Finding a perfect gift for the sailor in your life can be a challenge. From the outside, it seems like they have it all, and what more could they fit in a small sailboat? The last thing you want to do is give a sailor something they can’t wait to get rid of.
As a person who lives on a sailboat, I can tell you there are certain items a sailor will love.
1) Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker ($20-$60)
There’s nothing better than cooking with a pressure cooker on a sailboat. Pressure cookers use far less propane than traditional methods of cooking, and render meat tender in 30 minutes or less. We are addicted to our pressure cooker, and have made everything from mashed potatoes, to chicken mole, to beef stew in it. If you’d like to pair your gift with a cookbook, we love Pressure Cooker Perfection, by America’s Test Kitchen.
2.) Yeti Insulated Mug ($30-$35)
There’s nothing better when sitting in a sailboat’s chilly cockpit is a warm drink. Yeti makes such awesome products and this insulated mug is no exception. It can both keep drinks cool or hot to the last sip. The Yeti stainless steel 18oz mug is portable, and can be taken on day hikes, in a backpack, or on a dinghy headed to shore.
3) Go Sun Solar Oven ($150-$200)
This is another great gift idea for a sailor – when it’s too hot to cook inside the boat, let the sun do the trick on the stern. The Go Sun Solar Oven is an amazing invention – it’s small, light-weight, and fits into a sturdy 7.5-pound carrying case with handles when not in use. The stoves can be completely submerged and are rugged and durable. You can make cookies, bread, hot dogs, hamburger meat, etc. in this little oven. I’ve seen many sailors use these and I can’t wait to get one myself!
4) The Boat Galley Cookbook ($20-$30)
Figuring out what to cook in a tiny kitchen when crossing oceans with no grocery store in sight is no easy task. The Boat Galley Cookbook is written by a couple sailors who’ve dealt with all the challenges of cooking onboard. The book has over 800 recipes made from readily-available ingredients, and details on making unfamiliar things like yogurt and bread. A must-have for any blue water cruiser!
5) Portable Bidet ($10-$20)
You might think this is a strange gift to give someone, but we use the heck out of our portable bidet. We have the same bidet in our sailboat bathroom and in our backpacking backpack. It’s a great way to keep toilet paper from clogging up a sailboat holding tank, and is simple to use. We don’t go anywhere without it – and I want to buy a third one to keep in my van!
6) Kindle ($100-$250)
Living in a sailboat means you don’t have a lot of space, and no space to lug around a bunch of books. I’m addicted to my Kindle Paperwhite for ease of use and portability, plus, I’ll never be without a book! A Kindle can be connected to a hotspot signal to download a new book on the go. Plus, the Kindle Paperwhite, which I own, is backlit and can be read in a van without disturbing a sleeping partner. I go everywhere with my Kindle, and hope I never have to go without! Also, the new Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof – amazing!
7) Dome Lens for a GoPro ($50-$60)
Have you ever seen those cool photos where half is below water and half above? That’s the work of the Vicdozia Dome Port Lens, which can take stunning water shots. This dome port uses a semi-hemispherical acrylic dome which works with the GoPro Hero 6 and GoPro Hero 5. It comes with built-in waterproof housing, a floating hand grip and scratch-resistant cover. A must-have for any sailor who loves photography.
8) Waterproof Portable Speaker ($25-$60)
Nothing is more fun than sitting out in the cockpit listening to some awesome music. The not so fun part is when that speaker gets wet, and breaks. That’s why a waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker is so awesome for a sailor – it can withstand the spray that inevitably flies over the rails. This JBL speaker can play music for 12 hours without needing a new charge – and can actually be submerged in water.
9) Garmin InReach ($350-$450)
The Garmin InReach is a satellite communication system any sailor would love. The Garmin Mini is light and portable, and supports 2-way text messaging wherever you are on the globe. It can also trigger an SOS alert to the search and rescue monitoring center, and can download NOAA charts, aerial imagery and maps. The Garmin allows friends and family members to track a sailboat’s location and speed using the Iridium Satellite network. Many sailors rave about the InReach.
10) Darn Tough Socks ($20-$30)
Darn Tough socks are our absolute favorite socks. My boyfriend Tom and I gift each other these socks at holidays and birthdays, and they’re amazing. They work for lounging, camping, hiking and sleeping in cold weather. I have to admit I’ve worn these socks for several days, without any type of smell of funkiness. Darn Tough socks are made in Vermont from fine gauge Merino wool, which is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial. They are the perfect gift to for a salor trying to keep those toes warm.
11) Waterproof Cell Phone Dry Bag ($6-$10)
Sailors spend a lot of time above deck when on their boats, and often, have their phone out there with them. They also carry phones to and from shore on dinghies. This is where a waterproof cell phone bag really comes in handy. It protects against spray and surf, and keeps that smartphone working. This particular case fits all smartphones up to 6 inches diagonally.
12) Multi-tool with Blade ($15-$25)
A mutli-tool with a blade comes in handy whether you’re sailing, camping or backpacking. This 10-1 multitool set comes with a knife blade, needle nose pliers, mini wood saw, bottle opener, philips screwdriver, metal file, wire cutter, medium slotted screwdriver, large slotted screwdriver and rope cutter. Plus, it’s sturdy and durable, made out of German 420 stainless steel. A blade is essential for a sailor in case they need to quickly cut rigging in an emergency.
13) Microfiber Towel ($10-$20)
These small Wolfyok microfiber towels work like a dream and are small enough to pack into a small sailboat head. Microfiber towels are absorbent and quick-drying – they dry much faster than a terry cloth or cotton towel. They’re also lightweight and compact, weighing only 8 ounces. We’ve taken microfiber towels backpacking and hiking, and love their portability and performance.
14) Portable USB charger ($20-$30)
There’s nothing worse than traveling in a foreign country and not being able to find an outlet to charge your phone. This Anker portable USB charger is smaller than a deck of cards and can charge a smartphone up to three times. Great for the sailor who likes to explore land for hours on end and needs a way to charge their phone.
15) Magma Nesting Cookware ($125-$215)
Limited space in a sailboat means the sailor is always looking for organizational hacks! These Magma Nesting Cookware sets are super popular among the sailing community. These pots are made out of marine grade stainless steel and store in less than 1/2 cubic foot of cabinet space. They’re non-toxic and non-stick, and oven safe up to 500 degrees. Perfect all around pots!
5 essential sailing books I love
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