Archive for the ‘Packing’ Category

Stormproof Matches: burn, baby, burn

August 27, 2011

Stormproof Matches lit easily in the wind during our test

I’ve had Industrial Revolution brand Stormproof Matches to test for quite a while and, well, what better time to do it than during a hurricane — i.e. today, when Irene visited us here in North Carolina. I was sent the paper-container version pictured here, not this fancy kit that you can buy for $6 and which I recommend if you’re a big outdoorsperson.

As promised, they were very easy to light — even when the matches and striker were wet. I lit several during wind gusts of maybe 30 mph. But here’s the thing — when it’s really windy, the regular 15-second burn time goes much quicker. So you have to act fast. But still, they lit, unlike traditional matches, and they stayed lit once they got going.

A fancier carrying case is optional

The marketing information claimed the matches “are so water resistant they even remain lit after being submerged in water.” I was most excited to see this, but it didn’t work for me. Three times I dropped blazing matches into a bowl of water and the flame died immediately. So that claim went up in smoke, at least for this tester. OK, UPDATE: Got this from PR person after posting. “If you still have matches left, dunk them in water, take them back out and they should relight! It’s quite fun!” Unfortunately I’m now far from the matches for two weeks, so will try that when home. That makes more sense, I have to say! OK, NEW UPDATE: After submerging in water, the match did re-light, but it wasn’t a steady or smooth flame. Still, cool!

Industrial Revolution isn’t the only brand on these heavy-duty matches on the market, and I don’t know how they compare to others. I will say this — I will always have these kinds of matches with my camping gear from now on. I just hope I don’t ever need a submerged flame. Then again, who would?


Packing panic and Norway neuroses

June 4, 2008

I’m sending this from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, were, alas, our flight to Newark is delayed. We think we’ll still be able to make our connection to Oslo. We think….

I’m glad I crack myself up, because I’ve been having a lot of laughs at my expense over the past couple days. After planning a trip to Norway for more than a year, Wessel and I are finally on our way! As always, the last few days before leaving on a longish journey (18 days) are the craziest. I understand how the anxiety of leaving home for several weeks is enough to inspire the now-trendy “staycation.”

The location was Wessel’s idea, the highlight being a bicycle tour on Lofoten, an archipelago above the Arctic Circle that I’d never even heard of. Now that’s exciting! Since then, it was ranked in the top five of best-preserved islands by National Geographic Traveler.

We “bought” tickets with Delta Sky Miles almost a year ago, always an ordeal. Although we knew Norway was expensive, with the dollar so low and the Norwegian Krone strong, sticker shock got the better of us. So what began as a vacation with a travel story thrown in is now a working vacation, with three alternative-energy stories planned for Ode Magazine and two travel stories planned for the Boston Globe.

So, back to packing. Despite my frequent travels, I’ve never learned to pack light. I’ve taken classes, bought books, written stories on how to do it, but I seem to be a lost cause. This is a trip with work, play, warm weather, cold weather, outdoor, indoor activities. The usual. I put way too much thought into everything, trying to predict my every need. Then there was the choice of reading material. I changed books three times (settled on “What is the What”) before chucking the whole idea and going with four unread issues of The Sun Magazine.

Here’s the part that really cracks me up, and I wonder if others do the same thing. Suddenly, two days before leaving, I had to finish everything I had put off for the past three months. Filing, sending long overdue emails, cleaning a room. Meanwhile, I wrote a small book for our house/dog sitters Paul and Michelle, with about 12 headings. They came over twice for tutorials. I was very relieved that they scored well on last night’s pop quiz.

But the final hour today was the most outrageous. Even though people will be staying at the house, I ended up in the kitchen finishing every half-eaten thing in the refrigerator, things that had gone untouched for a week. When it was the agreed-upon time to leave for the airport, Wessel found me standing over the kitchen sink frantically eating half a leftover orange, juice dripping all over. “OK, hon,” he said gently, placing his hand on my shoulder as if I were a mental patient, “we really need to go now.” First, I had to put the peels in the compost. And then, finally, we were off!


Foot and mouth disease?

November 4, 2007

When I travel with Wessel, he does a thorough and spectacular “what-did-we-forget?” search before we check out of our room. He’ll often come up with something he found under the bed, or, more obvious, something I left on the nightstand. (I have been known to find his shampoo in the shower stall.) When I travel alone, I always intend to follow his lead, but more often than not I’m caught up in a mental and physical whirlwind and don’t really see what I’m looking at.

Still, when I returned home from England, having spent a few days alone there after Wessel went home, I could not believe that my electric toothbrush was not in my suitcase. I could picture it next to the sink in my beautiful bathroom at the Radisson Edwardian in Manchester, and I was so sure I’d packed it up. On the other hand, I’d had to leave my room at 5 a.m. to catch a taxi to the airport, so anything was possible.

Being an electric-toothbrush addict (my dentist endorses this obsession), I went out and spent $20 on a replacement toothbrush the next day. OK, it’s not a huge amount of money, but it was annoying.

Today, some four weeks later, I went to put on a pair of shoes I don’t often wear. toothbrush in shoeAs I stuck my foot into the right shoe, something blocked it. “What could that be?” I thought, scared it was a  rodent. Nope, it was my electric toothbrush. I’m guessing that I had shoved it through a small opening in the full, bulging suitcase, and it just happened to slide into the shoe. How I didn’t notice it when I unpacked is anyone’s guess.

You could say that I was caught with my  mouth in my foot. Sort of. It was good for a laugh.  And at least now I have a backup, just in case.