Sailing Gear Essentials: The Ultimate Guide for Cruisers

After living aboard our sailboat full-time since 2014, we have some tried-and-tested sailing gear that we refuse to live without. These are the items we use on a daily basis and that make a massive impact on our lives. Before you set sail, make sure you have these items or similar. They’ll make your experience easier, safer, and/or more enjoyable and comfortable!

Sailing Guides

Our sailing guides are your ultimate companion for a safe and enjoyable sailing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or new to the open water, our guides provide comprehensive knowledge and practical tips to enhance your skills and confidence.

With detailed checklists, you’ll never miss a crucial step in preparation, ensuring a smooth and organized journey. We prioritize safety, equipping you with emergency procedures and troubleshooting advice for unexpected situations. Navigate easily using our navigation tips and better understand sailing equipment to maximize your performance.

Our guides offer more than just practical advice. They foster a sense of community among sailors, encourage environmental awareness, and make sailing more enjoyable. Invest in our sailing guides today and embark on a lifetime of sailing adventures with confidence and knowledge.

Visit our shop now!

Mantus Anchor

If it weren’t for our Mantus anchor, our boat wouldn’t be here! Britican has survived a few hurricanes, Irma being the worst. Many sailors debate what the best anchor is. For us, it’s a Mantus Anchor. In all our years of anchoring, we’ve never dragged!

Mantus Anchors are renowned in the sailing community for their exceptional holding power and reliable performance in various seabeds. Crafted from a high-quality steel plate and featuring a unique design with no cast parts, these anchors are engineered to set quickly and securely. 

Rigorous testing has demonstrated superior holding power to other popular anchor brands. Available in both galvanized steel and stainless steel, Mantus Anchors cater to various boating needs and budgets. Their commitment to quality and performance makes them a popular choice among sailors seeking peace of mind and reliable anchoring solutions.

Get more information on Mantus Anchors here.

Sailing Gear Essentials: The Ultimate Guide for Cruisers 31


We use our Leatherman non-stop around the boat. I use it to tighten the fittings on our reefing lines, lift the windless anchor lock, unscrew halyard fittings, and more. We use this tool at least once a day. It’s always in the cockpit and it’s an essential bit of kit for a sailboat.

Safety Knife – A must-have item!

We have a range of different types of knives on the boat. With all the ropes and lines around, there might come a time when we need to cut something quickly. For the most part, however, we use this knife to cut the fishing line off our prop. I’d love to say it doesn’t happen often, but that’s not the case.

We’ve had a fishing line and/or fish netting around our prop more times than I’d like to count. Yes – we have a rope cutter on our prop, and I’m sure that works well, but when you run over a whole net or a long floating line, the rope cutter won’t get everything. Make sure you always have a knife with a rope tied to the end (to slip over your wrist) handy.

RUX 70L Gear Hauler

Finding the right sailboat gear storage solutions is an ongoing battle for any sailing cruiser. That’s why we did a RUX 70L review. I’ve experienced cracked bins, soggy duffels, and that sinking feeling when I know something important has been soaked in salt water.

When I heard about the RUX 70L gear hauler and its promises of organization, durability, and water resistance, I was intrigued but skeptical. Could it really be a good solution for sailors? Watch the video below or read our full review here: Rux 70L Review.

Dyson handheld vacuum

Our Dyson helps keep the boat looking good. We have to vacuum at least once a day. Even with screens on all the windows, dust, crumbs, and foreign particles seem to fill the boat. I’m unsure where the mess comes from, but it appears daily. This bit of kit would be dearly missed if we didn’t have it!

Dyson Humdinger Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, Silver, Small
Our most powerful, lightweight handheld vacuum.¹; Lightweight and compact for quick spot cleans.

Magma Pots and Pans

These nested pots take up very little room and are the perfect size for our boat oven. With the removable handle, they easily fit in our cupboards, leaving room for other items. We’ve had our Magma pots/pans for over six years, and they’re still in perfect shape.

The Cobb Grill

This grill is the most awesome grill we’ve ever had. We do have a Magma Grill that hangs off our rail on the back of the boat, which is great, but the Cobb is something special. Whenever we go to the beach to have a potluck or drinks or whatever, we light up the Cobb and place potatoes soaked in olive oil and rosemary wrapped in aluminum foil along with the coals.

We then CARRY the Cobb in the holder to the beach while the potatoes are cooking. We then open the Cobb up and cook our meat on the top. When all is done, the potatoes are done, too, and we have a feast! The Cobb is awesome for so many reasons. We use it more than the Magama. Add this to your sailing gear to your list!

COBB Grill Premier Plus – Portable Charcoal BBQ Grill with Accessories
  • Heat-Proof Stainless Steel Mesh Base with improved hard plastic Top Ring and Rubber Grommets
  • Improved thicker Stainless Steel Inner Sleeve with strong removable heat chamber for easy cleaning
  • Cooking Surface / Griddle+ (covered with highest food-grade food-grade Teflon)
  • Premier+ with Bag and Roast Rack

Waterproof backpack

A sailor without a waterproof backpack hasn’t been a sailor long. It’s essential performance sailing gear! The number of times we’re caught in the rain or have a very wet dinghy ride is often. When transporting iPads, iPhones, and computers, this kit is a necessity.

Mask & Snorkelling Kit

Speaking of having fishing lines along the prop above…you’ll need at least a snorkel and mask to help see to get the line off. Having tanks or mini-tanks, like those listed below, are even better. Most people have masks and snorkels to check out all the pretty fish. They’re great for that, but from a safety perspective, they’re imperative to have when the prop gets fouled, to examine all the anodes on the hull, and to inspect the state of the boat bottom. This set is a good one – you’ll want to get the dry top snorkel as it doesn’t allow water to get into the breaking pipe!

Greatever Dry Snorkel Set,Panoramic Wide View,Anti-Fog Scuba Diving Mask,Professional Snorkeling Gear for Adults
  • AFTER SALES SERVICE:As long as you are our customers,since the day you buy snorkel set. We will provide 24-hour uninterrupted service. We sincerelly believe we will bring the customers the most satisfied buying experience.
  • ANTI FOGGING AND NO LEAKING: Greatever snorkeling set use the most stable dry floating valve design,and the flexible breath tube is effortless to breath and drain,the diving mask is made of tempered galss lenses which can prevent strong ultraviolet rays,and the lens surface has been specially anti-fog treatment.
  • CLEAR LENSES AND PANORAMIC VIEW: This mask features a single layer of tempered glass lens designed for snorkeling,swimming and scuba diving,the skirt is made of soft hypoallergenic transparent silicone,the ultra visibility provided by the single lens and the unusual shape of the frame extend in all directions.
  • FOOD-GRADE SILICON MATERIAL: Scuba Diving Mask is made from soft transparent or food-grade silicone,and comes with great comfort,The skirt of eco-friendly materials won’t make your face allergic,and it’s easy to clean after use,especially suitable for long-term use in free diving,without feeling uncomfortable.
  • EASY TO USE AND FITS FOR MOST: As a classic brand, Greatever masks are favored by enthusiasts,even though it has been around for years now.The mask is easily adjustable,has a low inner volume,which is very suitable for deep free diving,and the skirt is small,but the mask adapts easily to a large number of face types.

Headlamp or headtorch

We have several headlamps. They’re helpful when looking in the engine bay, down into the bilge, and throughout night sails and/or anchoring at night. We use a headlamp during the day and in the evening. It helps to see back into dark spaces and ensure that everything is looking as it should be. Our favorite headlamp is the Mantus Headlamp as it’s essential sailing gear.

Get the Mantus Headlamp here!

Rapid Hydration Drops

Dehydration is a big issue among sailors. It’s so easy to lose water, and it can be hard to get all the good stuff back into you. We put a few of these drops in our water every day or every other day and haven’t had any reoccurrence of dehydration. If you’d like to discover what it’s like to be dehydrated, read my article on Dehydration.

Waterproof Solar Inflatable Lights

Every night before we leave the boat, I blow a couple of our four inflatable lights up and turn them on. It helps us to easily find our boat, and when we’re in the cockpit, we prefer these lights more than our boom lights. They’re inexpensive, run on solar power, and can be squashed up to take up very little space. I suppose it’s important to note that they won’t last more than a season if you keep them in the sun. They, like everything else, disintegrate. But for the price, they’re an awesome way to light up your boat and use solar power.

Yeti Drinking Cups

Getting ice can be a difficult task. We have metal reusable ice cubes that we keep in our freezer but they warm up too fast. And ice melts too quickly. We’ve found that the best thing to do is to keep your beer or wine cold in the fridge and then use a Yeti as these cups will keep liquid cold for ages. The lid works well too when we’re out sailing.

Soda Stream

The longer you live as a bluewater cruiser the more you rationalize treats. For us, we don’t have issues with rationalizing beer and wine but juice and pop are too much. There’s not enough room, it’s not cheap, AND there’s no space in the fridge. Furthermore, sugar is bad for you! (And of course, the beer and wine are good for you…hehehehe).

Another issue with being a bluewater cruiser is that you get sick of drinking water. A soda stream solves all problems. I use ours every single day and drink about two bottles of carbonated water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Sometimes I’ll add a Crystal Light or other flavor mix to spice things up a bit. I love my soda machine! In the Caribbean you can get tank refills on all the French Islands and in Grenada there’s a guy that will collect them, have them filled, and return them to your boat!

SodaStream Terra Sparkling Water Maker (Black) with CO2, DWS Bottle and Bubly Drop, Battery Powered
Make fresh sparkling water at the push of a button.; Easy-to-use snap-lock bottle insertion for quick carbonation

Non-skid Material

We have this in most of our cupboards and we cut it up into placemats to put around the boat when we are sailing. We use a mat on our cockpit table, next to our plotter, on our saloon table and in the kitchen area. These mats really do a great job at reducing movement in the cupboards and keep things from flying around. Another must-have bit of kit on a sailboat.

Shelf Liner Drawer Liner Non-Slip Mat Shelves Liners 12″ X6.5’ Grid Pattern PVC Non-Adhesive Grip Liner Anti-Slip Mat for Kitchen Cabinets Wire Shelving Pantry Dresser Refrigerator (Grey)
Made of high quality PVC material, hollow, durable, and waterproof.; Can be used as bath mat, anti-slip mat, floor mat, etc.

Oil and/or Liquid extractor

We use this daily (unfortunately). What do we use it for? To suck out water from our bilge. After checking our strainers, cleaning the bilge, and/or working on the engine, generator or any one of our pumps water gets into the bilge. To avoid having our bilge pump go off automatically (and scare me!) in addition to eliminating the risk of mosquitos from laying eggs we get rid of all water from our bilge as often as it arrives.

Mityvac 7201 Manual Fluid Evacuator Plus with 2.3 Gallon Reservoir; Evacuates or Dispenses Fluids with Push Button; Evacuate Through The Dipstick Tube
  • Features a large 8.8 liter (2.3 gallon) capacity bi-functional manual unit to extract and dispense a wide-range of fluid types
  • Clean and simple way to evacuate and dispense fluids
  • Reservoir is constructed of durable polyethylene and will not rust or corrode
  • Automatic flow control valve prevents the unit from overfilling during use and automatically shuts off at 8 liters
  • Features 0.23″ OD x 5′ long (5.7 mm OD x 1.5 m long) dipstick tube, 0.26″ OD x 5′ long (6.6 mm OD x 1.5 m long) dipstick tube, 0.41″ OD x 5′ long (10 mm OD x 1.5 m long) main evacuation tube


There’s only so much space on a boat but if you can manage it, we use our little Shop-Vac often. It helps us to clean out the bilge after we service the engine, check the raw water strainers, replace something on the engine(s). Seawater gets into the bilge in areas where it doesn’t quickly drain out. With the Shop-Vac we can make sure the bilge is dry (so to spot leaks quickly if we have any!).

And another useful way that we use the Shop-Vac is to get the water out of the fridge/freezer and the freezer. When we defrost everything we can open a plug that leads to the bilge the but water is gross. You don’t want that in your bilge stinking up the boat! We just use the Shop-Vac to suck up the water.

Shop-Vac 2036000 2.5-Gallon 2.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum, Small, Red/Black
Collapsable top carry handle; Accessories are 4′ x 1.25″ hose, gulper nozzle, and crevice tool

Light Kit For Your Dinghy

For years I’ve used my iPhone flashlight to light us up when traveling from land to the boat. It’s really not good enough. A new product range that we’ve come across is the NaviSafe lights. You can get these lights with a magnetic base and mount them on the top of your outboard or get a pole pack system. We got the pole pack system with the magnetic light. When we arrive on land, we take the light off (so no one can steal it). It’s a fantastic system.

Navilight Tricolor 2NM w/Navibolt Base
  • Navisafe makes this more than easy for you and provides a range of portable navigation lights for vessels of up to 50 ft / 15 m.
  • The patented No-Eyes Keypad provides secure and quick access, even in the dark.

Light Pole Pack

And this is the pole pack system we use with our NaviSafe light. Simon has installed it at the back of the dinghy by the outboard.

905 Navimount Pole Pack (Replaces 901/902),
  • Includes 4 pole pieces, magnet bracket, Navi mount vertical #950, Navi mount horizontal #952 and neoprene stowaway bag
  • It is not recommended to Use more than 4 pole pieces on any one
  • Needed for fixing the pole to a horizontal or vertical surface

Polarized Sunglasses

The thing with sunglasses is that they last a couple of months – if that. They either fall overboard, are blown off your face, or simply break down due to UV damage. Don’t buy expensive glasses. Get a couple of cheap pairs and unbelievably they last for ages. Simon goes through a couple pairs of the Flying Fisherman Polarized sunglasses every year but for the price, it’s value for money.

Flying Fisherman 7812BS Sunglass, Matte Black Frames/Smoke Lenses
Polarized lenses eliminate glare and reduce eye fatigue; Polarized triacetate lenses are impact and scratch resistant, Lightweight and durable

Synthetic Drying Towel

At least a few times per month we pull into a marina to fill up with drinking water AND wash the saltwater off our deck, chrome and hull. In order to make the metal work shine like it’s new and quickly clean any water streaks off the windows we use these exact synthetic drying towels. We’ve had them on board for over five years and they’re still going strong!

CleanTools 10063 Absorber Synthetic Drying Towel, 27-Inch x 17-Inch, 2-Pack,Assorted
  • CleanTools The Absorber Synthetic Drying Chamois Cloth for Car: Super Absorbent, Scratch-Free and Washable | 27-Inch x 17-Inch, 2-Pack | Discontinued| Replacement PN: 10067

Mantus Mini Scuba Pack

We may not use our Mantus mini Scuba tanks all the time, but when we need them we’re happy to have them. These have come in hand on multiple occasions to clear a fouled prop, check on our anchor, and even to add another anchor to an existing one while at the bottom of the sea. We also use these tanks to change our hull, prop and shaft anodes. The Mantus mini tanks only last about 10 minutes but they’re perfect for quick jobs like those mentioned. Furthermore, they’re small and take up very little space. We have two onboard and the whole pack fits easily under our forward berth. Check out the Mantus Pack here.

Kim Brown:
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