Tag Archives: Nomadik

What’s in the Box: Nomadik August 2017

This month’s theme may be “summer adventure” but I am going to go with flashback.  Seriously, the stuff that came in this month’s box takes me back to an earlier time in my life.  How so?

Consider the Mountainsmith Cooler Tube:

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Do you remember when these were all over your college campus in the 1990s?  Granted, the earlier versions were usually made of black nylon as opposed to eco-friendly hemp but the idea was the same.  Load a six pack of cold beer into a tube, sling it over your shoulder, and enjoy the great outdoors with a few beers.

For me this meant spending the better part of a lazy weekend afternoon playing ultimate and sharing cold Pabst Blue Ribbons—before that beer became the choice of flannel clad hipsters—with my fellow disc chuckers.  Now we have better options.  Soft sided coolers hold more beer at a colder temperature for longer for not much of a penalty in weight or comfort.  Other than hiding a six pack in a golf bag what purpose does the cooler tube serve anymore?

You want another flashback?  Check out the Chums:

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I thought these were only used by river guides and people at theme parks.  Now, the good folks at Nomadik do admit that these are the choice of water sports enthusiasts for retaining glasses in all conditions.

Combined with the final item of Surface Face Stick I cannot help but tell a few river guide jokes:

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What do you call a river guide who just broke up with his girlfriend?  Homeless.

How do you find a river guide in the dark?  It’s hard.

What is the difference between a river guide and god?  God does not think that he is a river guide.

Sorry, river guide jokes just tend to roll off the tongue this time of year.  You could substitute ski instructor for river guide and get about the same impact.

I said in prior posts that Nomadik was going to have to come on strong to get me to consider renewing my gift subscription.  I am just not feeling the need.  The problem is that I am not exposed to new things as much as I get things in the mail that I just do not care about.  It is kind of the same problem I see whenever I visit an REI or Sierra Trading Post.  People seem enamored with buying stuff that seems cool in the store, but that they will rarely if ever use once they get home.  Come on, how many of those cool shaped bottle openers by the cash registers do people every actually use to open a bottle of beer?

What’s in the Box: Nomadik July 2017

I actually got to writing about July’s Nomadik box before the next month’s box was ready to ship.  Not bad considering I spent the first part of the month in Colorado struggling with altitude and failing in my quest to summit a 14er.

Every Day Carry (EDC) is the theme of July’s Nomadik box.  Now, EDC started off as something for concealed or open carry gun advocates to show others what they took out onto the street every day.  Hit the interwebs, search for EDC, and be prepared to see a plethora of images detailing the pocket dumps of EDC advocates.  The term EDC has evolved lately to encompass other enthusiast communities like the outdoors and I guess that is who Nomadik is hoping to satisfy with this box.

Is it dorky to get excited about a keychain?  Regardless, I am digging the Exotac FREEkey:

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The idea here is that it is easy to add or remove keys without the usual hassle of cracking fingernails or pinching skin.  With a well-placed squeeze the ring opens up:

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Granted, I do not frequently add or remove keys but the struggle is real.  The test of the FREEkey’s worth will be how it holds up over the next few months when compared with my five year old key ring.

Have you heard of Famous Surf Supply?  I hadn’t, but now I have a vacuum water bottle with their logo emblazoned on it so I guess I have heard of Famous Surf Supply:

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Look, it’s a vacuum bottle.  Like carabiners can we ever really have enough of these things?  I appreciate that it came with an alternative lid that has a screw top for drinking.  I outfitted all of my old school wide mouth Nalgene bottles with a similar cap and it makes a world of difference.  It may be from some famous company, but it is after all just another vacuum bottle in a world of Yeti tumblers.

Do you even MOLLE bro?  Are you an operator who operates in an operation environment?  Sorry for the sidebar into mall ninja jokes.  This is a 3V Gear utility pouch:

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3V?  As in “veni, vidi, vici.”  Very subtle guys.  If you know what MOLLE is you are probably aware of the guys who cannot get enough of the military’s standard system of loops and straps for bags and other gear.  I have seen guys outfit the backs of truck seats and the interior roofs of Jeeps with attachment points.  I am sure that it serves a purpose when you are trying to outfit hundreds of thousands of soldiers with gear but a well thought out pack will accomplish the same thing.  Heck, it might even be high speed, low drag.  Sorry, I went into mall ninja territory again.

It’s a small pouch that you can loop through standard MOLLE straps.  You could put some stuff in here or you could have it collect some dust in your bin of stuff you may get to someday.

I really enjoy getting food items in these boxes.  It is a function of my desire to try every new energy bar or snack that shows up in the little boxes by the cash register of your local bike or ski shop.  Why?  I have no idea, but if Honey Stinger comes out with something new I am usually right there buying one to try out the next day.  This month’s box included a Big Sur Bar:

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First off, it is big.  Like a very weighty granola bar.  I was somewhat afraid to look at the caloric content given its heft, but the Date Night flavor clocks in at 200 calories.  Wait a second, that is 200 calories per serving and the label says that the package contains three servings.  WTF?  Can we please stop the labelling insanity where items usually consumed as a single piece or serving are chopped up into multiple servings?  So, this thing has 600 calories.  Damn!

Second, it is layered:

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This would not have been a problem had the bar not separated into three pieces along these fault lines about four bites into the bar.  Not really a problem unless you are intending to actually consume this while being active, which is sort of the target market for this monstrosity.  I am going to have to take a pass on future Big Sur Bars and keep stocking my Honey Stingers.

What’s in the Box: Nomadik June 2017

This is getting to become a trend.  My monthly Nomadik subscription box comes in the mail and I forget to write anything about it for at least two or three weeks.  My bad.

The problem is that I am not really getting a lot enjoyment out of what is coming in these boxes.  This month’s box—the theme is “camp kitchen”—really seems like someone was mailing it in over at Nomadik.  It is as if someone called up Sierra Trading Post or the guys running Sports Authority’s bankruptcy liquidation and said, “I need to fill a couple of hundred boxes with some kind of outdoorsy stuff.  What have you got collecting dust over there?”

Here is what you get when that is the question.

BananaGrams WildTiles:

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If you have not seen BananaGrams yet you have probably been playing too many games of Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity or whatever else it is that people play when they are not on their phones playing Candy Crush.  I guess it is a good game for people who like to travel since it comes in a fun banana shaped bag and requires little more than a flat surface to play upon.

As with some inclusions in prior months I already have a BananaGrams game in my collection of family friendly board games.  This little bag o’ fun is heading straight to my friends’ condo in Colorado.  Maybe some random weekend renters will get some use out of it.  Or I will play a game with my kids over Christmas when I convince them to finally stop playing Clue.  Seriously, how many times can a ten year old play Clue?

Wildo Camp-A-Box Light:

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Can we finally dispense with the legend that is the spork?  The spork does none of the tasks for which it is intended very well.  It cannot cut anything that your teeth cannot tear apart with ease.  It does not work as a spoon since one side is given over to tines and the other to an ineffective knife.  It does not work as a fork because the tines are so shallow you might as well use well chewed fingernails.

Nonetheless, we all love cutesy camping gear that promises to do more than one things or that folds down into a cylinder the size of a AAA battery even if the practicality of the item is in question.  Don’t believe me?  Try and actually use 90% of the multi-tools available, especially the ones you see in sponsored posts on Instagram.  Ugh.  A few decent screwdrivers, crescent wrench, pliers, and lockback knife are more useful without taking up considerably more space.

If you are serious about camping and are not a “go light” fanatic just get some actual utensils and actual dinnerware.  An enameled cup or two serve as great containers for any camp meal from eggs to fireside cobbler.

Simple Shower:

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I honestly thought this was something that just got dropped in the box by mistake before I read the little card that explains everything.  No packaging, which is fine, but it was really not tied together at all.

However, this is actually something I might use.  Fill a two-liter bottle—clean it first you degenerates—with cold water and spray yourself down after a long day hiking.  With an attempt on a 14er coming up in a week or so I am going to pack the Simple Shower for when I make it back to the truck.

I now have two months or two boxes remaining on my gift subscription to Nomadik.  Unless the company “comes strong” with something fairly compelling in the next two months I can see no reason to actually spend my heard earned money on an extension of the subscription.

What’s in the Box: Nomadik April 2017

Sorry for getting this posted late, but life has a way of getting in the way of things.

Niteize CamJam:

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In the interest of full disclosure, I already own a half dozen of these little things for various tasks like tying down items in the back of my truck or securing tarps.  Work like a champ, easy to tighten at 5 AM in the middle of Nebraska, and cheap enough that I do not care if I misplace one due to a hangover induced late start.  I keep them in the cavernous center console of my truck for this “it’s gonna’ happen sometime” events.

Mountainsmith tent stakes:

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I do not camp, so the utility of tent stakes is somewhat limited.  That being said I do use tent stakes to secure coverings on outdoor projects with some frequency.  There might be some utility here after all.  Are tent stakes kind of like getting socks for Christmas?  Sure, we all need them at some time and we all appreciate a high quality rendition.

The PowerPractical LumiNoodle comes is one seriously over packaged piece of allegedly outdoors gear:

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That is just the outer wrapper, a thick laminated foil like material similar to what is used for freeze dried camping meals, that opens to reveal the second layer:

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Yep, it’s a bag in a wrapper that yields the LumiNoodle eventually:

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Nomadik may tell me that the LumiNoodle is worth $20, but it is really worth nothing since it does not work without a battery pack.  Sure, a 25% off coupon was enclosed to purchase a battery pack from PowerPractical but I kind of feel like these items should be useful from the moment I open the box.  Call me critical.

A battery pack from PowerPractical runs approximately $30 ($22.50 after 25% off coupon) for 4400 mAh.  Significantly larger, in terms of power capacity, battery packs are available online from Amazon for the same price.  Seems a little odd to me.

Maybe I am just not hipster enough to use the LumiNoodle for Instagram.

The inclusion of a three month trial subscription to Reelhouse’s Slipstream leaves me the most conflicted.  Slipstream is a streaming collection of action sports films. There are some interesting films in the catalog, but aren’t we supposed to be encouraging people to get into the outdoors as opposed to watching the outdoors on a screen?

This month’s box was kind of a bust.

What’s in the Box: Nomadik March 2017

This month’s box from Nomadik came a few days later than usual due to a “supplier issue.”  It does not really matter that my box came in March or the first day of April, but it does change the publishing schedule slightly.

A bottle of ReviveX Durable Water Repellent:

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This is like the safe entrée at your go-to weeknight restaurant.  What person who spends more than a couple of days per year outdoors does not have some article of gear or clothing in need of a weatherproofing plus up?  Like the carabiner from last month’s box this stuff is just useful for those of us engaged in outdoor pursuits.  It might not even last until the second week of April if the rains in Iowa keep up and my daily raincoat starts lacking in repellency.

A Wild Hedgehog Tactical Ouch Pouch:

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Bonus points for an awesome name.  I do not know if a wild hedgehog is any more capable than a domesticated hedgehog.  Heck, I do not know the first thing about hedgehogs save for some cute pictures I have seen on Buzzfeed.

This little plastic pouch of first aid items is already in my outdoor go bag.  You know, the backpack that you grab for a short hike or day outside.  The one with the well-worn Nalgene bottles in mesh side pockets, a Leatherman, flashlight, and questionably aged Clif Bars.  Would I have spent $15 on one these pouches?  Probably not considering that I fall into the “rub some dirt on it” school of first aid practiced by sadistic Little League coaches from time immemorial.  However, I like having some of the options in case someone takes a spill on the next day of hiking at Palisades Kepler.

An Epic Wipe:

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It’s big.  Like the size of a wall poster big.  It’s a wet wipe.  Like the ones I used to have bags of floating around my house when my kids were in diapers.  If there is one thing I miss about my kids being in diapers it was being prepared for everything with the contents of a diaper bag.  The first time you realize you no longer have the diaper bag is a terrifying moment.  Why did I let me kids get tomato soup if I did not have the diaper bag?  Damn…

Like the aforementioned Ouch Pouch this thing is going into my outdoor go bag.  The odds it gets used before April is out is high.  Unlike the Ouch Pouch I can see myself purchasing a half dozen of these to have ready in case of messy disasters like tomato soup or another incident with a blue raspberry gas station slushy.

The GSI Infinity Backpacker Mug:

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It’s a mug.  It’s has a top.  It’s light.  What more is there to say really?

Made of polypropylene and wrapped in an insulating sleeve the Infinity Backpacker Mug is meant to be an alternative to heavier stainless or enameled mugs.  However, I think it will have a hard time competing with my RTIC Lowball.

Oddly, a copy of Rova was included in the bottom of the box:

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The magazine claims to be about the “adventure lifestyle,” but it looked more like a slick sheet for RV manufacturers.  Nothing about an RV park says adventure or lifestyle to me, but I may be jaded by passing so many sad looking RV parks on the way to Colorado.

What’s in the Box: Nomadik February 2017

Apparently I am a difficult person to buy gifts for owing to my general lack of things that I “need” and a vehement insistence that people do not need to buy me things to celebrate milestones like birthdays.  In the absence of direction a family member went out and purchased a six month “subscription” to Nomadik.

I am a little late to the entire subscription box idea.  What started as a way for makeup aficionados to have new products delivered to their door for a nominal price relative to the retail price of the goods in the box has morphed into an entire industry.  This industry caters to every possible niche imaginable.  Nomadik is the subscription box that centers its offering around adventurers.  The target market is the type of person who travels, reads Outside, considers a ski pass to be a good investment…oh shit, that sounds like me.

So, what is in the box:

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The Parks Project “Park Watcher” beanie is a comfortable, if somewhat standard, knit beanie for those cold mornings:

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The idea here, in my estimation, is that I am being exposed to the Parks Project brand.  It’s interesting.  Parks Project sells items—usually clothing—for which the proceeds will benefit projects within a particular national park or generically the national parks in general.  Love Rocky Mountain National Park?  Buy the t-shirt and support habitat restoration.  Maybe in an era when Donald Trump is directing the federal budget such private support will become more critical than ever before.

Plus, the beanie is “Made in the U.S.A.”  In these times of Trumpian bloviating and blustering it is good to find something that would meet with the approval of the Donald.

Nomadik included three Ritual Energy peanut butter and chocolate caffeinated energy snacks:

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These little buggers claim to contain the same amount of caffeine as a single cup of coffee, which I have always found to be a problematic unit of measure given the differences in brewing coffee.  My grandmother’s coffee probably had about a tenth the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee because she used so few grounds and what was there was cut with chicory.  My friend makes a pot of coffee with about a half pound of grounds, so I imagine these would not have the same impacts.  As of right now, Ritual Energy only offers these little nuggets of caffeinated goodness in a single flavor.  My intent is to pack these for my upcoming ski trip and use them on mountain.  Risky?  Sure, but so is strapping wooden sticks to your feet and sliding down a mountain covered in frozen water.

What person do you know that spends any times outdoors that cannot find a use for another carabiner:

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The Mizu collapsible shot glass is kind of a throwaway for me:

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I rarely drink anything that would come in a shot glass sized serving preferring drip coffee over shots of espresso and IPAs over shots of Fireball.  It might however make a nice little re-gift option for my friends who do tend to favor the harder stuff.

Overall, a winner with the beanie, a couple of so-so items, and a throwaway in the shot glass.  A bonus is that included in the box were coupon codes for the Parks Project and Ritual Energy, so if you were a fan you could feed your need for a little less money.  I am interested to see what future boxes hold over the next five months, but I am not totally sold on the concept right now.