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Lifehacker :: Interview with Dave Hax

Lifehacker :: Interview with Dave Hax

by , April 17, 2014
It takes a certain kind of person to become a lifehacker. Someone who looks at the world with a different eye and flips it, just to make things a little easier or maybe even a little cooler. The newly appointed ‘Efficiency Engineer’ of Holiday Express Inn, Dave Hax, is one of those people. A curious chap from the UK whose online videos have made quite a stir throughout the interweb. So we reached out to learn more about his philosophies, his carry and awesome hacks that make travel that little bit easier…

Is your name really Dave Hax or is it just a coincidence?

Dave Hax is the name I use for all my video work, I’d prefer for you not to use or talk about my real name in the feature if that’s okay?

How mysterious… So, I’m curious, how does one become a lifehacker?

Well I guess you need to look at things with a slightly ‘out of the box’ view. If you’re struggling to do something or see someone else struggling, think about what could help to make things easier. Look at objects and materials in a slightly different way and think of alternative uses. We need to keep in mind that the way we do things now isn’t necessarily the best, quickest, or most efficient way of doing it.

When did you first discover you had a knack for it?

Well I’m a trained engineer and I’ve always enjoyed problem solving. Finding short cuts and ways to make life that little bit easier is something I guess I just enjoy doing. I also really like the process of putting together a video to demonstrate a lifehack or build, whether it’s something I’ve come up with myself, or a rework of an older idea.

What are the core principles?

A good lifehack should serve a purpose, whether it’s to speed something up or make something easier, safer, or more efficient. It could involve modifying or using something in a different way to what it was originally intended for.


Is there a particular mindset you need to succeed in lifehacking?

I like to hold a very open mindset. Yes there are certain things we do for a reason, but maybe it’s just because no one has come up with a better way of doing it yet. I think it’s always good to question ourselves in what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and why, and with regards to items and objects, try to see them for more than what they just appear to be, look for alternative uses and innovative ideas.

What does a Zen Master lifehacker like yourself use for a daily carry? 

My daily carry is a canvas shoulder bag. It’s comfortable, casual and practical. It’s easy and quick access, not too big or heavy, but has all the space I need for a few pens, a notepad, some food and a small computer.

Have you made any modifications to it?

No it’s completely standard actually, but I am thinking of customising some foam pads so I can double it as a camera bag.

Okay, what do you carry in your pockets? Can we see a photo of a pocket dump? 

I’d love to tell you I carry around a Leatherman multi-tool, a ball of string, paperclips and some zip ties, but I don’t really carry anything exciting or out of the ordinary; a phone, wallet, loose change and keys, that’s about it. Regardless of where I am though, home, car or office, I always have a selection of tools close to hand should I need anything.

Oh man…I’ll move on. So you’re about to take a trip, what hacks do you initiate before you even leave the house?

I pack my case as per my video. Then I double-check I’ve got everything, slip on my shoes – which look like a half slipper, half shoe, they’re super comfy, they look smart and you don’t have to bother with laces – then I go.

What hacks do you apply when you’re off the plane?

If you can get away with just travelling with hand luggage it’s great not to have to wait around in the baggage claim. I like to keep my passport and travel documents in a zip pocket close to hand, which helps to make sure they’re not lost or stolen but easy to access for when I need them.

What hack accessories are essential when travelling and why? 

It’s great to have a small selection of tools with you if you’re travelling. They don’t have to take up a lot of space and you’ll be very pleased to have it to hand if you need something. Small pliers and a screwdriver or two come in useful so often, but if you haven’t got anything with you, look to see if there’s anything you can use instead like the tip of a knife or a coin.

How best do you prepare for the overhead compartment?

You need to just be mindful of what you’re going to want on the flight. Whether it’s a book, computer, pillow, clothing, some food or a game, have them easy to access so you’re not stood in the aisle for ages rummaging through your bag. You could put your in-flight items inside of a carrier bag inside your hand luggage so once you’ve boarded the plane you can quickly open up your hand luggage and access all the things you want on board.

How do you travel securely with international documents?

I like to keep my passport and travel documents in a zip pocket close to hand. As I mentioned previously, this helps to make sure they’re not lost or stolen, but easy to access for when I need them. I usually keep any international money in my wallet but in a separate compartment.

Which bag is best for transit travel?

It’s never easy if you’re having to run around a lot, and it depends on how much you’re taking with you, but I’d recommend either using a sturdy bag with wheels, or a comfortable backpack. You should also try to keep things as light and minimal as possible.


How do you/would you pack this bag?

I’d advise keeping all the items you might need whilst travelling somewhere near the top or in side pockets so you can access them. You can obviously use clothes to protect your computer or any electricals you may be carrying. First pack items you know you’re not going to need until you’ve reached your destination, so they’re at the bottom and out of the way. Keep in mind to travel light!

What needs to be included in the bag?

As well as all your possessions it can be really useful to have a small tool set or multi-tool, and depending on the nature of your trip string, zip ties, elastic bands, tape and even a sewing kit don’t have to weigh a lot and don’t take up much space, but can be invaluable should you need them. Also if you’re taking a selection of electricals with you, minimise the number of chargers you’re packing by getting a multi-charger.

What are your three favourite travel destinations and why?

I love the Alps, for skiing in the winter and for activities in the summer (swimming, walking, climbing etc). I’m an active person and whatever time of year you go the Alps are always stunningly beautiful and offer plenty to do.

I love the Greek islands, beautiful warm temperatures both on land and in the sea. I like to get up high and look across the water at other islands, and I love their more relaxed way of life.

I also love Switzerland, with its stunning landscape and beautiful little towns and villages. It’s a breathtaking country with amazing architecture, traditions and food.

I’ve never left Europe but hope to travel further afield in the coming years.

Favourite hack of all time?

My favourite lifehack has to be how to fold a shirt in under 2 seconds. That’s why I made a video about it! Someone taught it to me a couple of years ago and I’ve been told it’s a Japanese technique which dates back to the eighties. It has real benefits, and it’s great fun to do. When someone first sees the technique they have a real compulsion to want to try it out for themselves to see if it really is possible, and to see how quickly they can do it themselves.


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