For those of us who spend nearly as much time under the water as on it, the Liquid Image 310 video mask sounded like a great addition to our diving kit-and a good fix for our gadget addiction-so we had to give it a try when we came across it at a spring boat show.
Whether your mini crewmembers are bound for a weekend family cruise or summer sailing camp, equipping them with the right gear will ensure their days on the water are safer and more fun for everyone. PS editors have put together a list of our favorite, must-have kids products for summer sailing. Some of the items are kid-sized versions of adult products that were top performers in our past lab and long-term tests, and we can vouch for their quality, performance, and durability. Others are products that have survived kid torture testing for at least one season and have earned two thumbs-up.
If youre in the market for a carry-all or soft-sided cooler, check out the classic-looking SailorBags line. Practical Sailor recently picked up one of the SailorBag tote bags, and testers have found several uses for it: ferrying items to and from the boat, the beach, and the grocery, and storing dry clothes in a wet dinghy. The Vermont-based company offers three different sizes of tote bags, round and square duffel bags in varying sizes, two sizes of stowbags, and three sizes of foam-insulated soft-sided coolers.
Many of the gear and duffel bags labeled 'waterproof' in the marine catalogs failed our tests. However, after examining 26 models, we did find a few truly dry bags.
As with most types of sailing gear, picking the right sea boot is dependant on the user and intended use. Caribbean cruisers have different needs than offshore voyagers sailing in the high latitudes. Practical Sailors tested the performance and comfort of 15 pairs of mid-calf, knee-high, and three-quarter sea boots from Aigle, Dubarry, Gill, Helly Hansen, Puma, Sperry, Ronstan, West Marine, and Musto. Although you don't necessarily need to spend several hundred dollars for decent boots, we did find that boots priced at $150 and higher fared much better in our tests.
The three hand trucks-Roleez Folding-Wheel, Sea Bowld, and Dock Dolly-were nearly identical, with telescoping handles and flip-up bases. The four others-the Roleez Sports Caddy, Pack N Roll, Wonder Wheeler, and the Foldit-ran the gamut from a very compact, crate-style cart (Pack N Roll) to the large, workhorse Foldit dock cart. Testers considered each rolling carts performance on and off the dock. They also loaded onto the carts items that are often carried to and from the boat-a 12-volt battery, cooler filled with food, and a duffel bag of clothes. Testers also noted how easily each was stowed and how much room it took up.
Practical Sailor tested and compared the Camet men’s Rio sailing shorts to the field of sailing shorts reported on in the March 2012 issue, including the Best Choice Gill men’s performance padded shorts. Testers looked at style, price, UV protection, construction, abrasion resistance, dry time, comfort, odor, and pads.
If you're going to sail you'll be doing some stitching-no two ways about it. That doesn't mean you have to go overboard with sail repair tools. Don't jump into the $100 do-everything kit. Start with a modest kit, adding tools and materials only as your skills grow and projects require them. Chances are, you already have most of what you need in your other supply lockers or tool boxes.