Preview: Our Most Valuable Secret NON-Boat Gear, Part 2

The original post to this series by OCH Co-Founder Steve Stone received so many requests for “More!”, that we went to the OCH Guides and members, as well as the most experienced camp-cruisers we know, and asked them, “What is your most valuable secret non-boat gear you have on your boat?”.

While we tend to be minimalists and follow our mantra of “simplicity afloat is the surest guarantee of happiness”, and thus we don’t like to purchase anything extra to clutter the boat or our minds while cruising, finding the right gear is a decades-long balance of taking along items that enhance the experience, or make it more safe, but don’t distract or clutter.

We received too many good responses to list in one post, so we’re starting an ongoing series to pass these little gear-jewels along to OCH members. Please feel free to post your own favorite secret gear, in the comments section at the bottom of this post…


Though I could list almost every item in my rigging bag as “wouldn’t be without it,” the more recent addition (two years ago) makes me smile each time I use it. That is the miniature Bernzomatic propane blow torch.

When I decided to set sail with David onboard SAHULA, the boat he’d been living on during an 11 year circumnavigation, I quickly became the appointed bosun. It’s a job I enjoy. But I was almost overwhelmed by the number of lines that needed seizing or renewing, the minor sail repairs I wanted to do before the boat was ready to continue onward towards Australia and Tasmania withthe two of us onboard.

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Comments, Thoughts or Suggestions?

You can leave a comment or question for OCH and members below. Here are the comments so far…

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20 Responses So Far to “Our Most Valuable Secret NON-Boat Gear, Part 2

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    Ricardo Dacosta says:

    As a new sailor, since it hasn’t been mentioned, may I ask what is your preferred method of refrigeration for food items and beverages for day/weekend trips? Cooler with Ice? 12V fridge? Size? Any one in particular you have found ideal?

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    Andrew Bartholomew says:

    Epoxy needs to be measured accurately and many times you don’t need much. Small syringes make measuring tiny amounts easy and with care to store them separately can be reused.

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    Just to pile on for the turkey baster’s many uses, I’ve found it ideal for adding (and subtracting) water to flooded batteries, especially where they might not be as accessible as you’d like.

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    Barry Sherwood says:

    Thank you to all who have submitted their fav non-boat gear – there are some videos which reference gear generically – does anyone have information about gear they thought would be good but wasn’t.

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    Leo Comeskey says:

    Old toothbrushes for cleaning detail work well.

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    Fred Knoch says:

    I’ve used a Trangia stove for twenty years, passed on to me after my dad had it for twenty years. They’re great stoves and always a conversation starter at dinner time. The stove has no moving parts and thus nothing can fail on them. The stove is made out of brass – I suspect because the water in alcohol would quickly rust steel. Be aware that alcohol is not as efficient a fuel as the other camp stove fuels . You will have to bring more fuel with you. Also make sure to have an extra rubber o-ring lid seal in your kit because you may accidentally leave that on the stove when lighting in the dark…!
    The kettle is absolutely essential. It is very efficient and saves fuel and time.

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      Peter Richardson says:

      And if you spill the Trangia fuel it just smells pleasantly alcoholic for a bit, then evaporates without leaving any damage or residual smell. I came unstuck with a Trangia bike touring in Japan years ago, though – had to buy the fuel at pharmacies and sign various forms – presumably promising I wouldn’t drink it!

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    Harold Wheeler says:

    Love this, not being a experienced camp cruiser, all of the site is a great educational tool.

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    Rick Zablocki says:

    Great way to share valuable information among community members

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    Rafael Paonessa says:

    Another advantage of berillium tools: they don’t spark.

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      Bert van Baar says:

      Thats exactly why they made them: tools for oil-tankers and anti-magnetic mine-sweepers

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Oh my, thanks Rafael, of course that’s the whole point of them. Or the one right up next to anti-corrosion. How did we omit that from Ed’s writing? Sorry Ed, we’ll fix that right away.

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      Ben Fuller says:

      And they are non magnetic. Uncle Sam’s Navy issued me a big set of these when I was part of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.They were so expensive that they were serial numbered and I had to sign for them. Only used when absolutely necesaary.

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    Thomas Graham says:

    I agree with Lin Pardey that a butane torch is a great piece of kit for the boat. Mine is the Dremel version and it has several attachments including a rope cutter and soldering tips. I’ve also found that the larger tips held on a stuck fastener will heat it enough to loosen with out damaging surrounding wood or fiberglass finish. It also will blow hot air for heat shrink tubing applications.
    Search for: Dremel 2000-01 Versa Tip Precision Butane Soldering Torch

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    Roy Morford says:

    Has anyone with a hammock tried rigging it inside a small open boat instead of using a camp mattress on floorboards on the (sometimes wet) hull?

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      Ben Fuller says:

      On mine the distance between main and missen isn’t great enough to take the hammock.

    • David Tew

      David Tew says:

      The turkey baster! Never would have thought of that! Thx.

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    Conbert Benneck says:

    OCH hits the bulls-eye of the target again. When you’re sailing or camping, you start off with basic equipment. Over time as your experience grows you gradually up-grade items so that they are smaller; do a better job; and are an improvement. That is a slow process. First you have to realize you need a better solution…. Then the problem becomes; what’s available? That leads to the next problem; does it work as I think it should? So, boat and camping gear improvement is a slow process. You buy and try; and if not happy with the product you buy and try again. OCH with this article gives us the distilled wisdom of very experienced sailors and campers. What a wonderful help for everyone. Congratulations for having, and for executing this superb idea.