Before we get to our favorite things… first things first – GIRO is a sailing vessel again! Can I get a whoop-whoop!?
We took her out for a spin this past weekend and it was as glorious as I remember. You know, since the last time I hoisted the sails. More than a year ago. During our week-long sail school.
I’ll let Matt fill you in (through a different post) on all of the gritty details of all of the work GIRO required after our lightning strike, the discovery that we needed new standing rigging, and the eventual depletion of our savings in favor of a functioning sailboat. Sigh. But this is not that post! THIS post highlights our favorite gadgets, items and stuff we use on a daily basis to keep us happy on our boat!
We’ve been living aboard for 80 days now. ALL OF THEM IN A MARINA, IN TEXAS, IN THE SUMMER. So, you know. It’s been swell.
We’ve decided that we pretty much cannot live without the following eight items…
Disclaimer 1: We did not get paid to endorse these items, however, we are TOTALLY OPEN to that. I’m talking to you, Cariloha.
Disclaimer 2: I’ve included links to all of the products – mostly on Amazon.com – where we’ve signed on as an affiliate…what does that mean? It means we get like 25 cents if you happen to click a link and buy something. However, it also means you will NOT pay any more to buy through these links. So we just need like 30 of you to buy something, so we can afford a six-pack of beer! What are you waiting for? Let’s do this!
HydroFlask makes THE best water bottles and pint glasses around. They keep our water and beer ice-cold! Each of us have our own water bottle (20 oz wide-mouth for boys, 18 oz wide-mouth for me; 40 oz wide-mouth for Matt) with the added straw. Totally worth it if you like ice cold drinks. These actually keep the ice from melting! In fact, we’ve filled these with ice and water and still had ice in the bottle the next day. Because of these bottles, we drink more water. Even with this heat (did I mention we are on our boat, in Texas, in the summer?), it is so easy to stay hydrated!
Last Christmas, Matt and I splurged and also bought ourselves pint glasses for our “pool drinks” and beer. Our beers stay SO MUCH COLDER in the Hydro Flask pint glasses. We definitely use these EVERY. DAY. Don’t judge.
UPDATE!! The original ice maker we posted died after four months. BOO…. so we replaced it with a new one: Ice Maker. It has a 12 month warranty (instead of 90 days) and it makes ice faster than the other one! Okay… keep reading: You may be asking yourselves, “How do they fill their Hydro Flask water bottles with ice everyday?” Let me tell you! There is a magical device called an Ice Maker. It came from the heavens and it makes life – on a boat, in Texas, in the summer (I will beat this dead horse, don’t you worry) – so much better. Matt’s parents gave it to us as a gift, and it has been used daily every since! It plugs in, and I have no idea how much amps it uses (although Matt says less than a toaster or microwave), but we will make sure this little gem gets all the juice it needs every day when we are anchored out or on a mooring. Ice is our friend.
French Press & Coffee Grinder. Okay – this might technically be two different items, but we use them together everyday, so I’m counting it as one item in the list of eight. We apparently have very thoughtful friends and family… as our French Press was also a gift! Our good friend, Shirt Shop Sheri, gave us a SterlingPro Double Wall Stainless Steel French Coffee Press. She had like three of them. What the hell, woman?!
This coffee press is seriously the best thing ever. I’m a lazy coffee drinker and it takes me all morning to drink 2.5 cups. By the time I would pour my second cup, our other french press would be cold. But this french press is insulated, so the coffee stays hot ALL MORNING! And it’s stainless! I’m telling you… you need one of these in your life.
The coffee grinder is man-powered (saving all that energy for our ice maker) and makes it super easy to grind our favorite beans each morning while the water boils. Grinding beans is like a mini-workout. Right? That’s what I keep telling myself.
Epson printer. This little printer is perfect for the boat! It works on wifi. It charges with a USB cord. It holds a charge so you can take it with you. And it takes up almost no space (which is a premium on the boat!) While we may not use it daily – we have used it many more times than we expected. Although our lives are mostly digital, it is amazing how many things we still need to print each week.
Cockpit speakers. We do not have a TV on the boat. Gasp! But we do listen to music all the time on Pandora. Check out our favorite station if you want to feel like you live on a boat… it’s called “Laid Back Beach Music.” These speakers are designed for boat life – waterproof, outdoor, small, and powerful! We love sitting in the cockpit, drinking a sundowner, listening to music, and watching the ships go by.
Maui Jim Sunglasses. Spending all day, everyday, outside on the water, requires good sunglasses. I love the Ho’okipa model because they are SO LIGHTWEIGHT. They also have flexible sides. But my favorite feature is that the nose pads do not grab and pull my hair out when I stick my glasses on top of my head! Matt would jokingly agree with this statement.
Cariloha Bamboo Sheets. OMG, y’all! These sheets will be your new best friend. So, let me start by telling you this story…
I am currently consulting for my favorite charity, Heroes for Children, and I needed to drive to Dallas for a staff retreat that I helped plan. I drove up with a new staff member from the Houston office… turns out (after talking for eight hours in the car round-trip) – she worked for a summer at Cariloha in Hawaii on some sort of work release program. Haha… just kidding… it was like an internship. But apparently, they hire people for like three – six months and pay for their lodging and a stipend at all of their locations. So I made a mental note that if/when we run out of money, maybe I’ll get a job at one of their locations because also? DISCOUNTS. Anyway, she basically wouldn’t shut up about these bamboo sheets and towels and how they would be perfect for us on the boat, and how they have a LIFETIME GUARANTEE and that crazy people would sometimes bring sheets back and exchange them for a brand new set because a hem came out, and THEY WOULD REPLACE THEM NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
So, I did what any normal person would do… I looked them up online. (BTW – Cariloha is a combination of Caribbean and Aloha. You’re welcome.) I found a set on sale for like half-price on Amazon, so I bought the damn sheets. And now I am telling you: Go buy the damn sheets!
They are cool, like temperature cool. Not like “oh hey, you’re cool.” Although, they are cool like that, also. But they are technically three degrees cooler than cotton sheets. Did I mention that we live on a boat in Texas in the summer? No? Well, let me tell you that three degrees cooler is like magic fairy dust. And they are SOOO SOFT!!!
We are now saving up for some bamboo towels because hell yes. But I’m not afraid to beg, Cariloha, would you like to be our first sponsor?? Ahem…
Okay – moving on…. last, but not least…
This Flashlight. A flashlight? Really? YES! You have no idea how many times you need a flashlight on a boat. Digging around under a bunk? Grab the flashlight. Dropped a screw into the bilge? Grab the flashlight. Running wire from one end of the boat to the other? Grab the flashlight. Motoring in a channel in the dark? Grab the flashlight.
We used this flashlight twice to help us find the next buoy in a channel when we were motoring in the middle of the night to escape mosquitos. Twice. It is that powerful. You wouldn’t think this tiny flashlight could shine that far, but it does. And you might think $35 is a lot to spend on a flashlight. You would be wrong. Matt actually told me, “It was the cheapest one I could find.” Apparently he’s never been to Dollar Tree. But he clarified that FOR ITS POWER, it is the cheapest one he could find. We use it on a daily basis. It is bright. It is small. And it is the best flashlight we’ve ever owned.
There it is!! Eight of our favorite items after living aboard for 80 days.
What are some of your favorite items, gadgets or stuff that you cannot live without?? We want to know.