Estwing Camper’s Axe

Our first weekend in the Catskills we had a cord of wood delivered by dump truck. It was a giant pile of mostly dry hickory and cherry wood logs. Great firewood, but no kindling sized pieces. I needed a way to split some smaller pieces but did not want to invest in a full sized axe (yet). I also wanted something a little more substantive than a regular hatchet. Estwing solved my conundrum with their Camper’s Axe.

I grew up using Estwing’s brick hammers, and have a lot of confidence in their tools. This piece is no exception. The long handle gives me the ability to swing it like a regular axe. But I can also choke up on the handle a bit and use it with a hammer for finishing off a stubborn split. It has been a great addition to the tool chest.

Keurig Coffee Maker

I have never been a fan of these things, to be completely honest. I think that the coffee is chemically tasting and watered down. I am also not a fan of the amount of waste these things generate. But desperate times call for desperate measures. We actually inherited this piece from a time that we had Keurig loving family member staying as a guest at our place. As with most of the kitchen stuff that we brought, I probably would have never thought of packing this thing. Thanks again Britt, because this thing has definitely been a game changer during this era of indoor camping.

Makita 12V Drill

Yes, it is a power tool; an old one. I can’t be exactly sure when this thing came into my possession, but after some forensic reminiscing, I peg it close to 20 years ago. I’m on the third set of batteries for it. But the actual drill is still going strong after two decades of use and abuse. I end up using it primarily as a screw gun these days, because of the impact settings. But I have had an actual drill bit in the chuck on at least two occasions since we have been up here. I would easily say this is one of best tools I own.

Seiko Solar Powered Chrono

I picked this thing up last summer. It has been a great watch so far. I chose to bring it with me because it is solar powered. What better type of watch to bring when going into the mountains for an indefinite length of time? Sure, you could bring an automatic, or a manual winder, but I thought solar was the most appropriate choice.

Aside from staying charged as long as the sun doesn’t burn out, this thing can get smacked around without falling apart. In the event that it does fall apart, I could replace it without breaking the bank. Lastly, I love the Gulf GT40 colorway.

Doc Martens Boots

After seeing these photos, I feel like I may have actually missed my calling as footwear model. Thanks again to Britt for manning the camera on this one.

Normally when I think of Doc Martens, I think of  stiff patent leather and earning a blister or two breaking them in. Certainly I never thought of the brand as producing something that I would willingly choose to wear in the great outdoors. These gems were gifted to me by a DM rep somewhere between 7 and 10 years ago when I was doing a lot of work in the world of men’s fashion. The leather is super soft and did not need to be broken in. From day 1, they felt more like a sneaker than a utility boot. Over the years I have worn them on several backpacking trips (I don’t own a proper pare of hiking boots anymore), and on basically every camping trip that I have done. The heels have both come unseated on different occasions, but it wasn’t something that a little shoe goo could not remedy. I love these things and I didn’t think twice about bringing them with me on this COVID induced hiatus from normal life.

Aesop Hand Cream

I have sworn by Aesop hand cream for years. It smells amazing without being overpowering, and does not leave a greasy residue on my hands. Most importantly, it really does a great job at moisturizing. I keep a tube at my desk and one in the car. We have a pump bottle of it in the bathroom at home. I have used both of the fragrances options, and really like both of them. I’m sure that it goes without saying that this stuff has been very clutch to have around during these times of hyper vigilant hand washing routines.

Vaccum Insulated Mug

This mug was actually marketing swag from one of the law firms I work with. It is constructed with dual aluminum walls separated by a vaccum partition. It is the same tech used for Swell bottles. It keeps its contents hot (or cold) by minimizing heat transfer to or from the contents of the mug. The only complaint that I have is that it occasionally works a little too well. I mean this in the sense that sometimes I have to wait a little bit longer than I would like to for the coffee to cool down to a drinkable temperature, and it has resulted in a scalded tongue on more than one occasion.

The only downside (in my opinion) is that the mug cannot be used to warm up my hand. This isn’t always a desired characteristic. But on chilly mornings, it can certainly be nice to use a traditional mug full of hot coffee to keep my paws toasty. I have to credit Britt for bringing these. She packed the kitchen box. I probably would not have even thought to bring these. But I’m sure glad that she did!

Saturdays New York City Sweat Pants

This is my foray into leisurewear modeling. I could only keep Britt engaged behind the camera for about 45 seconds, so I only got one take. Not bad, eh? These pants are a few years old, but sweat pants are a staple at Saturdays pretty much every season, varying by weight and construction. I freaking love these things in the winter. They have been super clutch for the chilly nights and mornings here in the Catskills. I highly endorse these sweat pants, as well as the Saturdays brand generally.

(photo cred: Britt)

Burton Bluetooth Speaker

This speaker is a collaboration that Burton did with Braven. It was made during the early days of bluetooth speakers, and as such is pretty basic. It has four buttons: Power, Play, Up, Down. I have used it almost every day since the day I bought it (over 7 years ago), and it is still going strong! It has been with me on three different continents, so it is only fitting that I have it with me now. It holds a charge for several days, and can be used as a backup phone charger if needed. The sound is pretty decent for its size, and it is basically bulletproof.

James Folding Blade Pocket Knife (Stuff I brought with me into isolation [part 1])

For the month of April I have given myself an objective: to write a little something each day about an item that I brought with me into “isolation,” while we weather the effects of this pandemic. Some of the items are essentials; others, less so. I have not planned out the whole month yet, but I have a solid mental list. Some of the items are brand specific. Other items, not at all. That is the gist of it. With this explanation out of the way, let’s get to it!

James Folding Blade Pocket Knife. This gem was found in the toe of my Christmas stocking last year (thanks Britt!). Since then it has basically sat in the valet tray on my nightstand, except for the occasional use breaking down Amazon boxes and the like. That was, of course, until I decamped to the Catskills two weeks ago. Since the day we arrived, this piece has lived clipped into the corner of my back pocket and used multiple times per day. It is dangerously sharp. I have used it to cut everything from wood to aluminum cans. Though I haven’t resorted to whittling yet, I have found that the clip works as a bottle opener in a pinch. This is hands-down my favorite blade I have ever owned (except for sentimental reasons, maybe the buck knife that my dad gave me in preparation of our first hunting outing)  😉