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Author Archive for Andy Jacobs

Nock Co. Lookout, Sassafras and Brasstown pen cases review

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We’re fans of all manner of writing instruments as well as accessories to carry and organize them here at The Gadgeteer. When I stumbled upon the Nock Co.’s pen cases during their crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign a while back, I was immediately interested in their styling and utility—they reminding me of Tom Bihn’s excellent travel items in many ways—so I became a backer and received a Brasstown pen case with which I’ve been very pleased. After their very successful campaign, Nock Co. began selling their colorful, durable, handmade in USA pen cases directly from their site.  Recently, Nock Co. offered to let us check out a few more of their items and I was sent their Lookout and Sassafras cases as well. Gadget on! Read More →

Stay alive and pop open a brew with SlideBelts Survival Belt

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I’ve watched the TV show Survivorman enough to know that in a survival situation, sometimes having the right tool can mean the difference between life and death. The folks at SlideBelts know this too. They took their already innovative no-hole belt design and are amping it up with new survival-type features in a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign. In addition to the highly-adjustable and interchangeable no-hole design with bottle opener hidden in the buckle (features present on all SlideBelt styles), the Survival Belt is slated to include—depending on the campaign’s funding total—a super durable, high-strength polymer strap, a fire starter, a multi-tool and a GPS  tracker. Batman, eat your heart out. Buckles will be available in stainless steel silver or polymer matte black and straps will be available in a variety of adventure-style colors.  Rewards start at $49 for the base belt and increase in price and features from there. Hike over to the Kickstarter campaign for details, but double-time it, because the campaign ends September 20, 2014.

Peak Design Slide, Clutch and Anchor Links camera accessories review

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Peak Design ha built a company by holding three successful crowd-funded Kickstarter campaigns for their innovative Capture and Capture V2 Camera Clip mounting systems and Leash & Cuff accessories. Having reviewed the Peak Design CapturePRO a while back, I found it to be well-engineered and well-built and I was impressed enough that I wanted to try out more of Peak Design’s gear. So I was quite excited to be given the opportunity to evaluate the three new products from Peak Designs’ latest Kickstarter campaign, the Slide, Clutch and Anchor Links camera accessories. Each appeared to have a similar style and features to Peak Designs’ existing products, but I wondered how they would stack up against the CapturePRO. Time to find out. Gadget on!  Read More →

SCOTTeVEST SeV Q.U.E.S.T. Vest for Men review

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SCOTTeVEST, or SeV for short, has been producing their patented TEC, or Technology Enabled Clothing, since 2000. Included in a now extensive product line, the Travel Vest (the original SCOTTeVEST), boasted 24 pockets designed to hold all sorts of items for travelers, hardcore technology users or anyone with gadgets to carry on their person. SCOTTeVEST has recently taken their travel vest concept a quantum leap in carrying capacity with the introduction of their Q.U.E.S.T. Vest, which nearly doubles the original SeV Travels Vest’s pocket count from 24 to a mind-blowing 42. I’d had my eye on several of SCOTTeVEST’s items over the years, and had always wondered both if they could really hold as much gear as claimed and if they were worth their relatively high prices. I was recently given the opportunity to answer these questions by trying out the new SCOTTeVEST Q.U.E.S.T. Vest for Men. Gadget on! Read More →

Waterfield Designs Cycling Ride Pouch is a wallet and then some for your bike gear

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We’re fans of Waterfield Designs (AKA SFBags) around here at The Gadgeteer, and we’re also fans of wallets and pouches to hold our small personal items. Waterfield Designs teamed up with Australia-based ELEVEN vélo, a bicyling-focused design studio, to create this leather wallet sized to fit in your cycling jersey’s back pocket. While in some ways a bigger version of their iPhone Wallet, with a window in the side that allows access to your smartphone’s touchscreen (which rides in its own separate slot), the Cycling Ride Pouch also has a 3-sided wrap-around YKK self-locking zipper that allows it to be completely opened and laid flat. With its larger footprint it allows for the storage of more and larger items in its Ultrasuede interior, like a small bike pump, inner tube and tools. There are also some internal pockets to hold ID, cards and cash. Available in Grizzly (brown, pictured) and Black, each $69.00. Pedal on over to Waterfield Designs for details.

Cargo Works MacBook Air + iPad Sleeve has slim tactical style

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I like things that are simple and rugged. Add a few strips of MOLLE webbing and all the better. The Cargo Works MacBook Air + iPad Sleeves fits these criteria. As the name cleverly implies, it holds a MacBook Air in a neoprene zipper pocket as well as an iPad in a front flap pocket and the webbing on outside can be used to hold pens or attach other items. All with a tactical military style. For durability, the exterior is made of 900 denier polyester canvas with YKK zippers.  Available in 11″ MacBook Air version for $29.90 and 13″ MacBook Air version for $34.90. Head over to Cargo Works for details, and while there, also check out their MacBook Module Sleeve and MacBook Organizer.

Tom Bihn launches Aeronaut 30 Carry-On Bag, Night Flight Travel Duffle and more

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Tom Bihn, maker of travel bags and accessories that are designed smart and built strong in the USA, recently released several new items. First, the Aeronaut 30 Carry-on Travel Bag ($270, upper image). This is the little brother to the original Aeronaut 45 (as it has been renamed), and the numbers indicate their approximate volume in liters. The Aeronaut 30 has been scaled down in size, but has been scaled up in features, with updates including additional back padding. Also released is the Night Flight Travel Duffle ($180, lower image). Resembling an itty-bitty Aeronaut in design, it is sized for personal carry-on and includes many of the same features as its larger siblings but in a more compact size. Also released were the Daylight Backpack ($80), a lightweight pack that is a variation on their packing cube backpacks, but designed to be more pack and less cube; the Travel Laundry Stuff Sack ($40-$45), a morphing accessory designed to help you keep your clean and dirty laundry separated while traveling; and the Q-Kit ($14), a small pouch to keep loose items organized. As with all of Tom Bihn’s products, each is available in a variety of colors and with optional accessories. Fly on over to Tom Bihn for more details.

Bellroy Elements Range wallets are weather & water resistant

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I’ve been a big fan of Bellroy wallets ever since reviewing their Slim Sleeve Wallet a while back. Although I’ve tried several slim/minimalist wallets, lately I’ve been leaning toward wallets with a higher level of protection, like the Waterfield Designs Finn Wallet that I’m currently using. So I was quite happy to discover that Bellroy had just launched their new Elements Range of wallets. Made from “water-resistant all-weather leather,” and with water resistant zippers, the Element Range is meant for active, outdoors, adventurous folks – or those that just want more protection for their wallet’s contents. Boasting internal organizational features and slim profiles like all of Bellroy’s products, the Element Range is available in three styles. The Elements Sleeve for $69.95 is the slimmest and features a pull-tab seal. The Elements Pocket for $89.95 is a more standard-sized zip-around wallet. And the Elements Travel for $139.95 is the largest and includes a micro travel pen, a passport pocket, and enough space to hold a smartphone. Each is available in Cognac, Slate, or Black color. Visit Bellroy for details.

Turn your sun visor tactical with the MOLLE Visor Panel from Zulu Nylon Gear

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Not enough spaces to organize and store the essentials in your urban (or rural) assault vehicle? Maybe you’d like to keep a glass breaker, seat belt cutter, small flashlight, pen or other tools within easy reach. Check out Zulu Nylon Gear’s MOLLE Visor Panel. Designed to wrap around and adjust to your car’s sun visor, it is made from MIL-SPEC nylon materials and features a MOLLE grid with elastic for smaller items and loop tape (to display your favorite patches) on one side and elastic loops and sleeve pockets on the reverse side for larger items. Sewn in Chicago, USA, it is available in Foliage (pictured), Black, and Coyote Brown for $40 each, Multicam camo for $42 and ATACS camo for $44. Drive over to Zulu Nylon Gear for more info.

Modern Industry Link backpack is simple & streamlined

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To me the best backpack designs are simple and streamlined, like the Link backpack from Modern Industry.  Its slim, rectangular shape allows vertical stacking of contents to keep the load close to the wearer’s body, while its lay-flat zipper design opens wide for easy loading and unloading of its 21 L capacity. (In fact, these features give it quite a bit of similarity to my current favorite pack, the GORUCK GR1.) Organization features include an external zipper slash pocket and internal 15″ laptop pocket and a zipper pocket for smaller items. Made from 10.10oz Martexin Original Waxed Canvas and lined with 7 oz. cotton sailcloth, YKK waterproof zippers and aluminum hardware. Made in San Fran, USA and available in Black (pictured), Ash, Moss and Navy colors, each $255. Link over to Modern Industry for details. WARNING: Their site may contain some bad language.

Quick, easy, fruit-enfused water on the go with Define Bottle

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Want a healthier alternative to those sugary fruit drinks and caffeine-loaded soft drinks that we’ve become hooked on?  The Define Bottle may be a better way. Created by 15-year-old Carter Kostler to help combat childhood obesity, the Define Bottle is an attractive, eco-friendly water bottle that lets you infuse water with fruit and take it with you on the go. It can even be used to make fruit-infused herb tea and also disassembles for easy cleaning. Available in four versions, the larger 17 oz Define Bottle Twist Top or Define Sport Flip Top, each $29.99, the smaller 12 oz Define Bottle Lite for $17.00, and the smallest, the 7 oz Define Bottle Mini for $14.99.  Head over to Define Bottle for additional details.

QALO wedding bands for active spouses

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How many of us find ourselves in this situation? You want to wear a wedding band to demonstrate your commitment to your spouse, yet your active lifestyle is not always compatible with wearing a traditional wedding band. Or perhaps you have an occupation like construction or factory worker or firefighter where rings on the job aren’t a great idea, or may even be forbidden for safety reasons. QALO wedding bands may be your answer. QALO rings [pronounced kay-lo] stands for Quality, Athletics, Love, Outdoors and are made from thick medical-grade silicone, so they are comfortable yet durable. They resist scuffing and scratching, are stable at high temperatures and are water resistant. Women’s versions are $15.99 and available in three colors (including Emerald Green, pictured here) and five sizes. Men’s versions are $19.99 and available in four colors (including Black, pictured here) and five sizes. Also available are 3-packs of rings if you want some variety. Circle over to qalorings.com for more info.

True Utility sciXors hang out on your keyring till it’s time to snip

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Here at The Gadgeteer, we’re big fans of little tools. Especially keychain tools—we can’t seem to get enough of ‘em. The True Utility sciXors are my latest find, a pair of teeny, tiny scissors for your keyring. Made from stainless steel with black rubber grips, they attach to your keyring with a small, quick-release pull clip. Pop them off your keying and they pop open automatically via a hidden spring. Do your snipping and pop them back on your keyring. Easy peasy. Only 55 mm long (2.2 in) so they even seem to meet the new airline carry on rules for sharp objects (metal scissors with blade length less than 4 in are now allowed).  Priced at GB £6.50 (currently about US $10.92). Link over to the True Utility site for more info.

Kynez Cazlet iPhone Wallet review

kynez-cazletiphonewallet_00 Wallets and smartphones are two items that most of us EDC, or everyday carry, on our person. Why not combine the two? Or at least use them together. There are more than a few smartphone wallets available today, but the Kynez Cazlet iPhone Wallet, billed as an “Truly All-in-One Wallet,” caught my eye for its rugged yet elegant styling (Nubuck suede leather with Cordura exterior), its internal organization features (lots of pockets and optional, customizable accessories) and its iPhone protection and accessibility (nearly full access to the phone features while protected inside the wallet). I was fortunate to have the opportunity to evaluate a sample of the Cazlet iPhone Wallet and check out all of its features.  Gadget on! Read More →

Strong Like Bull Throw Magnets offer a fun fling at your fridge

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Ever toss a magnet at something to watch it stick? Simple but fun, right? Until you scratch or gouge the surface where the magnet lands. Brian Conti wanted to capture the fun of tossing magnets and watching them stick to things while avoiding damage to the magnet or the surface, so he created the crowedfunded Kickstarter campaign for his latest design, Strong Like Bull Throw Magnets. Brian knows a thing or two about both Kickstarter campaigns as well as magnets, including his successful original Strong Like Bull Magnets (see related links for a review). Brian’s latest, Throw Magnets, are Neodymium disc magnets with polycarbonate covers on either side and encased in a custom molded silicone rubber outer ring with nubs for gripping. Brian has even designed a game based on the magnets, with target scoring stickers and a metal game backboard available at higher reward levels. Reward levels start at $17 for a set of 3 Throw Magnets. Fly on over to the Strong Like Bull Throw Magnets Kickstarter campaign for more info and to become a backer, but do it soon, as the campaign ends on June 16, 2014.

Dash 3.0 (AKA Trim) wallet review

dash3.0wallet_20Minimalist wallets seem to be the rage on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. You know, those uber-slim, ultra-small wallets that help you carry less in a smaller, lighter-weight package (and avoiding the dreaded Costanza Wallet syndrome). Steven Elliot is no stranger to slim wallet projects, having already successfully run two of them, and his latest Kickstarter campaign, the Dash 3.0 wallet, is nearing the end of its funding period and looks to be a very successful campaign. As a fan of slim wallets myself, I was excited to have been given the opportunity to try out a Dash 3.0 wallet.  Gadget on!

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Lapel Torch is a headlamp alternative

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Headlamps have become quite popular, and for good reason. They offer a hands-free light source that can be aimed anywhere you are looking. I recently stumbled upon this alternative to the headlamp, the Lapel Torch from Snow Peak. It consists of a light, cable and power supply. The light can be quickly mounted via two small magnets—think collar, pocket, backpack webbing and so forth—and its unique curved “ball joint” design allows the light to be rotated and aimed where you need it. The power supply can be placed into a nearby pocket or pouch or attached via clip. Its brightness modes include high, low, variable and emergency strobe. The Lapel Torch runs on 3 AA batteries, either standard or rechargeable. Price is $59.95. The Snow Peak site can illuminate you with more info.

Satechi 4-Port USB 3.0 Premium Aluminum Hub review

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USB (Universal Serial Bus) has become the standard method of connecting just about anything to…well, just about anything else, but particularly desktop and laptop computers. Not only does a USB connection transfer data, it can also power a device. Many of us have so many USB-based devices that we frequently find ourselves needing more USB ports, which is where the USB ubiquitous hub comes in. I’ve used several USB hubs over the years, but usually they looked quite cheap and clunky. The Satechi 4-Port USB 3.0 Premium Aluminum Hub is a bit different than many of the hubs out there. Gadget on!

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Kensington AbsolutePower 2.1 Fast Charge for Tablets with PowerWhiz review

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Personal mobile devices need power.  They crave it, like a politician craves…well, power.  Alright, maybe not quite like that, but it’s an inescapable fact.  And because of this, we have chargers tucked all over our homes, offices and vehicles to power up or top off when needed, which for many of us is quite often.  With seven i-devices (iPads and iPhones) floating around our house, I am always on the lookout for a better charging solution.  The Kensington AbsolutePower™ 2.1 Fast Charge for Tablets with PowerWhiz is a compact AC adapter that claims to automatically switch between 2.1 Amps and 1.0 Amps depending on the device plugged into it, from a tablet to a smartphone, which covers the range of many of our devices.   I had the opportunity to try one, so let’s have a look. Read More →

Wally holds a few cards while piggy-backing your iPhone

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Two of the items I always have on my person (other than a religious medal and my wedding band) are my iPhone and my wallet. Since I am always looking for a way to slim down my carry, and in particular a way to combine my wallet and phone, the Wally Stick-On from Distil Union recently piqued my interest. It is essentially a slim leather single pocket wallet that adds minimal bulk by attaching to the back of your iPhone (or even some cases) with a layer of adhesive. A pull-tab allows quick access to a few cards and/or some cash. Available in black or brown and for iPhone 4/4S or 5/5S, each for $39.99. For those wanting to avoid sticking something to the back of their iPhone, there is also a Wally Case version for $49.99. Slide over to Distil Union for more info.

 

SCOTTeVEST debuts three new hoodies, including limited edition Knowmatic

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Hoodies are all the rage these days, a standard of casual clothing just about everywhere. SCOTTeVEST has its own spin on this wardrobe staple, recently debuting three new products: The Hoodie-Cotton, The Hoodie-Microfiber, and the limited-edition Knowmatic Hoodie (pictured here), a collaboration with designer jeffstaple. While SCOTTeVEST previously had its Ultimate Hoodie Microfleece, these three new hoodies have been redesigned to include updated pocket sizes and configurations, thumbhole sleeves, and it appears to perhaps be a bit slimmer cut throughout. The limited edition Knowmatic Hoodie includes even more pockets, the unique, jeffstaple-inspired “dazzle camo pattern,” as well as other exclusive features – but only 350 of these will be produced. The Hoodie-Cotton and The Hoodie-Microfiber are each $75, while the limited Knowmatic Hoodie is $105. Visit SCOTTeVEST for more info.

Pack a Derringer Wallet Pen for writing emergencies

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Anyone familiar with Old West movies will recall the Derringer, a small, single-shot pistol typically used only as a last resort. Behold its pen analog, the Derringer Wallet Pen. Made from stainless steel with a brushed finish, this 4-inch long, slim retractable pen is small enough to clip into your wallet for those situations where a more standard-sized pen isn’t available. Its medium point black ink cartridge can be replaced as well. Price is $8.00. Wallet sold separately. Visit Derringer Wallet Pen for more info.

Jimmy Pocket Towel – the name says it all

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I like stuff that is compact enough to stuff in your pocket. And stuff that helps reduce waste is bonus. Example: How often do you dry your hands every day? Maybe save a few paper towels and help keep this Earth of ours a bit greener with the Jimmy Pocket Towel, a reusable, quick-drying hand towel that zips into a stylish, pocket-sized case for use whenever you’re not at home.  The machine-washable towel itself has a triple-layer wicking system and it attaches via hook-and-loop to the zip-closed, water-resistant shell to keep your pocket or purse dry. Use it, zip it, hang it to quick dry.  Or use it as a screen or glasses cleaner, sweat towel, etc.  Available in Dapper Jimmy $38, Dazzle Jimmy $38, Sporty Jimmy $24 and Knock-Off Jimmy $18, each in multiple colors and patterns. Zip over to Jimmy Pocket Towel for more info.

GORUCK Shadow Rucks and Shadow Pockets

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GORUCK makes well-designed and nearly bomb-proof backpacks and other accessories. However, one of the loudest complaints about the products is the price. Fair enough. But I am a big proponent of “you get what you pay for” and GORUCK is a prime example of that. My GORUCK GR1 backpack has been hands-down the most high-quality, durable backpack I have ever purchased and used. Not long ago, GORUCK introduced their “Shadow” line of Rucks and Pockets. These are backpacks and accessory pouches that have been removed of MOLLE webbing, laptop compartments and other features to simplify them down to the essentials, as well as reducing the price. Shadow Ruck pricing: SD15 $60, SD20 $65 and SD25 $70. Shadow Pockets pricing: S $24, M $28, L $32 and XL $36. More affordable but with standard GORUCK quality.  Ruck on over to GORUCK for more info.

RichWorks hand crafted sleeves and pouches

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I am a fan of products that help protect, organize and transport our many small EDC items and mobile devices.  RichWorks’ USA handmade products caught my eye recently. Consisting of simple, clean designs in multiple, customizable color combinations and durable, quality materials like 500D Nylon exterior (and microsuede interior on some), YKK brass zippers and copper drawstring accents. Prices start at: Accessory Bags $25, Phone Sleeves $25, Table Sleeves $35 and Laptop Sleeves $45.  Stop over at RichWorks for more info.