Here’s a partial list of gear that we bought ourselves or received as gifts over the years. We use everything that we’ve listed, and in most cases include our thoughts whether good or bad.
RAM iPad Suction Mount. This thing is hard core. You assemble it with little machine screws and nyloc nuts. Spring loaded to fit just about any size tablet. We use it to have our iPad as a backup navigation source at the helm.
Explorer Chartbooks. Definitely a fan favorite for The Bahamas. We carried both their books and electronic chart data for use with the iNax navigation app on our iPad. Explorer data was much more accurate than the Navionics data on our chartplotter.
Dometic CFX-40W 40 quart Portable Refrigerator/Freezer. We didn’t want to pay close to $2700 to have a cockpit fridge installed so we bought one of these instead. We also got the Insulated Protective Cover as well since it will be sitting on the rear deck frequently. Whether you use a portable like we bought here, or an optional cockpit fridge, either are a good idea to keep people from constantly opening the horizontal galley fridge to retrieve their drinks.
Pelonis 6 in. 2 speed Electric Clip Fan. Something so small with such a big impact, and from Ace Hardware of all places. While John was by himself in Key Largo he was trying to learn to live without the a/c as we did not want to run the generator often while at anchor. The little Caframo Bora Fans that come with the boat can be noisy and aren’t in a good location over the beds. We now have 2 of these. One is clipped to the book case next to our bed so it blows across John before it gets to me, moving the perfect amount of air for both of us. We use the other one in the main salon if it’s an exceptionally hot day with no breeze. Walmart also carried them.
Garmin InReach Explorer+. This is a great little device that allows you to have connectivity anywhere in the world through a Iridium-based subscription. Track and share your location, geo-referenced SOS function, receive weather forecasts, send and receive text messages, pair with an iOS, etc. This one keeps “The Mothers” happy, as they are able to see where we are at all times.
Hamilton Beach 1 L Stainless Steel Electric Kettle. Christa’s favourite toy when we’re on the generator or shore power. Small size so it stores easily, and the perfect size for making the right amount of tea and/or coffee.
Bodum French Press Coffee Maker. Used in concert with the electric kettle or with water boiled on the stove top. We had both a Nespresso and Keurig machine at home before we moved aboard, but they would have been another electrical appliance and cause a lot of plastic garbage with their pods. This French press was $15 at Walmart and we have a large supply of Costco-sized Folgers coarse-ground to get John through his caffeine requirements in the morning.
25 Pack Extra Durable Magic Eraser Cleaning Sponge. These things are awesome. They’re an off-brand version of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, but still made of the same melamine foam, for less than half the price.
Culinary Butane Torch. This is a great little hand torch that is useful for shrink wrap, soldering or melting the ends of cut line. You can also point out to the cook in the family that is is equally capable with BBQ and crème brûlée 😉
Flag Clips. Very useful little clips for courtesy flags on your flag halyards. Likely not recommended for line any thicker than that as we’re not sure they would hold.
Tribord EasyBreath Full Face Snorkel Mask. Christa just loved her mask when she used it in the BVI, and now for when she’s looking at a reef in the shallow water in The Bahamas. We posted about it here.
Octobermoon Original Second Gerneration 180° view Panoramic full face Snorkel Mask. Big, long name isn’t it? They’re compensating. While Christa loved hers from Tribord, I was not a fan of this one from Octobermoon. We wrote about them here.
SJCAM SJ5000 WIFI 1080P Waterproof HD Action Camera. This is an off-brand version of the well-known GoPro cameras. We tried it after The Wynns recommended them on one of their videos. We haven’t owned a GoPro to compare it to, so we can’t comment. The only issue has really been that the small screen is hard to use when at the end of a camera pole while snorkeling, although that’s likely the case for all such cameras.
Youphoria Hammock. We bought two of these before our last charter. Great price for what you get. Comes with lines and two clips.
North Face Base Camp Duffel. One of our favourite purchases. Very rugged, splash and sand “resistant.” Rubberized all around, but there are small gaps in the zippers so not a true dry bag, although you would likely be OK after a drop that you retrieve quickly. Fits a ton of stuff and still fits in the airline overhead bins.
Sirocco Stand Up Paddleboard. We came across a great deal for these inflatable SUPs by accident while talking to some Leopard 45 owners at the dock. One had just boat a tender from Sirocco Marine, and bought a couple SUPs as well. As word got around, in the next three days the remaining 10 SUPs in the store were sold. I think the attraction was that they are a rugged, high quality design in a backpack that includes everything you need, plus Sirocco’s claim that they are made in the same factory that produce’s SUPs of the same design for well-known brands at more than twice as much.
ACR Electronics EPIRB with Internal GPS. You need to understand what an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is and whether you need one. A good place to start is a dedicated website here. You can get these from Amazon, but if they are new to you, they are available at Westmarine for the same price, and you’ll be able to discuss different brands and philosophies with the staff.