Archives for : December2008

Carabiner Mugs Are Handy Little Cups

I first spotted a carabiner mug clipped to a stranger’s pack at a social gathering in the woods. When I ran across the same mugs in a hardware store later, I picked one up. You can find them around the internet for less than 8 or 9 bucks. I don’t recall what I paid for mine, but I believe it was even less.

The cup is simply a stainless steel double layer (air inbetween the layers) cup with a carabiner attached to the side. I’ve seen some with the carabiner soldiered on, but mine was attached using two small screws.

I frequently clip my cup to my packs for both urban and primitive trips. I’ve sipped morning coffee from my cup more than once. I also found another extremely useful place for this cup – Burning Man and related gatherings. Oftne times, at these events, folks provide free beverages; however, you’re expected to bring a cup.

The carabiner itself can be pretty useful. If you find yourself needing one more carabiner to clip something to your pack with – just use your cup! It seems like such a simple little solution, and it is… but wow, I’ve found it very useful.

The Guppie and Lil’ Guppie Multi-Tools

I was at one of my favorite gear shop / army surplus stories the other day and I ran across the neatest little multi-tool I’ve seen in a while. Under the glass counter, they had a Guppie and a Lil’ Guppie by Columbia River. Both were amazing, but the Lil’ Guppie (shown in the photo with this post) impressed me the most.

The Lil’ Guppie is under 2oz and is extremely compact. It sports a flathead, phillips, knife, c-wrench, bottle opener, and handy little holes and clips all over it. Guppie, the big brother, has a slightly broader range of tools and sports replaceable driver bits and an led flashlight. Both tools are made of high quality metals and are both strong and lightweight.

Personally, the only reason I didn’t snag one immediately is the c-wrench. I currently have a multi-tool with a c-wrench that I rarely use. Typically, I find pliers to be more universally useful. This is more of a “what do I typically do” concern. As such, if you find yourself handling a lot of nuts, this is an excellent lightweight tool.

DIY Heat Gaurd: Save You Lap From Your Laptop

I tend to actually put my laptop in my lap. The heat generated by a laptop can be uncomfortable and I’m none too happy about having that kind of heat that close to certain bodyparts. To solve this problem, I bought one of those little usb powered pads with fans that slip under your laptop. It seemed great at first, but quickly proved un-practical. Sure, the fans are nice, but they also drain your battery faster. And the pad itself is kind of thick, heavy, and takes up too much room in a backpack.

While visiting my friend Ninja Dave, I learned a better way. He used a simple piece of corrugated plastic. His came by way of picking up a “For Sale” sign. What a brilliant light weight and inexpensive solution! However, I was only able to find the flat plastic signs myself, not the corrugated plastic. I was able to find a nice big sheet of corrugated plastic, and this is what I did:

I bought  a poster board sized sheet of plastic.

Then, I gathered a razor to cut with and my laptop for measurement. I tried to cut this freehand. Unless you’re good at that sort of thing, I recommend using a straight edge as well.

I laid the laptop on the plastic to determine where to cut. To mark the boundaries, I scored the plastic using the knife. If you prefer, grab a pencil.

Then, I cut along the line.

For a little extra flare, I asked my girlfriend to add her magic touch. She painted. You could also use your favourite stickers.

And yes, she painted a snowboarding pony – or as I call him, Pwnie.

So, moving on, the plastic adds very little weight to my backpack and fits nicely into the same sleeve as my laptop itself. It doesn’t prevent as much heat transfer as the usb powered fan monstrosity; however, it does prevent a fairly high amount of heat transfer. Check out this action shot!

Thanks again to Ninja Dave for the tip, Nino for painting, and Cat for the final action shot!