Products for a Homestead Home Office

Reader Contribution by John D. Ivanko and Inn Serendipity
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I’m always exploring new products that will save us money, make our homestead more efficient, our business more profitable, our home and office environment healthier, or become a little more resilient to the next thing nature might throw our way. My son, Liam Kivirist, and I regularly cover technology for emergency preparedness, often discovered during new product launches at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held every January.

The products below are new additions to our Inn Serendipity homestead, with a focus on our increasingly mobile life and home office.

Protecting our Technology with the Urban21 Commuter Backpack from KeySmart

No matter whether you’re on the move around town or the farm, or need a smaller “bug-out” bag that’s designed to last in extreme conditions or during emergencies, KeySmart’s Urban21 Commuter Backpack with its super tough ballistic nylon fabric and plentiful padding should keep your portable electronics equipment, cell phone and other essentials safe, secure, protected and dry. The two larger pockets in the inside are for a laptop (up to 15-inch) and a tablet.

Since the Urban21 Commuter Backpack has waterproof front and hardshell pockets, plus water-resistant nylon exterior, I often bring it into the growing fields with me, using one pocket for my tablet and the other for my clipboard containing my growing field notes. Since we have a WiFi signal that’s bounced into our field, we can now even stream NPR to our headphones while weeding (the headphones are also stored in the backpack when not in use).

Most homesteaders and farmers are constantly on the go and increasingly wired or connected to cellular in order to take product orders from customers or monitor the output of their solar electric system like we do with our 10.8 kW PV system. So, technology is almost always on and within reach. This comfortable, padded backpack produces a way to keep all of our gear organized and protected wherever we might be. There’s even a hardshell top compartment for fragile items like glasses, cellphone or flashlight. Their Professional Bundle Urban21 version comes with rain cover, pocket organizer, chest strap and water bottle. The only design addition I could think of after trying it out is for KeySmart to add a rigid bottom to the backpack to better protect electronics inside from a sudden, jolting drop.

When we’re on the move, especially into the big city when the chances of hanging out with a potentially malicious hacker at a coffee house go up, the Urban21 Commuter Backpack has RFID-blocking microfiber compartments to keep our data safe. Given the number of RFID chips in use today, including in some credit cards and a US Passport, it’s just one more security concern, whether we’re a prepper or not.

Home Office Air Cleaning System with the Swiffer Continuous Clean

Since we cool our 100-year-old farmhouse the old-fashioned way by opening the windows at night and use fans during the day, plenty of pollen and dust from the outside air might pass through the screens. To help improve the indoor air quality in our home office and help cut down on some of the allergens that might aggravate my wife’s allergies or asthma, we been using the Swiffer Continuous Clean Air Cleaning System.

You can see proof of what the filter captures in the triple layer filtration material after only a month or so of use. The replaceable filters should be changed about once a month. After using the unit, we noticed it helped cut down on the time we had to set aside for regular dusting.

Not to be confused with the more comprehensive and expensive air purifiers on the market, the Swiffer Continuous Clean Air Cleaning System is more of an air cleaner and operates with a super quiet fan that pulls the room air through the filter material that collects the pollen, dust and pet dander. It uses less energy to operate than an average nightlight. The best part: my wife seems to be sneezing a little less since we starting using it.

John D. Ivanko, with his wife Lisa Kivirist, have co-authored Rural RenaissanceHomemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Both are speakers at the Mother Earth News Fairs. As a writer and photographer, Ivanko contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam, a 10.8-kW solar power station and millions of ladybugs. Read all of John’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


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