Archives for : Urbanpacking

Kindle: Books On The Go

Amazon Kindle 2

Amazon Kindle 2

The promise of e-books took a long time to truly manifest. I’ve long pulled large bits of reading material down to a portable device suchas my n800 for reading on the go. However, this method comes with a few drawbacks. First, there’s a technology hurdle most folks may not want to endure. Second, the solution is technically sloppy. By sloppy, I mean I am using a device with a relatively low resolution color screen to read basic text. On top of that, the device uses a fairly large amount of power – meaning I won’t finish War and Peace before the battery dies.

Things have changed and there now exists a powerful solution for E-Books: Amazon’s Kindle. At just over $350, the device is a bit expensive. However, for the money, you get an amazing tool. The screen is high resolution so the text looks clean. The tech works in such a way that you use very little battery power. There are hundreds of thousands of books availble. Best of all, the device is very easy to use. So if you want a lightweight way of taking and entire library of books with you, the Kindle is the way to go.

But wait, there’s more. Rumor has it, the Kindle 2 is on the way. In little more than a week, you can enjoy the next generation of this snazzy device. What I find more exciting is the way the technology may be impacting our culture – at least in Greece. George Papandreou seems to think it would be a swell idea to repalce school text books with these devices. This seems like one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a long time. Hey Obama, are you listening?

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.

Apocalypse Belt of Joy

apocalypse belt of joy from golightweight videos on Vimeo.

Ever wished “damn, if only i had………”? Well, then this little tour of sassy’s ‘Apocalypse Belt of Joy‘ is for you.  Always ready for anything, sassy pauses in her journeying to take us through her belt pouch of preparedness: the blueprint for a kit you may need at any moment, from the mundane daily, to when shit hits the fan, rarely when expected, and especially when traveling – the video was actually shot on the train! The message? Whatever your walk of life, carrying a kit of ‘problem solving stuff’ with you at all times totally pays for itself in karma and general bad-ass-ed-ness points, not to mention solved problems.  The basic design? Make it portable, flexible, and of course, light weight. Got your own ideas for additions, subtractions, or substitutions? Or perhaps you have your own kit entirely? Post it, and lets all be ready for the apocalypse together (and with joy)!

Ultraportable Computing With The Nokia N800

Scott introduces us to the Nokia N800 Internet tablet and iGo keyboard. For more information, try these links:

N800s on Ebay
N800 on Wikipedia
Maemo on Wikipedia The Linux based OS running on the N800
N800 on Nokia’s Site
N810 WiMax on Nokia’s Site (Wimax support, keyboard, gps, and more)
iGo Folding Keyboard on Amazon

Trek Light’s Lightweight Hammock

On an adventure to Mexico about a year ago, I stopped in the city of Merida. The city is often proclaimed as “the hammock city” by various hammock vendors. You see, hammocks are the way to sleep when you’re trekking across the Mayan routes.

Thus, I bought my first hammock in Merida. Since then, I’ve packed it on a few trips. Unfortunately, this amazing, hand-woven, hanging bed of happy consumes a ton of space in my pack. I’ve since stopped carrying it with me only because of weight and space.

Recently, I ran across a company called Trek Light and one of their key products: extremely lightweight hammocks. These hammocks are made from parachute nylon. The “single” measure 5′ by 10′, holds 400lbs, and adds a single pound in your pack. If you want a snuggle buddy, the “double” stretches 6.5′ wide. An additional aspect of this very smart design – the “bag” for the hammock is part of the hammock itself.

The products aren’t cheap. The single comes in at $54.95 and the double at $64.95. However, this seems to be the kind of backpacking item you only purchase once. After just a couple of trips with my traditional hammock, I would gladly put a few more bills on the table to gain back all that space in my pack, not to mention the weight.

Find out more (or order) from Trek Light’s website.