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Personal Gear & Apparel

The Get-Home Sailboat Tool Kit

The tools and materials required to maintain and repair everything on a boat will barely fit in a room. Just the kit required to maintain vital systems will raise the waterline of a large boat and is impractical in a smaller boat. Fortunately, when day sailing and even cruising locally, all we really need to do is get back to the dock...any dock.

Wool Sock Update

"Sailing Socks” (PS January 2019) compared polypropylene liner socks, cotton, fleece, wool and wool blends, both wet...

Real Kids Sunglasses

Only a few sunglasses manufacturers featured in last summers test (July 2009) offer childrens sunglasses, and those shades are usually just scaled down versions of the adult kind. After experimenting with several different styles for kids ages 3-13, we found that the younger children, ages 7 and under, were a tough bunch to fit. Harder still were kids ages 3 and under. Uncomfortable ear pieces were a common complaint.

Foul-weather Gear Must-haves

At the very least, foul-weather gear must be warm, dry, and comfortable. It also should be easy to adjust and fasten, which means zippers, Velcro, buckles, and pull cords must function without a hitch-and do so repeatedly, thousands of times. But what makes the ideal foulie set? Here are our criteria for top-notch gear. Foulie jackets and bibs/trousers should be made of durable material resistant to abrasion and marine elements, especially sun, salt water, and the unforgiving hardware and rough surfaces found aboard most sailboats.

Where Credit Is Due: May 2013

Two years ago, I replaced my incandescent stern light with a waterproof, sealed LED unit from OGM (www.miseagroup.com). This winter, while the boat was on the hard, I noticed that the seal had failed and drops of water fogged the lens. Although the LED continued to work, I was concerned that the moisture would reduce the visibility, or that the light would fail when I needed it most.

Binoculars: 7×50, Waterproof, With Compasses

Optical acuity was very good across the board, but the devil's in the details. Steiner and Fujinon are still superb - at great cost. West Marine and Nikon share Best Buy honors.

Staying Dry on the Water

Practical Sailor testers put the Soul through its paces last spring during a cool-weather sail, a SUP paddle, and a windsurfing excursion on the chilly Chesapeake Bay. They compared its performance, construction quality, and features to our reigning favorite drysuit, the Gill Breathable Pro, which was rated the highest for its warmth, comfort, and versatility in our March 2009 test of wetsuits and drysuits. Unlike a wetsuit, drysuits keep all water out, and unlike survival suits, drysuits allow more freedom of movement.

Knee Pads and Braces for Sailors

Battered sailors make good test subjects, especially when we are talking about gear to preserve our joints and appendages. That is why we sent technical editor Drew Frye and his surgically repaired knee out into the world of orthopedic accessories for sailors.

The Best Sailing Gear of 2010

Practical Sailor offers the annual selection of Editors Choice products for the Gear of the Year 2010 lineup. We hope the list will guide you through the dizzying array of gear at the fall boat shows, or at least help you whittle down your wishlist for Santa. The roster covers a broad spectrum of products-from gadgets for measuring speed to a performance multihull built for speed-that have bested their peers in our tests. The lineup includes gear from Spinlock, Brion Toss, Lopolight, Selden Mast, DuBarry, Keen, Standard Horizon, and Mastervolt. It covers LED navigation lights, bosun chairs, footwear for sailors, and marine electronics. Boat maintenance products from Polymarine and Interlux also made the list.

Plug that Chain-pipe

I was always amazed at how much water could seep through the chain-pipe and into Toscas anchor locker when a sea was up, or we were punching into a headsea-although punching would hardly describe the ungainly motion of a gaff-rigged ketch to weather. Wallowing? Submarining? Regardless, the chain-pipe was like a water main in those conditions …