Nite Ize is such an innovative company making an amazingly wide and diverse set of products, most of which go totally and completely unnoticed as they are utility tools that discreetly make my life and adventures far more comfortable and organized! Below is a list of 5 of the most mission critical tools that my team and I always have on hand, and some uses that may been seen as unorthodox!
1. Gear Ties
We use these for EVERYTHING!! From securing long equipment to helicopter skids, to tying down spearguns in rough seas to even securing the jaws of crocodiles, Gear Ties are one piece of equipment my team and I will NEVER leave home without, and we usually have an entire SKB production case filled with them just to be safe!
2. INOVA T11R Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight + Power Bank
As a team whose entire focus is on finding wildlife, a good flashlight for spotting at night is as critical as a tool gets. While there are a lot of good flashlights available on the market, none hold a candle lumen (pun intended) to the INOVA T11R. The T11 (or “Satan light” as my team and I call it, as a look down the barrel will send you straight to hell) is the brightest, most durable, longest-lasting light I have ever had the pleasure of using. I can confidently say that if it wasn’t for the T11, we would have easily missed many of the incredibly important animals was have found, including a previously believed to be extinct caiman that was entirely thanks to the reflective eyeshine combo with this light that led to our capture and discovery! Not only do I use this light to find animals, but it’s so bright, the team ends up using them all the time to light camp and bounce light off walls and ceiling to make the scenes look better. It’s an all-in-one light that I couldn’t live without.
As you can imagine, we work in some very wet environments, from tropical downpours to rough seas, we are getting drenched constantly, and a big priority is water tightness and security. Outside of a locking hard case, I can confidently say that the ONLY soft bags/cases that we have found that can keep things like camera batteries, scientific tools, electronics, etc. dry in a fully submerged situation are the RunOff bags. They just work, and that’s why we always use them.
A relatively new addition to our everyday gear is the S-Biner. At first it just seemed like a carabiner that was extra, but as my underwater cameraman Johnny Harrington quickly figured out, it is the PERFECT thing to put all over your scuba buoyancy control device. While scuba diving with extra equipment you can easily navigate the unclipping and unlocking of tools like grey cards, lights, syringes, sat tags, etc., that typically are a nightmare to deal with underwater. It’s true I sometimes look like a scuba diving x-mas tree with all the ornaments hanging off my rig, but at least I always have everything I need on me thanks to the S-Biners!
While this may seem like an extremely odd essential for a group of hardened wildlife cinematographers, it’s something we always throw in a case. Believe it or not, morale is not always at an all-time high and when the boys and I just want to relax, have fun and blow off a little steam (and often times loosen up the joints after 15+ hours of sitting in a single position in a blind) we usually bust out the Flashflight Disc and throw it around camp. Our most notorious was arriving in Vietnam and seeing an incredible set of stairs at our hotel to throw the disc down, which led to the ever committed (and much too athletic) Director of Photography Mitchell Long diving headfirst into a 6” deep public koi pond...and sure enough, he caught the disc!!
There are many many more Nite Ize products that I can talk about. Everything from using the lanterns around camp, strapping down all the wood to build a blind with CamJam Tie Downs, hanging up very smelly undies with the GearLine Organization Systems outside every tent, lighting our hammocks with the Radiant Micro Lanterns, and building EVERYTHING out of paracord, but those will have to wait for another time. Or, you can always tune in to one of our shows/expeditions to see them in action!
And as a bonus, here’s a hack I found for the Radiant 170 Clip Lights: