DIY Silica Gel Shoe Fresheners

Tired of smelly climbing shoes? Damp, fusty snowboard boots? Clothes or gear stored in rubber bins coming out musty and stale?

You’ve tried deodorizers and air fresheners but they just cover the odor: No matter how much you douse your ice climbing boots with “Clean Linen” or “Tropical Breeze,” there is still that sexy hint of eau de cheesy feet.

So…How do you beat the funk?*

[ Drumroll ] The Silica Gel Pack!

One of the major culprits is moisture: the sweat in your biking, hiking or climbing shoes or the humidity/dampness trapped in your sealed rubber bins.  Moist places with poor ventilation are a happy home for bacteria, mold and fungal growth = smell.

Silica gel absorbs this moisture, keeping things like purses and freeze-dried camping dinners fresh and delicious!

Who would ever eat this?

Rather than “borrowing” those little packets from shoe boxes or buying expensive, pre-made silica gel packs, make your own gel packs with this easy (and cheap) DIY!

 Step 1—You need silica gel.
I found two inexpensive places to get it:

1) The craft store: Apparently silica gel is used as a drying agent for flowers.

2)  The pet food aisle: Some kitty litter is just straight up silica gel…you will know it is the right one because it will say it right on the label and look like white/clear crystals.

I found this at Walmart for about $15 after tax:

photo (2)

Step 2--Put the gel in a pouch (the more “breathable” the better!)

The first time I made my silica gel packs I was living in a truck, so here is what I did:

OPTION A (aka The I-LIVE-IN-A-TRUCK METHOD )

What you will need:
-coffee filters (whatever size)
-tape
-spoon

Directions:

  • Spoon silica gel into coffee filter
  • Tape edge of coffee filter closed so no gel bits are leaking out. Try to cover just the edges, leaving as much of the coffee filter surface area open to breathe.

DIY silica gel pack

Ta da!

If you have some time and/or access to a sewing machine there is also:

 OPTION B  (aka THE-FANCY/I-AM-CRAFTY METHOD)

What you will need:
-Muslin, cheesecloth  (you can find these at fabric stores for pretty cheap), a rice bag or old cotton tshirt.  Pretty much any durable, somewhat breathable material.
-Sewing machine and/or needle and thread
-spoon

Directions:

  • Cut fabric into desired shape.  I made mine slim rectangles because they fit well in shoes (and I can’t really sew anything but straight lines)
  • Sew around the edges, leaving a hole big enough to pour the gel in with a spoon
  • Option: Turn shape inside out to hide seams. (Because we are fancy!)
  • Fill shape ¾ full with gel:photo (4)
  •  Sew the last bit closed…

photo (3)

Fancy!

These make nice, cheap gifts for people too!  They work for shoes, bins, ammo boxes, closets, sock drawers…and by putting them in the oven you can dry them out and reuse them over and over.  (google it for the details!)

Good luck and stay fresh!

 

*Beat the Funk was my band name in high school

 

 

The time a nut went through my friends ear…. (Warning: photos w blood)

Matt: “Hey Anna, do you have some extra water?”

Anna: “Yeah sure, help yourself.”

Matt: “Thanks! Steve is bleeding everywhere and we need some water to wash him off.”

 

We were out climbing one weekend with my friend Steve who was stoked on bolting this heinous overhanging sport route.

Steve was placing traditional protection to keep him close enough to the wall to bolt on rappel.  Being a sport route, he was having difficulty finding good placements.
He eventually managed to place his smallest offset nut in a crumbly, flaring slot.

He clipped his daisy to the nut,

Weighted it,

And…It held!

Awesome!

Steve told me later he didn’t hear or feel anything when it happened:

Apparently he was reaching over for the drill clipped to the side of his harness when suddenly his body was in the air, swinging away from the wall.
And his ear felt really… wet?
He reached up, touched it, and his hand came back covered in blood.

“Uh, guys…” he yelled down, “I think I might have ripped my ear off?”

steves ear

Steve’s ear after some cleaning up

It turns out the nut had had so much tension on it that, when it blew, it shot out at my friend’s head like a bullet.  It hit Steve’s earlobe, and the force of it literally exploded his ear, tearing a hole clean through.

(It had so much force it didn’t just go through the ear but also hit the back of his head and left a contusion:

back of steves ear

Where the nut hit the back of Steve’s ear!

 Steve was fine: a friend packed his ear with a bunch of gauze and we climbed the rest of the day.  He probably would have just gone home after too, but I talked him into seeing a doctor—he got a tetanus shot and 4 stitches in the front AND back of his ear.

(7 days later he made me remove the stitches so he didn’t have to go back to the doctors. After watching a few how-to videos on youtube–yes, apparently there are instruction vids on how to remove stitches from an ear–I took them out using the light of my head lamp, nail scissors and tweezers)

Things Steve Learned:
According to him—nothing.  Quote: “Shit happens.”

 Things I learned:

  • Ears bleed a lot.
  • A first aid kit at the crag is handy
  • You can only get stitches within a certain time period after an accident, so if you think you may need them, don’t wait for tomorrow!
  • If you miss removing a stitch your body will push it out on its own..no worries!  (it can also cause an abscess…check with your dr.)

(If you’re interested, YouTube link on how to remove ear stitches:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k4XO2Q7snk )

Confessions of a Rock Climbing Addict?

Ad·dic·tion [uh-dik-shuh n]  noun

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma

 

Hello, my name is Anna and I am a rock climber.
I haven’t seen my family in almost 2 months. I missed Thanksgiving (Red River Gorge trip).
I missed Christmas Eve story telling (Potrero Chico). I missed my birthday party (Indian Creek). I missed Easter dinner (Seneca Rocks). I missed Canada day camping (Daks).
My dad tells me he loves me via facebook message.

 

Hello, my name is Anna and I am a rock climber.
My friends are also all rock climbers. When we are not rock climbing, we talk about rock climbing, using jargon no one else can follow. Or we watch movies about rock climbing. Or read magazines about rock climbing. Or listen to podcasts about rock climbing. If we go to a restaurant, at least one person tries to climb the side of the building. A one-armed chin up contest at a party is not unusual.
I used to have non-rock climbing friends, but I haven’t seen them since the weather turned warm.

 

Hello, my name is Anna and I am a rock climber.
I have a job. This job facilitates my rock climbing. When I am working, I am planning my next rock climbing trip. I am waiting for the end of the day so I can go rock climbing. I am counting down until the weekend so I can go rock climbing. When work inevitably interferes with my rock climbing, I quit. And move into my car. Until the money runs out. Then I get another job.

 

Hello, my name is Anna and I am a rock climber.
I wake up in the morning with claw hands that can take up to an hour to be able to open fully (actually, one finger doesn’t straighten fully anymore, but Im pretty sure I can get it back again). My right ankle hasn’t worked or looked quite right since I broke it bouldering. Neither has my left ankle—I broke that bouldering too. I have little to no feeling over the first knuckle of both my hands where I jam. And it is awesome.
I wish my fingers would hurry up and go numb too so I can climb hard finger cracks.

 

Hello, my name is Anna and I am a rock climber.
Rock climbing is not an addiction, it’s just something I like to do.
I can stop any time I like.

heart crack

What Rob Ford and I have in common

Wanted: Female Rock Climbing Ambassadors

When I first started climbing, I had a lot of excuses for why I wasn’t able to climb a climb:
My arms weren’t long enough. My hands were too small. I was too short.
I would dismiss the climb as impossible for all but tall, long-armed strong men
(one of which was probably the setter).

Then Shannon, a girl friend (who was probably a foot shorter than me and 100 lbs soaking wet), would rock up to the same problem in her cut-off jean shorts and lime green 5.10s and crush it.
“You can totally do it Anna,” she would tell me, “just turn your hip into the wall and really reach for it!”
She was a strong climber with great technique, and she inspired me.
If Shannon could do it, then one day I could do it too, right?
(I just needed to ditch the excuses and become a better rock climber 😉 )

I like to think of Shannon as a Female Rock Climbing Ambassador*.
Shannon in general made my climbing experience better.
She would shout encouragement, was always happy to give beta (“girl” beta I would say ), and was generally stoked on climbing, which made me stoked to climb with her.

Shannon sadly moved on to a better place (British Columbia), but Im sure wherever she is, she is still crushing and encouraging other women to crush.

So, in memory of Shannon, I’d like to challenge all of you lady rock climbers out there, regardless of skill or experience, to become Female Rock Climbing Ambassadors!
Be part of creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for women in what can sometimes be a frustrating and intimidating male-dominated sport.  It can be as simple as sharing a smile or some encouragement at the crag or gym. Or supporting a ladies’ climbing night or event. Or even offering to take an indoor-climbing-lady outdoors for the first time!
(my first time climbing outdoors was really awkward because it turned out the guy was interested in me as more than just a climbing partner…Other females may relate to this experience)

Become a Female Rock Climbing Ambassador!  Spread the stoke!

lady

Ladies helping ladies!

*This is likely not the right use of the word, but I like it and Im sticking with it!