My Evening Reads

I follow a lot of websites. In Keeping Up with Current Events, I list the seventeen I use to start my day. These get regular updates and help me keep up on current events. I also follow a lot of websites run by independent writers and small shops. These cover many of the same topics, but due to their size, they do not get updated as often. The unique perspective they bring to the table, though, makes for some of the most interesting reading I do. To round out my earlier post, I want to share this list with you today.

Out of the forty sites on this list, I can expect to see new content on just six per day, a handful of others in a week, and the rest on an inconsistent basis. Rather than check each one, I keep up with them using their RSS feeds. In brief, think of an RSS feed as a single file containing a list of all the articles on a website. On April 9th, for example, the feed for my blog would have looked like this:

Whenever a new post goes live, that list gets updated. After posting Proxy Innovation on April 10th, my feed would have changed. Take note of the new entry at the top:

RSS readers watch RSS feeds for changes like that. On April 10th, my reader would have shown me a new article called Proxy Innovation. My app of choice, Reeder, keeps track of feeds for over forty sites. Any time one of those lists changes, when a new post goes live, Reeder delivers it to my phone. Just like my morning reads, most of the time this yields a handful of articles, one or two of which find their way here, and the rest of which I read for my own edification. Although drawing from many sources, their inconsistent posting schedule means I skim around 100 titles per day. I break these sites up by genre below, in no particular order, along with a brief note on each.

Adventuring #

Recall that I defined “adventuring” as “the vehicles you use to get the gear you pack to the places you want to go.” To break this section up, I divided the sites here into those three categories.

The vehicles you use... #

  • http://twoifoverland.com/ - Bethany and Martin Burzynski had Global Expedition Vehicles build their RV atop an M1083 chassis in 2016. Their site inspired me to start building my own rig, and informed a lot of the decisions I made as I started that process.
  • https://blissordie.com - Lilly and Darrel Davis have lived in an RV based on the M1078 chassis since April of 2018. I found their website soon after Two If Overland. Bliss Or Die has a lot of great information for anyone thinking of getting into this space.
  • https://www.overlandpeanut.com/blog/ - Around the same time I found Bliss Or Die, I found Overland Peanut, too. Christina Aalto and Brian Marsh also bought their M1078 in 2018, and write about the conversion process on their site and on Instagram.
  • https://liveworkwander.com - Stepping out of the world of large-scale expedition rigs, Jessica and Jorge adventure in a 70 series LandCruiser. Their journey to this rig made for a great story, and now that they have it, they continue to do all sorts of cool things and post great articles at Live Work Wander.
  • https://expeditionportal.com/ - The staff behind Expedition Portal churn out some of the best overlanding content on the Internet. If it involves vehicular travel, they cover it — and they cover it well. If you want to get serious about overlanding, start here.
  • http://www.drivingline.com/ - I have a problem with most car magazines: they focus on sports cars and racing, neither of which internet me. DrivingLine does a good job of balancing that coverage out with industry news and off-road vehicles and gear. This helps me keep up with current events in the auto industry, and checks the box for adventure-related topics, too.

...to get the gear you pack... #

I like gear. I like reading about it, trying cool new things, and finding the best tools for the job. This has cost me a lot of money in the past, so I stick to reading now. These sites help me do that. Some have a narrow focus — on ultralight backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, for example; others focus on a much broader swath of the industry. These are the best sites for gear news on the internet.

I look to these first four sites for general interest gear news. Show me the coolest, newest toys on the market — everything from cars to pocket knives to yachts. Although their coverage overlaps some, they feature enough different content to warrant watching all four. I will never buy most of the things I see here, but I enjoy reading about them.

These next sites focus on things like backpacks and knives — items an individual would use for a day trip, for example. I have put a lot of money into this type of gear in the past, so I like to keep up on the latest trends and inventions.

  • http://www.everydaycommentary.com/ - I like Anthony Sculimbrene and Nick Shabazz’s podcast Gear Geeks Live for the same reason I read Anthony’s site, Everyday Commentary: their passion for phenomenal gear reminds me not to settle for the mediocre.
  • https://www.carryology.com - I like backpacks, I own a lot of them, and Carryology helps me keep up with the best the industry has to offer.
  • https://packconfig.com - The folks over at Pack Config bring an interesting mix of gear reviews, recommendations, and in-depth testing to the table, alongside curated “pocket dumps” that showcase the cool gear their readers carry. These posts in particular have lead to some interesting finds for me.
  • http://www.exploringoverland.com/ - Exploring Overland’s Overland Tech & Travel blog focuses more on the types of gear overlanders use. Look here for a mix of gear an individual would use on a day trip, and things like portable fridges.
  • https://www.itstactical.com - I have mixed feelings on ITS Tactical. The blog came about as a way to promote the store, so I understand why it highlights giveaways and serial posts with little lasting value. That sort of content drives pageviews, which turn into revenue. That comes at the cost of burying valuable content, though. I have found some phenomenal information on this site. The recent two-part series on overland communications comes to mind, where Derek Gill explained the challenges of staying in touch in extreme environments and how he overcame them. If you feel up to sifting through a lot of junk to get to some real gems, I cannot recommend the site enough. See also ITS Tactical on YouTube.
  • https://sticksblog.com - If I ever do hike the Appalachian Trail, I will hike it with the gear recommended on Stick’s Blog.

...to the places you want to go. #

  • https://misadventuresmag.com/category/read/ - The writers at Misadventures Magazine post some good gear reviews, but even better, they talk about going places and the less tangible side of adventuring. The all-female staff focuses on gear for women, and brings a different perspective to this space that I enjoy.
  • https://huckberry.com/journal - Andy Forch and Richard Greiner said it best, so I will let their words do the talking: They created Huckberry in 2010 for guys who lived in the city but lived for the outdoors — to give guys gear for today, and inspiration for tomorrow. They manage the former with an awesome, curated store, and the latter with the Huckberry Journal. I got lucky enough to stumble across this site a few years ago, and have followed it ever since.
  • https://cabinporn.com/ - I remember the night I discovered Cabin Porn. I spent hours on the site. Although post volume has gone down in recent years, the same great content that sucked me in so many years ago still appears thrtrtoday. I love a good cabin in the woods.
  • https://www.outsideonline.com/ - By far the biggest site on this list, Outside Online posts a lot of new content each day. I still subscribe to the RSS feed, though, instead of lumping it in with my morning reads, because I don’t want to miss a thing. Outside Online covers everything from repairing a broken zipper in the wilderness to packing for an overland adventure. I do not enjoy the political side of the site, but everyone seems to love that third rail these days.
  • http://dereklow.co/ - I found Derek Low’s site by way of his viral [*Across the USA by Train for Just $186
  • *](https://dereklow.co/across-the-usa-by-train-for-just-213/) piece, and stuck around for all the interesting travel writing he does. I plan to take a few of these routes myself.

YouTube Channels #

I also follow a few YouTube channels in the adventure space. I choose to do this through RSS as well, so that I never miss a new video. I subscribe to other channels, those that I care less about, on YouTube.

  • Expedition Overland on YouTube - The folks that got me into overlanding in the first place, I cannot say enough good things about Expedition Overland. They inspired me to get a 4Runner and start my grand adventure a few years ago, and they do the same even today. If you have any interest in overlanding, check this channel out.
  • Mountain State Overland on YouTube - Mountain State Overland also played an important role in getting me into adventuring. They post a lot of great videos, too, and go on some awesome adventures on the East Coast. I hope to cover a lot of the same routes someday.
  • nutnfancy on YouTube - If you know of Nutnfancy, you know of him for his gun reviews; if not, go there for the thought-provoking talks on philosophy of use that should come before every piece of gear you own. I like both, but I think he brings the most value to the table when he forces me to think.
  • The Tactical Defender on YouTube - To his credit, Tim also does some nice gear reviews: he takes everything out, puts it through its paces in the woods, and gives his viewers an honest assessment. That said, I just enjoy hearing him talk. I watch the occasional gear review, but for the most part, I stick around for the rambling videos he records while hiking.
  • Triple Aught Design on YouTube - Triple Aught Design gets many things right, but even more pretty close. I have yet to go on an adventure without the phenomenal Force 10 AC Cargo Pant, for example, but the also awesome Triton AC Short has fit me like spandex since I started deadlifting over 500 pounds. Their backpacks have some great features, but lack the capacity for more than a day trip. I follow the company’s YouTube channel because it has demonstrated an ability to make cool things, and I believe it will make them better in time.

DIY #

I love building things. When I faced buying a storage system for my 4Runner, I chose to build my own. I have grand plans for future projects, and these two give me even more ideas. Even more important, though, seeing experts practice their craft teaches me to improve mine. I have learned a lot from both Ana and Joe, and that will not change any time soon.

Finances #

I have some bold fiscal goals. These two sites helped inform them, and they help keep me on track, too. Sam, who writes Financial Samurai, and Dominic, who writes Gen Y Finance Guy, both come from a background in finance. Sam’s hard work and shrewd moves allowed him to achieve financial independence at a young age, and Dominic is well on his way to doing the same. I hope to follow in their footsteps soon.

Politics #

I read a handful of political websites, but just one political blog. Warren Meyer brings to the table an analytical perspective critical of both sides, grounded in his experience owning a private company that runs government-owned parks. I enjoy his wit, candor, and lack of bias.

Programming #

I would not call myself a good programmer. I know enough to do some damage, but the better I get, the more room for growth I see. These writers seldom talk about the basics, but rather the interesting edge cases, tricks, and lessons they have encountered or learned in their careers as developers. They teach me new things all the time.

  • https://www.hanselman.com/blog/ - Scott Hanselman covers writing and development at a high level, for the most part, but gets down into the weeds on occasion. He has a wealth of knowledge to share on all fronts.
  • https://bitsofco.de/ - At bitsofcode, Ire Aderinokun writes about front-end development. I have seen a lot of people brush HTML, CSS, and JavaScript off as solved problems, in an age where lazy browser rendering and fast internet connections have masked the importance of smart design. That tide has started to change, though, and Ire’s tips have helped me stay in front of this trend.
  • https://davidwalsh.name - I have some strong feelings about the design of David Walsh’s blog, and much more positive ones about the great articles he posts there. David writes focuses on front-end development, but also covers languages and technologies on the back end as well.
  • https://medium.com/@addyosmani - A Google engineer working on Chrome, Addy Osmani writes a lot about ways to optimize the web. You may have noticed a pattern here.
  • http://nonullpointers.com - Although a new site without much of a back catalog, Chris D’Aloisio has written some interesting pieces on the less technical side of becoming a better developer. I look forward to seeing what else he has to say.

Miscellaneous #

This last group of websites does not fit into of the genres above, but over the years I have found some great content here. I like the authors, and I like to keep up with their work.

  • https://waitbutwhy.com - Tim Urban brings a unique perspective to some complex topics, which he explains and examines at an impressive level of detail. He does not post often anymore, but I always pay attention when he does.
  • https://zenhabits.net - I took a deep dive on mindfulness a few years ago, and only Leo Babauta’s zen habits lasted more than a few weeks. He reminds me to slow down when I get too wrapped up in life.
  • http://blairreeves.me - One of my favorite new writers, Blair Reeves talks about tech, life, and writing a blog.
  • http://www.ericdavis215.com/blog/ - A former Navy SEAL, Eric Davis has some interesting thoughts on life, adventure, and philosophy.

The Full List #

Like last time, to make your life a little easier, I list every site below in order of appearance.

  1. http://twoifoverland.com/
  2. https://blissordie.com
  3. https://www.overlandpeanut.com/blog/
  4. https://liveworkwander.com
  5. https://expeditionportal.com/
  6. http://www.drivingline.com/
  7. https://gearpatrol.com
  8. https://www.gearhungry.com
  9. https://gearjunkie.com
  10. 10. https://uncrate.com/

    11. http://www.everydaycommentary.com/

    12. https://www.carryology.com

    13. https://packconfig.com

    14. http://www.exploringoverland.com/

    15. https://www.itstactical.com

    16. https://sticksblog.com

    17. https://misadventuresmag.com/category/read/

    18. https://huckberry.com/journal

    19. https://cabinporn.com/

    20. https://www.outsideonline.com/

    21. http://dereklow.co/

    22. Expedition Overland on YouTube

    23. Mountain State Overland on YouTube

    24. nutnfancy on YouTube

    25. The Tactical Defender on YouTube

    26. Triple Aught Design on YouTube

    27. http://www.ana-white.com/

    28. Homesteadonomics on YouTube

    29. https://www.financialsamurai.com

    30. http://www.genyfinanceguy.com

    31. http://coyoteblog.com

    32. https://www.hanselman.com/blog/

    33. https://bitsofco.de/

    34. https://davidwalsh.name

    35. https://medium.com/@addyosmani

    36. http://nonullpointers.com

    37. https://waitbutwhy.com

    38. https://zenhabits.net

    39. http://blairreeves.me

    40. http://www.ericdavis215.com/blog/

I like big-name websites for keeping up on current events, but I tend to find the best content on sites like these. The advice to “follow people, not places” has served me well, and I encourage you to start doing the same.