Jan’s Top 22 Critical Galley Essentials

Everyone has different favorite tools in the galley. When we started editing “The Boat Galley Cookbook”, our International Marine/McGraw Hill editor thought it would be fun to have both Carolyn (TheBoatGalley.com) and I do a sidebar with our individual favorite galley essentials.  We never finalized them – they were supposed to be our Top 10 choices, but mine had 22.   Unfortunately in the final edit, the galley essentials sidebars ended up on the cutting room floor (to coin a phrase from my advertising background).  So here are my top 22 galley choices.

  1. A Good Fish Knife & Sharpener, Don't Skimp On This If You Plan to Catch Fish!

    A Good Fish Knife & Sharpener, Don’t Skimp On This If You Plan to Catch Fish!

    Sharp Paring Knife (and knife sharpener).  Click the link for Carolyn’s The Boat Galley article on how to pick the best knives!

  2. Potato Masher – get a sturdy one – mine in the house was inherited from my Mom, an old fashioned heavy metal variety.  The first one I bought for the boat collapsed the first time I mashed potatoes!
  3. Icepickused for everything from removing my giant ice cubes from the tray to anything we need a pointed tool
  4. Grill – ours is a Magma used with camping style propane canister
  5. Flat Grater/Shredder – be sure to get a flat one, the box types take forever to clean PLUS they eat up too much space!
  6. 3 nesting pans – a frying pan, a saucepan and a mid-size stock pot
  7. Good fish knife – don’t skimp on buying a good one – we got ours from a tackle shop and it’s still going strong –  click here to read my post with Tips on Selecting a Fish Fillet Knife
  8. Shrimp deveiner – there are other ways to devein shrimp, but the little plastic tool is cheap and easy.
  9. Kitchen Timer – I like the old fashioned one with no batteries to fail
  10. Slotted Spoon/Tongs/Spatulakeep in mind, if you’re using them on the galley stove as well as the grill, you may need one nylon or silicon and one metal for the grill!
  11. Love My Collapsible Bowls and Strainer

    Love My Collapsible Bowls and Strainer

    Collapsible Mixing Bowl — allows me to have a much bigger mixing bowl than I’d have space for otherwise

  12. Pot Restraints
  13. Chamois (as a “rack” to dry dishes and as a non-skid counter top)
  14. Mr Coffee w/ a Stainless Thermos carafe … or since I originally wrote this post, we’ve changed to a Keurig Single Serve Coffeemaker — only 3 amps per cup and always hot!   But we don’t spend the money on the individual K cups, we opted for this EZ-Cup refillable filter instead — beware, we’ve tried several refillable and the one by Keurig with just the mesh is especially boat-unfriendly, no way to clean it without clogging your drain with coffee grounds!  YIKES!
  15. 2 Flat Bottomed Serving Bowls – double for serving or eating underway
  16. corkscrew wine opener
  17. wine bottle stoppers (for unfortunate left over bottles)
  18. measuring cups and spoons – nesting is best, easier to store
  19. freezer baggies – if I had enough room to store them, I’d buy these by the truckload, both quart & gallon sizes
  20. good quality can opener we use a cheapo swingaway, and have never had to replace it in 10 years
  21. plastic egg camping containers because buying fresh eggs, often there are no containers outside the US
  22. vertical ice cube trays – OK, I’m spoiled.  I like a big ice cube in my gin & tonic — maybe two!  I know they’re ridiculously expensive, but I have yet to find anything else that works and doesn’t leak.  Look for them at nautical flea markets or ask around, sometimes other cruisers have them but don’t use them & will sell them for less.  🙂
Indispensible Freezer Baggies!

Indispensible Freezer Baggies!

This isn’t everything in my galley, but it represents the stuff I use most!  🙂

And, of course,  “The Boat Galley Cookbook” from Amazon!   

What about you?   Leave a comment and tell us your favorite galley tools!   Cheers!  Jan



  1. Margie Storrier says:

    Where can you buy a vertical ice cube tray?

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