"Skoolie Living" Travel Days Made Easier With Nite Ize

Posted by Cassie Ryan on Jan 8, 2021 11:14:34 AM

Skoolie Living Travel Days Made Easier With Nite Ize

Written and Photographed by Guest Bloggers Chris & Tina Wann of @weliveonabus

When you first move into a tiny home on wheels, there is so much to learn. Figuring out how to secure everything while your home is going down the road is an artform and takes time to perfect. When we first moved into the school bus, it wasn’t uncommon for items to fly across the bus once we took off toward our next destination, but we had a head start on finding great solutions thanks to Nite Ize. We have used Nite Ize products for years and during the downsizing process, we kept every single item that had their logo on it. We didn’t know how we would use all of it, but we knew we would need it. 

When looking for methods of organizing and securing belongings in our skoolie, Nite Ize has so much to offer, both in our home and in the great outdoors. When we recently reached out and shared our love of their brand and amazing products, they sent us a box of gear to replace some of the older products we are using. We’re happy to share all of the ways you can use Nite Ize to make travel day as easy as possible!

We Tie Down Everything with Nite Ize Gear Ties

We use Nite Ize Gear Ties for many different things around the skoolie. Gear Ties are a reusable twist tie found in many colors and sizes. Gear Ties are made from strong metal that is wrapped in a soft rubber shell that is durable and helps to prevent scratching. The rubber shell also provides grip to keep it from sliding. Even though they are made from heavy-duty metal, Gear Ties are easy to use with minimal effort.

The Plant Cart

Gear Tie Uses

It is no secret that plants can be found in abundance inside our skoolie. If we are being honest, they are also one of the most time consuming items to pack up on travel day. They have to be placed in their travel locations with care so the leaves don’t get damaged and one of those travel homes just happens to be on wheels. One of the best uses for Gear Ties is securing our plant cart to the wall in our bedroom. Before we started using Gear Ties, I am almost ashamed to tell you how many times it came loose while driving, bumping the door open and rolling down the hallway. It was such a simple fix, too! Nite Ize Gear Ties to the rescue, and now we no longer have to worry about the plant cart surprising us as it rolls down the hallway.

Cable Management

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Ties

One of the best uses for Gear Ties is cord organization. We have lots of cords in a small tote and using Gear Ties helps us get the one we need and not all of them at the same time in a giant knot. We have cords for chargers, phones, hot spots, the printer, cameras, and laptops. When it’s time to pack up and travel, we love using these to store the cords. They are available from three inches all the way to up to 64 inches and in multiple colors.

Hoses and Power Cords

Gear Tie Loopable

One new style of Gear Tie we started using is the Gear Tie Loopable. These are a fantastic addition to Gear Tie line up. I love using these for organizing hoses and power cords. One cool feature of using a longer Gear Tie Loopable is that you can make a handle to hold bulky items like 50 feet of water hose. Anyone who has tried to coil up 50 feet of water hose knows that it can be hard to manage, especially in cooler weather. We also love Nite Ize Gear Ties for our extension cords. I love how they help prevent the cords from getting tangled up while we’re on the move.

 

Transporting Our Kayaks

CamJam Tie Down Strap

Our family loves being around the water and we travel with two kayaks on the roof of our Jeep. On travel days, a part of my routine is making sure the kayaks are secured. Thanks to the Nite Ize CamJam Tie Down Straps, I can drive down the road knowing they are secure. Like everything else, these straps are very well made and have the end user in mind. A key feature that I love is the no slip buckle which helps to prevent the buckle from scratching the kayaks when tightened. It helps to protect the vehicle when throwing the strap over the kayak, too. I have had many different brands of straps and this is the first one with this feature.

 

Securing the Basket Shelf

One of the newest additions to the bus is the basket shelf above the driver’s seat. Many people have seen photos of this and ask “how do they not fall while driving?” More people have questioned our decision to place baskets above the driver than anything else we have done. I get it. When you see the photos, it looks like an accident waiting to happen, but we haven’t had to worry about it thanks to Nite Ize.

We tie the baskets in using the Nite Ize CamJam Cord Tightener. Prior to using this, I was using paracord, which works okay, but you have to tie decent knots while cinching the cord down to hold the baskets. The CamJam Cord Tightener eliminates the need for all of the knots because it clips to the hook in the wall. This speeds up the process of securing and unsecuring the baskets. This chore was one of my least favorite because it took extra time and had to be done just right to work. Now, I can secure them super fast and move on to the next task. To help ensure the baskets don’t move, we use Gear Ties on the handles to secure them together.

 

Keeping Doors Closed

S-Biner Dual Carabiner

One of the key features in our bus build is the lockers that hold our toiletries and towels next to the bathroom sink. On our first drive down the road, we heard the banging noise of all six locker doors opening and slamming shut. We stopped at a local hardware store and found the perfect solution – the Nite Ize S-Biner Stainless Steel Dual Carabiner. They are small, light-weight, and the stainless finish looks great on the lockers. A triple win! A lot of times, my solutions to fix problems are more functional than pleasing to the eye. Like many of the Nite Ize products, these carabiners are functional and look great.

 

Organizing Keys and Small Tools with Nite Ize

Nite Ize Key Accessories

As we mentioned in our ebook, Making the Most of 234 Square Feet, we are a huge fan of installing hooks throughout the bus to hold small items, towels, and plants. What we didn’t mention is that every set of keys has a Nite Ize Slidelock S-Biner attached as a key chain. With all the keys for the bus and the Jeep, the locking S-Biner helps me to keep them organized and close at hand. We got into the habit of clipping the keys to a belt loop so we wouldn’t put them down and then forget where we put them. Super handy and a great way to keep your pockets free, too.

 

More Ways We Use Nite Ize

Favorite Nite Ize Products

The Nite Ize logo can be found scattered throughout our bus. Here is a quick look at all of the different products we use:

Travel days can be hectic. When you travel full time and are constantly packing and unpacking, solutions from Nite Ize can make your life easier. Let us know if you find a solution from Nite Ize that we didn’t think of! We would love to hear your ideas!

To learn more about what travel day looks like for our family, check out our Skoolie Travel Day Routines post. To find out where we are today and get the most current updates, follow us on Instagram.

Topics: Gear Ties, "travel", vanlife, Tie Downs

Prepare Your Home For Winter With These Hacks

Posted by Brian Lambert on Nov 24, 2020 1:59:00 PM

Prepare your home for winter with these hacks

It happened again. It seems to happen every year. I am sitting on the patio of my mountaintop home in 70-degree weather plotting out my next bike ride when the weather forecasters start sounding the alarm for winter. In my area, that means snow and wind. We have regular sustained winds of 60 mph and gusts up to 85 mph as storms roll through, so it is essential to be prepared, or risk serious consequences.

My first year living on the hill I used bungee cords to try to keep everything in my yard from blowing away, but the weather was just too severe for the elastic. The cords disintegrated over time and became useless. When I saw a lawn chair connected to a bungee hovering over the hill like a kite on a string, I knew I needed a better solution.

Keep your patio furniture safe from wind storms with Gear Ties

Since I don’t have the storage space to bring in all the patio furniture, I use Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Ties to fasten most of the pieces to the deck rails. I use the 18” and 24” most frequently because they are easy to tie and untie when I want to move a chair.

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Ties

Once our first hard freeze is in the forecast, I know it’s time to blow out the irrigation system. I also wrap insulation around the exposed pipes, and secure it in place with 12” Gear Ties.

Insulating your sprinkler pipes

The hoses get disconnected, wrapped with 24” Gear Ties, and hung up for the season.

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Tie

I also have rain barrels that I remove from the gutters and store outside. I use KnotBone Adjustable Bungees as well as 12’ Dual CamJam Tie Down System to affix the barrels to the fence for the winter. I love both of these products because I can adjust the length and tension of the bungees, and respectively move the CamJam buckle to anywhere on the webbing, so it is easy to manage when I need to tighten or adjust.

KnotBone Adjustable Bungee and Dual CamJam Tie Down System

The heavy wind and wet snow can sometimes knock down trees or power lines, so we lose power a couple times each winter and must rely on our generator. We keep the starter battery inside the house and connected to a trickle charger, so it’s always ready when we need it. The rubber band that originally held the battery in place rotted, so I use an 18” Gear Tie to keep it in place when it’s running. I also keep 10 gallons of fuel just in case we have a sustained outage.  

My last little hack is for my truck.  There is not much room for me to chain up in the canyon and I’m concerned that someone won’t see me as I’m lying in the road at night, so I have a winter chain up kit I repurposed from summer products, including two NiteGem LED Luminaries, a red LED Mini Glow Stick, a Radiant 250 Headlamp, three extra AAA batteries, a pair of winter work gloves, and my Carhartt coveralls, all stored in a RunOff Waterproof Large Packing Cube. I can just grab it, suit up, and feel safe while I'm crawling around in the snow putting on the chains.

Winter chain-up kit

And just like that, we’re buttoned up and ready to hunker down for winter. Granted, it’s taken me a few failures before I found what works, but such is life. That being said, I’m always on the lookout for new tips. Leave a comment and let me know what other improvements I should consider for my winterizing strategy.

Topics: Gear Ties, DIY, Home, runoff, Tie Downs

How I Tie Down My Gear (And Keep It There)

Posted by MJ Smoot on Jul 23, 2020 10:08:48 AM

How To Tie Down Your Gear And Keep It There

As a rock climber for over 10 years, I never really paid much attention to tie down straps. I was a knot-tier and felt confident that I could secure just about any load with a piece of rope and the right knot. After losing a few items and pulling over to re-tie my loads one too many times, I’ve learned the value of quality tie-downs the hard way. And after years of trial and error, I’ve found the perfect tie-down options for my rig that ended up being a total game changer and time saver. With that said, I’ll jump right into the types of tie down straps that I like carry and some examples of how I’ve used them.

 

Outside the Vehicle

Whenever I am securing something to the outside of my rig – be it the roof rack of a car/SUV or in the bed of a truck – I prefer a tie down option that won’t accidentally come untied. The one that I always have in the storage box of my SUV are the Dual CamJam Tie Down System.

Dual CamJam Tie Down System

The Dual CamJam is great for larger items, and I’ve used mine to secure a lawn mower in a truck bed, mattress and box spring to my roof rack, as well as paddle boards and kayaks. The loop on the end of the webbing makes it easy to attach the strap to one anchor point and the dual cam system on the buckle allows you to rig your system in ways that a traditional cam strap won’t. Such as, wrapping the webbing around your load so that it does not slide around when driving (i.e. a load of 2x4s hanging out of a truck bed). The Dual Camjam also gives you a 3-to-1 mechanical advantage when tightening the webbing, meaning that pound-for-pound, you can put more tension on your load than with a traditional cam strap.

Dual CamJam Tie Down System

Pro Tip: When in doubt, buy a cam strap that comes with a longer webbing length. That way you’ll never come up short, and if you have extra webbing, you can tie up the unused portion so that it doesn’t flap in the wind when you’re driving down the road.

 

Inside the Vehicle

Inside my rig, the CamJam XT Aluminum has been just as handy. I’ve used it to secure a propane tank and cooler to the back of my SUV, not to mention a baby stroller to the side of my cargo area while still allowing enough space for my dog. The CamJam XT has even doubled as a dog leash when I forgot to grab one for a camping trip.

CamJam XT

In other situations, I’ve found the CamJam XT Aluminum to be perfect for securing lightweight items and when there are eyelets to clip onto. To make setup easy, I keep a loop tied in the end of the paracord I use with the XT so that I can loop it over, around, or girth hitched to whatever I’m securing. Then to tighten the line, all I need to do is pull the cord through the CamJam XT and the camming lever on the buckle does the rest. This little tie down has come in handy when securing camping gear on my roof rack, a tarp over dirt in the bed of a truck, and when picking up a Christmas tree during the holidays.

CamJam XT Aluminum

 

The “All-Arounder” Tie Down

There have been more than a few times when the object I want to tie down isn’t quite compatible with a cam strap or paracord, and for these miscellaneous “How am I going to tie this down?” moments, I’ve come to love the versatility of Gear Ties.

Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Tie

These reusable rubber twist ties have a soft, grippy rubber coating that won’t damage whatever they are tied to, nor will they slip or move about when tied to a roof rack or in your car. I’ve used the 32in. and 64in. lengths to bundle and secure pieces of trim molding in my car and have also used the thicker Mega Gear Ties to hold a ladder on my roof rack.

Gear Tie Mega

One of my favorite out-of-the-box uses was when I secured a milk crate to the roof of my SUV to transport firewood during a camping trip to Wyoming and Utah. I’ll be honest, I had my doubts but after driving several hours through Wyoming at 85mph without the milk crate moving, I was sold. With a few twists, those Gear Ties were rock solid!

 

How I Tie Down My Gear (And Keep It There)

Whether you use a cam strap, ratchet, Gear Tie or tie a trucker’s hitch when securing your loads is a matter of personal preference. No matter what method you choose, what is most important is ensuring that your load is secure and won’t come undone on a fast-moving highway, possibly putting other drivers at risk. For this reason alone, I always make sure I have a few tie-downs in my SUV. That way, I never have to worry about being stuck without one and can always lend a hand (or strap) to other drivers stranded on the road after their last-minute tie-down solution failed.

Topics: Gear Ties, Adventure, DIY, Tie Downs

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