The Gear Journal

The Cheapest & Most Reliable Car In The World

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So, I used my algorithm to find two things this week:

  1. The cheapest car to own in America for over five years.
  2. The most reliable car in America.

Both turned out to be the Toyota Land Cruiser. Giving just about any Toyota a reliability award is cliche… So that one was not a surprise. But I was sort of amazed to see that 16.3% of all Land Cruisers made reached over 300,000 miles. That’s nuts.

What did surprise me, however, was the price of ownership. These SUVs are irrationally expensive. A 2021 Land Cruiser (based on an old platform and archaic technology) can run close to $100k new. The trick though is this:

A 2016 Land Cruiser with 75,000 miles can sell for as much as $65k. These things don’t breakdown, need very little as far as servicing, and the resale vale is almost as insane as the purchase price.

Editor’s Note: My algorithm is a work in progress, but after double checking some parameters, I think I’m getting fairly accurate results.

Sinn U1-T DS Limited Edition

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My standard dive watch is a standard U1. It’s a bit big and a bit heavy, but gloriously made and honestly, it wears really well for it’s size and heft.

Sinn just released a limited edition version of the same watch. I love it.

Details here.

Abus All Weather Lock

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I have a tiny little shed in Hawaii that is secured by an Abus 70/35 padlock. It’s been on the shed (very close to the ocean) for over two years and looks brand spanking new…

As far as I can tell, the only real protection the lock features is a rubberized coating of sorts. But, I guess, that’s all it needs.

Super impressive. Super affordable.

Details here.

Scripto P369 Pencil

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In the world of mechanical pencil manufacturing, the bar for durability was set long ago by a Scripto P369. Lots of pencils are more comfortable to use, have tighter lead tolerances, and just flat out work better. BUT, no one has ever really dethroned the P369 as the most durable.

As we wade through a world of planned obsolescence, we have to deal with the fact that shit like this isn’t profitable to make anymore.

Thankfully, you can still pick one up on eBay for relatively cheap. Just remember, you are going to lose this thing before it breaks…

Get yours here.

Mechanical Keyboards

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I use mechanical keyboards. In fact, I rely on them so heavily that I even travel with one on occasion. Hell, I even made my daily driver from scratch.

Anyway, I’m often asked what mechanical keyboard you should start with if you have no interest in buying a kit or building your own. It’s a hard question to answer because so much about the mechanical keyboard world is personal preference, but… you have to start somewhere, right?

My first notion is to guide you to the Ducky x Varmilo. Get yours with Cherry MX brown switches – a good, middle of the road switch that is tactile, but not crazy loud or offensive.

This makes sense to me as the Ducky board is known for being very well made, but not crazy expensive. Also, the 65% layout is a good transition from a full-size to something smaller and more compact. If you end up liking the 65%, the transition to a 60% will be that much easier… and, that’s really where the magic really starts to happen.

But what if you just HAVE to have a wireless keyboard? What if you just can’t deal with a 65% layout and have no interest in freeing up desk space and simplifying life? There are options. Keychron makes a number of mechanicals with bluetooth and lots of different layouts. All of them are solid options, but I’d probably recommend the K6.

Once you get a hand on what switches you like and what layout you prefer, you can then go further down the rabbit hole with things like aluminum cases (added weight and mass can really improve the substance and feel), lubed and modified switches, and keycap profiles. Just be careful with how far down this hole you fall – it’s very easy to get $500 wrapped up in a keyboard if you aren’t careful. And frankly, there isn’t a lot of sense in that if all you are after is productivity.

Reddit is a good place to start your journey. Good luck.

simplehuman Trashcan

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I just checked our Amazon order history. My wife bought this thing 10 years ago – almost to the day. She wanted a stainless trash can for the kitchen and just bought the most highly reviewed unit on Amazon.

I remember being annoyed that it cost damn near $150 and required very specific trash bags only sold by simplehuman. A trashcan just doesn’t seem like something that needs that kind of complexity or cost.

I was wrong. In fact, as crazy as it sounds, I would list this trash can as one of the best things we’ve spent money on in the last decade or so. We love it so much, we bought another for recycling. But… Why?

First, its made really well. You know when you go to an antique store and buy something like an old radio and say to yourself, “Man… They don’t make them like they used too.” Well, these things are made like shit used to be made. There is no planned obsolescence here.

Secondly, it’s thoughtful. Initially, I thought the proprietary bag situation was a real bummer… But, here’s the thing – The trash can has a storage area for bags. When you empty your trash, you aren’t left hunting around for a new one… You just grab it from the storage area, line the can, and move on.

Also, the second to last bag in each pack is labeled. So, when you get to that bag, you know to reorder. And since we buy our bags off Amazon Prime anyway, there really isn’t any added complexity. The added cost just goes towards convenience and the comfort in knowing this damned stainless contraption is going to outlast you.

Anyway, this is the trashcan we bought ten years ago.

Amazon Smart Sticky Note Printer

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This is definitely one of those things that Amazon will trot out to the world with promises and glee… only to recoil from later once sales goals aren’t met.

BUT, I absolutely love the idea of this. I’m tempted to buy one just to see if it’s as feasible as it is in my mind.


Alubox Vs. Pelican

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To be frank, Alubox is out of my pay grade… And despite the fact that I’ve bought a few used Pelican cases in my time, Pelican is as well. Even so, I can’t help but want what I don’t have or even have a use for.

In any regard, I thought this old article over on Expedition Portal was well done. It helps folks rationalize their decision after spending thousands on aluminum boxes.

Details here.