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Nomad Battery Cable (Lightning)

Nomad Battery Cable

I have to confess that I’m about 2 weeks overdue in posting the review of the Nomad Battery Cable. The problem was that this cable went straight into my EDC bag and I haven’t stopped using it long enough to photograph it.

Nomad Battery Cable

The Battery Cable is a great concept: a Lightning cable for charging your Apple products with a built in “battery barrel” (as I call it) that maintains a charge and acts as a backup/emergency battery for your gear as well. It’s built on a rugged ballistic nylon, moisture-proof cable that’s reinforced throughout and on both ends of the cable. I suspect this will last 10 times longer than my EDC charging cables usually last.

Nomad Battery Cable

Cable length is 10″ from the wall to the battery pack, then another 44″ of cabling thereafter. Nomad includes a built-in silicone cable keeper to prevent tangles while it jostles around in your bag.

Nomad Battery Cable

At $50, this is a cable that will provide you with the value of saved space in your everyday bag, as portable battery packs become unnecessary. I normally keep my AirPods plugged into the cable while it’s in my bag, which keeps them topped-off and I can forget about charging them. This cable is a well-built, useful cable that gives you the bonus of portable charging outside of electrical outlets, too.

As they always do, Nomad has scored a home run with a truly premium, useful product in the Battery Cable.

Nomad Leather Cases for iPhone X

nomad leather case iphone x

I haven’t been shy here at Simple Guy Stuff about my love for Nomad’s gear for the Apple Watch, which ranges from the fashionable to the technologically helpful. Nomad’s Modern Strap is my favorite Apple Watch band.

That said, when Nomad offered to let me check out some of their brand-new leather cases for the iPhone X, I jumped at the chance. Here are the cases I tried, pictured left to right above:

nomad leather case iphone x nomad leather strap apple watch

Since the iPhone X was just released yesterday, I’ve had just a bit of time to try the cases out. Right now, I’m using the Rugged Leather case on my phone, which I chose for 2 reasons: the way it looks with my Nomad Apple Watch band (pictured) and because I wanted to use a Qi charger with my iPhone X (more on that below).

nomad leather case iphone x

Here’s the flipside of the Rugged Case. A simple, tight black edge with functional, covered buttons. Because of the design of the iPhone X, you can’t really tell if you’re rocking the silver or black model until you get to the back of the device, so either one will look mostly the same with this case.

nomad leather case iphone x

Internally in both the Rugged and the Wallet case is a nice, thin layer of foam for added drop protection. Of the 3 cases here, the Wallet and Clear case are rated for 6-foot drops, while the Rugged case is good up to 10 ft.

Since one of the new features of iPhone 8s and the X is Qi wireless charging, I wanted to put that to the test with these. Each case enabled me to use a Qi charger and my phone charged great without interruption. If you are considering using the Nomad Wallet Case with a Qi charger: don’t do it if you’re putting credit cards in it (business cards are ok). Qi chargers can potentially damage RF chips and magnetic stripes in credit cards.

nomad leather case iphone x

Depending on your iPhone X’s hardware color, that may be where the Clear Case really shines. With the same type of Horween leather as the other 2 cases, this one is a little less rigid (TPE is used for the clear part) and a “patch” of leather where it rests in your hand. We tried this on both a black and silver iPhone X, and objectively, I’d say the silver model looks cooler in this case. It’s easier to see the Apple logo.

Overall, Nomad’s line of iPhone X leather cases are well built and great-looking. One minor complaint I have is that the vibrate/ring switch is buried a little deep in the Rugged and Wallet cases for a guy like me with short fingernails and fat fingertips. Outside of that small quibble, these are definitely the cases I’ll be using on my iPhone X for quite some time.

Sengled Bluetooth Speaker Bulbs

sengled bluetooth speaker bulbs

On my quest to find better-quality music on the patio, I ran across this pair of bluetooth LED speakers from Sengled: Pulse by JBL Audio. Pulse offers a matched set of stereo speakers cleverly disguised as lightbulbs that you install into a light fixture and can then connect to their internal JBL speakers via bluetooth.

sengled bluetooth speaker bulbs

Available in pewter (the option I chose), red or white, it’s a simple setup with thoughtful inclusions of stem extenders (the white things pictured above) that help if your fixture is a little too narrow for the wide base of the speaker bulbs (as mine is).

Sengled says these are not safe for outdoor use, but I’ve been using them all summer on the back patio, and because they mostly live in the light fixture we have there, and they point downward, I’ve not had any malfunctions or leaks.

sengled bluetooth speaker bulbs

When you install the speakers and turn them on, the first thing you should do is to download the Sengled app [iOS Store link], pictured above, which allows you to control the brightness of the LED bulbs (or turn them off entirely) and the overall speaker volume, which I always just control with my iPhone volume rockers.

sengled bluetooth speaker bulbs

At $100, a stereo bluetooth speaker set with this much power (it’s 13 watts and can be expanded out to a total of 8 speakers) is a value. It’s unobtrusive and handy for a space that you don’t want to install unsightly stereos and it’s especially handy when you’ve got the fixtures in place already. I imagine a garage or man cave would benefit from a set of these as well. Get your from Amazon here.

Nomad USB Charging Hub

nomad usb charging hub

Nomad Goods has introduced a new device that it seems we need more and more these days: a multi-port USB charger. I’ve been pretty happy with many of Nomad’s products in the past  (like watch accessories and leather goods), so I was excited to try out their “hub.”

Here’s the thing that I’ll get out of the way from the start: this isn’t a USB charging hub, it’s a USB charging hub. Did you catch the subtle difference there? I mean that this is not a USB hub in the sense that you connect it to your computer and plug in multiple devices into a single port. Instead it’s the hub of your digital life in that it provides 5 ports (some that are high speed), which’ll charge your multiple phones and tablets.

nomad usb charging hub

Using a single power brick (pictured above), you get power for your devices in a sleek and handy charging station, which is accented with a rubbery top that’s just perfect for setting your devices on as they charge.

One other cool feature of this Hub is it has a 5-light display on top of the device which shows when a device is charging (the light only shows if something’s drawing power). But: imagine this is in your bedroom at night. Who wants bright lights flashing then? Well, the Hub has a built-in ambient light sensor that will dim those LEDs in a dark room, allowing for an annoyance-free night’s sleep. It’s really thoughtful and cool.

nomad usb charging hub

The Hub is available in 5-port and 3-port models in both black and white. The 5-port hub has 2 high-speed (2.4A) ports and 3 regular-speed (1A) ports, while the 3-plug hub has 1 high-speed and 2 regular-speed ports. Both have a nice rubber cord management slot in the back of the device.

The Nomad USB Charging Hub retails for $50 (5-port) or $40 (3-port) and it’s available from Nomad or at Best Buy.

La Aroma de Cuba

la aroma de cuba cigar

One of the most classic blends you’ll commonly see represented in the cigar world is La Aroma de Cuba, available from Holt’s in 9 unique sizes, as well as a variety of cigar samplers. LADC is an amazingly tasty cigar and very affordable – ranging from just $5-8 for a single smoke.

Being comprised of Nicaraguan tobacco, LADC cigars are rich and woody, with notes of black pepper that give way to a wonderful palate of peanuts, almonds and sugar cookies. This is a cigar that is perfectly balanced between sweet, spicy and creamy, and in this price range, these would be the perfect cigar to fill your humidor with as their flavors are approachable and satisfy many cigar-smoking preferences.

double rum old fashioned

I paired the La Aroma de Cuba with a drink that I invented just for this pairing: a Double Rum Old Fashioned. This is a sweet and citrusy drink that adds an acidic and smooth element to the pairing, and this is a drink that’s so familiar and tasty that it would easily be enjoyed by most drinkers.

Double Rum Old Fashioned

in an old fashioned glass, add:

  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters
  • 1/2 oz spiced rum
  • stir well, and fill glass with ice
  • add 1 1/2 oz aged rum and stir again until cold
  • garnish with a lemon twist
Thanks to Holt’s Cigar Company for sponsoring Simple Guy Stuff. 
Enter the promo code SIMPLE at check out and receive a complimentary 10% discount on your purchase! Discount is available online only. Certain exclusions apply. Offer expires January 31, 2018 – cannot be combined with other coupon codes.  Limit one discount per customer.​

Flowfold Bags and Wallets

flowfold bags

Something inside me is always searching for the perfect bag for various circumstances. For instance, I have 2 iPad messenger bags…and don’t even have an iPad anymore. I don’t, however, have a good duffel bag, and on a search, I came across the Flowfold brand, a made-in-the-USA brand of “minimalist outdoor gear.”

I got the opportunity to try their duffel bag, accessory pouch and a couple of wallets.

flowfold bags

The Conductor 40L Duffel Bag ($98) is perfect. A duffel should be large and useful, and other than is huge interior, this one has a useful side pocket, plus the expected handles and shoulder strap. It also has a fancy zipper (see above) that helps it resist water and snags. This is a great, sturdy camping bag that you can just rinse off when you’re back from the wilderness.

flowfold bags

Flowfold’s Ace Accessory Pouch ($30) is one of those bags I didn’t know I needed until I got it. measuring 9″x5″, this slips easily into your larger day bags, but helps you keep your everyday carry items well-sorted, like chargers, pens, headphones or cash. I’ve found it a great bag for cigars, lighters and cutters, too. It has a loop on the side for easy carry if all you need for you day is the pouch, too.

flowfold bags

Along with other packs and gear, Foldfold’s also got about a dozen wallets in many shapes and configurations. I’m trying out their Vanguard ($29) in Black Pearl (pictured above left and below) and the limited Jet Black (pictured above right). These have layers of “ballistic nylon webbing” – in fact, the Black Pearl is made of it inside and out – that lead to a lightweight, thin, but very durable finish. These are long-life wallets with a touch of waterproofing, too.

I’m a fan of back-pocket wallets, but like mine to be extremely thin, so these sturdy wallets have become part of my usual rotation.

flowfold bags

Whether a larger outdoor bag or a useful city-dweller application, I’ve now got a few more bags for that perfect application, plus some handy, thin, back-pocket wallets as well.

Ashton Cabinet

The Ashton Cabinet is a luxury cigar, both in its build and flavor profile. Its tobaccos are aged 4-5 years and it results in a flavorful, mild profile with touches of citrus, honey, cashews and cedar. The Ashton Cabinet is one of hundreds that are available to order from Holt’s Cigar Company.

I smoked the Ashton Cabinet in the #7 size, which measures 6 ¼ inches (length) by a 52 ring gauge (thickness). It’s solidly built with a smooth, creamy wrapper with tasting notes of black pepper and nuts. While the overall strength level and flavor profile of this cigar is quite mild, there is a nice, balance selection of flavors to enjoy as you smoke it through.

I paired the Ashton Cabinet with a cocktail that’s easy to make: the Black Manhattan. Consisting of 2 oz whiskey (rye or bourbon preferred), 1 oz Averna, 2 dashes of bitters and a cherry garnish, the Black Manhattan turned out to be an excellent companion to the Ashton, as both share a prominent and complementary flavor profile. Averna, an Italian amaro (Italian for “bitter”), is a rich and flavorful collection of herbs and citrus that complemented the Ashton so well, I was pretty shocked.

Together, the Aston Cabinet from Holt’s and a Black Manhattan are excellent companions. The intermingling of the nutty and citrus notes and the excellent quality of the cigar ensured a long and pleasant pairing experience.

Thanks to Holt’s Cigar Company for sponsoring Simple Guy Stuff. Enter the promo code SIMPLE at check out and receive a complimentary 10% discount on your purchase! Discount is available online only. Certain exclusions apply. Offer expires January 31, 2018 – cannot be combined with other coupon codes.  Limit one discount per customer.​

Father’s Day Gift Guide, presented by Holt’s Cigar

father's day gifts

Every year, I like to go on the hunt for awesome and unique Father’s Day gift ideas for readers. This year, Holt’s Cigar is presenting an awesome collection of really cool stuff for readers of both Simple Guy Stuff and our sister site Simple Cocktails. I’m excited to present this year’s list:

new mexico books

Local literature: $20-50. I have been a New Mexico native most of my life and my state pride has grown gradually. This year, I got my hands on 2 newer books published here that and distinctly New Mexican. Look into My Eyes: Nuevomexicanos por Vida, ’81-’83 (buy at Amazonis a photo book from a very specific snapshot of time in New Mexico’s history: 1981 to 1983 and it’s an amazing mashup of hispanic and 1980s culture. ¡Órale! Lowrider: Custom Made in New Mexico (buy at Amazon) is another one of those precious snapshots of our local culture in beautiful color with great historical context of the significance of “dropping” your Chevy Impala.

fidget spinners

Fidget spinners: $20-70. Clearly this is a fad on one saw coming, but you can now find plastic 3-pointed spinners in just about every gas station or roadside stand in this country. I wanted to illustrate what a more “fatherly” spinner looks like, so I got some spinners from UltraSpinners and Syner-EDC. UltraSpinners have a variety of spinners ranging from $20 to $150, but I stuck with their Ergo line, which has 3 options in materials and weight. The Ergo Aluminum is $20 and a lightweight but “grown-up” alternative to plastic spinners. Ergo Omega and Alpha are both brass, for $55 and $60 respectively, and only differ in weight and thickness. I also picked up a Triple Mini Spinner from Syner-EDC (pictured bottom) for $40, which offers customizable bearing caps is various materials.

monowear apple watch band

Apple Watch Band: $85. Monowear makes a new and apparently very-popular Apple Watch band out of perforated leather that’s classy. They match the hardware to the watch color (a must in my book) and the band’s available in chestnut, black and grey (I got grey). As a daily Apple Watch wearer, I always love having more options to accessorize and match my tech with my clothes for the day.

bicycle cocktail and beer cards

Playing Cards: $5 a deck. I picked up Cocktail Party, Craft Beer, and Craft Brewers decks from Bicycle – it’s a fun way to jazz up your poker games with some “fatherly” knowledge of cocktail recipes and craft beer. Plus they cost next-to-nothing!

balvenie caribberan cask 14

Scotch Whisky: $85. Scotch is particularly suited for gifts because if often comes in a gift-worthy sleeve. For this Father’s Day, I picked up The Balvenie 14-year-old Caribbean Cask, a spicy, vanilla-forward sipper that pairs beautifully with the next gift idea…..

cigars - holt's

Cigars: $5 and up. From Holt’s Cigar Company, our sponsor for this Gift Guide, we’ve got a great selection of smokes in our humidor (stay tuned for upcoming pairings at Simple Guy Stuff). For Father’s Day, Holt’s recommends the Royal Flush Super Sampler, one of many great options in their Father’s Day Cigar Deals category. Special thanks to Holt’s for their sponsorship of Simple Cocktails and Simple Guy Stuff!

Ashton Virgin Sun Grown (VSG)

ashton vsg

Ashton Virgin Sun Grown (or VSG) is a central blend in the acclaimed Ashton portfolio. For more than 30 years, the Ashton brand has been a favorite among lovers of premium, handcrafted cigars. VSG debuted in 1999 and is renowned for a smooth, but potent profile of aged Dominican tobaccos beneath a succulent Ecuador Sumatra wrapper leaf. Holt’s Cigar Company hosts a phenomenal selection of cigars online, perfect for any cigar lover looking to purchase and taste every available variety of Ashton VSG.

As I fired up the blend, an enticing profile of cedar, espresso and dark chocolate showered my palate with creamy Dominican spices and a luscious complexity. Ashton cigars are blended and handcrafted by the legendary Fuente family in the Dominican Republic. The family’s patient aging of select tobaccos truly distinguishes VSG with iconic flavor.

I was particularly drawn to the cigar’s format, a VSG Illusion, which is 6 ½ (inches) by a 44-ring-gauge (thickness). The long, somewhat slender shape provides ample room for savoring a wealth of tasteful transitions, from the beginning puffs down to the nub.

ashton vsg and rum

I paired my cigar with a “new” rum from Bacardi: Havana Club Añejo. Although Havana Club has been around for quite some time when you consider its historic Cuban origins, Bacardi has introduced the blend to the U.S. by distilling it in Puerto Rico to work around the ongoing Cuban trade embargo.

The rum’s natural sweetness merged elegantly with VSG’s creamy spices and bold, woody aromas. I highly recommend that fans of rum and cigars indulge in the luxurious combination presented by Bacardi and Ashton, a pair of classic, world-renowned brands. A supremely satisfying experience awaits!

Thanks to Holt’s Cigar Company for sponsoring Simple Guy Stuff. Enter the promo code SIMPLE at check out and receive a complimentary 10% discount on your purchase! Discount is available online only. Certain exclusions apply. Offer expires January 31, 2018 – cannot be combined with other coupon codes.  Limit one discount per customer.​

Sensor Push

sensor push cigars

Cigar lovers everywhere seem to be locked in a battle of always trying to keep their sticks at just the right temperature and humidity. From humidors to coola-dors to tupper-dors, smokers know that too little or too much humidity will lead to unpleasant smoking or worse, critters like tobacco beetles.

Up until now, I’ve used a digital hygrometer to read the humidity in my humidor, and it’s been very unreliable. Lately, it’s stopped giving me a readout at all for some reason. Hygrometers, both digital and analog, require regular calibration, and ultimately, I’m too lazy to do all that….but I love my cigars to be well cared-for.

sensor push cigars

Now, I’ve discovered a device that does what I need, and allows me to be as paranoid at monitoring my moisture levels as I want: Sensor Push. A small self-enclosed device that is just set-it-and-forget-it, Sensor Push gives you temperature and humidity readings on an app in your smartphone. Each sensor retails for $50 at Amazon and you can use as many as you’d like.

Setting up a Sensor Push device is easy: open their free app, then tap “add device.” Hold your sensor up to the screen, and it conpairs. It connects with bluetooth from the device to your phone, so as long as you’re within 30-50 feet of your sensor, it’ll constantly send data to your phone. If you’re not close enough to the sensor, though, it stores data up to 20 days while it waits for your phone to be back in range.

Sensor Push has also introduced a wifi gateway for $100 that allows you to monitor temperature and humidity from anywhere you have internet. It’s not required, but if you’re away from your sensor a lot, you may want to consider it.

sensor push charts

(Click to zoom).

I’ve been using 2 Sensor Push devices for the last 2 weeks, one in my humidor and one in my living room. I’ve been really happy with the data the app provides, especially compared to my old junky hygrometer (which consistently reported the wrong humidity). Above are some screen shots of the Sensor Push app at work, just click to view the image in high-res. Note that on my humidor sensor, I’ve set a range of temperature and humidity I want it to remain at. If my humidor drops below 58% humidity, it warns me with a notification.

As a cigar smoker who lives in a desert climate, Sensor Push is proving to be invaluable in the both accuracy of its data and the long-term outlook of using the device. The company says battery life is 1-2 years and calibration is basically never required.