Tag Archives: pro-tip

Pro-tip Tuesday:
Unintended Extra Groceries + Tote Hack

Do you ever go grocery shopping and discover that you’re picking up 150% more than you intended to buy, that you are really hungry, and now you’re trying to figure out how to bike or walk it all home?

I recently picked up a new trick for those reusable sacs (usually cloth or polyester of some sort) with sizable handle-loops. It keeps me covered when I am carrying way more than any sane, less-ambitious urban nomad would carry. Continue Reading

Pro-Tip Tuesday:
Waterproof Camping Matches, an Anti-Tip

When I was a kid in Minnesota, I went to this one summer day camp where they taught us, among other things,* to waterproof regular matches by painting clear nail polish on them. Years later living in Seattle, I diligently painted and dried each match this way. That’s the Dahlia Lounge matches you see in the picture. Then for about 4 years I brought them with for car camping and found they were annoyingly hard to strike, delaying my access to delicious and/or experimental dehydrated camp meals. I ended up defaulting to regular ones, like the ones above from Fish and Game Hudson here. Conclusion: you could also always go for survival matches like the ones above, or regular ones in a ziploc bag. Sometimes DIY is overrated.

From left: stormproof matches, regular matches, DIY waterproof matches with nail polish, and a gas canister with camp stove.

*I vaguely recall them also teaching us to cut radishes into rose shapes…

Pro-Tip Tuesday:
Alt Uses for a Water Bottle While on the Road 2

Here’s one from my significant other’s mountaineering class. I froze my ass off camping in in Bryce Canyon so you don’t have to.

While camping, you can fill a large nalgene (or other water) bottle with hot water before bed, and put it in your sleeping bag for extra warmth all night! If you find the surface a little burn-y to your skin, you can wrap a bandana around the bottle.

Yours Truly, wearing 9 layers to make up for freezing in my 32F sleeping bag since it was 25F in Bryce Canyon. I look a bit of a gremlin in my clothes + K’s clothes, but I do feel warmer.

Bonus warmth points if you drink all the water once you wake up. Staying hydrated, friends!

Also see: Pro-Tip Tuesday: Alt Uses for Your Water Bottle While on the Road 1

What alternative uses do you have for your nalgene bottle? Please share!

Thrifty Thursday: How to Save on Shopping When You Bike

Right in time for April’s 30 Days of Biking: BicycleBenefits.org offers this $5 sticker which gets you discounts at different places across the nation!

Just bring your stickered bike helmet in when you arrive on two wheels, and not only will you save marginal cost on gas and car maintenance, but literally get a discount when, say, buying a cup of coffee. If your coffee is ridiculously expensive at $5, getting 5 cups of coffee already breaks even for buying the sticker.

Top: my helmet with the sticker. Bottom: next time you see this sign at a store, buy it!

Note: they did not pay me to say this, just thought of it as I was finally buying a sticker after seeing it the 100th time at a local Seattle coffee shop.

Continue reading

5 Things To Explore in Fairbanks
Alaskan Adventures Part 4

This last installment on Alaskan Adventures is packed with travel tips. Enjoy!

“To know the wilderness is to know a profound humility, to recognize one’s littleness, to sense dependence, and interdependence, indebtedness and responsibility.”

-Howard Zahniser, author of the Wilderness Act of 1964

Downtown Fairbanks was more cosmopolitan than I expected (ok ok, I did not expect tons of urban life). Upon reflection, it warms my heart to say that visiting a place viewed as remote in the lower 48 turned out to involve many warm encounters with quirky, friendly folks. Even in a place with so much amazing, non-human-related nature, the people were a big part of what made the experiences so memorable. Thus, the quote above. Perhaps it is partly the unforgiving environment that forged a culture of down-to-earth friendliness among those who live here.

We witnessed various shenanigans on a Sunday in Fairbanks, some you’ll have to ask me in person for a recounting. Beyond those:

We stopped in at Lavelle’s Taphouse for a good beer selection, and while there, saw a truck get stuck in the fluffy (tricky) snow out front. Continue reading

Pro-Tip Tuesday, Travel Edition:
the Power Outlets Hiding in Plain Sight

Travel Pro-Tip of the Day: my co-explorer and I often run into limited device-to-charging-cord ratios when we travel. Either one of us has packed a cord but the other overlooked it, or there appear to be too few compatible outlets wherever we’re staying. Besides using a plugged in laptop as a USB port for phone cables, we’ve learned some other solutions over time:

It’s a two-fer!

  1. You can often use the tv for usb cables to charge your devices. In the most recent case of Fairbanks, AK, our cabin had a tv with no live feed, but the USB input was still there for power.
  2. If you’re at a hotel or other large establishment and forgot a charging cord, check with the front desk for a compatible cable. Odds are, just as you forgot yours at home, others often forget theirs in their hotel room. Thanks, anonymous fellow travelers!

What wonders the Universe provides, humble and great.

What to Pack for an Alaskan Winter Adventure
Alaska – Part 0

Where one can let the spirit go with joyous abandon, to sense the freedome of the wilderness.
Olaus Murie

The first time I remember camping and absolutely loving it, I was twenty-one years old. My significant other and I had scored a great deal on tickets to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula from Minneapolis. As we landed and walked off the tarmac in Anchorage, I swore I could smell the ice and pristine air wafting in from the mountains of “the Last Frontier.” Continue Reading

Pro-tip Tuesday: a Remedy for Sore Muscles Apres-Board/Ski

Food the Wong Way has involved a healthy dose of outdoor activity this winter, including a fair bit of snowboarding and snowshoeing, which historically has been hard on my knees and back. My friend Katherine recently talked me into going with my local German pub Prost on a ski bus, so despite appearing to have packed for the apocalypse, I tried to pack lighter. That’s when I came up with this light short-term remedy for sore knees. Continue reading