Helinox Chair One

Four tennis balls slit to fit over the chair's feet keep them from sinking into sand.

All of the aluminum tubes and junctions are linked with bungees, so there are no pieces to lose and the frame nearly assembles itself. The zippered carrying bag, also made of durable fabric, has two large loops that can be used to hang the bag from the chair for a handy storage space; it also has a webbing ladder that makes it easy to lash down or attach to a backpack. The compact package easily fits into our small hatch openings, reducing clutter in the cockpit.

Muck Boots

The Men's Edgewater II is rated for use in temperatures from below freezing to 65 degrees and has a deeply contoured sole for good traction.

The fashionable black and hot-pink boots have been 100 percent waterproof. Audrey is able to get in and out of our dinghies and keep grit out of the boat with a just swish of water on the soles to clean them off. What she likes best about them is that her feet stay warm because of the neoprene and the breathable mesh lining. She had a severe ankle injury a few years ago and appreciates the stable walking platform that the outsoles provide. The insoles offer good arch support, and the material around her ankles and calves is flexible for unrestricted mobility. The outsoles are flared so her feet do not sink into the sand as far as her water shoes did, and the boots are buoyant, helping float her feet up as she steps off the bottom.

Mantus Headlamp

A full charge on the battery is rated for 6 hours with the light on high, 20 hours on low, 60 hours for the red light, and 48 hours for the SOS.

The single large button is easy to operate, even with gloved hands. It has an advantage over my former favorite head lamp, which has two separate buttons for red and white lights, both small and hard to press separately one from another. When the button on the Mantus headlamp is pressed, the light cycles through all of the various modes in order: first red, then white low, high, and SOS. It’s the way the red light works that makes it a gem. When navigating at night, you’ll want a red light to preserve your night vision while reading charts, so the red light is always the first to turn on.

Sleeveless Sanding Drums

The the drive shaft has a diameter of 1/2" where it joins the fitting on the drum, but is reduced to 3/8" to fit most drills.

My main drum sander is a simple shop-made affair: a plywood box containing a salvaged motor fitted with a chuck to hold a 3″ sanding drum. With a 60-grit sanding sleeve on the drum, it’s a real workhorse when it comes to smoothing curves, but I don’t use it for finish work. Sleeves with finer grits are available, but they’re $4 apiece, hard to get on and off the rubber drum, and too stiff to smooth radiused edges. For finer work, I’ve been using sleeveless sanding drums. They are built around a rigid foam cylinder and hold strips of common sandpaper. The exterior of the cylinder is padded with a layer of 1/8″ neoprene. One end of the cylinder is fitted with a cast-aluminum flange and a steel axle. The ends of the sandpaper strip are tucked into a slot in the drum that leads to a long, round hole where a length of steel oval tubing rotates to secure the sandpaper


The Minnow, shown here, is the smallest in the GoBag line and a snug fit for a MotoG smartphone.

I recently upgraded to a new smart phone and decided that a reliable dry bag was in order. The staff at my local kayak shop pointed me to the GoBag, manufactured by H2Odyssey, a longtime scuba, surf, and watersports company. It is an envelope of clear TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) film with an unusual closure system. The top of the Dolphin model I bought has two thick, sturdy flexible plastic strips, each studded with 12 powerful magnets. The two strips snap together quickly and automatically, sealing the bag. Once secured, this row of magnets folds down onto a second row of a dozen magnets, forming a tight double seal that further inhibits water from infiltrating the opening.


The Ugo's laminated fabric includes a layer of foam so the case doesn't depend entirely on the enclosed volume from buoyancy. The seams are all RF welded rather than sewn.

I’ve had a snap-on case for my phone and a roll-and-clip style drybag for a few other things, and both left a lot to be desired— the former’s seals failed in less than a year, and the later turned out to be not-so-dry when I was  swimming ashore from my boat at anchor. Ugo has made a superior, truly dry case for my phone, which does duty as a navigation device, text messenger, journal, emergency beacon, and social-media hub.


After filling, the bag is squeezed to push the contents to the tip of the spout. The clear space at the top of the bag is devoid of air; the front and back surfaces are mostly in contact with only a thin transparent layer of the product between them. The funnel will be set aside to dry.

StopLossBags provide a unique solution to a common problem. We’ve all been there. You’ve got a little bit of wear in your varnished rubrail, and it just needs to be touched up to keep it Bristol. You grab that can of varnish you know is at least half full, but you discover that it has skimmed over with a hardened amber-colored hockey puck on top. You then spend the next half hour straining it out into a new container. The quick touch-up has turned into a messy project and much of that expensive varnish has been lost.

Moor n Stow

Cabela's self-inflating Moor n stow is a good match for small boats that have little space for stowing a set of ordinary fenders.

Fenders keep docks from chewing up the flanks of our boats, but when we cast off, those fenders can eat up a lot of space on board. Cabela’s has come up with a self-inflating fender that rolls up into a very compact bundle that is much easier to tuck away. The Moor n Stow is constructed like a self-inflating camping mattress, and rolled up it is just 7″ long and 5″ in diameter. A strap with a buckle keeps the roll tight; when it is released and the valve is open opened, the Moor n Stow inflates itself in about one minute and doesn’t need to be topped off by blowing into the valve.

Rivet Spacing Tool

At its full expansion of 36", the rivet spacing tool will mark twenty intervals of 1.8", an awkward number to work with if you're marking the intervals along a ruler.

Precision is important in the building aircraft, so you can’t have haphazard spacing between all those rivets that hold an aluminum plane together. Fortunately there is a tool used by many amateur aircraft builders that facilitates the even spacing of fastenings without a measuring tape, complicated math, or walking intervals with dividers. It’s called a rivet spacing tool.

Pioneer Swag Tent

Closed up against rain or cold, the tent is cozy without feeling cramped. The attached flap of PVC vinyl provide a place to take off shoes before entering to keep dirt out of the tent.

The nights I slept in the Outback Swag Tent, I was just camped in the back yard. After one night in it I had the information I needed and could have gone back to my bedroom, but I liked the cozy space and slept well. The Outback Swag isn’t meant for backpackers. At 18.7 lbs for the tent, mattress, poles, stakes and duffel, it’s heavy by backpacking standards, but it’s also heavy duty and should hold up to a lot of hard use providing years of comfortable camping.

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