Here are some of our favorite stocking stuffers! Keep in mind, that every one of these ideas is tested and stamped with the seal of approval aboard Winterlude. We don’t recommend stuff we don’t use!
1. ChillingTheMost.com’s new bottle chilling Koozie. No flimsy rubber koozie, this incorporates a REAL double-walled stainless steel Thermos can cooler with a unique top designed to insure your last sip of beer will be just as icy cold as your first! After trying it out, we’re happy to recommend this as the best koozie we’ve ever used! And it doubles as the best can koozie as well … and you can even put a water bottle in it as we did when we went to the pool today … 85 degrees, and sunny, not tropical conditions, but the water bottle stayed chilled! Get everyone you know these great bottle koozies for stocking stuffers!
2. Portable Depth Gauge This is by far David’s favorite gift. We use it all the time. From anchoring outside an unknown anchorage and using it to find a path with the dinghy to just exploring for absolutely no reason, David has this handheld depth gauge in his hand every day in our dinghy. When I bought it originally I thought it was expensive, but considering the use it’s gotten over the past seven years, it’s worth every penny!
3. PC Lite Ikelite. This is our 2nd PC dive light — the first one was stolen when we were robbed in Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras. From the manufacturer’s description: “The PC series is an innovative new design. This light’s brilliant intensity is provided by new halogen bulb that was specially designed for Ikelite. These bulbs utilize a standard PR-style base, which allows for emergency replacements with bulbs that are available everywhere. The Pocket PC light is designed to be comfortably tucked away inside the pocket of your BCD, so you can carry it with you on every dive. Case is made from a durable plastic. This extremely intense 5 volt 7.2 watt halogen lamp in a pocket-size PC Lite is ideal for individual dives or emergency backup use offering 3 to 4 hours of burntime from 4 alkaline “C” batteries (not included). The PCa has a concentrated spot beam, making the PC your constant dive companion; lock the PC on/off switchand store it in your BC pocket with confidence. Light has an innovative and unique clamp system for ease in opening and closing the light for battery changes and is depth rated to 300′ (90 meters).”
4. Davis Handheld Compass for Bearings/Navigation. This is our backup compass, in case the binnacle compass or the compass in the binoculars let us down. It’s also our go to compass for bearings to insure we’re accurate entering anchorages – cruising guides in the islands often say things like “approach from 270 degrees and enter the channel when you have a bearing of 225 degrees on the white church steeple. This is the easiest way for us to doublecheck the GPS — and if the GPS fails, we still have our handheld compass. We also use it to take bearings after we’re anchored – an easy way to check and make sure we’re not going anywhere. GPS alarms are fine, but our experience is they go off randomly for no reason interrupting our sleep. We prefer to check the bearings rather than use the GPS alarm. But that’s just us.
5. Magnification Dome for Reading Paper Charts. OK so reading paper charts isn’t always easy – especially for the “reading challenged” … i.e. me & David! A friend gave us this cool magnifier for a wedding present and it’s been most useful!
6. Port Fan aka Stove Exhaust Fan exclusively from sv Hotwire. We love this port fan. In fact, in 10 years, this is our 3rd. Imagine our dismay when our favorite portable fan aboard was no longer manufactured. But sv Hotwire.com brought them back by popular demand! We use this over the stove to vent outboard, we also use it on the nav desk when the computer is getting too hot and in the refrigerator/cooler to move cooling air around. It goes anywhere we need it!
According to Hotwire: The 12 v Port Fan can be installed in any size or shape opening port like a window fan for your boat! Bring cool air in at night rather than blowing warm air around. It mounts with a bungee loop around the port lens (or the hinges) for quick removal when the rains come. Turn it facing out to vent the galley or the head. Or use them in pairs in opposing port holes, one to blow in, one to vent out, for terrific cross-ventilation! Works to bring in cool, fresh air even when the awning is up.
7. Ancor Butane Windproof Refillable Mini-Torch. We use this for everything from lighting our grill on the rain if there’s wind to burning the ends of a line to be spliced, to just melting the ends of the painters for our kayaks and dinghy. Any line that needs not to unravel, this is the tool. It’s also refillable, but comes with no butane, so be sure to buy some – the refillable tins that just squirt into the casing – easy, no problem. You’d be surprised how many times this has come in handy — trying to light the beach bbq fire in the San Blas Islands, it literally saved an evening of fun!
8. Sail Repair Kit. It comes with a sailmaker’s palm, wax, twisted thread and tube of 10 needles. We use it for lots more than sail repair — actually, we’ve never had to repair a sail yet, knock on teak! But it was great for wrapping seizing around the anchor rode spliced to the rode. Not sure if that’s the right thing to use, but it seems to have worked great!
8. Speedtech WindMate Meter. According to the description: This is the very first wind meter to incorporate wind direction measurement in addition to wind speed. Essential for sailors and shooters, the WM-200 is the fastest way to accurately read and then react to the wind conditions surrounding you. It also calculates the cross wind and head/tail wind with the touch of a button. This unequaled instrument comes with a two year warranty. We have one that we use more for racing (i.e. the in between cruising times) than cruising. But we have used it specifically for cruising when we’re in a sheltered anchorage and would like to know what it’s REALLY like outside — away we go in our dinghy (or in a taxi or a nice walk across the island) and hold up our wind meter — and look at how bad the whitecaps are looking and the waves crashing on the rocks….
Can you tell we’re gadget junkies? Any other great gadgets that I should consider for David’s Christmas stocking this year??? I’m out of ideas! Please leave a comment and HELP!!! J