I have a minor fixation with minimalism and owning nice things, so I decided to throw together a list of the items I’ve felt compelled enough to buy, use on a regular basis, and would recommend to other people.
I will add short reviews or blurbs for some items. If you have any questions about unexplained or under-explained items, feel free to contact me for further elaboration.
Most links are affiliate links which means I get a small kickback if you click them then decide to make a purchase shortly thereafter. Thanks if you do!
Table of Contents
These are the only socks I own (along with some thinner SmartWool socks that I use only for layering to increase the snugness of my tennis shoes). I find the Medium Crew preferable on the daily, but the thicker Heavy Crew is better when it’s cold out or I want my shoes to fit tighter for certain athletic situations where I don’t want my feet slipping.
They’re comfortable, durable, and the navy color looks good. Highly recommended.
Underwear: Under Armour Boxerjock Mesh – 9″ – Black
During the summer of 2012, frustrated by self-inflicted wedgies and chronic swamp ass, I was determined to discover the perfect pair of underwear and experimented with about 10 different brands, all of which were highly touted around the internet.
At the conclusion of my
testeing testing I found the Under Armour Boxerjock Mesh 9″ to be the clear winner. Its comfort is unrivaled mostly because it was the only pair of undies to not bunch up. The extra length helps them stay in place and the material breathes adequately.
I still have a couple pairs of ExOfficio left over from the trials,
butt but the rest of my drawer is filled with UA Mesh 9″.
Jump Rope: Boxer’s Training Rope
For years I jumped with a weighted leather rope. After reading warnings against the use of weighted handles (the weight should be evenly dispersed throughout the rope – not handles – if weight is to be added, otherwise one risks injury), I removed the metal rod inserts from the handles and also toyed around with a jumper called “The Beast” that uses PVC tubing for the rope, which is heavier and harder to swing.
“The Beast” broke on me not once, but twice. (I asked the manufacturer for a replacement after the first failed in two weeks. The second one didn’t last much longer.) My trusty leather rope then finally wore through, and thus I was on the hunt for a new rope.
I bought a few varieties of jump ropes sold on BuyJumpRopes.net and I like the Boxer’s Training Rope the best. If I was aiming for speed, one of their cable ropes would be better, but I’m jumping just to stay in shape, and the advantage of the cord rope is that it doesn’t sting your arms or legs when you miss a skip. (I’ve taken all too many lashings from my leather rope.) If you are a newbie, you will appreciate this sage wisdom.
Their Championship Long Handle Freestyle is also very good, and but is it more apt for doing tricks with its longer handles. The design of the Boxer’s Training Rope allows for less friction while the rope is spinning (again, the point of jumping rope isn’t to work your arms), and the cord is slightly thicker (so it will last longer).
I should note that it is imperative to jump on a forgiving surface to preserve your knees. If you don’t have access to some type of spongy or wooden flooring, you might want to pick up a 6′x4′ Dollamur Flexi-Roll Wrestling Mat. They appear heavily discounted on eBay every couple weeks. I purchased a pair with the 2″ thickness because I thought that was the best investment and they work well.
Athletic Shorts: Champion Mesh with Pockets
These might seems like an odd pick, but I think they are a great value. It’s tough to find athletic shorts with pockets, and these have them. They’re comfortable and have a drawstring, so when the elastic fails (which it will after a few years), they are still wearable.
I like their fit too (they aren’t super baggy or long), but I size down to achieve the aesthetic I want.
Headband: Black Paisley Bandana
I’ve been using a rolled up bandana to keep sweat and hair out of my eyes while exercising for a number of years now and I recommend it over an elastic headband because it will last much longer. Elastic only stays good for so long and once it goes bad, you will have to throw the headband out and purchase a new one. Bandanas are multipurpose as well.
Vibration Dampeners: Rubber Bands
No need to spend big bucks on goo-infused shock absorbers; rubber bands will do the trick. Watch this video for instructions on how to tie one onto your strings.
Shoes: Asics Men’s Gel Resolution 4
Asics are the only tennis shoes I’ve ever owned that feel good. Every Nike I’ve tried was too narrow (even though I don’t have fat feet) and Adidas have been boxy. A number of pros are now wearing Asics too, even when their clothing sponsor is another company, which I think says something.
I size down half from my normal shoe size because I like a snug fit to prevent blisters and improve pedal dexterity. The latest model of Gel Resolution is probably good, though I haven’t bought a pair yet.
Shorts: Nike Men’s Basic NET 9″ Woven Short
Nike has since discontinued this model for their new “Power” series, but the woven NET is the best basic functional tennis short if you can still find it. I scored a few pairs at my local tennis shop hiding in the clearance section.
Note: I use these supplements on an “as feel” basis. Some are taken more regularly than others. Check out Ray Peat’s work for further rationale behind these picks.
Vitamin E: A.C. Grace, Unique E Liquid
Aside from mango season, my diet lacks much vitamin E, so I think it is wise to supplement. I originally applied the gooey liquid topically to my wrists with some coconut oil, but have recently started taking it orally and also increased my daily dosage about threefold (from around 200 to 600 IU, or 2 to 6 pumps). Coincidentally, I have noticed the skin on the back of my hands become quite supple, even though it is wintertime.
When I was younger, I had issues with my knuckles becoming incredibly dry, to the point where they would crack and bleed during the cold winters in the Northeast. When my hands got really bad, my mother would remedy them by applying vitamin E topically from gel capsules. Ingesting the vitamin orally also seems to have a noticeable effect on my skin quality. It almost seems like I moisturize when I don’t.
Aspirin: CVS, Uncoated, 325 mg
I started off using enteric coated aspirin, but switched to the uncoated variety because it’s way cheaper (less than 1¢ per 325 mg), has purer ingredients (aspirin, starch), and I don’t necessarily think coated aspirin is safer.
When I first started taking aspirin (about 325 to 650 mg a day), it gave me a subtle, nice, warm feeling. I don’t notice much effect now aside from when I take it with coffee. Perhaps I no longer need it, or have developed a tolerance and should experiment with higher dosages (along with appropriate amounts of vitamin K2, typically 1 mg per 325 mg aspirin, for reasons explained here).
A quarter teaspoon of eggshell calcium per day makes my fingernails grow much faster than without. (Consuming whole milk as well enhances the growth process.) I haven’t noticed much (if any) immediate feeling of wellbeing from taking it, but if ingesting such a small amount produces such a noticeable physiological effect, I would assume it is beneficial.
My body craved gelatin when I began adding it to my diet. I had a hunch it might be beneficial after being vegetarian and vegan for so long (I was most likely deficient in glycine), but I couldn’t get enough for a good month. I still do consume it, though not as much as initially. Typically I take some on days when I work out as a convenient way to get extra protein.
For a relaxing late night drink, mix 4 tablespoons of gelatin and 1 tablespoon of clover honey with 1 cup of hot water.
I’ve begun using this setup during the dark winter months and it feels extremely nice. As a bonus tip, use a dedicated surge protector with a power switch so that you do not have to plug or unplug the cord every time you want to turn the light on or off.
Baking Soda & Epsom Salt: Whatever is cheap at Walmart
Hot water baths with 1 lb each of baking soda and epsom salt thrown in are quite calming. About 20 minutes into the soak I can feel my heart rate intensify, which is when I think I’ve started to absorb a significant amount of magnesium. Afterwards my muscles feel very relaxed (previous soreness, if any, diminishes temporarily but does return) and there have been times I’ve gone straight to sleep after drying off.
I’ve tried taking baths with baking soda and epsom salt separately, but I didn’t notice as much of an effect in those cases. One pound of each is not the right stoichiometry for a complete reaction of the two substances, though the ratio is convenient and does produce a noticeable result. I would like to eventually investigate the chemistry behind this phenomenon in the future.
I also use baking soda for rinsing my mouth instead of brushing my teeth most nights (about a teaspoon’s worth dissolved in warm water) and also for washing my hair on occasion.
Coffee Mug: Handmade Midnite Glaze
I am not particularly partial to that specific mug (the handle is at first a bit unwieldy compared to traditional mugs), but I do enjoy it and recommend looking on Etsy (or elsewhere) for a food safe artisanal ceramic cup you like. These ones are especially cool, though pricey.
Laptop: MacBook Pro, 13-inch, Mid 2010
I would ideally like to own a 13-inch MacBook Air because they are so lightweight and portable. My current MacBook works well enough though. I like Apple products because they tend to “just work.”
I’m a big fan of classic gaming, and this setup allows me access to pretty much any title I want on a whim with crystal clear graphics and wireless gamepads. It’s phenomenal.
If you have multiple devices that need backing up, Crashplan might be more economical, but Backblaze is simple and gives me peace of mind. It does only keep files for 30 days (whereas Crashplan stores deleted files forever), but it’s not intended to be long-term storage; it’s a fail-safe incase your computer breaks or goes missing.
That being said, if I had known about Crashplan before Backblaze, and I wasn’t already vested in the latter, I might be a Crashplan user instead.
I use Dropbox for especially important files I don’t want to lose (and Flickr to store photos). Between these three online services and my Time Machine backups, I feel pretty good about the safety of my files.
Document Scanner: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300
It’s expensive, but this device allowed me to mindlessly eschew piles of paper I’d collected over the years. I don’t use it as often at this point, but I’m still thankful to own it.