What To Consider When Buying A Tilley Hat

I want to talk about the three main areas when considering a Tilley Hat. I’ll be using three styles of hats from my collection to demonstrate Build Quality, Sizing & Maintenance along with a few tips how to clean and wear your Tilley hat.

Outdoors Uncategorized

2020 Year In Review – Outdoor Recreation Stuff

This past year was full of challenges, but one thing that more people started doing this year was to get into the outdoors any way then could due to the various shutdowns caused by COVID-19.

Here’s a list of cool items that the Avoiding Chores Community has been ordering in 2020 either via my Amazon associate links or already in their carts.

Outdoor Cooking – Mess Kits

For the last couple of years the GSI Bugaboo was my go-to cookware for camping but I added sea-to-summit x-set 31 and really been liking the added space it gave me in my bin. Also I finally got a Jetboil flash and was totally worth it.

GPS Devices

2020 was the year where I really focused on handhelds as Garmin released a number of updates to popular models also adding more inReach into the higher end models. However, I find that it may be more flexible to get a mid range GPS device and if you wanted satellite communications like inReach, you are better off (In My Opinion) to get a ZOLEO satellite communicator. That way you can still take advantage of low cost models like the eTrex 22x on your backpacking trip and yet still have satellite communication with your smartphone.

Rain Gear

I have a preference for FROGG TOGGS for rain suits. They might not be the most durable material, but for the price point and activity you are doing, these pack down nice and small to fit in your pack, bike bag, car or truck.


A Highly Customizable Folding Knife from Deejo

Here’s a nice looking minimalist knife I picked up on my last trip to Montreal last year. The Deejo knife is a curious blade. I took a while for me to get used to it as compared to my other EDC knives. The small, compact design and clip was an issue until I decided that it was best meant for front pant pocket.

I discovered that the knife could be customized when you ordered directly from Deejo, this to me is the best option as a gentlemen’s knife where this is something you will be keeping close to you to do food preparation or other intimate tasks.

If I was going to purchase a Deejo, I would be getting a the top weight, titanium finish, tattoo and a 35 character engraving with a wood handle.

Overall I think this is a great knife for light food prep and if you are an office type, this slips in many pockets with ease.

3 sizes /weights: 25, 27, 37 grams
420 stainless steel
3 finishes: mirror, grey or dark titanium
handle: none, nylon (multiple colors) , wood (multiple choice)
35 character engraving
over 20 tattoo blade designs


Alternative To Bear Spray For Hikers – BASU eAlarm+ (formerly Robocopp sound grenade+)

Note: was absorbed into in early 2017. Updated link to view products.

When you start doing backcountry hiking at a later age it is natural that you might want to have some deterrence with you to help scare away some of the critters that might be lurking nearby. Note that depending where you live or hike, in those regions they may recommend specific items. Such as in the Arctic where a rifle is highly suggested or in some National Parks where Bear Spray is required.

But in my region, I only have to worry about a handful of animals: coyote, black bear, deer & moose.

Watch The Full Review

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Let’s look at some other non-lethal deterrence you can buy. I just happen to have previously purchases a few when I started getting serious with hiking.

Bear spray
Kinda expensive
Needs a holster not in your pack
Can’t travel with it via plane or across borders

Air horn
Cheap and easy to find
Need to holster
Can’t travel with it via plane
Around 130 db

Fox 40 whistle
Small Cheap
Lung power
Easily packable

That’s why I think the BASU eAlarm+ is a happy medium between a loud air horn with the portability of a whistle within a battery operated device that is easy to carry and is travel friendly. Thanks to Jill at formerly Robocopp for sending this item to me to evaluate during my recent hiking trips.


ROBOCOPP Sound Grenade+ specs

Two CR1632 coin type batteries (up to 5 years shelf life)
LOUD: 130 dB Siren (As Loud as an Ambulance)
COMPACT: Only 3.4 x 1.22 x 0.51 in. + TSA APPROVED
LIGHT WEIGHT: Less than 1 Ounce (20g)
LONG LIFESPAN: 30 Minutes Total Alarm Use
MULTIPLE USE: Reinsert Pin & Use Again


What I like about it

  • Portable & Loud
  • Clip loops offers lots of config option on pack
  • Can be used for camp security

Some negatives

  • Clip loop is for small clips
  • The texture can unclipped the alarm in some rare circumstances if pressed between two surfaces.

Overall I’ve found this a great device that be clipped easily to your pack or belt loop once you find the right clip size/combination. The shelf life of the CR1632 batteries will make this a good addition to your kit for a few years. I’m using the device while running and hiking. The modification I made by adding a simple fob portion at the pin end and clipping the body to my pack or belt is ready for quick pull.

You can also be creative at camp and make use of the loops to make tripwires to secure your tent or gear.

They also have a smaller version suitable for keychain and campus safety. Check them out at BASU.COM



What is the battery used?
Two CR1632 coin cell batteries.

How long does the battery last?
30 minutes of total alarm use or 1 year (whichever comes first).

Does the device just stop working after 1 year if I haven’t used it?
Not at all. We guarantee the battery under warranty for at least one year, but this type of battery will typically last up to 5 years on standby.

How many uses is the battery good for?
Unlimited uses. You can reuse your Sound Grenade over and over until you reach 30 minutes of total alarm use. The sound and cadence of the siren will begin to weaken gradually after you surpass the 30-minute mark.

Why is the battery sealed?
Unlike other consumer electronics, this is a safety commercial-grade product. Your safety is important to us and the device must function when you need it most. The battery is sealed to make the device water-resistant and childproof. A sealed battery also prevents an assailant from silencing the device.

Do you have a replacement program?
YES! We will replace your device 100% for free if used in an emergency. Just send an email
What counts as an “emergency?”
A serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.

Are the batteries user replaceable?
The batteries are not user replaceable. Since this is a personal safety device and your life may depend on it, we recommend replacing the entire device after battery depletion for mint-condition functionality.

Been carrying the @robocopp sound grenade + while #hiking clipped to my backpack for quick access #gear #outdoors

A photo posted by Avoiding Chores (@avoidingchores) on


Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Climber With Stay Glow Scales

I decided that I needed to purchase my very first swiss army knife a few months ago and saw this model at my local outdoor store. The Victorinox Climber with Stay Glow scales is a nice variation of this popular swiss army knife. When I think swiss army knife, this form & size is what comes to mind. Indeed this size is the most popular with seemingly endless tool configurations. This is a three layer tool and with the glow in the dark scales, was only found in North America. But I assume with online shopping, you can this isn’t a factor anymore.

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The Climber is essentially the Spartan by adding the Scissors. You will know the age of the knife as the multipurpose hook was added after 1991.

After a Few Months of Usage

This is my main monday to friday knife as part of my every day carry. The size while a bit bulky for my pocket, is great as a horizontal carry on my belt. I find that in my urban setting, this is a great alternative to something like the Leatherman Juice Cs4 which other than the pliers & saw I got the tool set I need.


The Tools

Layer Tools
Large Knife Blade
Small Knife Blade
Cap-Lifter/slotted screw-driver/wire-bender
Can Opener/small-slotted screw-driver that works with Phillips also
Back Layer Tools
Reamer/Awl with Sewing-eye
Multipurpose Hook
Keyring/Split-ring attachment point
Scale Tools


Physical Specifications

Length: 91mm
Width: 17mm – Stayglow scales model
Weight: 82.5g – Stayglow scales model


Great Commuter Backpack The Arc’Teryx Sebring 25

After a number of months using the Arcteryx Sebring 25 litre backpack, I wanted to share with you my high level review and thoughts whether or not this is a fantastic commuter pack or a below average backpack for the wilderness.

Pack Breakdown

The Arcteryx Sebring is a 25 Litre daypack that you can use in urban & wilderness hiking. It comes in one size and has four color variations (as of October 2016): black, red (orange), blue & green.

Padded shoulder straps, bottom and backpanel makes this a comfortable pack. The sternum strap offers a few options to adjust the height of the strap across your chest.

Big zippers can be found to access the top, main and side pockets (compartments). Great for cold weather where you are wearing gloves. the biggest feature which I love are the handles on the top, bottom & sides. This is great when you are commuting where you can grab your pack anyway you want.

The side pockets can accommodate a 750ml water bottle but note that whatever space you take up in the side pockets is space that is taken away in the main compartment. I tend to use these side pockets for dirty items like work gloves, yak trax.

The top pocket is where you want to keep most of your quick access items. I tend to put pretty much everything in there. You can also use the pocket organizer, but due to how you open the backpack (using its clam shell open) I found that everything fell out. So I would opt for a smaller pouch or bag to keep things tidy. On the reverse side (inside the main compartment) is a zipper pocket that includes a key clip.

The main compartment is nice and large. The open access it provides when the pack is lying flat is nice when you are using the pack for an overnight or weekend trip. You also have a hydration bladder sleeve and clip which i found puzzling since there is no slot to pull the tube out of the pack. So you will have to zip open the pack.However I found the sleeve to work better to store my tablet, notebook or whatever papers I need to store away.


I find this pack to be very efficient for urban and weekend traveling. When full, the pack can slide under the seat when on an airplane and has enough capacity to carry whatever you need from home to the office.


I find this pack sits lower on my shoudlers than other packs. So low that the bottom of the pack rubs against my belt line. I can see some wear where this is happening. This is an issue for me as when you carry heavier items in the pack, the weight is more at the bottom as compare to the middle of the back which I prefer personally.

The second item is that while the mesh padded back panel is nice and molds around your back; it is not breathable. If you are in t-shirt weather and hiking for more than 15 minutes, you can guarantee your entire back is gonna get sweaty. Not much of an issue when you have a few layers.


I use the Arc’Teryx Sebring 25 backpack for my monday to friday commute and weekend trips. I do not use this for any type of hiking. There are much better options out there for day hikes.


Osprey Syncro 15 – Day Hiking Backpack

Here’s a day pack I think works great for 3 season hiking for distances up to 10k and maybe a bit beyond. The Osprey Syncro 15is mainly geared for cycling but can also be used for day hiking during the 3 seasons.

I can easily fit in my 10 hiking essentials and maybe an extra shirt or light fleece when the water reservoir is full. I probably won’t be using this during the winter.

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What I like about this pack:

  1. Light pack (under 1.5 lbs) due to the 100D nylon. Thinner, and not as abrasive as tougher packs.
  2. 2.5L reservoir water bladder
  3. Sits high on your shoulders, weight is well centered.
  4. Air flow for your back and shoulder straps.
  5. hi-viz. I called this color yellow but it’s velocity green
  6. Rain Cover.



Yaktrax RUN – Product Review

I decided to spend a little more money this winter and go for the yaktrax run traction device.

The big improvements from the regular yaktrax model are a thicker natural rubber combination of Coils and metal studs and Velcro strapping on the top of your foot. Reflective webbing at the front and a reflective piece in the back allows to be seen for nighttime walking on the street.


Keysmart 2.0 Product Review

Quick product review of Keysmart 2.0, which you can get via their website at

This started out as a kickstarter project originally and you can find similar items, but I think this does it right by keeping it simple. Here I’m using the standard 3-4 keys model.

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