My 10 Favorite Purchases in 10 Months

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Photo: From Tim’s Instagram

I love testing new gadgets and products. It’s an obsession.

For The 4-Hour Chef alone, I tested well over $100,000 worth of gear. OCD + Amazon Prime = expensive.

Why on earth do I do it? Simple–I love sharing the 5-10 things out of 500-1,000 that really work. Strange fetish, perhaps, but I get off on it. Readers seem to enjoy it, too.

In the first ever 5-Bullet Friday newsletter, I recommended my favorite all-purpose sandals, and more than 100,000 people clicked on the link within the first 48 hours (!). This type of click-through assault was nicknamed “the hug of death” by one Facebook fan. It crashes websites, wipes out inventory (e.g. Mizzen+Main, sardines at Whole Foods), creates nutty pricing spikes (e.g. used books going for $1,000 after the Sacca podcast), etc.

Below are 10 recent purchases that have given me—and continue to give me—value, joy, or both.

They are from a handful of 5-Bullet Friday newsletters (here’s a full sample). For the data nerds out there, I’ve listed the below products in descending order of click-through rate.

I’ve provided two sets of links for each.  The first link (usually the name of the item) is often an Amazon affiliate link, if you’d like to chip in a few pennies to support my compulsive gear-testing habit. The second link, labeled “non-affiliate link,” is exactly that—a plain old link where Uncle Tim gets to fend for himself in the wild. I’m cool with either. Some items lack affiliate links altogether, as I was too lazy to search.

Here we go… (and what the hell is it with you guys and shoes?)

Vans Unisex Classic Slip-On (Gumsole) Skate Shoe (Non-affiliate link)

This makes me seem like one of the grups, but I love these shoes. Not for skating. My criteria: great for airports, zero-drop soles for restoring Achilles mobility, usable at semi-casual but nice dinners, and small enough to pack in carry-on luggage. I’ve worn these for everything from business meetings to canyon hiking (in a pinch), and they’ve held up beautifully.

My elixir for warm-weather sipping

Here’s one of my favorite rosé wines in the US, perfect for summer sipping: The Wolffer Estate Rosé from Long Island (many years are good).

[I’ll also give you a cold-weather alternative: YakTrax, for modifying normal shoes when you need to walk on snow and ice. They are amazing and fit in a jacket pocket. I bought the basic “Walk” model, but there are many options.]

My preferred oddities

Many of you have asked, so here’s my favorite gear for podcasting, coffee, everyday carry, and survival gear (some ridiculous).

Rumble Roller (travel size) (Non-affiliate link)

I’ve tried every foam roller imaginable, but this is my new favorite for opening up hamstrings and IT band prior to AcroYoga and other gymnastics practice. That front lever is still eluding me, but I’ll keep at it. WARNING: This will smash you 10x more than smooth rollers. I got overzealous my first session and, the next day, felt like I’d been leg kicked by Buakaw (my fave kickboxer, BTW).

Mini parallettes (“p-bars”) for travel (Non-affiliate link)

These are small enough to stick in carry-on luggage. I use them primarily for pushups, planche leans, and L-sits for time. If you want to make a homemade version out of PVC that can live in your garage or living room, here’s another option.

Original Buddha Board (Non-affiliate link)

A zen-minded Etch-a-Sketch. Use the included brush to paint designs onto the board with water. As the water evaporates, your image fades, all within 30-60 seconds. This is a great tool for learning to let go… or rekindling your artistic side. If you have 60 seconds a day, you have time for the Buddha Board.

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic (Non-affiliate link)

I had to highlight this one. This is the best bang-for-the-buck USB mic I’ve found. I use it for all phone interviews for my podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. It’s traveled with me around the world. With this, ear buds, and ECamm Call Recorder, you’re set. For my more complete gear list, see the podcast bullet above from

Wild Planet Canned Sardines in Olive Oil (Non-affiliate link)

I’m sitting in the Bahamas as I type this [back in December, at least], and 24 cans of sardines are sitting next to me in my suitcase. That’s my MO. I open one can upon waking, drizzle about half the oil over my dog’s kibble (which she sometimes refuses to eat dry), and then consume the fish myself. My skin and her coat have never looked better. Hat tip to the incredible biochemistry beast Dom D’Agostino, PhD for intro’ing me to these beauties.

Epsoak Epsom Salt (39.5 Lbs.) (Non-affiliate link)

I take hot baths every night when at home in SF. Nearly always, I add epsom salt (typically 4-8 cups), which facilitates muscular relaxation and recovery. Rather than buy small boxes at CVS or Safeway, I buy in bulk and store it in rolling dog-food containers. This is a good use of Amazon Prime.

Nayoya Gymnastic Rings (Non-affiliate link)

These are super portable (easily fit in a small backpack) and incredibly durable for the price. I’m using them for mostly dips and muscle-up progressions. The Nayoya allow me to leave the rings outdoors. BUT: If you’re going to travel without chalk, I highly suggest wooden rings.


So… do you enjoy these types of recommendations?

Would you like to get a short e-mail from me every Friday with the five coolest things I’ve found that week? It often includes gadgets, books, supplements, albums, articles, new hacks, and — of course — random, useful stuff I find around the world.

Achtung! You can only get “5-Bullet Friday” if you subscribe to my free e-mail newsletter.

Why not test drive it for a week? You know it’s making your temples tickle, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Click here for a taste of why “5BF” (5-Bullet Friday) usually has a 70%+ open rate.

If you have any special requests for what you’d like see more of in the newsletter, please let me know in the comments.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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92 Replies to “My 10 Favorite Purchases in 10 Months”

    1. btw, Tim, you should check out the urb-e (I’m not affiliated). Just got one…it’s the 20% of a vehicle that gets you 80% of a vehicle’s use esp if you’re in an urban setting.

  1. Love these lists, Tim! I always appreciate the way that you have zero care for fashion. Functionality over fashion… until you get a girlfriend!

  2. Tim, is there any good research you know of that discusses the mechanism behind the use of Epsom salts? The science seems iffy – this is coming from someone with a large box in his bathroom btw. Perhaps a couple months of numbered bags randomly assigned Epsom and not with a notebook would be an interesting experiment. Thanks for the post, interesting as always.

    1. Yes there is good research online. I don’t have it to hand, currently sat in the work bathroom! But if you google ‘Epsom salt trial uk university’ you should find it. Basically they drew blood before and after Epsom salt baths and found elevated blood concentrations of magnesium. Good enough results for me.

      1. That is not a scientific study. There is not even a control group. It’s just nineteen people who took a 12-minute hot bath each day for a week. They had elevated magnesium and sulfur levels. Maybe hot baths cause people to sweat and that concentrates mineral levels, especially since evidence suggests that Epsom salt can’t cross the skin barrier.

  3. Tim, I have been binge listening to your podcasts! Thanks for the inspiring dialogues or monologues as it were. Charles Poliquin mentioned on your podcast that foam rolling was a complete waste of time; however, I see that you are still induldging. I am actually a physical therapist by training; but caveat emptor, I have not practiced in a decade so I will not opine now. However, I wanted to get your thoughts and your experience.

    Best, JoeZ

  4. Tim,

    Thanks for the great recommendations and all the work testing out gear. That being said I came across the perfect “adventure shoe” recently that you may be interested in given what you wrote about the vans. FYI I am no affiliate or owner of the company in any way. I just love awesome gear too.

    I highly recommend the Astral Loyak (or Brewer) for travel/adventure shoes. I’ve worn them for 5 mile hikes in the jungle then slid down waterfalls, hiked back and then went out to bars the same night. They look great on all occasions too. Plus they are super light weight and can go in any carry on. They are the only shoe I take on any vacation. Just another item for your OCD to worry about. Enjoy

    1. Tim,

      I second the Astral Brewer shoes. They’re the only shoes I’ve taken on a 4-month mini-retirement to Panama and the Carribean. They’re water shoes disguised as hipster sneakers. Super light, quick draining and drying, durable, great wet traction, no stinky inserts, backs fold down to kick on as clogs (perfect for airport security). They even include two sets of laces, one color-matching and one white, to swap from business to casual. I’m no affiliate either, just love the shoe.

      Thanks for inspiring me to take a year off to travel with my family (2 kids under 5). It’s been a life-altering experience for all of us.

  5. Tim,

    That rumble roller looks painful! Which is exactly what I need. No foam roller seems to do the job on my hammy’s.

    I’ve never actually taken an epsom salt bath, but this article got me looking into it some more. Now I’m DEFINITELY going to try it. Sounds like a real winner, and on T-Nation they said it had the added benefit of increasing testosterone.

    And just like you, I love me some testosterone 🙂

    Thanks for the article. I look forward to more!

  6. For anyone who is looking to start a podcast of their own, the assortment that Tim provided on Kit is a perfect starter kit.

    Given that podcasting isn’t completely mainstream yet, there are not a ton of “How to” resources out there. With Tim’s kit, you can cut through the noise, start recording, and learn the more sophisticated and complex techniques as you go.

  7. Hey Tim!

    First of all, I LOVE your work. I’m a big fan of your podcasts. You know how to ask the right questions to the right people to help more of us maximize our potential. While I was crossing the ocean on a sailing boat I listened to almost all of the shows. I’ve been able to take away so many useful tips and thoughts to optimize performance. Thanks for that! Also interesting to read what your favourite products are and why, and the impact you’re making on the leads to these products. 100.000 click-throughs in just 48 hours! That’s huge! Some great recommendations btw.

    Back to the ocean crossing… It’s during these ocean adventures that I learned, realized and saw with my own eyes in how much trouble our ocean is. On top of ocean challenges like pollution and climate change, we’re also catching fish like there’s no tomorrow. The choices we collectively make for food have a huge impact on the environment. The ocean simply cannot cater for it. Because of our behaviour, fish numbers are going down drastically. With current trends, ocean life is predicted to be gone by 2050.

    That being said, here’s some food for thought. Let’s say, again 100.000 people will click on the link of your recommended sardines. Probably not everyone will buy them but maybe 10% will and change their breakfast to Sardines. That’s 10.000 people buying 24 cans of Sardines. With 12 Sardines in each pack, that’s 2.800.000 less sardines in the ocean. That’s 2.800.000 sardines less for animal life, like for example sea lions, that depend on Sardines as nutrition for survival. And that’s also loads of jellyfish, plankton and algae populations not being balanced out because there’s less Sardines eating them… Consequences can be disastrous for the whole ecosystem, which includes humans.

    Just imagine the impact you would make if you would try a “going Sardines-less experiment” or “fishless” or even “animal less” for x amount of days. And 100.000 people will click on that! How about a testdrive ;)? Thanks for reading this! I hope it triggers for action.

  8. Hi Tim, very cool to see you are into EDC gear. I actually launched my own EDC/ Survival gear design company two years ago after being inspired by the 4-hour work week.

    If you’re interested, I’d love to send you a Keychain Duct Tape to add to your EDC. It lets you keep 18″ of Gorilla Tape, so that you can fix things when away from home.

  9. Haha! I got my intro to sardines behind the Iron Curtain in the 80’s… Sardines were, at the time, one of the few items present in abundance in our half- empty supermarkets.

    So funny that now America is rediscovering the sardines…let’s see if the red scarf we all had to wear in school becomes popular as well!

  10. Hey tim, Do you know about smoking you sardines in oil, 2 pieces of toilet paper and a flame. let cook for 30 minutes….SMOKED FISH. game changer

  11. Thanks Time, as always! Quick question.. is there any reason for the switch to Wild Planet sardines vs. the Crown Prince sardines recommended on your podcast (which I’ve ordered)?

    1. what I’ve found really helpful is a tennis ball. Just lying on my back, moving over it on the floor allowing my weight do the work.

  12. Tim,

    You really need to try Kaatsu blood flow modification.

    True bio-hack which gets GH up 280% and develops muscles in short amount of time using less weight.

  13. Have you tried the Rollga Foam Roller, it is amazing – a true breakthrough in foam roller design, nothing like it – The most effective and comfortable foam roller you’ll ever us guaranteed.

  14. I formerly worked at an outdoor retailer and while the premise behind YakTrax is great, their quality leaves something to be desired. I saw many returns of these where the rubber just wears out on the edge of your boot/shoes. My recommendation is either Kako IceTrekkers Diamond Grip. They’re a bit more expensive out of the gate, but considerably more durable.

  15. Hi Tim, love your work. What’s with the sardine obsession though? I’m all over tinned fish, but for an oily fish I find mackerel preferable in every way, tastier, better texture, less bones etc. Are there benefits to sardines that make them preferable from a nutrition POV? Cos if not my ranking for high protein low fat fish goes mackerel then tuna then sardines!

    Cheers, from Nottingham, UK

  16. Not sure if both parties would be interested, but if you would like to be connected with the CEO of Wild Planet, I could speak to him. Maybe a Tim promo would help all parties involved.

  17. Love the newsletter! Tons of great recommendations for physical body enhancements, Would like to see more of your favorite gadgets/nutritional discoveries that increases brain stimulation and mental clarity. Thanks!

  18. In your recent Q&A podcast, you mentioned a few devices you’re using for medial epicondylitis. Have you ever experimented with red light therapy for joint issues like these? If you have any success with gadgets for this type of application, would love to see them make your list!

  19. Love the tips (I have the same quirky obsession-experimenting with tons of products). Thanks for the sardine tip AND the epsom salt, rolling dog food container tip! Very good!

  20. Hi Tim, I have a couple items I have used that I think you would really enjoy. One is the Eagle Creek pack-It items; both Specter and original are awesome for Travelling. Also Topo Athletic is making some great roomy toe box, but fitted through the waist and heel shoes for a run, travel or everyday. One of their shoes just won Gear of the Year from National Geographic.

  21. Appreciate your scrutiny of everyday objects, Tim!

    Here’s one purchase you (and most people) probably haven’t thought much about, but use every single day —

    your bath towel.

    I created a company, Piaule, to make bath towels worthy of astronauts.

    Less than half the weight and thickness of an ordinary towel, but more absorbent. It also dries in less than half the time.

    I think everyone ought to try one!

  22. The gadget are great but are you wearing a latex glove to hold a chicken drumstick? Or am I seeing things..?

  23. Tim, I’m following the Occam’s Protocal method from 4HB. I push till absolute failure at 5/5. I’ve consistently increased my lifting weight 10 lbs each week. But I never feel sore the next day. Is this a problem? Shouldn’t I be sore?

  24. Looking for the “best” international carry on. Just ordered the Briggs & Riley Torq wide body…..I’m not sure I made the best decision. Help! 😉

  25. Hey Tim and all…

    Just a heads up, the 39.5# bag of Epsoak Epsom Salts are no longer

    available for Amazon Prime shipping. Has anyone else noticed a lot

    of items are no longer Primer eligible???

    1. There these 7.2lbs Dr. Teal bags at Walmart, they are like $6, making it the best deal I’ve seen on Epsom Salt.

  26. Tim, Thanks for the great list. If you are in the mood for more gadget and want to try alternative to Vans slip-on, these might fit the bill.

    # Evolv Cruzer Slip-on Approach Shoe

    # Evolv Cruzer Psyche Approach Shoe

    They are minimal cotton canvas casual shoes with zero-drop soles and much lighter than Vans. The best part is that they are made by climbing shoes company and can actually handle casual bouldering, trail running, and gym workout. Heel cups are collapsible and designed to be stepped on as slippers (great in airplanes and hotel rooms). Cruzer Psyche in my opinion are as stylish as Vans. The only negative is that they most likely are not as durable as Vans. Actually, I haven’t tried them myself yet but from I what I read, they may be the ultimate do-it-all casual shoes.

  27. You know what tastes really good with those Wild Planet extra virgin olive oil slightly smoked sardines…. cut up a fermented pickle, like Bubbies or a local version and mix into them. Works really well and also give you some live enzymes too.

  28. Hot baths every night Tim? Aren’t you worried about your precious leydig cells? I know you take cold baths, but the hot sounds sound like a recipe for later visits to the fertility clinic if you ever decide to bless the world with little Tim Jr.s…?

  29. I keep a TRX trainer with door mount in my travel carry-on luggage. It’s easier than dealing with uncertain hotel gyms. Also, it’s space and weight-neutral if you just bring shorts and skip the workout shoes and shirt.

  30. I would love to see reviews with the nature of “Quality Wills Out”. Meaning products you can buy that will last generations. The best of the best but keeping with at least semi-affordable. (i.e. we all know Rolls Royce & Bentley but they may be impractical for more than a general quick mention). The highest quality, best-made boots, gloves, furniture, children’s toys, clothing, survival / camping gear, etc. etc.

  31. Tim! Can I send you a gadget or two to try? Big fan of your podcasts and I know you would love at least one of my offerings 🙂 Their health wellness products and would love to know what you think. Let me know!

  32. I think I found the last pair of these Vans that will fit me on the planet. Evidently Vans is not producing that style but I do like the style.. Must have been the “Tim Ferriss effect” – Look out Oprah!

    Thanks for the tips on the Sardines and Vans.

  33. Hey Tim! Love the podcast. I get a lot of value out of it. So I got a guest that I guarantee will be top 5. Right up your ally. Dr.Joe Despenza

    You might recognize him from “what the bleep do we know” I recently came back from his workshop in Seattle and was blown away. Meditation and the power of thought.

  34. If you haven’t already, maybe do a list of your favorite purchases for items under $10 or $20. Thanks for the daily insight!

  35. Hi, I just wanted to say that I finally tried Wild Planet sardines. I tried every single canned sardine out there in the USA. And my favorite brand is Season Brand, especially the skinned and boneless one. It tastes much much better than Wild Planet sardines. I found WP too salty, just doesn’t taste very good. I had hard time finishing 2 cans. Whereas Season Brand taste exactly like Mediterranean sardine. It is delicious. Sardines has always been my favorite food since childhood, I grew up with it. So, Tim Ferriss, try skinless boneless Season Brand sardines in olive oil for real sardine taste and you won’t go back to Wild Planet.

    All the best xx

  36. Hey Tim, I have read your books and have been a huge fan for a while. I’ve taken what I have learned from the 4HWW and started my own business. [Moderator: link removed] I would love to send you a free sample to try. It is truly and incredible product. Thanks for all your inspiration.

  37. I work out hard in the morning and shower after. My muscles don’t kill me but are sometimes sore. So, I bought epsom salt hearing that it would help. Does it matter when you take the bath (AM or PM), regarding the effect it would have on your muscle recovery? Is a 10-20 min soak long enough? Gracias!

  38. Tim, you mention Amazon Affiliate links here. I’d love for you to do a podcast episode on the topic of making money with the Amazon Affiliate program. Your strategies, etc. Maybe interview someone who is also killing it with Amazon Affiliates. I make a few bucks a month, and I’d like to bring it to the “next level.”

  39. I beg to differ on the sardines. Go with Crown Prince, Two Layer Brisling Sardines in olive oil… you have to remove the spinal cord and veins with the bigger fish.

  40. Your scientific approach + OCD + willingness to test hundreds (thousands) of products so you can recommend 10 great ones is hot. Never stop being you. Your podcasts might be my favorite thing I’ve found all year. You’ve actually been on my radar for much longer but I avoided diving in because I didn’t feel like I had time for “one more thing”, but I’m glad I finally did!

    P.S. I found this post while searching for “travel book light Tim Ferris review”…maybe you have one of those you love you recommend? I hate to buy cheap “made by tiny hands” crap that I have to replace over and over. Sustainable wins.

  41. is it better to have the sardines in water? doesn’t the omega 6 in olive oil cancel out the omega 3 in the sardines?

  42. Hi Tim,

    Thank you so much for what you do. I have a quick question that I think may also add value to more of your readers if you haven’t already answered the question. I travel frequently for work and my question is – What other products or tricks do you recommend for people who want to maintain a Ketogenic Diet while on the road?

    I purchased Keto OS Pur therapeutic ketones yesterday. I think this will be a good start for me, but want to maintain my Ketone levels throughout the day. My energy levels have been low.

    I appreciate any help that you can provide!

  43. I buy 50lb bags of Epsom salt for $43 from salt works ( I do near daily Epsom salt baths so needed a larger bulk size.

    No Amazon prime shipping but shipping is free and generally takes just a few days. Worth checking out if you go through Epsom salt quickly.

    [Moderator: link removed]

  44. Hi Tim, my partner loves canned sardines (per your suggestion) and I pretty much loathe all canned seafood (sardines, oysters…anchovies aren’t too awful) but would love to have more protein-rich, convenient breakfasts and snacks. Do you any dope recipes (that aren’t in 4HChef/4HBody) that we could make that make sardines and oysters a bit more manageable so we both like them? I’m not a picky eater (and like most of your other recipes) so I’m curious as to whether you have any ideas. Something like “How to Prep Canned Sardines So A Date/GF Will Actually Eat Them and Not Dump You” would be great.

      1. Sardines with sliver of avacado wrapped in nori and you have sardine sushi- very easy, quick and makes the sardines easier to enjoy

  45. I’m a Costco girl. Epsom salts are always $0.67/lb.

    Ever since I tried the float spa I use a whole bag per bath.

    The same sardines are currently on sale $1.17/can (without coupon $1.67) vs Amazon $1.86/can.

    Thanks for the great tips.

  46. These items are of little interest to most people. I would love to see you test 1 or 2 “as seen on TV” items a week. That would be great to hear if they really live up to their hype.

  47. Tim, It seems that you and I are of like mind on many things. I’m a big fan of Epsom Salt, and have been using it for years (although I’ve since started using the brand you recommended here … I like to purchase in bulk). If you haven’t done so already, one way to make an Epsom Salt bath even better is to throw a handful of baking soda in with it (I usually do 2.5 handfuls of Epsom Salt to 1 handful of Baking Soda). The Baking Soda seems to enhance the effect of the Epsom Salt. Also, on the sardines, for my money, I go with Trader Joe’s Lightly Smoked Sardines in Olive Oil (in the pink / purple tin). Great value for money. Thoughts?

  48. lol, thanks for helping me out with my ‘Amazon wish list game’ Tim! serious tho, some of this stuff looks neat

  49. I am looking for the Moccasins you recommend in a 5-bullet a while ago. They look like tennis shoes. Any help? Thank you!

  50. Tim- have your book, listen to podcasts, enjoy your enthusiasm for life, admire your dedication and inspired by your success.

    If ever in the Boston, MA area, would enjoy meeting you.

    On the journey of discovering ME again and being in full alignment with beliefs and actions. Want to add value to those I encounter as you do in many ways and bejng authentic…make money doing so…so i can give back to causes that are important to me.

  51. As always, great stuff Tim. Thank you. I can’t get the link to your pull-up rig to work. Can you please send me a working link or explanation on what you did? I’m trying to install a pull-up bar and/or gymnastic rings or TRX.


  52. Hi Tim, wanted to say Hi and let you know how much everyone in my house appreciates your contributions, in any form they come, thank you

  53. great list of items, thanks for connecting me with better items than I was using. fwiw you may want to veify all the links… I found 4 or 5 that were empty.

  54. Hey Tim,

    Try magnesium chloride instead of sulfate, works even better.

    Magnesium Chloride USP (Pharmaceutical Grade) [Moderator: link removed.]

  55. I wish I could choke down sardines. I can’t figure out how to mask them in another food and I can’t stop the gagging. It’s involuntary. Bummer.

  56. Nice post, Tim. I really appreciate the Epsom salt recommendation, as I’ve been looking for a good source. I always recommend an Infrared Sauna. [Moderator: brand name removed.] Really helpful. [Moderator: additional text removed.]

  57. Where’s the affiliate links? Someone should get commission..might as well be you! I trust you.

  58. Hi Tim, on the 6/1/18 #5BulletFriday email, you mentioned the QuikClot Advanced Clotting Sponge as something you were traveling with when in the middle of nowhere. There are also plastic zip wound closure devices out there you should check out. It’s hospital-grade wound care available to anyone.

  59. Hi Tim, please, please do not promote single use plastic again .. you are better than this; (and let’s face it plastic food wrap is so seventies).

    in an upcoming 5 bullet Friday newsletter I challenge you to find an alternative that won’t kill the very planet you love to travel. Otherwise, keep up the good work!