I love testing new gadgets and products. It’s an obsession.
For The 4-Hour Chef alone, I tested well over $100,000 worth of gear. OCD + Amazon Prime = expensive.
Why on earth do I do it? Simple–I love sharing the 5-10 things out of 500-1,000 that really work. Strange fetish, perhaps, but I get off on it. Readers seem to enjoy it, too.
In the first ever 5-Bullet Friday newsletter, I recommended my favorite all-purpose sandals, and more than 100,000 people clicked on the link within the first 48 hours (!). This type of click-through assault was nicknamed “the hug of death” by one Facebook fan. It crashes websites, wipes out inventory (e.g. Mizzen+Main, sardines at Whole Foods), creates nutty pricing spikes (e.g. used books going for $1,000 after the Sacca podcast), etc.
Below are 10 recent purchases that have given me—and continue to give me—value, joy, or both.
I’ve provided two sets of links for each. The first link (usually the name of the item) is often an Amazon affiliate link, if you’d like to chip in a few pennies to support my compulsive gear-testing habit. The second link, labeled “non-affiliate link,” is exactly that—a plain old link where Uncle Tim gets to fend for himself in the wild. I’m cool with either. Some items lack affiliate links altogether, as I was too lazy to search.
Here we go… (and what the hell is it with you guys and shoes?)
Vans Unisex Classic Slip-On (Gumsole) Skate Shoe (Non-affiliate link)
This makes me seem like one of the grups, but I love these shoes. Not for skating. My criteria: great for airports, zero-drop soles for restoring Achilles mobility, usable at semi-casual but nice dinners, and small enough to pack in carry-on luggage. I’ve worn these for everything from business meetings to canyon hiking (in a pinch), and they’ve held up beautifully.
[I’ll also give you a cold-weather alternative: YakTrax, for modifying normal shoes when you need to walk on snow and ice. They are amazing and fit in a jacket pocket. I bought the basic “Walk” model, but there are many options.]
My preferred oddities on Kit.com…
Many of you have asked, so here’s my favorite gear for podcasting, coffee, everyday carry, survival gear (some ridiculous), and much more.
I’ve tried every foam roller imaginable, but this is my new favorite for opening up hamstrings and IT band prior to AcroYoga and other gymnastics practice. That front lever is still eluding me, but I’ll keep at it. WARNING: This will smash you 10x more than smooth rollers. I got overzealous my first session and, the next day, felt like I’d been leg kicked by Buakaw (my fave kickboxer, BTW).
These are small enough to stick in carry-on luggage. I use them primarily for pushups, planche leans, and L-sits for time. If you want to make a homemade version out of PVC that can live in your garage or living room, here’s another option.
A zen-minded Etch-a-Sketch. Use the included brush to paint designs onto the board with water. As the water evaporates, your image fades, all within 30-60 seconds. This is a great tool for learning to let go… or rekindling your artistic side. If you have 60 seconds a day, you have time for the Buddha Board.
I had to highlight this one. This is the best bang-for-the-buck USB mic I’ve found. I use it for all phone interviews for my podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. It’s traveled with me around the world. With this, ear buds, and ECamm Call Recorder, you’re set. For my more complete gear list, see the podcast bullet above from Kit.com.
I’m sitting in the Bahamas as I type this [back in December, at least], and 24 cans of sardines are sitting next to me in my suitcase. That’s my MO. I open one can upon waking, drizzle about half the oil over my dog’s kibble (which she sometimes refuses to eat dry), and then consume the fish myself. My skin and her coat have never looked better. Hat tip to the incredible biochemistry beast Dom D’Agostino, PhD for intro’ing me to these beauties.
I take hot baths every night when at home in SF. Nearly always, I add epsom salt (typically 4-8 cups), which facilitates muscular relaxation and recovery. Rather than buy small boxes at CVS or Safeway, I buy in bulk and store it in rolling dog-food containers. This is a good use of Amazon Prime.
These are super portable (easily fit in a small backpack) and incredibly durable for the price. I’m using them for mostly dips and muscle-up progressions. My pull-up rig [written during the summer] is finally complete, and I suspend them from this (I do not do any kipping work on this rig). The Nayoya allow me to leave the rings outdoors. BUT: If you’re going to travel without chalk, I highly suggest wooden rings.
So… do you enjoy these types of recommendations?
Would you like to get a short e-mail from me every Friday with the five coolest things I’ve found that week? It often includes gadgets, books, supplements, albums, articles, new hacks, and — of course — random, useful stuff I find around the world.
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