What Makes This Thing Great

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I’ve always hated shopping and consumerism. Problem is, I can’t avoid them entirely. My solution is simple. I try to buy high-quality stuff and when I find things I like, I stick with them. It doesn’t feel bad to buy something when I know I’ll have it forever and get a ton of use out of it. Plus, if I can support a company that’s creating genuinely useful & reliable products, then that feels pretty good too. My friends know how much I enjoy giving things away & recommending stuff that has served me well over the years. This website is an evolution of that impulse to share good stuff with people I love.

If you use any of the links on this site, a small percentage of the purchase price gets kicked back to support Tangentially Speaking,, Vanthropology, etc., at no extra cost to you. Thanks in advance for your support.

– Chris

Mr. Heater Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Propane Radiant Heater

This heater is easy to use and heats up the van quickly. I also use it in the house to avoid using the regular heater, which dries everything out.

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Bose SoundLink Revolve+ Portable and Long-Lasting Bluetooth 360 Speaker

I’ve tried a lot of Bluetooth speakers, but this one holds out as one of, if not the best. We use it in the van and at our campsite. Super easy to hang on things and it has multi-directional sound which is always nice.

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CARAPEAK 12KN Mini Wiregate Aluminum Lightweight Snag Free Carabiners

Carabiners are incredibly useful for many things, but especially useful when traveling in the van. I use them to hang laundry lines, hammocks, etc. Most carabiners are shitty and snag like crazy. These are affordable, strong and don’t snag on anything.

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OxGord RV Camper Leveler Ramps Leveling Blocks for Travel Trailer Levelers for RVS Campers (Pack of 2)

These are great for leveling out the van when I can’t find even ground to park on. I had another set, but they broke the third time I used them. I’ve had these ones for 2 years and so far, so good. If you have a heavy van like mine, these will definitely do the trick.

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Dometic CFX3 75DZ Portable Refrigerator and Freezer, Powered by AC or Solar

Recently replaced our ARB with this Dometic, and it’s been a huge upgrade. This allows us to have both a freezer and a fridge, and it’s a lot easier to organize things inside of it. Plus, it has a light inside making it easy to find things, even in the dark.

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YETI Roadie 24 Cooler

We have several Yetis, all of which are great. We use an older model of this smaller one for drinks, freeing up more space in the fridge for food.

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Cooler Shock Reusable Ice Pack – Long Lasting Cold Freezer Packs for Coolers

These ice packs fit perfectly in my Yeti cooler and keep everything cold much longer than any other ice pack I’ve used.

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ZeroWater 20 Cup Ready-Pour Dispenser Water Filter Pitcher

I use this filter mostly in the van, as it fits perfectly in our sink. It comes with a free water quality meter so you can see how “filtered” your filtered water actually is. Why is it better than the Brita? ZeroWater utilizes a 5-stage filter which includes a large amount of ion-exchange resin, a technology commonly used in reverse-osmosis systems. The ZeroWater filter attracts metal ions in the water, which effectively eliminates all inorganic dissolved solids like metals. This is why ZeroWater (accurately) reports that their water has zero “dissolved” solids — a point they prove by including a TDS tester with their pitchers.

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ARB 10500060A Adventure Light 600 AC/DC Rechargeable Lithium Battery Adventure Light 600

This flashlight is great. It’s duty, super bright and has a magnet which easily adherers to the inside of the van so I can grab it whenever I need it.

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Coghlan’s Egg Holder

Really the only way to keep eggs safe while in the van or camping. We’ve been pretty rough with this, and it seems to always keep the eggs intact. Works for eggs of many different sizes.

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National Geographic Road Atlas 2021: Adventure Edition

The van trips would not be possible without this atlas. It lists campsites, forest service land, scenic routes… basically it gives you everything an app won’t and there’s no connectivity required to figure out where you’re going.

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Rode NT-USB USB Condenser Microphone

I used a Blue Yeti usb mic for a while for the home recording stuff (intros and ROMAs and TOMAs), but I recently switched to this mic because the headphone jack on the Yeti got a little loose and I like the sound a bit better. Plus, it’s smaller, so it’s easier to take it on the road when I’m out vanthropologizing.

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Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones with CCAW Voice Coil

I have several pairs of these. I plug them directly into my Rode Mic, and use them with my Zoom recorder.

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Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone

These are the handheld mics I use. I was using lapel mics for a while, but then my annoying friend Kyle Thiermann kept telling me how much the audio sucked on my podcast, so I finally went with these. I liked the lapel mics because people could forget they were being recorded and relax — but he’s right that the audio quality suffered, so I caved. These are great. Very solid, with coaxial cables.

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Rode PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm

This is on my desk, with the Rode mic mounted on it. Work’s perfectly!

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Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

I love this thing. I started with the H-4N, but upgraded to this when it came out. Love the on-board mixing and ability to record in so many formats. I record high quality mp3, which gives me tons of space on a 64 gig card. The only downside to this thing is that it eats batteries pretty fast, and if they die while you’re recording, you can lose everything that hasn’t been saved. After I’d been complaining about that (on the air) for a while, a listener wrote to me and said, “Hey dumb-ass, why don’t you get back-up power for your Zoom so we don’t have to listen to you complain about it?” Good question. So I got a portable charger (see below) and it works great.

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Portable Charger Anker PowerCore 20100mAh – Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with 4.8A Output and PowerIQ Technology

This is the portable charger I use with my Zoom. I keep it plugged into the Zoom while I’m recording and it works perfectly – no risk of losing audio files.

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Pyle Desktop Microphone Stand – Universal Tabletop Mic Holder w/ Flexible 8.2” Inch Gooseneck Mount

These tabletop mic stands are reliable, sturdy and get the job done when I have access to a table when recording. I mostly use these when I’m at home, and use the more lightweight ones below when traveling.

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Moukey Desk Mic Stand Universal Adjustable Desktop Microphone Stand Portable Foldable Tripod Mic Table Stand

These mic stands are super lightweight, and pack down easily and efficiently. When I’m traveling, these are the mic stands I bring with me.

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Hercules MS401B Tripod TILT Microphone Stand

These mic stands are impressive, especially when I don’t want to record on a table, or don’t have access to one. They’re heavy-duty, stay put, and tilt from the bottom, making them super convenient and versatile.

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Belkin RockStar 5-Jack Multi Headphone Audio Splitter

These work great for recording with multiple people, so that we all can have headphones and listen live to what the recording sounds like.

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Bitches Brew Groundwork Organic Whole Bean Dark Roast Coffee

My favorite coffee as of late. Dark, robust and extra bitchy.

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Scorned Woman Hot Sauce 5oz

This hot sauce is the best and only available online. It’s flavorful, rich, and smoky. It’s quite hot, so I like to dilute it halfway with olive oil. One thing to note – this scorned woman has a big mouth, so be careful not to pour too quickly.

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Kasandrinos Organic HUGE 3 LITER Extra Virgin Greek Olive Oil

Most olive oil is shit & cut with all sorts of other processed oils in order to cut costs for the manufacturer. This stuff is the real deal. It’s organic, tastes great & is produced by a small family business.

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Nutiva Organic, Cold-Pressed, Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil from Fresh, 54-ounce (Pack of 2)

This is coconut oil. It comes in big jugs. I use it for sautéing things.

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Sex at Dawn

by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jethá

Wrote this book about the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality. Maybe you’ve heard of it…

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Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress

by Christopher Ryan

I also wrote this book. Civilized to Death counters the idea that progress is inherently good, arguing that the “progress” defining our age may be analogous to an advancing disease.

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Tangentially Reading

by Christopher Ryan

Tangentially Reading is a collection of 26 memorable conversations from the podcast. The creation of the book – from its conception through to transcription through to design and illustration – was powered by the enthusiasm of the global Tangentially Speaking community. The book’s gorgeous illustrations are original works by podcast listener Adam McDade. NOTE: Unlike the original, limited-edition print run of Tangentially Reading, this edition has a grayscale interior. If you want the color version, click here.

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Desert Solitaire

by Edward Abbey

I love this book. No idea how many times I’ve read it, or just dipped into it for a few pages. The chapters are really stand-alone essays that add up to an integrated philosophy, a perspective, a man. Edward Abbey wrote with balls (which makes it hard to hold a pen—and isn’t limited to men, see Annie Dillard below). He just doesn’t give a shit about some things and is incredibly passionate about others. If your values don’t align with his very well, you’ll no doubt find him overbearing and absurd. If they do, his voice can sound a bit like the voice of your own conscience.

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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

by Annie Dillard

When Annie Dillard was writing this book, the two she wanted to emulate were Thoreau’s Walden and Abbey’s Desert Solitaire (see above). When you read it, you’ll understand why. Dillard’s book doesn’t just capture the same feeling of being alone in nature that those other books explore; she writes with the same wildness and straight-from-the-heart courage those books are famous for. Many passages in this book made me feel like I’d just eaten a handful of mushrooms. It’s amazing what you’ll find if you just pay attention.

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One River

by Wade Davis

Wade Davis has written a bunch of great books (and tells an amazing story about an old man making a knife of frozen shit in one of his TED talks), but this is my favorite. One River tells the story of an incredible man, Richard Evans Schultes, who spent much of his adult life exploring the Amazon, identifying hundreds of plants with medicinal and/or psychoactive properties. Davis studied with Schultes at Harvard, as did Andrew Weil. It’s a lovely book.

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A Short History of Progress

by Ronald Wright

Ronald Wright hits it out of the park with this one. Beautifully written and researched, succinct and devastating. It’s a book I recommend a lot as an antidote to the bullshit being sold by the likes of Steven Pinker.

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Humans of New York: Stories

by Brandon Stanton

I’ve been following this account on Instagram for a while, and it’s amazing. He finds people on the streets and asks them about their lives. Somehow, he gets such amazing stories from the people he encounters, the sorts of stories everyone has, but few have a chance to tell. This is a truly important, heartfelt project. I’m a big fan.

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Our Inner Ape

by Frans De Waal

Let me tell you how I met Frans de Waal. When we were almost finished with Sex at Dawn, Cacilda and I decided to reach out to some of the scientists we’d disagreed with in our book, but upon whose research we’d built our argument—to give them a chance to tell us if we were mistaken or unfair in some way. I sent Frans an email explaining what we were arguing and sent him the sections that were critical of some of his conclusions. He responded by asking if I’d seen this or that paper, considered this or that factor. After a few very friendly exchanges, he wrote, “Well, you might be right. You’ve got an exciting book on your hands. These issues need debating over and over…” I asked if I could quote him publicly saying this, and he wrote, “Sure, you can use it as a blurb, if you want.”

To say I admire Frans de Waal as a scientist and as a man would be putting it very mildly. He’s done more to bring the bonobo to the world’s attention than anyone.

When Our Inner Ape came out, I was working (slowly) on Sex at Dawn. I ordered a copy immediately, thinking that Frans had beaten me to the punch. As it turned out, his book is quite different from what I was writing—much to my relief.

Buy Now

Our Inner Ape

by Frans De Waal

Let me tell you how I met Frans de Waal. When we were almost finished with Sex at Dawn, Cacilda and I decided to reach out to some of the scientists we’d disagreed with in our book, but upon whose research we’d built our argument—to give them a chance to tell us if we were mistaken or unfair in some way. I sent Frans an email explaining what we were arguing and sent him the sections that were critical of some of his conclusions. He responded by asking if I’d seen this or that paper, considered this or that factor. After a few very friendly exchanges, he wrote, “Well, you might be right. You’ve got an exciting book on your hands. These issues need debating over and over…” I asked if I could quote him publicly saying this, and he wrote, “Sure, you can use it as a blurb, if you want.”

To say I admire Frans de Waal as a scientist and as a man would be putting it very mildly. He’s done more to bring the bonobo to the world’s attention than anyone.

When Our Inner Ape came out, I was working (slowly) on Sex at Dawn. I ordered a copy immediately, thinking that Frans had beaten me to the punch. As it turned out, his book is quite different from what I was writing—much to my relief.

Buy Now

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