DDC Stuff Sheath

DDC Stuff Sheath

Photo credit: Robert Occhialini

The DDC Stuff Sheath—designed by the fine folks at Draplin Design Co.—is a simple leather sheath that protects your Field Notes notebook and other bits of paper bouncing around in your pocket. As the embossing on the front cover says, the Stuff Sheath is very durable and very, very orange. Sports a single line of stitching along the bottom to hold everything together.

Get one for $40 at DDC.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books, Writing

VENQUE Campro DSLR Bag

VENQUE Campro DSLR Bag

After a very successful Kickstarter campaign back in January, Canadian bag makers VENQUE (pronounced Venk) have returned to Kickstarter to launch the newest item in their collection: the Campro DSLR Bag.

Made from a durable, water-resistant fabric blend of their own creation—dubbed Quanta Fabric—the Campro is capable of carrying just about everything a photographer might need for a pro shoot: a camera or two, several lenses, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, a tripod, and basic accessories such as cables and memory cards.

For lighter shoots, convert the upper compartment to free space for your daily essentials, or turn the entire bag into a normal backpack when you’re traveling or otherwise not shooting photos.

To back the project and get a Campro (either in grey or black), it will run you $149 CAD, or just under $140 USD + $25 intl. shipping. Lower backer tiers offer different bags than the Campro, but they look nice too.

Camp Trip Notebooks

Camp Trip Notebooks

As I’ve said, you can never really have too many notebooks. These Camp Trip Notebooks from Trails of Escape in particular are great tools for planning and journaling your next outdoors excursion.

The cover lets you fill in a trip location and date range, while the inner pages contain gear-packing checklists and pages where you can capture your thoughts during the trip. $10 gets you a pack of two, each with 60 pages.

Thanks, John!

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Camera

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Camera

If you liked the Olympus E-PL5 camera, you’ll love the new(ish) Olympus E-M10. Despite its slim profile, the E-M10 produces quality images on par with entry-level DSLRs.

Compared to the E-PL5, the E-M10 has better manual dials, better image stabilization, and the addition of an electronic viewfinder, all without adding much more bulk. It also has the added benefit of Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can easily import shots directly to your iPhone, edit them with VSCO Cam, and publish them wherever you like, all without a computer.

Available in black or silver, the E-M10 is $800 with a lens and $700 for the body alone. It’s not a cheap camera by any means, but at this price level, the quality is hard to beat.

If you want a more comprehensive overview of the E-M10, add these reviews to your Instapaper queue:

Nock Co. — Pen Cases and Writing Accessories

Nock Co. — Pen Cases and Writing Accessories

It’s been nine months since we first wrote about Nock Co., the pen-and-paper accessories startup co-founded by our friend Brad Dowdy. I won’t belabor any childbirth references here (well I guess I just did), but I’m excited to say that their store is finally open for business.

If you’re like us and partial to nice pens and Field Notes notebooks, Nock Co. should be up your alley. Here are some of their offerings:

  • Brasstown ($35) — Six-slot pen case that rolls up into a small bag, which itself can hold other small accessories.
  • Lookout ($20) — Three-pen holster with flap enclosure.
  • Maryapple ($15) — Two-pocket bi-fold that can comfortably hold up to four memo books.
  • Hightower ($20) — Another bi-fold, but this one has three pen slots on one side and a single memo book pocket on the other.

These accessories (and others not listed here) are hand-made from quality nylon materials, each with a variety of colorways to choose from. Nock Co. also sells a few paper products, such as their 3×5 DotDash note cards ($6 for 50).

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Bags, Writing

Cuppow

Cuppow

If drinking cold brew coffee out of a mason jar is your thing, you’ll appreciate having a Cuppow around. It’s a BPA-free plastic lid that essentially converts the jar into a travel mug. You can sip straight from the lid or use a straw, whichever you prefer.

There are a variety of Cuppow colors and sizes to choose from, whether you’re drinking from a regular-mouth or large-mouth jar. Prices for single lids are about $8 or $9. Double packs are also available for about $16.

Hard Graft’s New Camera Straps

Hard Graft’s New Camera Straps

Hard Graft has just added two more straps to its camera accessory collection, something I wrote about a while back.

  • The Instant Camera Strap ($127) is for the photographer who needs no bells or whistles. It’s a simple, non-adjustable leather strap lined with a strip of non-slip wool where it rests around your neck or shoulder.

  • The Re-Process Camera Strap ($166), on the other hand, is very adjustable and can be converted from a shoulder strap to a hand strap as needed. Sports more wool lining than the Instant strap.

Check out both straps and more at Hard Graft.

Featured Sponsor: Backblaze

Featured Sponsor: Backblaze

50% of people lose data each year. Back up all your data with Backblaze online backup. It’s unlimited, unthrottled, uncomplicated, and at $5/month per computer, it’s unexpensive.

Backblaze natively backs up your music, movies, photos, and whatever you’re working on or editing for just $5/month. Backblaze continuously and securely backs up all the data on your computer and external hard drives.

Accessing files is easy. Download and share your files with the iPhone app or use any web browser to download your data or have Backblaze FedEx you a flash key or USB hard drive.

Data loss happens all the time. For $5/month, Backblaze will back up all the data on your Mac or PC. Stop putting it off. Start your free trial, and get your backup started today.

* * *

A huge thanks to Backblaze for sponsoring our site this week. On a personal note, I’ve been using Backblaze as my off-site backup service for years. You should definitely have an off-site backup of your data, and I think Backblaze is the best option.

Maglus Stylus Black

Maglus Stylus Black

The Maglus Stylus Black is a touchscreen stylus that works the same as its popular silver predecessor, but sports a sleek, anodized black finish. As before, the silicone tip is removable and replaceable, or you can easily swap it out for the reduced-friction microfiber model.

The body of the stylus features a magnetic flat side so you can attach it wherever it’s convenient for you—including the surface of an iPad Smart Cover. Conveniently, they include an adhesive steel panel with each Maglus, which you could set up somewhere around your desk for easy access.

The Maglus Stylus Black is $36 on Amazon.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: iPad, Tools

Twist-A-Lite

Twist-A-Lite

I rarely need a book light at home because my wife is nearly as much of a night owl as I am. The times when I do require one are more specific—for example, on a long road trip when it’s getting dark outside and I happen to be riding passenger, reading a book I’m not ready to put down yet.

This is where the Twist-A-Lite comes in handy. It’s a double-ended LED light that can be worn around your neck and contorted however you like. You can also stand it up in a cobra-like way or just wrap it around some other object.

Both of its 3-LED lights can be turned on and off individually, and they’re pretty focused lights so they don’t bother my wife while she’s driving. They’re only powered by a single AA battery though, so I don’t recommend keeping them on for hours on end unless you have to. Still, a very nifty product.

$15 on Amazon.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books, Tools

Tessel Anti-Gravity Pack

Tessel Anti-Gravity Pack

The Tessel Anti-Gravity Pack is a Kickstarter campaign for a sleek modular backpack system inspired by space exploration. They had me at hello.

There are four components in this system (from largest to smallest):

  • Anti-Gravity Pack — The primary backpack piece, made from water-resistant nylon. Sports ventilated shoulder harnesses, an adjustable sternum strap, and hidden pockets.
  • Lander — Smaller pack that can hold a 15″ MacBook Pro
  • Fuel Cell — Medium-sized pouch for your notebook(s), device chargers, etc.
  • Rover — Small pouch for carrying writing tools, flash drives, keys, and a phone.

Each component is outfitted with pairs of Fidlock SNAP fasteners so they can quickly and easily be clipped together in various ways. The AG Pack also has internal snaps in case you’d rather not attach the Fuel Cell or Rover to the outside of the bag.

Backer rewards that earn you pieces of the set start at $45. As of this writing, the lowest available level that gets you the full set is $110.

Littlbug Collapsible Camping Stove

Littlbug Collapsible Camping Stove

The Littlbug is a super-light stainless steel camping stove able to be collapsed and stored in a backpack when not in-use. It can burn wood or alcohol, can support large pots, and only takes about 15 seconds to assemble. Its height and shape creates a nice chimney effect, so you shouldn’t even need all that much burning wood to get the job done, and quickly.

The Littlbug is $48 on Amazon, and there’s a smaller “junior” version available for a couple bucks less.

FLIGHTBOOK Notebooks

FLIGHTBOOK Notebooks

Here at Tools & Toys, we don’t think there is such a thing as having too many notebooks in one’s life. Here’s another one you should add to your collection (especially if you’re an aviation nerd): FLIGHTBOOK.

Inspired by the 1956 edition of The Observer’s Book of Aircraft, the covers of these graph-paper notebooks contain some neat bits of aviation trivia, while the inner pages are white with light-blue grid lines. Each notebook is responsibly sourced from FSC-certified materials and made using 100%-renewable green electricity.

FLIGHTBOOK is available in three colors:

  • Navy Blue with silver ink (my favorite) or matte gold ink
  • Fire Engine red with silver ink or matte gold ink
  • Onyx Black with silver ink (my second favorite) or matte gold ink

Get a two-pack for $11.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books, Writing

AcousticSheep SleepPhones

AcousticSheep SleepPhones

If you’re like me and have trouble sleeping at night, listening to relaxing music, nature sounds, or spoken-word materials can be a real sleep aid. The thing is, using headphones and earbuds while lying down gets uncomfortable quickly, especially if you prefer sleeping on your side.

This is where AcousticSheep’s SleepPhones come in. They’re basically a soft fleece headband with two embedded speakers and a cord for connecting to a headphone jack. The speakers won’t win any audiophile awards, but the main point here is that the SleepPhones are quite comfortable no matter what position you’re lying in.

You can wear them over your eyes like a sleep mask if you need total darkness for a proper slumber, and the speakers can be removed when it’s time to wash the band.

There are three colors to choose from—black, gray, and lavender—and each is available in three sizes. Get them on Amazon for about $35-$40.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Audio, Music

Ugmonk Cross Pocket Leather Wallet

Ugmonk Cross Pocket Leather Wallet

Ugmonk recently added some new items to their Lifestyle collection, my favorite being the Cross Pocket Wallet.

Available in brown English bridle leather and natural vegetable-tanned leather, this slim, full-leather wallet is sure to develop an awesome patina over time. And like any good piece of leather, each piece has its own distinct markings and thus, every wallet is sure to be unique.

Both models are able to comfortably hold 8 cards plus cash, and they are embossed with Ugmonk’s signature ampersand logo on the front.

Get either one for $72 at Ugmonk.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Wallets

Field Notes — ‘Coal x DDC’ Edition

Field Notes — ‘Coal x DDC’ Edition

Coal Headwear has teamed up with Draplin Design Co. to produce a special, limited-edition Field Notes set that is timed perfectly for both the 4th of July and the World Cup. This beautiful Americana-inspired 3-pack is of the graph paper variety, and will run you $12 + US-only shipping (which was $5 for me).

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books, Writing

‘Take Control of Podcasting on the Mac’ by Andy Affleck

‘Take Control of Podcasting on the Mac’ by Andy Affleck

The recently-released third edition of Andy Affleck’s ebook Take Control of Podcasting on the Mac brings the book into the current era of podcasting. It now covers:

  • Recording and editing with GarageBand 10 and Audacity
  • New information about recording Skype conversations
  • Step-by-step instructions on recording with an iOS device
  • New profiles of experienced podcasters, including Chuck Joiner, Louis Trapani, Kelly Guimont, and Kirk McElhearn

And as it always has, the book covers topics such as choosing the best audio recording gear and software, tips on conducting a successful interview, how-to’s on recording shows (whether in the studio or in the field), and more.

Take Control of Podcasting on the Mac is $10 on the iBookstore.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books

Featured Sponsor: JetPens: Unique Writing Instruments and Desk Toys from Around the World

Featured Sponsor: JetPens: Unique Writing Instruments and Desk Toys from Around the World

JetPens is a web store that offers unique, high-quality writing instruments and office toys. Some of their latest and greatest include:

  • An innovative auto-lead-rotating mechanical pencil that always stays sharp as you write

  • Gel ink pens using thermo-sensitive ink that erases by friction Multi pens that not only contain 4 different color refills, but a mechanical pencil component as well

  • A pencil sharpener that utilizes a ratcheting mechanism

  • A pen-like gadget that uncaps to reveal portable, spring-loaded scissors Durable, metal-bodied pens containing pressurized ink cartridge to add to your everyday carry

Special offer for readers: make any $25+ JetPens purchase through this link, and you’ll receive a free Uni-ball Signo 0.38 gel ink pen with your order!

* * *

Our thanks to JetPens for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. By far and away my favorite pen is the above-mentioned Signo 0.38 which I first got from JetPens. The JetPens folks set up a deal so that if you spend $25 ordering cool gear from their site, they’ll add one of the best pens in the world to your order for free.

‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman

‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman

This weekend my wife and I each had the pleasure of starting and finishing Neil Gaiman’s popular 2013 novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

In stark contrast with his lighthearted children’s book Fortunately the Milk, Ocean is a dark tale that resurfaces in the mind of its protagonist as he recalls a series of disturbing events from his youth. While I wouldn’t exactly call it a horror novel, there are indeed some spooky moments and… let’s just say not-kid-friendly scenes (though the story is told from the vantage point of a seven-year-old boy). The best way I can think to describe it is “macabre fairy tale.”

I don’t want to spoil any of the story, so I’ll just recommend picking up the book if you haven’t already. It’s a relatively short read and well worth your time.

It’s available on Amazon in paperback ($10), hardcover ($15), Kindle edition ($8), and as an unabridged audiobook ($22). You can also get it on the iBookstore.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Books

‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Print

‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Print

Those of you unafraid to show off your love of musicals will appreciate this Singin’ in the Rain print by Brazilian illustrator Niege Borges. Even if you’re not a fan, you gotta admit she really nailed the water effects.

The print is unframed by default, with prices ranging from $17 (8″ x 10″) to $50 (28″ x 38″). They do offer frames though, if you require such a thing.

CHECK IT OUT Find more: Home, Music
More tools and toys on the next page →