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.)

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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