Monday, February 20, 2017

indispensable things.

We met up with some power boating friends a few weeks ago (Hi Bill and Molly!) and got to talking about our indispensable items on the boat. They had very specific items they couldn’t live without but I hadn’t really given it that much thought. Once I did, I came up with a few things. In no particular order here they are:

Headlamps (especially with a red light function). Great for so many things. Our kitchen area is a bit dark so I pull one on as I prep and cook dinner. It’s particularly helpful for checking things in the oven as it doesn’t have an interior light. We use them when we check the anchor at night, when we crawl in bed to read, when we stand watch in the cockpit at night, and when we are walking through an unfamiliar marina after dark and especially when we are dinghying back to the boat after sundown.

Travel chargers (what you’d use in your car). When we are not plugged into a power source at a dock we use direct current. We use the multiple DC outlets (of which there are currently 6) to charge all our electronics except my laptop because Apple doesn’t make a DC charger (darn them!).

Reusable water bottles. This is a “duh” kind of thing but we don’t drink from open cups except at meal time or at the very least when we are at anchor. Too many opportunities for spills especially when you have a small person aboard. The Hydroflask brand is a favorite of ours. If you can get your hands on ice, they'll help you keep your drink cold for hours and hours and hours.

Travel mugs. We both have Hydroflasks and absolutely love them. We have coffee cup lids for them that snapped closed (making them all but impossible to spill even if you toss it in your messenger bag and tote it around all day). They keep coffee and tea and the like hot for an entire day. No joke. We’ve had hot liquids still be more than lukewarm 12 hours later. They’re pricey but worth the investment for us.

Aim and flame lighters. We don’t have a fancy brand we like or anything. We just use the cheapy ones from the dollar store. They make lighting the stove and oven less of a hair losing experience than using a cigarette lighter.

Wet wipes. I don’t know if I would have thought of buying them if we didn’t have a toddler. They’re great for quick wipe downs of him, any surface, and can clean spots out of clothes like a champion. I also love to toss a pack into my purse for any outing. They lower the ick factor in lots of situations.

Small skillet and small spatula (scraping type, not flipping). I’ve mentioned these before but they’ve become my staple. The skillet is from TJ Maxx and the spatula is by OXO. The skillet is nonstick and is perfect for eggs in the morning and heating up leftovers at lunch. Easy cleanup and compact. The spatula is the most reached for item in my silverware drawer hands down. It’s smallish but not tiny and is great for all kinds of cooking and baking.

Sunglasses. We live and die by daylight. So, polarized sunglasses are a must. They’re better at protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and they make visibility at sea 100 times better—especially when it comes to spotting dolphins!

Active Captain. It’s Yelp! for boater. You can find reviews of marinas, anchorages and hazards along the way. It integrates with Garmin BlueCharts mapping technology we use on the iPad seamlessly and has kept us off more shoals than we care to count. It’s truly crowdsourcing at it’s best.

Kindles. We are both pretty avid readers. Being able to carry thousands of books in one device that is extremely efficient in battery usage is a Godsend.

I’m a big believer in living as you would on land if you undergo a cruiser life. What I mean to say is that it’s not some giant camping trip and you should have the creature comforts that you would want on land to make you your most comfortable if possible. With that in mind, these are our most loved creature comforts:

Quick drying hair towel. I’ve had 2 of these for a decade. For a person with long hair, they cut my air drying time in half. I hate to travel without them on land or on water. They run about $20 and are well worth the money. They dry quickly on the lifelines and are slightly larger than the size of a hand towel.

Art supplies. Yes they take up space. But as a creative type, having them makes me happy. I brought paper, fancy pens, a lovely set of watercolors, nice colored pencils, adult coloring books, and of course papers of various types. Between Fozel and myself, we have been putting them through the paces and it’s great for me to have something to do with my hands that also helps me unwind.

Bialetti coffee maker. We love coffee and this little stove top number is one of our favorite items from home. It makes 1 thermos at a time, is 3 fairly small pieces to clean and frankly, is kind of cute to look at. I’ve stopped drinking coffee because I ran out of decaf and I thought I would just give it up but when I’m brewing Josh’s thermos every morning that heavenly smell wafting from the Bialetti makes me regret it!

Exercise gear. We both have all our exercise clothing plus I’ve gathered some essential exercise equipment I’m so glad I didn’t leave behind. A kettlebell, jump rope, ankle weights, a set of 5 pound hand weights, a suspension trainer and resistance bands go a long way to keep me sane. Have I mentioned how much I love working out?!

Crocs. Yes, they’re ugly as sin BUT they are comfortable, they breathe and they make the best boat shoes (in place of slippers). Josh and Lucas wear theirs out in public *gasp* but mine are strictly on board or in the marina. They double as shower shoes and get the job done for just kicking around above or below deck. We’ve absolutely lived in them since we left. Actually, we lived in them before we left and I can’t think of $20 better spent for our comfort.

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