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.

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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.

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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.

08_SunnyStroeer_NI_Vanlife

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.

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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

10 Beginner Tips for a Successful Vegetable Garden

Posted by Katie S on May 16, 2019 11:11:55 AM

10 Beginner Tips For a Successful Vegetable Garden

If you’ve never grown a vegetable garden before or if you’ve only dabbled with the occasional potted veggie plants, fully committing can be an intimidating prospect. So, let me put your mind at ease. Everything will be OK. If you plan a little and set aside a bit of time for regular maintenance, you will succeed in your garden. You’ll probably hit a few speed bumps the first year, but you’ll learn a lot, and you will have the satisfaction of eating your own vegetables.

The three essential factors for a successful vegetable garden are sun, water, and protection, but here are a few other helpful tips for getting started:

1. Like all good things, it starts with a healthy foundation. 

Nutrient-rich soil is key for growing healthy vegetables. If you’re filling empty raised beds, it’s worth buying good planting soil from your local garden shop so you have a weed-free starting point. (Plus, it’s great to make friends and support your local shop – they will have expert tips for growing in your area.) If you are turning an existing bed into a vegetable garden, you may want to work-in a bag or two of soil conditioner. Or, to save money a great way to renew nutrients is by burying your leaves. In the fall, mow over your fallen leaves, then bury them 6-8” down in your bed, or layer them over the top then work them down by doing multiple passes with a tiller before the ground freezes. 

 

2. In the battle against pests, take the high ground and fortify your borders. 

Do you think bunnies are adorable fuzzy neighbors? When you see a deer in the yard do Disney-esque memories start playing in your head to a cheerful tune? Just wait till you start your vegetable garden, you may develop a new perspective on these agile, hungry nemeses. Raised beds/boxes are a great option for beginner and seasoned gardeners – fewer opportunities for weeds, natural protective border (though I still recommend chicken wire above this if you have bunnies or deer), less back pain, and control over possible soil contaminants.

 

3. Know your bugs.

When it comes to vegetables, there are good bugs, and there are bad bugs. For some of the best bugs see tip #7 – because we need BEES. For the bad bugs, enter aphids, AKA “gardeners arch nemesis #1” and slugs, or “Ugs” as my toddler calls them. Unfortunately, both these bugs are common just about everywhere in the U.S. Let’s begin with slugs. The way my mom taught me to deal with these pests is to put a small saucer or tuna can in the garden and fill it with beer. The slugs climb in and drown themselves in a drunken stupor. It might sound crazy, but I swear it works – and it doesn’t need to be the good stuff, you can use your cheap beer. Also see tip #4 for another way to deal with slugs – *hint* it’s snakes. Getting rid of aphids can be fun too. When I moved to Colorado, I learned it’s common practice to buy ladybugs and release them into your garden in late spring and they will take care of the aphids for you. You can order small buckets of these beneficial beetles online or pick them up at your local garden shop, then store them in your fridge until you’re ready to release them (try not to think too hard about a couple thousand bugs escaping in your fridge…they basically don’t move in the cold). Then just before nightfall, water your garden well and sprinkle the ladybugs throughout. With a nice damp environment and local aphids to feast on, the ladybugs will settle in and make your garden their home.

10 Beginner Tips For a Successful Vegetable Garden 

4. Embrace the slithery.

Unless snakes are truly the things your nightmares are made of, there is no downside to good ole garters in your garden. Yes, the beady eyes and slithering startle me every time, but these effective little hunters will decimate many of those problematic bugs listed above. And despite encouraging my husband to pick the little guy in this photo up to show our son, I don’t recommend picking them up in general – they emit a horrendous odor on your hands, and frankly you want them to continue living unbothered in your garden.

 10 Beginner Tips For a Successful Vegetable Garden

5. Mother knows best.

For the Middle and Northern U.S., Mother’s Day marks the time when you are generally safe from snow and frost to plant your garden.

 

6. Set yourself up for success with hardy growers.

For your first go, I highly recommend choosing vegetables that are easier to grow and maybe throw in one of the more difficult ones to play around with while you get your feet wet. These are the ones I suggest before you move on to the more finicky species: tomatoes, zucchini and squash, cucumbers, peas, and potatoes.

 

7. There’s no shame in starting with starts. 

Sure, growing plants from seed is a great feeling of accomplishment, but it also requires more advanced planning and patience than picking up healthy starts from a local shop. If patience and pre-planning aren’t your thing, or if you feel more confident in picking up starts, go for it! This is often the most popular route anyways, especially for tomatoes.

 

8. Expect big things. 

Remember that your little seedlings or starts have months more growing to do. Place your stakes and tomato cages at the same time you plant so as not to damage roots or branches later when the plants are larger. Support heavy branches with Gear Tie Reusable Foam Twist Ties and prune off over abundant growth if needed. Zucchini plants will be enormous and cucumbers and other vine vegetables will take up most of your garden space if you let them, so I recommend placing a trellis for them to grow up rather than out – this also helps keep the slugs off them.

10 Beginner Tips For a Successful Vegetable Garden 

9. Don’t forget the flowers.

A common problem in vegetable gardens is poor pollination – if your plant doesn’t have cross pollination, it won’t fruit. Bees are the answer (wind can help too). One of the best ways to attract them throughout the growing season is by having flowers near your vegetable garden to bring them round. Most flowers will attract bees, but if you want specific suggestions for the best, check out this article by the Honeybee Conservancy: “21 Flowers That Attract Bees”.

 10 Beginner Tips For a Successful Vegetable Garden

10. Herbs for the win. 

I love having a kitchen garden on our back deck where I can easily pick fresh herbs for our meals. Mine is separate from the vegetables, but there are many benefits to planting herbs in with your veggies, a practice called companion planting. For detailed info on companion planting with herbs, check out this article by the Gardening Channel: “Herbs that Pair Perfectly as Growing Partners”. Many herbs help to repel unwanted insects and even rodents, while the flowering ones tend to be great bee-attractors. You don’t want the ones you cook with to flower though (pick off they buds when they start) as it negatively affects the taste. So, if you have the space, plant twice as many as needed and let half go to seed for the bees while keeping the others pruned for eating. If you are looking forward to fresh mint for your mojitos, plant it in a pot – it’s invasive and while it smells delightful, it will take over everything if planted in the garden! And, if you’re not much of a cook, you can plant a cocktail garden instead, because of course that’s a thing now: “Grow a Cocktail Garden”.

Those are my tips for getting your vegetable garden started. I hope you’ve learned something new and are feeling excited and confident about planting. Please feel free to leave your own tips in the comments below for the community.

Topics: outdoors, DIY, Home, gardening

Nite Ize 2018 Field Team Gift Guide

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Dec 7, 2018 2:16:58 PM

For this year’s Holiday Gift Guide, we asked our Field Team to send us their top two to four Nite Ize products they are giving this season. As expected, Gear Ties came in as a very popular stocking stuffer. Check out the full list from our team and get into the spirit!

 

Anthony Johnson: Action Adventurer & Outdoor Photographer

“The Steelie car mount is our go-to for gifting. It is something that everyone can use, and a great stocking stuffer.”

“We also tend to gift the Nite Ize Radiant 300 Rechargeable Lantern. We've given these to our family and friends who enjoy the outdoors, whether through backpacking or camping or just enjoying grilling on their back porch. It is also fantastic that you can charge other USB devices off the lantern, making this particularly valuable gift for friends and family who spend time in the backwoods.”

“ Finally, for our cycling friends, we have given the Nite Ize Rechargeable Bike Light. You can never have too many bike lights, and these are so bright and rechargeable. The beam is great and makes it easy to see for early morning and evening rides. The multiple settings also allow you to use the lights to alert cars you're on the road. It's a ready safety feature.”

Radiant Rechargeable Bike Light 

Joe Allen: Outdoor Sportsman, HuntCo on The Pursuit Channel

“I always have 3 or 4 attached to my pack in the field. The uses are infinite. On a particular occasion I used one Gear Tie to secure all four legs before loaded this deer into the bed of a truck.”

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Tie

“This is another staple of my field pack to have handy in a pinch. I pulled out my lantern during this alligator hunt for extra light while securing the jaws and tagging the gator.”

“Our lamps are with us on every hunt to get us in and out in the dark. The red light option provides great light that isn’t as offensive to wild animals.”

INOVA STS Headlamp

“The S-Biner stays on every pack to help attach the extras.”

 

Jason Epperson: Family Travel & Adventure Blogger

“We love the SlapLit LED Bracelets for the kids. They're a great way to keep track of the kids when they’re running around outside at night, at home or in a campground.”

SlapLit LED Slap Wraps

“Gear Ties are great for any handyperson to wrap up extension cords and hoses, but they're also great for kids to play with to make 3D shapes.”


Willi Schmidt: Outdoor Sportsman

“S-Biners are a must for me in the field. I keep a couple attached to my backpack at all times, making it very convenient to attach items to the outside of my pack, quickly and easily. Whether they are plastic or metal, they don't add any meaningful weight and they get a lot of use.”

S-Biner Dual Carabiner

“I keep Gear Ties in my pack and in my truck. Many times they have come in handy, most notably when my truck's wheel lining was coming loose. They were the only thing that would work and they kept the truck together for the remainder of the hunt and the return drive home.”

Gear Tie Reusable Twist Tie

“This is a go-to lantern on my hunting adventures. With 300 lumens, it gives off plenty of light in a cabin, tent or even in the back of a truck. The ability to re-charge the battery and charge other electronic devices from the lantern make it very practical.”

“The Inova STS headlamp by Nite Ize is an absolute must for me when hunting.  It gives me hands free light for going into my hunting area. The Swipe-To-Shine, 265 lumens is easy to use and plenty bright. The ability use the red light and not spook game as an added bonus.”

 

Heidi Kumm: Fitness Buff & Dog Lover

“We love the dog stuff, especially the light up toys now that it's dark out before we get home from work! The GlowStreak ball + Flashflight Dog Discuit are a daily go-to!”

Flashflight Dog Discuit LED Flying Disc

 

Jose Flores: Outdoor Sportsman

“I love the Steelies. Whether I’m in my boat, truck, UTV, or wherever, I find something I can stick it to!”

Steelie Vent Mount Kit

“We love the dog stuff also! The light-up ball and flying disc are easy favorites for our dogs, as it’s all they can play with outside after 4 PM here in Alaska!”

“This season I started to use the lanterns and headlamps much more. I really like the new design on the headlamps. The rechargeable option for the lanterns was a hit this fall.”

Radiant 300 Rechargeable Lantern

 

Tara Schatz: Action Adventurer & Dog Trainer

"In the winter, we have no choice but to walk our pups in the dark. We use the Spotlit clip-on LED lights to keep our dark dogs visible to others, whether we're on the trail or walking through town."

SpotLit LED Carabiner Light

"Gear ties are indispensable for hikers, campers, and outdoor adventurers. We use them to pack our backpacks, keep our gear inside of our canoe, and organizing for road trips."

"I take a lot of solo road trips, and the Steelie Dash Mount is the best smartphone mount I've ever used. It provides easy access to my maps and my music."

 

Rob “Reker” Kretsch: Outdoor Sportsman

“As stocking stuffers, I’m giving out the See’em Spoke Lights for the little one’s new bike and Gear Ties and CamJam Tie Down straps for all the adults. The Gear Ties are by far the most used piece of gear I own.”

CamJam Tie Down Straps

 

Whether you’re shopping for outdoor enthusiasts, tech and gadget gurus, DIY masters, kids or dogs, you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list!

Topics: Visibility and Safety, hunting, outdoors, LED Dog Products, Adventure, Field Team

One Man, One Row Boat, and 2,485 Miles of Ocean: The Colin Sanders Interview

Posted by Dave Taylor on Oct 19, 2018 1:32:04 PM

Nite Ize Field Team member Colin Sanders accomplished a feat most would consider impossible when he rowed for 83 days straight to cross the Atlantic, alone, in a rowboat. We were able to talk to him about his adventures, struggles, and triumphs -- and about how this massive goal was fueled by wanting to help others.

 

Q: Hi Colin! First off, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into ultra long distance rowing?

About four years ago I decided I needed a grand adventure, something that would challenge me physically, mentally, emotionally and even financially. I spent a lot of time skiing in the mountains when I was younger and always suffered from the altitude. Climbing Everest was out. To be honest, climbing Everest seemed mundane in some ways anyway, since thousands of people have summited at this point.


Solo rowing the Atlantic was different and definitely more unusual. Few have done it and it fit my personality better. When people ask me why I rowed across the Atlantic Ocean my answer is typically “ego and self-gratification”. Sometimes I wish there was a more profound motivation but at age 64 I think I had something to prove to myself, that I could take on something incredibly tough and succeed.

Q: How does a multi-week rowing journey work? Do you row for 8+ hours a day and rest the other 16? Heck, don’t you drift while you're not rowing? 

I rowed for 10-14 hours each day. At the beginning of the trip I had a routine where I rowed for three hours then took 15 minutes off. Again and again. As I got further across the ocean and started to wear down physically I had to shorten the shifts and take more frequent breaks.

colin-3

I would usually start just as the sun was rising because rowing in the dark just isn’t fun, particularly when the seas are rough.

When I stowed the oars at night I just drifted. Depending on how big and steep the waves were that evening, I had to decide whether to drift free, put a warp off the stern or para anchor.

Note: A “warp” is a thick line that provides drag and some directional stability downwind and a para anchor, also called a drogue, is about the size of a bushel basket and gives the boat enough drag to produce excellent downwind stability.

It was always a fine line because I always wanted to pick up as much free distance as possible by drifting and the MRE drag I had, the less I would drift. Insufficient directional stability downwind could end up turning the boat sideways to the wind and waves and even end up with the boat capsizing.

And capsize it did. New Year’s Eve while the boat was on the warp. She got hit by a large wave as it broke and ended up rolling over and over several times. Anything not locked down flew everywhere, including a liter of olive oil!

The boat righted itself but after composing myself I had to go on deck in the pitch dark - in a really choppy sea with big waves - to pull the warp in and set the drogue. Setting the drogue isn’t easy even in the smoothest of waters because it uses a bridle attached to each side of the stern, but in big waves, high wind and darkness? It was very tough.

Q: How do you train for a rowing marathon like you did? You just rowed across the Atlantic Ocean! How on Earth did you prep for that?

I had a really great trainer. It was a partly strength in the upper body, but a lot more about core strength and flexibility. We spent a lot of time on stretching to ensure that my back and core were the strongest possible. I actually spent very little time with an indoor rowing machine because it has little in common with ocean rowing when you often only have one oar in the water at any given time. 

Q: Your Trans-Atlantic journey was from Puerto de Mogan in the Canary Islands to English Harbour in Antigua. How did you choose that route and did you ever run afoul of whales, sharks or enormous cargo ships en route?

Actually, that particular route is the classic course to get across the Atlantic Ocean. Originally, I was going to head for Barbados, but I just couldn’t get far enough south to make that a viable destination. Halfway across Stokey my UK-based navigator said, “You’re going to Antigua, mate!”.

colin-1

I did see the odd cargo ship but really not that many ships at all. Part of that is the vastness of the ocean: They could have been passing within five miles and I would have never known. In terms of wildlife, I remember seeing one pilot whale, lots of dolphins and several swordfish but no sharks at all.

Q: What’s one aspect of the row that was the toughest?

The emotional and mental side of the journey was the most difficult. Being completely alone for 83 days was hard, especially in tough sea conditions. The loss of my music 28 days out was a real blow to my emotional state too: I had spent a year curating downloads on Spotify, never realizing that you have to sign in every 30 days to keep the downloads active. I didn’t know that and one month into the trip suddenly had no music at all. I ended up giving monologues and speeches on a wide variety of subjects that I knew something about, singing songs, coming up with thought experiments, and trying not to go crazy out there in the middle of the ocean. It wasn’t easy, but I made it! 

Q: What's your favorite Nite Ize product and why?

I started out with a lot of Nite Ize gear, but to be honest, it wasn’t until I was doing the actual row that I realized the excellent quality of all the products. The Gear Ties I used every single day. It was typically so rough at sea that it was critical that they quickly and easily secured equipment on the deck. I also used the S-Biner Marine to secure equipment that I viewed as “mission critical”, including my multitools and water bottles. They were on deck every single day and at the end of the journey none of them had a single spot of rust. I could hardly believe it, because so many other tools or pieces of my kit rusted or corroded with the constant salt water exposure. The Nite Ize equipment never, ever corroded!

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Q: Are you ready to circumnavigate the entire Earth in your boat now? What is your next grand adventure?

Ummmm no. The Atlantic was enough at 4000 km (2485 miles). Not sure what my next adventure will be, but it’ll be something. I have lots of living to do yet!

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your charity A Million Possibilities?

I raised about $150K for Community Living Ontario. Community Living supports people like my son Jeff, who has intellectual disabilities. We came up with the name “A Million Possibilities” hoping to raise $1 for each stroke I took crossing the Atlantic. Ultimately, we didn’t raise a million dollars but we were still very happy with the results. 

Congrats on your remarkable achievement, Colin. We look forward to hearing about your next adventure!

 

Topics: outdoors, Adventure, Field Team

Nighttime Flying Disc Adventures with Flashflight

Posted by Dave Taylor on Jul 31, 2018 2:32:12 PM

Growing up in Southern California, many of my best childhood memories are tied to being at the beach. Whether it was Santa Monica beach, if we wanted to be down by the pier, or Zuma and Malibu beaches, which were the two just down the canyon from our neighborhood.

FFD_Feature_01_lIf you’ve never grown up near a beach community, you don’t know that high schools have designated lifeguard stations, too. On Zuma beach, my local high school had our station and it was a fun way both to find friends and avoid the kids from the rival cross-town school. 

While we occasionally just lay on our towels and listened to music on our boom boxes, mostly everyone was up and about, walking around, playing football, body surfing, splashing in the water, or swimming. Hands down one of the most popular activities, though, was throwing a flying disc back and forth. For hours and hours.

Back then, flying discs were just lumps of plastic without much going for them. So we all had a stack in our cars, so that the loss of a disc in the surf wasn’t going to stop the show. Still, once the sun started to set, that game was over because you can’t play when you can’t see the disc zipping towards you!

That’s why the Flashflight from Nite Ize is so incredibly fun: It’s a well balanced and easy to throw flying disc that lights up, making it perfect for nighttime play! For those of you that measure discs by weight, it’s a 185g disc, so it’s got some heft to it. This means you can throw it further and catch it easily as it has a nice, deep lip.

FFD_Feature_02_l

But it’s the colors that make the Flashflight so darn fun. When I headed out to the street one evening with my kids to try out the color-changing Disc-O Flashflight, we all instantly became fans of this great flying disc. You can watch it transition from one color of the rainbow to another, even as it’s zipping from person to person. 

The tech is also a lot more sophisticated than it appears at first glance: the Flashflight is built around a patented LED and fiber optic system that makes the light-up disc look somewhat like a psychedelic jellyfish. It’s also quite durable - skittering along the road didn’t ding or scratch up the disc - and it’s also water resistant and floats!

Where was this when I was on the beach every day? My kids have been playing with the Flashflight quite a bit and now are insistent that it travel with them to Hawaii for their summer vacation. There’s no doubt about it, the Flashflight will be absolutely perfect for play on the beach once one of those glorious Hawaiian sunsets wrap up.

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Nite Ize Flashflight

Extremely durable 185g plastic flying disc
LED + Fiber Optic illumination system, with user-replaceable batteries
Available in a rainbow of fun colors

Learn-More

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Topics: outdoors, Fun & Games, Flying Disc, Flashflight, Adventure

Nite Ize Coworkers Come Together After Catastrophe

Posted by Kelly Richardson on Oct 5, 2017 4:23:00 PM

DSC_0652.jpg

It was called the “100-year flood.” In September 2013, the Colorado Front Range saw an uncharacteristic downpour that drenched, damaged, and devastated communities across roughly 150 miles – a scene reminiscent of the ones in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico this past month. Almost overnight, the rising waters of the St. Vrain Creek – a tributary of the South Platte River that flows through Longmont, Colorado – overflowed, turning asphalt roadways into raging rivers that quickly saturated homes, leveled businesses, totaled vehicles, and claimed victims.


Jen and Daughter.jpgFour years later, the effects are still felt by the Longmont community and surrounding areas. Many employees at Nite Ize, a Boulder-based manufacturer, are among those that call Longmont home and the grim memories of this unprecedented event still linger.

“Because a large percentage of our employee base lives in Longmont, deciding to work with American Rivers on a company cleanup event in our backyard was important,” Nite Ize Director of Marketing Brenda Isaac said. “We believe in the mission of American Rivers and, as an official supporter of the organization, we were excited to celebrate our partnership with an event that really meant something to our employees and their families.”

Last year, Nite Ize launched a new corporate giving initiative called The Brite Side and chose American Rivers as the first official program partner. “The Brite Side is about focusing on what we want to see in the world around us and working together with organizations that support that vision,” Nite Ize Founder and CEO Rick Case says. “It’s about doing good things, with good people, and always looking for The Brite Side.”

With that mission in mind, 55 volunteers collected 1,500 pounds of trash from roughly 1.5 miles along the St. Vrain Creek and Golden Ponds Park area this past August. Some of the more unusual debris found included a horse from a children’s rocking horse toy set, a University of Colorado letterman jacket, couch cushions, and a silver bracelet with a love note.

These items have a story that many will never know – but more than likely they were washed upon the shores of the St. Vrain during the flood and have remained half hidden and forever forgotten. American Rivers works hard to restore damaged rivers like the St. Vrain to conserve clean water for people and nature. Removing trash and debris from waterways and disposing of it properly is an important part of ongoing flood restoration for the City of Longmont and a task that both Nite Ize and American Rivers were not only dedicated to, but enthusiastic about.

Clearly, it takes many years and mny hands to help restore and heal a community after a disaster like this. For all those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria hang in there. There is a long road ahead, but with the help of friends, family, neighbors, and millions of others around the country, you will endure this.

For more information about our Brite Side progam, click here.

Topics: endangered rivers, clean water, take action, outdoors

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