1. Please tell us a little more about yourself.
I am 36 years old, I grew up in Ohio near a State Wildlife Preserve.
I am married and I have a 4 year old son, who is an amazing and fun kid.
I went to school to become a philosophy professor, but changed my mind and got a law degree.
I have been a trial lawyer ever since.
I love the outdoors.
2. What was the trigger for starting everydaycommentary.com?
I was always someone that researched purchases very, very carefully.
I had developed these super complex methods of evaluating stuff, from cars to houses to folding knives.
They had all these criteria and some were weighted more than others.
It only made sense to take that, simplify and generalize it, and share it with people.
I was doing all of the work of scoring stuff already and so I just made that public. I have found scoring reviews incredibly helpful.
When I was a kid I loved video games (I still do), Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) was my favorite magazine to read.
They had scored reviews and it always helped me, so I thought putting out my scoring system might help others.
3. Please give us a little insight into your “Special Series” section on your blog.
The Special Series stuff is just little projects I have had written up.
There are a few things I write about consistently–“In Case you Missed it” which is a review of stuff that just went out of production that I think warrants a second look before prices skyrocket on the secondary market, recommendation series, where I recommend gear based on prices, and then Shootouts where I compare two or three similar products.
Its all just a lot of fun, but these articles take a bit more work and I noticed they got extra hits, over and above other stuff, so I set them apart to make them easy to find.
4. What gear do you review on your site?
I review pretty much anything someone would carry on their person on a regular basis other than firearms and smoking/vaping stuff.
I have scoring systems for most stuff: folding and fixed blade knives, multi tools, flashlights, pens, water bottles, bags and packs, and soon wallets.
When I started the site I had these weighed systems for about ten different items and I have been slowly rolling them out and modifying them for general consumption.
I also review random stuff that people send.
I try to pay special attention to new and small makers, stuff on Kickstarter or stuff folks are launching on their own.
I also try not to review only expensive or cheap stuff, I want a wide variety of things reviewed to help people make decisions about what to buy and what to avoid.
5. What was the most challenging environment that you faced and what gear item helped the most?
Honestly, especially since my son was born, I have not hiked any challenging environments at all.
The reality is that while I spend at least one day every week on a hike, it is usually a 3-6 mile hike near my house in one of the state preserves or one of the Audubon locations.
Its just not possible or fun for my son to do something else at this point.
Most of the hikes do involve elevation changes, usually around 1,500 to 3,000 feet, so its a tough climb for him. Most of the time, he climbs up and I carry him back on my shoulders.
Its a damn good bit of exercise as he weighs around 40-45 pounds.
Obviously, on a day hike I don’t need really exotic gear, but the two things I have found helpful were a good insulated water bottle, I like the Hydroflask quite a bit, and a small fixed blade like the ESEE Candiru or the Bark River Little Creek.
The water bottle’s use is obvious, but the small fixed is really handy. We almost always take food with us and it helps cut up his food and then I can use it whittle stuff or cut things down for him.
Its a rare hike that he does not want me to make something with a knife–a walking stick, a fire starter, something.
6. What is your favorite multi tool and why? What other tools do you use when outdoors?
My favorite multitool is the Leatherman Skeletool CX.
I do a lot of wood working and house maintenance myself, so I have a good collection of tools.
Most of the time I have the right tool for the job and I don’t need a multitool, especially one with TONS of implements.
But the Skeletool has proven its worth as a step saver. If I am inside the carcass of some big wood working project it is a huge hassle to go grab a Phillips driver I did not think I would need, and so the Skeletool is right there.
Also I think people often misperceive how they use multitools. About 75% of the time it is a knife.
Multitools with knives that are hard to get to (inside the handle) or have poor steel make no sense to me. The Skeletool’s knife is superb and runs good steel.
I also like the fact that it has a pocket clip, which is super underrated on a multitool.
The tool complement is perfect–it works for 95% of my tasks (if I were an electrician that would probably change). And then there is the weight–at 4.9 ounces it is just so much lighter than stuff like the Wingman, the Wave, and the Charge TTi.
I own more than a few multitool, but the Skeletool CX is the one I always reach for when I think I will need a multitool.
I am not a proponent of taking a multitool with you when you go outdoors. Around the house they are awesome, but I just don’t encounter that many Phillips head screws when my son, my wife and I are tracking along a river or scrambling up a tiny mountain.
Give me a good small fixed blade, a water bottle and a sturdy hiking stick and I am fine. Hiking sticks are pretty underrated by gear folks. They are a great way to set the pace for a hike, they save a bit of wear and tear on your knees, and in a pinch you can move things away from you that are bothersome-branches, four and two legged animals.
I think the metal ones are silly, but a good, homemade hiking stick from a closed grain hardwood like maple is really awesome to take with you outside. I also like the Maxpedition Pygmy Falcon II.
It is a great day pack for hiking.
7. Who is the adventurer that you follow and appreciate the most?
If there is one person whose adventures I find most fascinating it has to be my son. I know that’s not the kind of answer you were looking for, but it is true.
If I am with adults all day there is basically zero things that happen or are said that are totally new and surprising. If I am with him, he will say or do something surprising, something
I could have never imagined about once every 15 minutes. Going outside and going on hikes with him is something that my wife and I delight in.
Its sad that a lot of kids don’t have the ability or desire to go out into nature and see things. You don’t need to go to some isolated Alaskan island to find nature.
A five minute car ride from most places will do just fine and taking kids there will make it a more interesting adventure than anything you’ll read about in the pages of National Geographic.
If you get a few wildlife ID books like the Audubon guides, the adventure can also be educational. At four my son can ID quite a few different trees, animals, tracks, and plants (he is especially good at pointing out poison ivy).
In terms of real adventurers, Lewis and Clark have always held sway over my imagination. Even today, folks that like the outdoors can learn a lot by reading their journals.
Its so amazing to me that more than two hundred years ago they were doing things that ultralight folks are just starting to do more of now.
For example, they didn’t carry a lot of stuff on a per person basis, but they had extensive repair kits and I think that all parts of the outdoor community have come to realize the value of packing light and being able to fix what you have.
8. A message to your readers and fans.
I have no illusions about having fans.
As for readers, I am grateful that people read what I write, not only because it is nice to have things consumed and appreciated, but also because I learn so much more from my readers than they learn from me.
Tips, tricks, what gear to buy I honestly have learned a ton from readers and their feedback.