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Personal Gear & Apparel

Sea-Boot Camp Tests Footwear for Traction, Comfort, and Quality

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.

LED Flashlights: Tektite Expedition Best Value

Of 18 models tested, we like the Tektite Expedition.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Sailors

Sailors are a practical lot. Sure, wed all enjoy a Fruit of the Month membership, but if you really want to make a sailors holiday bright, then gift them with something more useful. Weve rounded up some practical (and fun) gift ideas that any sailor would appreciate, whether theyll be decking the halls or the main saloon this season.

Glove Up!

There's a big market these days for "exam" gloves—the kind that used to be reserved for doctors and dentists, but are now used...

Nautix Makes Data Easy to See

Garmin recently released a new-age-looking boat-data display that will certainly appeal to technophiles and racing sailors. The portable, hands-free Nautix In-view Display attaches to the users glasses, making the data always visible out of the corner of the users eye while leaving him or her free to choreograph a race start or monitor the depth.

Safety Tips From the Pros

Every two years, some 150 offshore sailboats line up in Newport, RI, to race roughly 650 miles to Bermuda, a semi-tropical island in the western Atlantic, almost due east of Charleston, SC. While this is a relatively short ocean passage, it is not always an easy one. Boats have met serious gale conditions and dodged hurricanes during past editions of this race.

Keep Your Lid On

Whats the best sailing hat? Testers set out to find a wide-brimmed sailing hat that offers lots of sun protection, even in a blow, and is breathable, lightweight, and durable. The review included 14 hats from Tilley, Columbia, Sunday Afternoons, Outdoor Research, and Gill.

Enticing Gifts and Gadgets for Sailors

While the keep-it-simple-sailor philosophy underlies our selection process, we do stumble upon products that, although far from necessary, fulfill their primary mission: incite an urge to splurge. If you have a sailor on your gift list who seems attracted to gadgets, bags, and cool apparel, here are three of our testers favorites.

New Kneewear Needs Help

At a recent boat show, Practical Sailor editors ran across some interesting kneepads made by Crocs, the manufacturer of those annoyingly popular brightly colored, clog-like shoes. Still sore from some serious knee time during spring maintenance, we decided to see whether the Crocs kneepads were an improvement over our homespun design (Duck tape and sponges). The Crocs are lightweight and made of the same thick, foam-like material as the shoes, which the company claims is buoyant, non-marking, anti-microbial, and odor-resistant. The stretchy elastic straps are adjusted with plastic buckles.

Exploring the Ins and Outs of Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.