of a serial #vanlifer. 

Vanlife has long graduated from its renegade counter-culture beginnings to cover a broad spectrum: from folks living out of their barely converted hatchbacks all the way to the fully-tricked-out $80,000 Sprinter van with 4WD and a custom interior that would give the most luxurious RV a run for its money.

My personal vanlife experience falls closer to the humble end of the spectrum - I bought my first dream mobile in 2015, an old Chevy Astro van named Eddie, for less than $3k on Craigslist. Ripping out the seats and a bit of basic carpentry gave me just enough headroom and storage space to have a little mobile adventure basecamp for one.

Sunny and Eddie

Paul and MerlotThree years and one wedding later, it was time to upsize so my husband Paul and I could live on the road as a couple. Once again, we scoured Craigslist and finally settled on a 2003 Ford E350 XL - a spacious but rusty bargain for $7k - whom we named Merlot the Van.

If there’s one thing that I have learned in my years of living on the road, it’s the importance of space and functionality in a van.  That’s why I’ve come to use and love a ton of Nite Ize gear; here are five of my favorites that I work with on a daily basis:

 

Gear Ties. Everybody loves Gear Ties, but it’s hard to overstate their usefulness in the van. We use them to secure our curtains, as a handy paper towel holder, for bookends, to hang lanterns, to organize our door storage space, and as a sunglasses holder in the driver’s cab. We’ve even used Gear Ties to fix a loose mounting bracket on our exhaust system that was causing a rattle!

Vanlife Gear Ties

GearLine. The GearLine is one of my new favorite tools. With space at a premium it’s important for us to be able to use hanging space efficiently, and that’s exactly what the GearLine was designed for. Back in my old one-person van I actually used to (poorly) jerry-rig a homemade version of the same concept, stringing paracord and spiffing it up with knots for spacers… but that didn’t work very well for anything but the lightest loads.  You can imagine my joy when I got my hands on my first GearLine.

Vanlife GearLine

Steelie. The Steelie phone mount system is an obvious choice for any driver, but we get a lot more use out of it than handsfree navigation: many surfaces in Merlot The Van are metal, and that means that my phone sticks to just about anything!

Pro tip: even though I use the Steelie Phone Socket directly on the van’s walls, you may want to consider using a Steelie Dash Mount to keep painted surfaces scratch-free.

05_SunnyStroeer_NI_Vanlife

Vanlife RunOff BagsRunOff bags. The new line of RunOff bags has been getting tons of attention - and awards - since their introduction a few months ago. I love them in the van for three reasons:

    • Their revolutionary zipper seals gear and documents from the dust, dirt and spills that are all an inevitable part of living in a van.

    • They are hangable - remember what I said about the GearLine above!

    • The bags’ clear windows mean I know exactly what’s inside.

SlapLit LED Drink Wraps. Okay, these are just pure fun. One of the best parts of vanlife is getting to enjoy amazing views and a cold one at the end of a hot day of playing outdoors. Having different colored SlapLits to insulate, tell apart and light up our beverages is practical, yes, but mostly it’s simply just awesome.

07_SunnyStroeer_NI_VanLife

Now… these five items may be my favorites, but they are far from the full list of Nite Ize gear that Paul and I rely on to keep us organized and efficient in the van. We use a plethora of S-Biners, Nite Ize lanterns and headlamps - and the HideOut Magnetic Key Box has saved us more than once from getting locked out of the van.

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In the end, vanlife is all about freedom and mobility - but in order to enjoy that freedom and mobility, you first have to learn to navigate minimal space in an organized and efficient way; that’s why Nite Ize is with us every mile of the road.

10_SunnyStroeer_NI_Vanlife-1

 

Follow Sunny's adventures on Instagram at @sstroeer, visit her website and blog at www.sunnystroeer.com, and check out her organization Aurora Women’s Expeditions (AWE) at @awexpeditions and www.awexpeditions.org.

Topics: Gear Ties, outdoors, Adventure, Field Team, Organization, runoff, waterproof bags

Miss Adventure: Move over Macgyver

Posted by Kristin Butcher on May 30, 2019 11:32:04 AM

The best adventures are half grand explorations. And half trying to keep it from going off the rails.

The plan was simple -- or as simple as it could be for a backcountry journey involving 100 miles of off-grid desert biking, 15 people, two support trucks, no cell service, four pounds of frozen meat, a blow piano, a few cases of beer, and a slightly soggy birthday cake.

As part of an annual birthday adventure, a friend of a friend organized a three-day trip mountain biking Utah's iconic White Rim trail.Since I only knew one person on the trip, I did what any newcomer to a high-consequence social situation would do.

I volunteered to bring all the tools, taking on the responsibility of fixing anything that could (and would) go wrong.Off-grid dessert biking in Moab

Here's the thing: I’m a tool junkie. MacGyver is my personal spirit animal. And I work for Nite Ize. By the time I finished packing, my tool bag weighed around 30 lbs and contained everything from kevlar tape to a full set of Allen wrenches.

It turns out that my bag of tricks would be put to the test before we even started pedaling. Over the next three days, as problem after problem arose, I was able to channel my inner Mary Poppins and pull just the right solution out of my ever-present tool bag. 

 

PROBLEM: Only having one key for a truck that will be driven by 15 different people. What could go wrong?

SOLUTION: Rig together a glow-in-the-dark, Bluetooth-enabled key tether using some Gear Ties, a super bright NextGlo marker kept, and the Tile from my key chain.

No one is losing these keys now.

 

PROBLEM: Accidentally launching your dry foods container out the unlatched rear hatch.

SOLUTION: Move aside duct tape, this is a job for the CamJam Tie Down Strap. After double wrapping and cinching the webbing around the structurally unsound container, we once again had a home for our chips, bread, and beans (so many beans).

CamJam Tie Down Strap

 

PROBLEM: Dropping your phone while taking the obligatory #liveunplugged Instagram selfie.

SOLUTION: Butterfingered friends, rejoice! The Hitch has a stretchy coil that I form into a wrist-strap to keep my phone secure during sketchy selfies. Combined with a Clip Case Rugged Holster, and I can have my selfie without my phone eating it too.

No more dropped phones due to precarious selfies

 

PROBLEM: Making hamburgers for 15 hungry people who just rode 30 miles using a four pound slab of frozen meat.

SOLUTION: Create a double boiler out of a pot and a baking sheet, then use a foil topper to channel steam upward to speed up the process. Pro tip: A cold beer wrapped in a SlapLit Drink Wrap makes it easier to forget about your stomach pangs as you wait for dinner to thaw.

Camp Life

 

PROBLEM: Lubes, grease, ThreadLoc, oh my! To keep the bikes running, I needed to pack several liquids in my tool bag that were almost guaranteed to leak.

SOLUTION: By packing my liquids in the RunOff Waterproof Toiletry Bag, I was able to keep my liquids organized, and more importantly, contained.

RunOff Waterproof Toiletry Bag

 

PROBLEM: We needed our two way radios to be accessible, but not in the way.

SOLUTION: S-Biners to the rescue! You can never have too many S-Biner dual carabiners in your tool bag.

S-Biners to the rescue!

 

PROBLEM: After sweating for three days under the Utah sun, it's now time to pack up those stinky clothes and drive several hours back home.

SOLUTION: Packing all my odiferous gear in a RunOff bag, which is waterproof, compressible, and does a fine job of sealing in the stink.

RunOff Packing Cube

 

Whether adventure takes you off the grid or down the street, Nite Ize products have a knack for solving all the little unexpected moments that make adventures memorable.

Solve those little unexpected problems with Nite Ize

 

Topics: Gear Ties, outdoors, Adventure, "travel", Fitness

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