July 30, 2010

Good Gear

We've been reading through Meri from Hotspur's list of the most import kitchen equipment to carry on a boat and found ourselves nodding in agreement or shaking our heads in unconvinced disbelief (seriously, a handheld blender?, and what about good wine glasses?) The list got me thinking beyond kitchen equipment and contemplating the other gear we carry; specifically personal gear.
You can spend a fortune buying cool stuff designed for boaters. Some of the time it's really worth it, while other times you're just forking over a lot of money for something with a sailing logo. No matter which brands you buy though-here are ten of the things we couldn't (or wouldn't want to) do without:
See Further-
Polarized sunglasses are essential on a boat.So we keep several pairs around ovf varying quality. So far it seems the cheap ones break, the super duper ones are so-so and the mid-prized ones do best.
Chemical Free Sun Protection-
When possible I try to ditch the greasy sunscreen and wear technical clothes. The stretchy, formfitting sport shirts are great for hiking and swimming. While the silky, lightweight ones (I like Solumbra*) breathe really well. We also got Maia a full length jelly-fish suit. It's isn't a technical UV fabric, but it's still better than sunscreen alone.
About that Sunscreen-
I'm a bit of a junkie. I tend to keep track of which ingredients work well (Trisiloxane, Titatium Dioxide, Avobenzone) and which we should be avoiding (Oxybenzone). We also carry dozens of bottles-because proper use means we use loads and reapply frequently.
Cutting Through It-
Evan has a Boye knife which he always has with him and that has gotten him out of more than a few bad situations. I have a very similar style Spyderco knife, which if I carried it with me I wouldn't need to call Evan over whenever I've needed a knife…
Staying Dry-
One of our newest goodies is the Harken's Roll Top Wet 'n Dry bag. It was a freebee, but I still love that it is much lighter weight than our old dry bags, has an external pocket for wet stuff, and has back-pack style carry straps. We use a dry bag pretty much anytime we take something to shore that should stay dry. Including our supposedly waterproof handheld Cobra VHF, which we have since learned from other boaters is barely splash proof.
Smart Toppers-
Look for light weight hats with a stiff brim and a sturdy chin strap. Evan still loves his Tilley Hats, while I'm rather liking my North Sails Bluewater hat. Maia has a cheap cotton one we found in a tourist market-and she likes it too.
Nimble Footing-
We're hard on shoes and brought a few spares. For easy walking in town flip flops are the way to go. But for rough trails and beach landings I've joined the Chaco's crowd. Evan and Maia just wear what fits and buy what's available. I did learn that hard soles are pretty vital though-spongy ones are torn up by barnacles or pierced by cactus thorns.
Drink Up-
We each carry a water bottle when we go to shore and each have a favourite. The ones that seems to last are our Nalgene bottles, we've had them forever and carry a litre and they are transparent so I can see if the water inside is dodgy looking.
Battery Free-
Evan has a new solar powered watch that is waterproof and has a nifty action where when you flick your wrist at night the light turns on. He spends entire dinner parties working the crowd, showing them his light. We probably need to find new friends soon… On a cruising boat you really only need one watch-most of the time we're happy if we know what month it is, knowing the time and day is a bit superfluous…
I never thought I would be an early adopter, but we need two more eReaders on this boat. I have a Kobo and I'm shocked to say I love the thing. I can take out library books!

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