Essential Gear: The Multi Tool

I’ve carried a mini multi tool for years, in both my everyday carry and in my hiking backpack. Over the years, I have used them so many times, from mundane snipping of threads, to many a hack. A few months back, my favorite Leatherman Micra disappeared. I have no idea where it went to, maybe lost in Kirk’s truck, and not lost on a trail (although if that happened, I am sure someone is happy!). Kirk gifted me a Leatherman Style PS Multitool this past week, which I jammed into my purse. It is less than 3″ long, and barely over 1½ ounces in weight.

We spent the weekend at Mother Earth News Fair in Oregon, and Kirk’s foot was hurting badly. Well, someone had been barefoot on our urban farm. He was running out to the box we use for our battery array (for our solar panels), and had stepped on a thistle plant. Those thistle spines floated in his foot and got pretty painful.

So I sat on the floor, in a hotel room, and performed minor surgery on his foot. With the tweezers on the tool. These tweezers should be a Top 10 item to have in ones emergency kit. With that and a tactical flashlight, I pulled out over 10 thorns. The last one was the worst, but those tweezers got in there and grabbed on.

It brought back a memory of about 14 years ago, when I was on a backpacking trip, and had a hornet get stuck between my hand and trekking pole handle – and stung me bad. I sat their with my tiny Micra, and scraped the stinger out with the fingernail file!

A mini tool is often overlooked…right up till you need it. And yes, said PS is now in my pocket for daily carry.

–  Sarah

10 Kid Friendly Hikes In SE King County

I get asked often for ideas on where to kids for an “easy hike”. The hikes you can take babies to sullen teens with you. Not too long, no water crossings. Overall safer trails. This mix of 10 Kid friendly hikes in South East King County. Here in Washington State, range from lowland forested hikes to alpine lakes. Some you can do all year! Noted next to each hike is what parking/entrance pass is needed, and what seasons.

Lodge Lake, on the Pacific Crest Trail, via Snoqualmie Pass. NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass. Mid summer to Fall.

Twin Lakes, just pass Snoqualmie Pass. NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass. Mid summer to Fall. Bumpy, unpaved road.

Silver Forest Trail, Sunrise area, Mount Rainier National Park. America the Beautiful Pass. Mid summer to Fall.

Shadow Lake Loop, Sunrise Area, Mount Rainier National Park. America the Beautiful Pass. Mid summer to Fall.

Sheep Lake, Pacific Crest Trail, via Chinook Pass. Also see this post. NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass (however if you park at Tipsoo Lake, half a mile below Chinook Pass, you can park for free). Mid summer to Fall. One note, while easy to hike, be sure to keep a tight hand on children in the first mile of trail, which follows above Hyw 410. It isn’t scary, but does drop off.

Naches Peak Loop, Pacific Crest Trail, via Chinook Pass. And this post. NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass (however if you park at Tipsoo Lake, half a mile below Chinook Pass, you can park for free). Mid summer to Fall.

Ipsuit Pass, Mowich Lake, Mount Rainier National Park. America the Beautiful Pass. Mid summer to Fall. (Be warned, road is VERY bumpy and is not paved)

Trail of the Shadows Loop, Longmire, Mount Rainier National Park. America the Beautiful Pass. Mid summer to Fall, low snow years may allow a longer hiking season.

Deep Lake loop trail, Nolte State Park. Discovery Pass. All year. Park is closed in winters at times, but walking in is allowed, park on main road outside park if need be.

Franklin Ghost Town, Black Diamond area. $5 parking fee into little monument for it. Year round.

Recent Gear Finds For The Outdoors

We have had some fun gear finds come through in the past few months, and with summer actually upon us, I have had time to get out and review.

The WeBoost Drive 4G-X RV mobile phone booster:

We were sent the RV model to review, which has posed a few issues. It will eventually be installed permanently in our 4 wheeling vehicle, but we had to use it in our other truck in a non-permanent basis. Had I realized I was being sent the RV model, I’d have asked them to not. They make truck models, which not as strong, are much easier to install.

However, it does work – and once set up, is easy to use. We tried it in places where before we had no service at all, and could make phone calls and text easily.

We use T-Mobile for service, so that we could use our phones outside of town, in the rural mountains, says a lot. If you lived in a bus or van, this would be prefect to add to it. It’s not cheap, but it does work well.

The 4 in 1 Tactical LED Pen:

I love Survival Hax tools – they are fun to have on hand, and yes, they work! This features:

A glass breaker
An LED light
And a fire flint to create sparks, should you need fire.
And a pen!

It’s an affordable gift, and perfect to slip in a purse or car, to have on hand. You can also find it on Amazon.

The wearable umbrella. OK, Kirk bought this as on a lark – but the thing is…an umbrella is one of the most awesome things to use while hiking. You stay shaded. However, hiking is hard when you have to hold one…..

Yes. You will be a dork. People will snicker. But you will be shaded…lol! Wether or not you can handle the laughter, that’s on you.

And for my fave – the “Cheap Gear Find”:

It’s a Buff ripoff, for $1 at Dollar Tree, in the summer section. Looks no different from the more pricier ripoffs I have seen, and used over the years. $1 is a pretty darn good deal.

FTC Disclaimer: Some products reviewed were sent to us for consideration.