The Gear Journal

Packing Cubes

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I mentioned earlier that I have been working on a side project – essentially, a piece of software that searches out reviews from objective sources like Reddit, forums, etc… and then returns and ranks overall reviews. At this point, there is too much manual work involved for this to become publicly useable, but its still fun to plug things in and see what is returned.

This time, I did packing cubes. I’ve never used packing cubes (who has in the past year?), but a friend swears by them and I’ve wanted to give them a shot. Thing is, everyone makes the damn things and prices are all over the place.

So, what does my little software say about the matter? If you want the best packing cubes on the market, you want Peak Design. And if you want the best value, you want Eagle Creek Spectre.

I chose Eagle Creek and will report back.

Topo Designs Sale

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In the market for a laptop bag? Topo makes damn nice stuff and currently, they are offering 40% off a lot of their laptop bags.

Check it out.

Aer Dopp Kit

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I’ve heard about Aer products for years, but have never pulled the trigger on anything. Recently, however, they sent me their Dopp kit for review. Holy shit man… This 1680D Cordura material is something else. And the craftsmanship is on the right side of perfection.

Even better though is the design of this pouch. It’s smaller than your typical Dopp kit, but still big enough to hold all of your crap because all of the compartments/pockets are so well organized and thought out.

HIGHLY recommended… And now, I want to try more of their wares…


Personal Pocket Dump

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So I got a surprise yesterday – someone actually emailed and asked for a pocket dump. Hell, I didn’t know anyone actually read this crap! But, who am I to disappoint?

  1. iPhone 12 Mini. I’ve been carrying this for a month and I think I can already say it’s my favorite iPhone of all time. It’s small in the pocket and the camera is dope.
  2. Apple leather case with an Apple wallet attached using MagSafe. I got this setup when I got the phone and I’m undecided on the functionality of it all. The MagSafe actually works really well. The wallet is easy to attach and removes with appropriate effort, but the work flow of paying for something is awkward. You have to remove the wallet to access the cards, but when you do that you now have both hands occupied – one with the phone and one with the wallet. I do, however, love the space this setup occupies in my pocket.
  3. MakerKnife. This is the latest of their releases. It’s not made as well and the tolerances aren’t as tight as the originals, but the form and functionality of it is just too hard for me to resist. I’ve been carrying these for a couple of years now.
  4. Orbit Key Organizer. My key organizer of choice.
  5. Titanium Split Rings. Cuz every bit of weight saved, matters.
  6. Handgrey H4 Carabiner. I’d never pay $85 for a carabiner, but it was gifted to me and I absolutely love it. If I lost it, I just might buy one simply because it’s so convenient in use.

Särmä TST CP10

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I’ve always considered the gold standard of travel and EDC backpacks to belong to both GORUCK and Triple Aught Design. They both design and build bags in the USA that are essentially heirloom products. Put simply, they will outlast you with relative ease.

Other companies make lighter bags with more conveniences for less cost, but nobody that I was aware of made bags with the same level of craftsmanship using the same level of materials. Qualities that I have no problem paying for.

Recently, however, I was sent a bag from Särmä TST in Finland. It’s the CP10 – a small 10L backpack that I plan to use as a civilian “get home” bag to be stowed in my truck. It’s a combat pack designed to be used as the foundation for a modular system. And although they offer larger sizes, this compact unit fits my needs perfectly (read: the space behind the rear seats in my truck).

Beyond the size though, what’s truly unique about this bag is the quality of the build. I have it sitting next to a GORUCK GR2 and a TAD EDC. All three are made of the same materials (mostly high-end 1000D Cordura and mil-spec hardware) and all three have a VERY similar level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

And so, I’ve changed a mind that was set many years ago… There are now three manufacturers on the top of my list. Welcome Särmä TST!

Details on the bag that I got here.

Black Diamond Litewire Carabiner

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You need a carabiner for your keys or bag. That just is what it is… But do you want one specific to that function or do you want one that will also hold some real weight in a pinch? If the latter, this is the carabiner you need. It’s cheap, light, and has an axis strength of something like 5,000 pounds.


Chase Reeves

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When I watch this guy, I always wonder – how in the hell did he figure out that he was put on this planet to review bags on YouTube? And because he’s the best in the world at what he does, he can make a living doing it. It’s all very fascinating to me…

Chase, you are one smart, funny dude…

Watch em all here.

Whisky Wallet

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A $200 take on the minimalist’s wallet… I the looks of it, but finding it very hard to argue for value here.