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.

Gill Thermogrid

Gill Thermogrid Jacket

Testers put Gills new Thermogrid pullover jacket through two dozen wash cycles and it looked and worked just like new. The stretchy, polyester material is almost as light as a long-sleeve t-shirt, but the weave and pile keep you warm even when wet. Sweat is no sweat. The material is breathable and wicks away moisture.

Spinlock Belt Pack

Spinlock Essentials Packs

Whether you need a pocket for your granola bars on the dogwatch, or need a place to stow your flashlight or personal locator beacon (PLB) Spinlocks new Essentials Packs-a chest pack, side pack, and belt pack-are good for stowing personal items. The lightweight, self-draining bags feature two-way, plastic zippers and a clear top panel. Designed to be used with Spinlock Deckvests, the bags can also be attached to other inflatable PFDs waistbelts or a regular belt as well. The packs range from $24 to $35.

Garmin Quatix 3

Garmin Quatix 3 Watch

Garmins Quatix 3 ($600) brings your NMEA 2000 networks navigational data straight to your wrist. It uses a separate NMEA transceiver (Garmin GNT10, $150) to wirelessly stream NMEA 2000 boat data (speed, depth, temperature, wind data, etc.) from compatible Garmin systems. The watch has its own GPS, and is equipped with navigational tools, tide data, an anchor alarm, and carries out racing functions like tack assist, countdown timer, distance to line, and time to burn. Its bonus features include a man-overboard alert function that will send an MOB alert to a networked chartplotter when the wearer goes in the drink (Note: PS has not yet fully tested the MOB feature.)

Darrell Nicholson
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 50 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him at darrellnicholson.com.