Category: Gear

Gear Guide! How To Make Loose Leaf Tea On The Go!

I’m not a big coffee drinker. Yeah, yeah. Coffee goes with camping I know, but I’ve never really enjoyed it. Sometimes it works for me, but most of the time I skip it. I do however enjoy a nice cup of tea. Even better if there’s some honey in it. If’n you’re a fan of tea though, you have probably graduated to loose leaf teas. None of that paper bag Lipton shit, or even the Tazo teas. I want my green tea leaves to open up and bloom damnit!

Here’s the problem though. When you’re camping or on the road, loose leaf tea is not the most convenient. Coffee might be easier to make on the trail. Although, I’ve camped with some guys that make an art of their cowboy coffee too. Up until now I’ve been slummin’ it with the tea while camping. I’ve been using the tea bags because they are easy to pack and easy to clean up. I don’t have to worry about crushing an infuser or where to carry the tea.

That has all changed. I’ve found a game changer for mobile tea. It’s called the Tovolo TeaGo. One piece of gear that can handle all of the issues of making some loose leaf tea on the go. I don’t get anything for this. I’m just passin’ it along.

Here’s how it works. It’s made up of 2 pieces. The outer piece is a tube with a metal infuser at one end. This holds your tea when it’s in your cup. It has a plastic cover for the infuser for when you’re traveling. The inner piece is an airtight container to store your loose leaf tea. It holds about 3 cups worth. If you reuse your tea a few times you could easily get 10 cups out the container.

When you are ready to make your tea, you remove the inner piece and the bottom cover. Unscrew the cap and pour in the desired amount to tea to the outer piece. Then you reinsert the inner piece. This acts like a plunger and keeps the tea down towards the bottom. Then you set the entire piece in your mug, clipping on the tab to your mug to keep it in place. Steep for the desired time and you are good to go! When you are done, just replace the bottom cover and throw it back in your bag or backpack. Pretty simple and very clean.

I’ve used this quite a few times now and I have to say that I’m pretty happy with it. It does make enjoying a good cup of tea while outside much easier. One thing I noticed is that a tea that “blooms” might be a little constricted in the infuser due to it’s size. I think you could put less and steep longer to avoid that issue. I’ve been using a chai tea which does not “bloom” and I’ve had no issues with it.

I hope this is useful info to someone out there. If you’ve got some other ideas on how to carry your tea please leave a comment. In the meantime, get out there and drink some #teaoutside!

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Sugru Hacks

I recently got a packet of Sugru to play with. I was turned on to it by Rob of Ocean Air Cycles. If you don’t know what Sugru is, check out this video. It’s basically a moldable silicone. Kinda like play-doh.

I laid out the items that I was going to work on and got to it.

Sugru comes in a small foil packet. You cut it open and start making shapes from it. I used it to create insolated handles, repair an iPhone cable and make a bumper on my spork.

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Good Gear: Topo Designs

I recently got one of the Topo Designs backpacks. If you haven’t checked them out yet, go do it. They have classic lines, good colors and are pretty tough. I got one to fit my macbook, and everything else. It’s called the Klettersack. It went with me to New York and has become my go to bag. Everytime I go to work now I look like I just came out of the mountains. Perfect.

This one was inside the Met. It was good to see another one in the wild.

I’m hoping that someone will bring me one of their camp blankets or a belt for my birthday. You know who you are.

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Camera Bag. Lessons Learned

Ok, so I finished assembling my first attempt at a camera bag. It came out kinda close to what I had intended, but there are many things to fix. The main thing is that I need more foam in the sides for the bag to hold shape. It’s pretty flimsy. It’s probably a combination of the fabric I used and not enough foam. I guess I really can’t have too much foam for a camera right?

I learned a trick in assembling the bottom. Thanks Scott. I need to adjust the measurements for the top flap, possibly even get rid of it. However aesthetically, once the measurements are fixed, I think it will look good. Also, it’s an extra piece of insurance in keeping the camera from popping out of the bag.

On the next one I’m going to add a microfiber interior that will allow me to attach a padded divider. I think that will help to give it some more shape, as well as keep the camera nice and snug in there.

Thanks for following along and apologies for the crappy iPhone pics. I was just taking them as I went along. Now quit reading this and go make something with your hands!

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Salsa Spearfish Framebag

I’m headed out this weekend on an overnighter with a couple of friends. After some local intel from Brendan at The Hub Cyclery I’ve decided to ride the Salsa Spearfish for this trip. The Spearfish is not a bike that I’ve ever used for bikepacking, and to be honest I’m still figuring out how to ride it. Having suspension is a foreign thing to me. I know it’s working, but it just feels weird. Who cares about that though.

The main issue for me is that the frame makes it tough to carry gear inside the triangle. I don’t like gear on my back, so this has been a concern for me. Also, the forks don’t have bottle mounts like my trusty Fargo does. So I made a custom framebag that is just big enough to carry a water bladder, which will equal the amount of water I’m used to traveling with The problem of course is that all the gear that I carry in my framebag will have to go somewhere else. That’s for another night though. Here are some in progress shots of the framebag and the payoff is the framebag mounted up. I still need to trim the straps to the right length, but the hard work is done. Now it’s time to ride it!

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Getting the Idea Out

I’ve been thinking about a specific bag for the front of my Fargo since coming back from the Tour Divide. It was much tougher than I thought to get the idea out of my head and assembled in real life. After a few frustrating hours and many ripped seams I managed to get something made. I’ve got some changes in mind already for the next one, but now that it’s in a physical form it’s much easier to figure out how to fix it. What do you think Scott?

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A Splash Of Color

While waiting for some new fabric for the brevet wallet, I started a new framebag. This one will be a new one for me. It’s for a Salsa Spearfish which is a full suspension frame, so the shape is more complicated. I’m also using the green XPac instead of the normal black. This will be a nice change of pace and should go well with the bike.

Oh, I made a zipper garage for this one too. Turns out it doesn’t work so well with two zippers, but it was still a good learning experience.

Enough blabbin’, show some pics!

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