I'll begin by asserting that stuff will not make you happy. However, we all need a few things and being an intentional consumer of goods can not only improve your life but that of your community and the planet. I share these recommendations in the same spirit as my writing, in hope that they might add some value to your life. These are products that add value to my life and companies whose missions I support.
Jump to a category:
- LG Nexus 5x - I use this phone because it is unlocked and compatible with my service provider of choice, Project Fi by Google. I am frustrated by the trend of increasing phone size. I purchased this as a "downgrade" in overall size so that it better fits in my pocket. I plan to buy another when I need it.
- MacBook Air 13" - I recently converted to Apple and, so far, love the switch. The small size, battery life, and overall package suit my needs perfectly. This is basically my writing machine and is so light and slim that it never leaves my backpack. I have it with me nearly at all time.
- Kindle Paperwhite - I much prefer physical books. But you cannot beat a Kindle in size and convenience for travel. While losing a bit of soul, the Kindle has some distinct advantages. I love to stretch while I read. Being able to hold the Kindle in one hand or set it down without needing to hold it open allows me to stretch more freely. It also eliminates glare in the sun and has a backlight for reading at night.
- iPod Classic 160GB - I was a holdout for the classic iPod for years. I love the scroll wheel and storage capacity. I have all the storage full with music, podcast, and audiobooks. While I have finally converted to accessing these media through assorted apps, I still love my iPod Classic. These have become quite the collectors items now!
- Osprey Farpoint 40 - I love this bag. There were far few "single bag travel" bags available when I bought this over 4 years ago. I live out of this bag (and only this bag) for 8+ months. It is now my primary climbing bag and still going strong. I cannot recommend this bag enough although I plan to explore the options now available when I begin traveling full-time again.
- Travel Towel - This travel towel from Sea to Summit is amazing. It fits into a fist-sized back yet is large enough to tie around my waist or sit on at the beach. A must for minimal travel.
- Buff - This is basically a merino wool tube that has myriad uses. It keeps your neck warm on cold days and protected from the sun on hot days. I use it as a headband when working out or running and an eye-shade on airplanes, trains, and buses.
- Arc-teryx Index Dopp Kit - I met a fellow traveler with this case in Denmark. I went out that day to get one. This is such a simple dopp kit but it has a few features that I love: a slim pocket to segregate a tooth brush from the rest of the kit, and a flat design. Most other dopp kits are thicker and harder to pack. This kit packs easily with its wide and flat design.
- Dry Bag - I travel with two of these ultra-lightweight dry bags from Sea to Summit. While they will not stand up to submersion like a traditional dry bag, they are paper thin and take virtually zero space folded flat at the bottom of your bag. I use one for dirty laundry and the other for electronics in case of wet conditions.
I write everything by hand. Every piece published here (and elsewhere) existed first on paper. I love the physical practice of handwriting and value my tools immensely.
- Moleskine Notebook - My affinity for these amazing notebooks is not unique. They are pricey but I cannot imagine using anything else. I fill, on average, about two of these each year and the least minimal part of my life is my growing stack of these notebooks beginning in 2013.
- Moleskine Notebook (square-ruled) - I prefer the square-ruled pages for writing fitness programs.
- Pilot G2 Pen Ultra Fine - Being left-handed, I have always smeared my writing. I love this pen for its ultra fine (0.38mm) option. It dispenses less ink and thus dries much faster.
- Grafton Pen - I had been purchasing ultra fine replacement cartridges for the Pilot G2 for years when I discovered this pen. It is solid aluminum and accepts the G2 cartridge. I bought it a year ago in a treat-yo-self moment and do not regret the splurge.
- Vuori - I seem to live, play, and work exclusively in Vuori clothing. They are an environmentally minded brand whose mission and aesthetic suit me perfectly. My favorite items are these pants, these shorts, and this tank top.
- Xero Shoes - I wear only "barefoot" shoes and my Xero make the best options. I wear the Hana all day, every day, with or without socks. I use the TerraFlex for trail running, hiking, and climbing approaches.
Fitness and Self-Care
There are countless fitness strategies and tools available. It can be difficult to find an approach that you both enjoy and find results in. These are all of my favorite tools:
- Rogue Kettlebells - Kettlebells are a "gym in one hand" and my absolute favorite tool of choice for overall fitness. I have written dozens of articles about how to learn and perfect their use. Please check out my coaching website and/or reach out if you are interested in personal coaching or hosting a workshop.
- Gymnastics Rings - I value these just as highly as a set of kettlebells for how they can transform your fitness. Like kettlebells, they can challenge the first-day beginner and expert alike.
- TRX System - The finally invaluable tool to any fitness kit. While similar to gymnastics rings, I find the TRX system design is better suited for specific types of movements such as: core, lower body, and working to correct side-to-side imbalances.
- Foam Roller - A must have. This hollow, travel-sized one is awesome.
- Lacrosse Ball - Another must. Yoga Tune-Up Balls are a great (and softer) alternative.
- Grip Master - An amazing tool to warm-up before hard climbing days or get a grip workout on non-climbing days.
- Grip Extension Trainer - Climbing and working out can over train your "grip" muscles. These train your grip extension (opening) to counter an imbalance, a key for optimal performance and healthy elbows/wrists/forearms.
- PT Fit Multi Back Massager - I nominate this as Best Simple Invention in History
Services and Software
- Project Fi - I have tried several different contract and "pay as you go" phone plans. Project Fi from Google is absolutely the best. I get to use an unlocked phone and my plan works in nearly every country with the same cheap, simple monthly plan. I never have to worry about finding Wifi when I travel anymore.
- Headspace - There are many guided meditation apps. I haven't tried them all but Headspace is my favorite. I love the mini-version of each series.
- Google Keep - My app of choice for keeping notes and reminders. It links perfect between app and desktop.
- Scrivener - This is an open-source writing software originally created for playwriting. It adapts well to many other forms of writing and helps generate ebooks as well. I have written with Scrivener exclusively for 3-4 years.
- Evernote - I used to write all of my long form works in Evernote. Since switching to Scrivener I still Evernote regularly for its syncing ability, but mostly for ideations and new article outlines.
In full-disclosure, the many of the above links are affiliate links. All are for products and services that I truly love and would recommend regardless.