Useful gear for both nomad and city life (photos taken on iphone 6, if you buy items through the links i get a small commission. :)
Victorinox Classic Mini Swiss Army Knife
This little guy is attached to my keys, so it's always in my pocket. This tool gets more use than any other.
This is the most used tool within my most used tool (#toolception). Nail clippers, opening packaging, cutting thread, and taking care of unruly beard hairs.
A sharp and well shaped little knife. Cut apples, shave sticks, poke holes, cut things.
Screw Driver / File
The screw driver is great in a pinch. File tames rough nails after the scissors do their work.
Tweezers / Toothpick
I walk barefoot often, and we spend time around cacti, tweezers are handy. The toothpick is just that. These two things are mega useful, until they disappear. I've yet to find a gear shop that sells toothpick and tweezer replacements, which is a bummer.
Nalgene Narrow Mouth 16oz
I drink more water when I use a small bottle. Like the Swiss Army Knife, I always have this with me due to its size. The Nalgene fits in the pockets of my jackets, pants, and most cupholders.
Whenever I fill it up I chug the entire bottle, then fill it again. This helps deal with the small volume.
Narrow mouth is easier to drink from IMO.
Dr. Bronner's Soap
We use Dr. Bronner's for all the things: dishes, bodies, clothes, floors, countertop, dog, and more. It's biodegradable so we can use it out in the woods and not feel bad. Doesn't ruin our water systems like other bleaches and detergents. The idea that we need a different soap for each cleaning task is a marketing ruse.
These phones are more capable than the first desktop PCs I built for gaming back in the day. They are better cameras than older DSLRs, they shoot slow motion, excellent time lapses, panoramas, macro and raw. Enable access to the worlds information, it's like having the Library of Alexandria in your pocket. GPS navigation with satellite images of terrain. FaceTime, so you can see video of other humans as you speak to them. These things are incredible.
In the near future, I think phones will replace laptops. Razer's Project Linda is a concept computer which leverages the phone as its brain and touchpad. With the progression of augmented and virtual reality, screens will likely be replaced by goggles, reducing the bulk of computing devices.
If I didn't use a Mac, I'd probably look into a Razer phone or the latest rendition of Google's Pixel.
Remember to position the phone as a tool, don't let it flip the script on you. It's easy to mindlessly scroll through social media, as this is the intention of the design. Use it as a tool, don't become the tool.
Older model iPhones can be had for ~$200, and they're still capable of everything I need them to do.
This is the highest ROI tool I've ever had. I bought my Mac in mid 2012, knowing that it would facilitate my web development path. It was nearly $2k because I future proofed it with a 256g SSD, i7 processor and 8g of ram. I've been using this machine daily for over 6 years now and it's just as fast as day one. I've made 95% of my income via this tool.
I like Macs over Windows machines primarily due to the operating system. Mac OS is far more intuitive, the software is generally more aesthetically pleasing, and some of the software I use is only available on Macs. It gets out of the way so I can do the things. Macs aren't as accommodating to gamers, which for me is a blessing in disguise.
If you're looking to get a Mac and need help deciding what you need, give me a shout. I enjoy helping people find a fitting machine.
iPad Mini / E-reader
I bought my iPad in 2012 as well. It serves as my primary reading device. Something like a Kindle would be nicer for reading, but the iPad has far greater capability.
Reading has become my main source of entertainment. When I lived in the city I played lots of video games, watched documentaries, etc to occupy myself. Now that I'm less distracted, I'm less drawn to these forms of entertainment, and have replaced them with books. I have found that having several books going works best for me. This way I can dive into whichever book lends itself to my current mental state. Think of it like television channels. This keeps me reading because I'm never stuck on one book.
Some nice things about digital readers: the highlights are indexable, they take up no space, position is synced between devices, and digital books are cheap. If you can't afford to buy books, learn to set sail... argh. Then buy the books you dig once you have the cash.
Tablets, like phones are at the point where they can do all the things. If I lost all of my tech tools today, I'd probably get an iPad pro with a bluetooth keyboard to replace them.
Tech 21 Cases
Excellent drop protection without bulk. I had my iPhone 5 from 2012-2017. Dropped it countless times and never cracked the screen, thanks to the case. I have the same case on my iPad and it's lasted 2012 until current (2018). These devices are built well, they'll see many years of use if they're taken care of.
The cases for older phones are super cheap on amazon. Mine, with the built in wallet, was $9. I paired down my wallet contents to: debit card, magnifying glass (for lighting things on fire), drivers license, and a Mt. Princeton Hots Springs punchcard.
Game changer for coffee and tea. Keeps liquid warm or cold for at least an entire day. We will fill this with coffee or tea every morning. Stays hot into the late evening.
We use this at coffee shops too, preventing waste. Getting a new plastic cup every time we order a coffee is negligent. Help nature out a bit and get a reusable mug. It's mutually beneficial, you get forever hot coffee and nature gets less trash.
Anker Compact Battery
I keep this in my backpack always. I top it off whenever we're in town. Having peripheral batteries supplements our main Yeti 400. We use this little guy to charge our iPads and phones primarily. It's also handy for our USB fan.
The battery pack comes with a little pouch. I keep a Nomad Charging Key and a micro USB in the bag. This modular setup keeps me from digging through my bag to find cables all the time.
Also comes in handy for time lapses. My phone dies quickly in the cold, this keeps him alive.
These are my favorite headphones of all time. I can wear them all day with no discomfort. Stay in while I mountain bike and climb.
They last 4+ years for me, and if they break Bose will give a hefty discount on a fresh pair. I listen to podcasts, music and conversations often, so the controls and mic are a necessity. Especially useful when snow boarding.
Sound quality is superb. They cancel a bit of external sound, but not enough to be dangerous when riding.
If you're ballin on a budget, just get a pair of the simple white Apple headphones from a friend. People are normally willing to dump them cheap, as every new iPhone comes with a pair. They work great, but are not as secure in the ears.
I want to high five myself every time I put this pack on. It's perfect.
Features: separate sleeves for computer and tablet, dual pocket side access like a briefcase, quick access pockets on the front with separators and inner zipper pockets, stretchy water bottle sleeve, side handle, water resistant with rubber bottom, folding top for increased capacity, chest strap, and it looks sick.
Thule's design is on another level. Kinda like a black version of Apple for outdoorish gear. They also have a great warranty, if something breaks you can generally send them a photo of the breakage and they'll send a new thing.
I always keep an extension cord with a built in splitter in my pack. We're often working in coffee shops, where outlets are in high demand. With the built in 3 outlet splitter, I can plug in multiple things.
Elsa and I can both work off of a single outlet. This is especially helpful when I sit outside with Kamp.
Ours has a straight neck out of the outlet. Many extension cords have a big head on them and pivot 90° out of the wall. This bulk prevents use of the other outlet on the wall.
Specialized Hard Rock Mountain Bike
Mountain biking is one of my favorite methods of channeling a flow state. It's also an excellent mode of transportation. In the city, I often rode my bike to coffee shops, etc. Now the first thing I do when we get to a new spot is scout out the surrounding area on my bike.
I chose my bike because it was the cheapest mountain bike I could get from Specialized with disc brakes and 29" wheels. The discs are a must have in my opinion, they allow for far greater control. The 29" wheels are a subject of debate. I find it to be easier to bonk over obstacles with the bigger wheels, especially because it's a hard tail.
When we lived in KC, I rode the Swope Park and Shawnee Mission trails. They had big rocks and I'm not a great rider, so I ended up thrashing my rear derailleur often. This made for clunky shifts and I would often have to stay in one gear set for the whole trail. I found riding a single speed to be enjoyable, so I switched my bike to a single speed.
Riding single speed is like riding a BMX bike. I grew up riding BMX bikes, so the switch felt natural. Single speed shaves off weight, simplifies the system, and allows more direct torque.
These things are handy, and the design is simple. They're just a flexible wire wrapped with a grippy rubber sheath. I've used them for countless repairs and optimizations.
Some uses: iPad mounts. Phone mount in the car (I wrapped a gear tie around the steering column). Hold the Scamp's busted back leg up when we drive. Water bottle holder for my bike. Stoppers/clasps for cabinet doors. Light mounts. Hold a kayak to gear rack on a car. And many more.
These things light up my inner tinkerer. I like to have multiple sizes on hand, so I can put them to use whenever the inspiration strikes.
Black Diamond Headlamp
If you don't have a headlamp you're missing out. In city life, I used my headlamp when working on cars, in basements, on computers, etc. In Scamp life, I use it just about every night.
When you're looking for headlamps, be sure to get one with a red light setting. This setting is primarily used to be courteous to others. Don't be the guy walking around camp with a 6k lumen lighthouse on your face. You'll ruin everyone else's night vision and squander potential friendships.