Sony ZV1: The Vlogger’s Camera I Wish I Owned 3 Years Ago

This little camera completely blew me away…

I recently posted a video about starting my second YouTube channel with my wife. She’s a historian that loves seeing places of history and I found I like filming them with her.

In order to get her comfortable vlogging…and more importantly to get her a quality camera that is easy to use…I bought her the Sony ZV1.

Let me say I am IMPRESSED!!!

The picture quality if phenomenal, the ease of use is second to none, and the sound you get from it is pretty good too! You can buy the vlogger’s kit that gives you a memory card and bluetooh handle….I HIGHLY recommend it.

If you have been looking for a good starter and beyond vlogging camera (or a more video focused handheld camera) the Sony ZV1 is ABSOLUTELY the way to go.

What is the BEST EDC pocket knife?

Spoiler…

Before Christmas I fell down a few rabbit holes. When I emerged like Alice from Wonderland, I ended up with some GORUCK backpacks (which I still need to review) and a bunch of their gear.

I also came away with one of my favorite things I got from that happy holiday…a “Every Day Carry” pocket knife.

This isn’t a genre I follow closely so when I started doing my research (as I so often do) I was shocked by the whole EDC world and community built up around it.

One of the best YouTube channels I found on this topic was Best Damn EDC. Taylor Martin does a great job showcasing TONS of stuff over there…and I eventually came across the below video that helped me make my decision.

I had received a $50 Amazon gift card for Christmas…so this video was perfect for me and eventually convinced me to get the Civi Elementum. The one I picked was actually about $60…but it was worth it.

Is is the best?

Yes….for me.

Why?

Because now I ALWAYS have it on me, it’s a quality knife, I barely notice it in my pocket, and I was able to use a gift card to get it! šŸ˜‚

What is the best one for you?

Spoiler alert…its the one you have on you. Just like you may have heard for cameras…same goes for this. Now that I always carry it with me I find I have it when I need it most. (completely random times throughout the day)

And I love it.

Check out the Civi Elementum over at Amazon.

Sponsored by Uppbeat!!!

Remember how I wrote about this brand new music service (Uppbeat) that has royalty music for places like YouTube? Well one of the things I wrote there was that I had applied for their sponsorship program to see if I could get a free year of premium from them.

Well to my great surprise they said yes! They agreed to give me a year of Premium if I made a video talking about the service. I actually had some fun making this video…even though I think it could have been 3 minutes vice 5 min (they required 5 minutes).

I guess you never know what you will get unless you ask!

So far, it’s a pretty great site for what you can get for free and for how inexpensive the premium price is.

I’ve found that their way of keeping copyright strikes off a video doesn’t work smoothly just yet…but if you dispute it, it gets cleared pretty quickly. (I can tell they’re sprinting to smooth things out and add features right now)

They haven’t approved my affiliate request with them yet. But you should check them out anyways…especially if you are always on the hunt for royalty free music for videos.

I wish this site had been around when I started my YouTube channel a couple years back…would have saved me hours of searching for good, free music.

Uppbeat.io

I Missed the Cut with Amazonā€™s Affiliate Programā€¦Then I Got Paid

Funny how things work sometimes…

Last year I was really trying to see if I could get this website to make even a little bit of money. I posted consistently 5-6 days a week for about a year straight and (twice) tried to get an Amazon Affiliate account off the ground.

In the end, I proved what the experts sayā€¦

What Do The Experts Say?

I recently received an email from Amazon stating that they were paying me $4.64 for an affiliate account I had previously started.

I was shocked because I didnā€™t realize that ANY of my affiliate links had ever resulted in sales. I had regularly checked my Amazon Affiliate site to see if I had met the minimum of 3 qualifying sales within 180 daysā€¦and I never saw even one. Plenty of clicksā€¦but I never saw my metrics showing a qualifying purchase.

Wellā€¦apparently I needed 3ā€¦and made 2.

Upon further reflection, I realize that I had proven what the experts keep saying and what various affiliate programs keep emailing me after they turn down my affiliate partner application.

More Volume

Image by John Conde from Pixabay
Image by John Conde from Pixabay

These experts kept saying that I need more volume before anything can really get started on this website. This is true for affiliate links, selling merchandise, trying out Patreon, and anything else.

Againā€¦I posted every day for a year, but the raw website visits are not thereā€¦yet.

Volume does not mean volume of posts, it means the attention of more readers who find what I post here interesting, willing to share, like, comment on, or click on what might be an affiliate link. (I do my best to make sure people know that my posts contain affiliate links)

To me that means to keep my posting volume low (for now) and making sure the quality goes up.

Should You Set Goals for a Side Hustle?

Honestly I believe the answer to this question is different for us all. For meā€¦I would say yes but very generic goals.

  1. Make money from this siteā€¦eventually
  2. Once I doā€¦make enough to cover basic website costs

However, I am smack in the middle of a full-time career and honestly can’t devote as much time as I might want to my side hustle right now.

For others, your goals may be required in order for you to get any real momentum. If you are hoping that your side hustle can become a full-time gig sooner rather than laterā€¦your goals should be SMART.

What Are Your Next Steps?

Ask yourself that question. I did.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

For me, I have decided that I want to keep this site going for a long time. I like the format Iā€™m using and I enjoy seeing people come across old posts and like them (thanks WordPress app!). I am one of those people that needs a creative outlet every now and thenā€¦and having my own corner of the internet to do that has become a necessity for me.

I am in this for the long haul.

One day I will be looking at retirement. It would sure be nice if my ā€œside hustleā€ had matured to something more ā€œfull-time possibleā€ by then.

Whatever your next steps are, take them.

Best Workhorse Vlogging Lens

This lens does it all for me…

This is an easy one for me. The Cannon 10-18mm lens is what is on my camera about 90% of the time I am using it.

Partly because (for photos) I’ve always been drawn to that wide angle lens look, but (for video) when it comes to vlogging it checks so many boxes.

I do wish that it was a prime lens (ie. a fixed f2.8) but that just makes me work for that good lighting.

If you are considering an “intro” vlogging lens and don’t want to spend a butt load of money…this is the way to go.

Best Bike Hitch Mount for Family of 5: Allen Sports Hitch

Takes what you can throw at it…

My kids finally got old enough to all be riding bikes. Had to find some way to carry all those bikes and this hitch mount works great!

This particular version even locks so that no one runs off with the whole thing. Although, let me tell you…this thing is super sturdy because 5 bikes are HEAVY!

Yeti 200X: The Perfect Power Station to Keep You Charged For the Weekend

Great for all your short, multi-day needs…

Goal Zero is known for it’s consumer friendly and quality solar solutions to gas generators.

I’ve been eying Goal Zero stuff for a while, and had even bought an older version of the Guide 10 Kit back in the day. As these power stations got more popular with the rise of overlanding and the #vanlife, my interested was renewed.

I really wanted to go for the Yeti 500x or even Yeti 1000…but I could not justify them for my budget…ie. my wife. šŸ˜‚

As much as I dream about gearing up and knocking out a bunch of overloading trips with my family, my real world use case is still more along the lines of a long weekend trip.

Yeti 200X: Perfect for my family use cases.

In reality, I needed to be able to recharge phones, apple watches, and power some cool led light strips I bought for my car and/or campsite. The Yeti 200X actually fit the bill perfectly.

On my last camping trip, I was able to recharge phones, smart watches, headlamps, even my DSLR camera batteries for the whole weekend…and I only ever got down to 47% or so. I did buy the Goal Zero car charger, charging it for a quick jaunt to a nearby damn overlook.

Solar Panel to Go With It

image via Goal Zero

I also bought the Nomad 50 Solar Panel to go with the 200x. I wanted to buy the Nomad 100…but I wanted a solar panel that had a USB direct charger to it…and for some reason the Nomad 50 does and the Nomad 100 does not.

It can charge the Yeti 200X in about 5-10hours with full sunlight. Enough to top it off or bring it up throughout the day if you’re worried about it.

Highly recommend checking out this little powerhouse. You’re starting to see Goal Zero’s Yeti “X line” (as I call them) which has USB-C ports as well as USB-C power delivery for fast charging.

Check them all out here:

Affiliate Links versus Brand Merchandise

Having my own “brand” gear is new territory for me…

One thing I never thought I would have is a sort of brand that would lead me to sell stuff.

You may have seen some slight changes on the site here with me displaying the new PatagoniaDad storefront I created that has some fun tee-shirts, coffee mugs, hoodies, stickers and more.

I have read across the internet and heard from vloggers, is that unless you have crazy volume, affiliate links are not the best way to make money. Don’t get me wrong…I bet they’re nice as passive income…but if you guys have seen my most popular post, it’s about how I keep failing at converting Amazon Affiliate links despite my slowly increasing traffic here.

On the other hand, if I sell 1 teeshirt over at Teespring, I make more than I probably would with 40 qualifying amazon link clicks that lead to a purchase. (I still don’t know what qualifies as a qualifying purchase at Amazon)

Asking for Your Help

My Wednesday and Saturday posts tend to be my more popular posts, so I am hoping that you might be willing to throw a comment my way with what you think about the current designs I have (don’t hesitate to be honest!) or even what you might be interested in as this evolves.

As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

BioLite Camping Lites Follow-Up

Got to use these a bit…

A couple weeks ago I wrote about BioLite camp lights and all of the various options they have.

I took them with me on a recent camping trip and the SiteLite Minis were a huge hit with my family. We strung them inside of our big family sized REI tent and when it was raining in the later afternoon and evening on a couple of the days, I had the Minis powered by the Base Lantern XL that I got on sale over Memorial Day weekend.

Part of what I was trying to figure out was what all we would actually use and what would end up staying in the bin of camping gear. The minis and the baselantern worked great.

BioLite Headlamps

Before the trip, I broke down and bought my kids new rechargeable headlamps from BioLite too. I was tired of the batteries in their cheap headlamps running out and having to buy new batteries.

These were another hit with the family as my kids loved having their own headlamps …and I didn’t have to worry about them running out of juice since I could just recharge them from the BaseLantern XL.

Win win.

Overall Impressions

I like them.

They’re a super fun addition to the campsite, not completely necessary (except headlamps in my opinion) but they are nice to have.

I liked having the BaseLantern XL as that also serves as a powerbrick should I need to recharge basically anything…plus the light it puts off is great.

If you’re looking for a fun campsite addition to your gear box…I would recommend these lights for sure.

image via BioLite