Below is a list, currently unsorted, of the things, doodads, gizmos and gadgets we like and use on Itchy Foot. And a short description of why. I’m not getting paid to write this and no-one is give us free stuff – it’s just to share the love.
Piteraq Dry Bag – designed for dog sledding across Greenland
The majority of dry bags/backpacks I’ve seen and tried have roll tops. This restricts access and ensures that the thing you are looking for is ways at the bottom. This dry bag is different, with a water-proof zipper running the length of the bag it is very easy to fill, empty and generally root around inside. We use this bag everyday, hiking trips, beach outings and shopping trips – it finds it’s way along with us. The shoulder straps are impressively strong and very comfortable, I have tested this claim extensively and even carried 5x 5L water bottles (25kg/50lb) for a fair distance.
- Easy access zipper
- Heavy duty material
- Strong straps
- Comfortable to wear all day
- Water-proof (not tested – but it is air tight)
- Very light when empty
- Simple design (no extra pockets and internal dividers)
- Sweaty back making in the sun
- Zipper very stiff when completely closed
- No extra pockets on the outside or dividers
LED fairy-lights (12v) – not easy to source but worth every effort
If you ever find yourself approaching Itchy Foot in the evening on of the first things you’ll notice is that our cockpit is bathed in warm, white light shining down under our bimini. 12V DC power is king on boats, anything that runs on AC (either 220 or 110) is a pain for most yachts – so the challenge was trying to find a string of fairy/christmas/holiday lights which met three important criteria:
- 12v DC
- LED for low power
- A nice colour light (warm)
After much hunting on e-bay (both USA and UK) I found our light at the link below. They work perfectly and even had a cigarette lighter plug on the end so I didn’t even need to change the plug. Highly recommended.
- The above.
- The connections are not designed for marine environment, so corroding slowly.
In our first few months onboard Itchy Foot we had countless problems with both our fridge and our separate freezer. Thankfully, after following some excellent advice I found on the internet and working with a great refrigeration guy in Mallorca both are now working perfectly (touch wood). But, things happen, normally a switch gets knocked or fuse trips or something… such is life onboard. To help get an early warning of unplanned warming I got this nifty little gadget.
It comes with a battery powered display and two battery powered sensors, one for the fridge and one for the freezer. The sensors have suction cups and hooks so it’s easy to find suitable home for them and every few seconds they report back the to the display every few seconds via radio – so no cables to run.
The display keeps track of highest / lowest temperature and also has an alarm you can configure to your acceptable range. The alarm has saved our bacon (literally) on more than one occasion.
The only thing I really don’t like about these is that if the battery dies you have no way of knowing, the temperature shown on the display does not update, but nor does it report and error/blank – it just stays at the number last reported. This only got me once, when I made the mistake of putting rechargeable batteries in the sensor in the freezer (very cold) and they failed. The solution is to use normal batteries and to check/change them every few months – also keep an eye out if the temperature never fluctuates.
Thanks to TheBoatGalley for the tip.
- No wires, easy install.
- Easy configuration.
- Cheaper than a freezer of food.
- No warning if the battery dies.
Watson Battery Charger
We have three different cameras, each using three different types of batteries. Rather than carry each of these different chargers we have a Watson Battery Charger which allows us to charge virtually any type of camera battery under the sun. What’s more, you can charge two at once! But it doesn’t stop there – it’ll also take 12V DC as an input. Perfect for boating life.
There has to be a downside and there is. You need to buy a different charging ‘plate’ for each type of battery you want to charge and each plate is about 10 USD. The other downside is that ours malfunctioned after a few months and now we can only charge one battery at a time, rather than two. Plus, there customer service isn’t setup for life on a boat, requesting that we post the whole unit back to the USA and after a month or so, they would either replace it or fix it, posting it back to an address in the USA – not much use for us.
Having said that – I still recommend it and hope our problems were just unlucky rather than a product wide issue.
- Carry one device to charge all your various batteries
- Either 12v DC or 110/220v AC as input
- Very fast charging rates and two at once.
- Easy to use.
- Bad customer service experience.
- Expensive to get ‘setup’