Behind the scenes: The DCRainmaker Gadget Cave


Back a while ago I had shown a photo of the heart rate strap collection I have, where I stash the massive number of heart rate straps that I seem to have obtained (usually just because they came with various products).  During that post, some folks asked to see what the full sports gadget collection looks like.

It used to be that the collection all fit into a single Rubbermaid container.  Well, mostly.  As you saw in my post on ‘Behind the scenes in product reviews’, it was overflowing at the time.  So this spring I decided to upgrade it.  And by ‘upgrade’, I mean I went to Ikea and bought the cheapest shelving system they had.

Now, I should point out an important item because I’m not sure if everyone realizes it.  After I’m done reviewing a product, I almost always end up returning the product to the vendor – no matter if the item costs $2,000 or $200.  About the only items I don’t send back are ones that I’ve consumed (i.e…food), which is fairly rare.  In some cases, the companies don’t want them back – so I give them away (a hint at what might be coming up soon…).

After the product has gone back though, I end up re-purchasing almost all of them.  I do this to be able to answer your questions as companies add new features, or to be able to add them as comparisons in product reviews.  Obviously, this costs real hard cold cash, hence why I’m super thankful for all of you who use the Amazon links.

With that – let me introduce the portable side of the sports gadget collection.  Note this does not include trainers, or anything else that doesn’t fit in the closet.


Above, the closet.  You’ll notice Mr. Shark is hanging out there, guarding the goods.  He sits behind the pull-up bar (an artifact as part of the Men’s Health partnership).  The pull up bar keeps him in the room, like one of those children’s fences.


Once you’re inside and navigated him out of the way, I’ve organized everything into levels.  Starting at the very top is basically a place where I can stash boxes that don’t really fit anywhere else – these are mostly just scales and the like.


Then from there we go into swim stuff (you’ll notice the pattern: Swim, Bike, Run…).  Because Swim doesn’t really need as much room as the others, I also stash some health and fitness stuff in here – like Zeo.


Moving down a layer we’ve got ‘Bike’.  Now in general these are products that I’ve already reviewed, but there are some others in there that I just haven’t gotten around to.  In some cases, the product may never be reviewed (simply due to lack of time), and in others, it’s still on my radar.  For items that are triathlon and could swing both bike or run, I stash it wherever seems to have the most space that day.


Moving on we’re onto the run!  This is without question the biggest category, as it’s the one where I write the most product reviews for.  Lots of stuff in here.  Sometimes I have two of an item, either because The Girl has one, or because I’ve had multiples for some random reason (i.e. there are two Nike+ GPS watches there, one of them is shattered).


Below the run, we’ve got the ‘To Review’ pile.  This serves as a handy reminder of things I’m working on.  Some items are higher priority than others, usually determined by your demand.  Occasionally determined by public release.  Virtually never determined by what a company wants (I recently reminded a company of that, subsequently sending back their products without review after they got pushy).  I aim to deliver what I believe you’ll find interesting, not what some PR person wants.  Of course, if I find something interesting, then you’ll never know what you’ll get (hence the Shark and blender things).


Finally, there’s that good ole Rubbermaid bin!  Yup, he lives on.  Currently he’s the miscellaneous parts box, with random stuff that I scrounge from.  I’ve got enough zip ties in there to easily take care of any WTO event.  And of course, off to the side is my trusty roller wheel for measuring courses, hanging out next to my underwater photography case for underwater review items.


I’ve also got two more little piles out of view (gotta have surprises!).  The first being unreleased/unannounced products, and the second being a very good chunk of stuff that I’ll be giving away shortly.  It’s a fairly substantial pile – sorta like ‘The mother of all DC Rainmaker giveaways’.  And, more fun to keep that a surprise.  When have you ever been disappointed by one of my giveaways?

With that – hope you enjoyed the little tour, and hope you have an enjoyable weekend!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. You do realize you have a problem? ^^
    Love your stuff, keep up the good work!

  2. I always disappointed, because I have never won one, lol. Interesting post, lots of great stuff.

  3. Wow! Do you work in the garmin firm? 😉

    Run ON!

  4. OMG wish I had that sort of stuff, my wife would kill me if I had so much stuff… as it is I can’t throw away my old 30 lap casio and 2 other brocken watches…

  5. This is borderline pornography…

  6. Ray,
    I have been reading for a while and I just wanted to say thanks for all the great posts/articles. You really have a talent for giving your audience informative, yet, entertaining material.
    I wish you continued success.
    If you are ever in Ohio for a race let me (and the readers) know. I’d like to do a tri with you some day.

  7. I used to have lots of “stuff”, but found it very liberating to de-clutter.
    Unfortunately, now my heart rate monitor has died and base training has become a bit hit and miss.
    Keep up the good posts.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. My wife would kill me as well if I had all that cool stuff. You may want to return the rolling pin/watch display to the kitchen so Bertie’s Bakery can work more efficiently.LOL.

  10. Um. A rolling pin? How can you not address something so obviously strange in the commentary for that photo?

  11. Kim

    ray, would you ever consider selling any of your older electronics – like a garmin 310xt for example?! 🙂

  12. Anonymous

    I love your work, I follow daily and it is very useful and inspirational…how you fit work and training and blogging.
    One question: how do you deal with the cables and keeping everything charged and ready to go.
    That is the side that is driving me nuts!!!
    Keep up the good work.

  13. you’re better stocked than any tri store i’ve ever seen…

  14. Awww Jacob…you mean you never read my product reviews? 🙁

  15. Chris @ Polar

    Yes, I’m the geek that actually looked for your rubber duck like this was some sort of Where’s Waldo post. =)

  16. Unlike the rolling pins, the rubber ducks hang out with me in the bathroom on a daily basis. I leave no duck behind.

  17. I look forward to the rolling pin review, for sure!

  18. You are one of reasons that i’ll do half ironman one day.


    I need a drool towel. Amazing! I want to hang out in the toy closet for a few hours or days. The correct number of HR monitors is how many you have plus one. The same calculation also works for bikes. You are the first place to go for how something works and if its really worth having.

  20. I am assuming the shark is really a guard…somethink akin to a nany cam!

  21. Let me know when you have a garage sale!

    Can’t wait to see the hidden stash.

  22. Anonymous

    Let us know when you’re having a yard sale 🙂

  23. DUUUUDE! I’ve been looking for my Pink Garmin for like 3 months!!!

    *Tristan, yes he has a problem!
    *Flyboy, PLEASE tell him just how liberating it would be for him to DE-CLUTTER!
    *bmatt, after months of asking for the rolling pin back, I decided customers might appreciate me buying a new/clean rolling pin!
    *dpmb, one day… one day!

    🙂 Love your Wife

  24. Anonymous

    It would hurt your independency from suppliers by keeping the items. No need from my side that you re-buy them. This is very correct, but your credibility is undoubted.

  25. Anonymous

    Great post! Hope the Suunto Ambit is not too deep in the pile of items to be reviewed. Keen to know what you think about it!
    Keep up the great work!

  26. Wow, just wow. Ray. Wow.

  27. Anonymous

    Sorry, misspelled. Wanted to say “would NOT hurt”

    It would not hurt your independency from suppliers by keeping the items. No need from my side that you re-buy them. This is very correct, but your credibility is undoubted.

  28. What a great collection. I wish I had one of those gps ANT+ compatible watches and you have a dozen or so! Too bad they don’t make these things with a college kids budget in mind….

    Thanks for the great reviews!


  29. I like that the rolling pin lives with the “to review” devices. It’s sitting there poised and ready to offer a size comparison at a moments notice.

  30. I had a question and I’m sure you’ve encountered it before. But have you ever given thought to farming out some of the product reviews to people you trust who can emulate your style and thoroughness. I understand that your name is on the website so you want to keep some element of control over the product reviews and it’s easy to do that by yourself.

    This might be for the stuff that wouldn’t get timely reviewed or would be put off until well after their introduction. Then you to focus on the heavy hitters.

  31. Hi Mike the Harrier-

    It’s definitely something I’ve looked at, and am trying to find the right mix. My challenge is that I need someone(s) who can:

    A) Photograph well (with DSLR camera)
    B) Write well
    C) Understand the details of the product and competitive offerings
    D) Be semi-funny

    Of course, I’m rarely all of the above – but (if) whomever I go with has to be able to accomplish those so that in theory one wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between my post and theirs (of course, they’d get credit) – but it’s a challenge.

    There are a few people I have in mind – but haven’t quite figured out the method yet.


  32. Lea

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This post posted at this web page
    is really pleasant.

  33. abryl

    Wow wow!! Gadget Cave, aka Heaven, at least to me.