Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays: 10 Simple (and inexpensive!) Products We Love on our Boat

Way back when, I had a little series on the blog called "Top 10 Tuesdays"(scroll all the way down on the linked page for all the top ten posts). It started on a whim with no intention of being a regular thing, but the first post was so popular that, following it, people wrote in with ideas, suggestions and requests for more top ten lists, so I complied. The "series" was born. Sure, it was a little more gimmicky than my usual style, but it was surprisingly fun to come up with new ideas, and according to emails from readers, our lists helped out more than a few people, which was nice. Not to mention that through the Amazon affiliate links in the posts, we made a couple bucks (at no added expense to you!) Win, win, win. 

It has since gone by the wayside as I no longer have the time to create a meaningful list every Tuesday, but it's always in the back of my mind and I regularly have a tally of products that I want to write about and share - and if I can come up with a nice, even, ten - all the better.  I have been editing this particular list for months now and it's finally ready. A lot of thought went into this post, because the last thing I want to do is pitch products we don't love and use.

Please note that we have zero affiliation with any of the products listed below, while we do love our fantastic sponsors and the gear and goodies we get from them (note: we only seek sponsorship from companies we would use regardless), these particular items are ones were bought or gifted and love so much we want to share. Sharing is caring. So here it is:

Ten Simple (and inexpensive!) Products We Love on Our Boat 

1) Wet-it! Cleaning Cloths - Paper towels are one of those items that we use in abundance, but unfortunately cost a lot and are far from environmentally friendly. They are also very bulky to store in a small space, like a boat. Scott's mom, always on the lookout for cool, useful boat products, found a couple of these and gave them to us. They. Are. Awesome. While I wouldn't claim they replace paper towels completely, they certainly allow you to cut down on their use. Wet them, ring them out, and wipe away! They are super absorbent, quick drying and reusable. When dirty, just throw in the wash and viola! Good to go again. And again. And again...

2) Turkish Towels - These might be my favorite items that we brought on board this season. I learned about them through my good friend, Darcy, and I believe we have found the best towel for the cruising sailor. These towels have replaced all our bath towels (and we've used a lot of them, from regular to tech.) They are perfect for a boat; super absorbent, light, and ultra-quick drying. Not to mention they look nice too (we have a plethora of colors). We love them so much we even replaced our dish towels with smaller versions of them. They pack up small, take very little water and soap to launder, never get that damp towel "stink" and - the best part - they are multi-functional. We use ours as bath towels, sarongs, and beach blankets. We love them and have turned many of our cruising friends onto them! Get a great deal on a set of six extra large towels here. We love this brand.

3) Copco To-Go Coffee Mug - it's not unusual that I get my first sip of coffee an hour after it's made. Twins plus a toddler will kill your peaceful morning coffee routine quicker than you can say "caffeine". Cold coffee, even here in the tropics, is not my thing so I went on the hunt for a solution and found it in these insulated travel coffee mugs. We have three aboard and use them every day. They are 16 ounces, have twist on lids, and come in different colors as well, which is great for identifying who's coffee is who's. I'm sipping on my second cup as I type.

4) Tervis Tumblers - These have been a mainstay on cruising boats for a while and we were a little slow on the uptake, but these insulated plastic drinking cups are fantastic for keeping your tropical slushy rum drinks cold. They also have lids which is great when you have little ones running around or, say, want to dinghy to the beach with your afternoon drink in tow. We have two different styles - the regular 16 oz cups (each in different patterns) and two extra large 24 oz mugs with the handle accessory (thanks s/v Necesse for turning us on to these!) which are great for bringing your own drink to a fellow cruisers boat at sundown. Most cruisers we know have a set of these on their boat.

5) OXO Good Grips Clip Set - I know, chip clips making it onto our list? How dull. But truly, we love this brand of clip and can't seem to have enough of them. We are constantly needed to re-close an open bag of chips, food, or baking goods and these do the trick. We've had this style of clip aboard since the beginning and they feel sturdy and strong and hold up to the marine environment great. I love that they come in bright colors which just so happen to match our interior decor. The bread clips are a must as well as, down here, bread bags don't come with the twisty ties and once open, you need to find a way to close them back up. The humidity down here will kill an open bag of anything in no time at all. Seal 'em up!

6) Mr. Clean Magic Eraser - I have no idea what these things are made of (and I probably don't want to know), but they are truly magic. They can clean up just about anything from burned on grime from a cooking pan, rust in a sink basin, and tea stains on white counter tops. They do the trick when bleach won’t. We have a stockpile of these on board and they have proven their place on our boat a hundred times over. (Note: One thing they surprisingly don’t clean is pen on vinyl, but they will restore dirty white ultra leather seat cushions to their former glory).

7) Wind Proof Butane Lighter - Scott loves this little thing. On a sailboat, there's no shortage of line (aka "rope"). From halyards to lanyards, we've got it all and we've got it in spades. Scott is frequently cutting and whipping line for a multitude of reasons, and he finishes every job with this torch. This little lighter burns the end of the line perfectly, is very small and compact and I'm sure there are lots of emergency uses that I am not mentioning here. It's flame power is adjustable and it's super wind resistant. He loves it and it has it's own special place in Scott's "most useful items" drawer.

8) Vidalia Chop Wizard - This “as seen on TV” item was gifted to us when Scott and I first moved in together back in Chicago and it sat in our cupboard collecting dust for most of that time. I have no idea what, then, compelled me to bring aboard our first boat, Rasmus, but boy am I glad I did. It makes chopping veggies (particularly onions) infinitely easier, and there's even a built in measuring system if measurements are your thing. We use this chopper when preparing almost any meal since we are a veggie-heavy boat. There are two different sizes to choose from, small and tiny, (great for salsas!) and dicing onions, tomatoes and peppers is much more appealing with this lil' wizard. It's widely known that I despise cooking in general, particularly the prep work, but this simple gadget makes it so much easier. Not pleasant, but easier.

9) Black & Decker 15V Dustbuster - Anyone with small children knows how messy feeding them can be and multiply that by two? No thanks. In preparing to bring "three under three" aboard I had visions of my life in paradise being relegated to picking up cheerios and macaroni bits one by one multiple times a day, not to mention the fact that I shed like a German Shepard 'blowing' his coat. I knew I needed some sort of vacuum. I use this one every. single. day. It is compact and cordless and each time I use it I remind Scott out loud how glad I am to have it (read: he considered it "unnecessary". He has since changed his tune). Our's is an AC (110V) version, meaning we charge it when we run our generator (which every couple of days to make water) so this may or may not make sense for you/your boat if you don't have the ability to keep it charged regularly. The downside is that it needs to be recharged after about seventeen minutes of use but, hey, it's a 42 foot boat. It only takes a couple minutes to vacuum the entire thing! (Point for tiny house living).

10) The Pampered Chef Flexible Cutting Mat - another gift from Scott's thoughtful mom and so great/useful in the galley. These are slightly thicker than a slice of paper and have a very thin, silicone backing for good gripping on any countertop surface. They take almost zero effort (and water) to clean, and can be used to funnel ingredients as well. Sturdy enough to be a great cutting surface but flexible enough to funnel, these have been a mainstay in our galley. The best part? They take up almost zero space.

So there you have it! What simple, useful items do you find you can't live without? Share in the comments!

11 comments:

Katie said...

Hi. I am a fellow cruising wife and truly look forward to your posts. I check your blog regularly. I was hoping you could give me some pointers about the links/advertising on your site. Since we cruise full time and our engine just died on us :(, we could really use a little extra money. How do you actually make money with the sponsors and products you promote? I'd really appreciate some advice on this. Thanks.

svsecondchances.blogspot.com

Laura Prohaska said...

I just purchased the Manual Food Processor from Pampered chef... and it truly is a *cinch* chopping veggies, onions, etc. - minimal effort is required! What I love about it is no electricity is required, and it comes with a rubber lid so it does double duty as a storage container as well (just take the blade out and pop the lid on) I would imagine it would be super duper handy to have one of these on the boat, or camping as well. Pampered Chef really does make some excellent products!

familjen Persson said...

I am from Sweden and love the Wet-it's! Instead of throwing them out when they start smelling, boil them for a few minutes and they are as good as new again - all smelly bacteria is gone! That is my tip! Thanks for sharing such great info!

Jordan said...

Those magic erasers are definitely a life saver! I'll have to try out some of these other products too - that cutting mat sounds pretty useful to have!

Cheryl Geeting said...

Thanks for the info! We'll definitely be getting those Turkish towels before we move onboard, and love those flexible cutting boards!

LittleCunningPlan.com said...

This is a timely post! Just in time for our July cruise. I ordered the towel set, mugs, and some of those dandy cleaning cloths. Looking forward to giving them a try! I sure do enjoy watching your kiddos growing up so delightfully healthy. What a great life they have.

Julia Wilkes said...

Careful using your magic eraser on your faux leather. They are made from melamine and are basically like a very fine sandpaper. Which is why they are so good. They will actually wear down the outer layer of your faux leather cushions and cause them to fray and wear over time in the high traffic spots. Once the outer layer is gone, they are like faux suede underneath, and will be impossible to clean and also will look tired. I used to have a faux leather set of teak furniture in my land home and had this happen. You can buy generic brand magic erasers on Amazon in bulk. They are super cheap, the name brand ones are $$$$$ and you only get like 2 in a pack.
The

Chad lawie said...

100% agree on the dust buster!

Shelley said...

Just ordered the set of towels for our family of four. Hoping to use it on our planned summer cruising around Vancouver, Canada. Thanks for the great tips! I have the same coffee mugs...won't leave home without it!! Love your blog! Your family is so adorable!

Magan said...

The chop wizard is the only TV gimmick tool that I've kept around. I use it every day & love, love, love how uniform it cuts everything! That thing is a work horse, too. We are pretty rough on it & it endured years before the "hinge" on the lid broke. I threw the lid away but immediate replaced it with another set & quickly learned how handy it was having an extra set of blade trays & cleaning tool! A++

mybedmybath said...

This is a timely post! Just in time for our July cruise. I ordered the towel set, mugs, and some of those dandy cleaning cloths. Looking forward to giving them a try! I sure do enjoy watching your kiddos growing up so delightfully healthy. What a great life they have.

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