Archive for the 'Gear' Category

Vaccuum Fad

Vacuum (aka Thermos) bottles have existed for decades, even the stainless steel ones, but it seems just recently that to tout one around is trendy. Hydroflask seems to be the ones that kicked this off, they achieved such heavy market penetration that they were everywhere. What also helps is the accessories, it makes them more like sports bottles where you can drink directly from them on the go. Most “old school” vacuum bottles would require you to pour into a cup first, although if you’re a construction worker you would have mastered the skill of lifting the cooler jug above your head and pouring directly into your mouth. Everyone seems to have them, kids, nurses, office workers, ladies where the clang goes along with the jangle of Hawaiian bracelets. Continue reading ‘Vaccuum Fad’

Domestic Tools – Makita 22″ Cordless Hedge Trimmer

Another domestic tool I picked up, this cordless trimmer from Makita uses the same batteries that my drill, impact driver, demo saw, circular saw set uses. Well constructed and nicely balanced, I’ve used it a few times already. It’s got enough power for consumer use, I have on occasion jammed it when encountering a hard branch so it won’t cut everything that fits within the teeth. With a fully charged 3 AHr battery, I honestly get tired before the battery runs out.

3 out 4 hedging monkeys.

Travel Gear – Patagonia Black Hole Roller + Re:Factor ASO Duffel


I’ve had these bags for a little while now, the board roller this is second season. The Patagonia is well constructed, a soft bag with wheels. Hypolon like material holding up to travel. The webbing handles on three sides are designed nicely that they don’t cut into hand. The two little internal pockets are too small to be of much use. The two hooks interface almost perfectly to the duffel, I didn’t use the duffel for travel before because of lack of wheels, but with it hooked to the board bag it worked well. It becomes more like handling one bag. The print blurbs for the ASO claim its carry on sized, I don’t think so. It’s big enough that without all the video gear, it can fit clothes and gear for the 10 day trip easily. The ASO is constructed with top quality materials. It has stowable backpack straps, but I couldn’t use them on the first trip I used it, because I was already using a backpack as my carryon. I instead used one of straps as a shoulder strap. It worked, but was not ideal and if it were longer would have been pretty unpleasant for me.

Anyway, this combo gets the monkey thumbs up.

4 out 4 anvil shaped monkey objects.

Domestic Tools

I guess finding myself now a homeowner, I’m buying household appliances now. This purchase of a Braun immersion/stick blender was prompted by the need to make whipped cream and not finding the old hand crank mixer we used to have. I also could not locate the electric mixer. Both probably long gone. It appears manual mixers do not exist in stores anymore, there was one at the Kahala cookware store, but it was a horrible made in China affair. If it were an antique it might be kinda cool, as it was constructed like something from centuries ago. So then my search turned to alternatives. I didn’t want to really get a conventional electric mixer as I didn’t see myself using it often, but then looked into stick blenders. After some searching, I settled on this Braun I found in stock at the local Target. It’s a good step above the base cheap models that were more available in the stores. The beauty of immersion blendesr is you can blend and/or mix in whatever container your working with. Aside from the usual blender tip, it came with a whisk and mini food processor attachments, which maxes it multi use. The removable tip design makes cleaning easy too. Continue reading ‘Domestic Tools’

OneUp Components EDC Tool

OneUp Components is a Canadian company based in Squamish that produces various mt. bike accessories. Previously probably more well known for their drivetrain parts to extend your gear range. Their newest bit is this clever multi-tool that stashes either in your fork steerer tube or in their new mini-pumps. They managed to fit 2 through 6 and 8mm Allen wrenches, T25 Torx, tire lever, emergency chain breaker, quick link breaker, flat screwdriver, 4 sizes of spoke wrench, a spare chainring bolt, slot to store quick link, and cassette lock ring notch tool. Spec also lists presta valve core.

Continue reading ‘OneUp Components EDC Tool’


RI found out Ckucky just got a little 3D printer, and I had the perfect small project for it. Every FX I’ve owned has a problem with the headlight aiming. What it is is there is a ball and socket joint at one corner where the plastic socket piece cracks. Junkyard doesn’t do much good as chances are more than good that they are all cracked, if you can even find it. Haven’t tried Toyota parts, body parts this old generally aren’t available anymore. I’ve just used zip ties till now, it kind of works. Continue reading ‘3D’

Lesson learned

The manufacturer designed in a lanyard hole in their equipment for a reason, use it. I lost my new Sony Actioncam on its first use today on our last run.  Brand new. Should have known better, sigh.

Might be a slim chance we can find it tomorrow, i have a general idea of where it came off. The camera is white, which doesnt help, but it has black and yellow mounting hardware.

Tools for Trannies

p1060995So update on the rally FX16. I spent a day getting the broken axle spud out of the transaxle. I first tried to drill and tap a hole in the broken piece. I was able to drill a decently deep hole to start, but when I tried to go up to the proper size for the tap I wanted to use I didn’t go anywhere. Tried to use next size down tap, ended up snapping it. Oh well, there was enough of a hole to insert a bolt then hit it with the MIG welder. It was proving difficult, I was doing this with it still in the car. Finally dropped the transaxle out and got the bolt welded, a slide hammer on it, and the piece extracted. Unfortunately it looks like there’s some damage.

So now I need to open up the tranny to get the diff out. Another roadblock is the need to extract the 5th gears which are really tight clearance. My common two arm adjusty arm puller is too thick. Bunch of searching found straight arm pullers look like it would work. Further searching and I found Grainger stocks the right size Proto, at a premium price, ouch! I don’t mind investing in tools, this was a bit steep, but it is USA made. Of course that is not end of story. It’s too thick, so here I am taking a grinder to a brand new expensive tool! Ah well, it works.

Patagonia Black Hole Snow Roller 167

p1060987OK, I know everyone calls it Patagucci, but I have to admit that the Patagonia clothing I have is well made and is worth what I paid. I’ve been looking for a snowboard bag with wheels and this came up. Even at discount, still some good chunk of change. But it is well constructed, heavy hypolon like material, padded panels on all sides, stiff plastic sheet on lower third where wheels are does allow bag to be folded in half when empty. Continue reading ‘Patagonia Black Hole Snow Roller 167’

The Sizzler

p1060710Straight from Japan, Sizzler! Complete with retro art. It’s a beer fizz saver, and also a cap lifter. It actually works quite well as a bottle opener.

p1060711But the main feature of this somewhat oddly named doodad is the ability to recap an opened bottle. Nice for those large bottles that you don’t want to finish in one sitting. We shall see how well it works.

p1060713OK, follow up report, here is the beer after 24 hours,  not bad at all. This get the monkey seal of approval as it works as intended and advertised, is easy to use, and also has additional features that also work well, namely the opener. There also is a tab for lifting can tabs but I haven’t gotten to the point of needing that.