No-Spill Gasoline Can

The NoSpill gas can has several features that make it easier to avoid spills and overfilling at the gas station and aboard the boat.

The No-Spill Gasoline Can has been a great improvement. I bought the 1.25-gallon size. There are 2.5- and 5-gallon sizes, more fuel than I usually need and too heavy and awkward to hold out over the transom to get to the motor. The HDPE can has notably thick walls and is quite rigid compared to my previous cans. It has a translucent vertical stripe at each end for a quick visual check of the level of fuel in the can. Its fill opening is 2-1/8″ in diameter, providing a much better view into the can when filling than the 1-3/8″ opening of my previous cans.


The eTape16 has four buttons for various display options and two buttons for recording measurements.

The eTape16 takes my fallibility out of the process. It is a 16′ tape measure with an onboard computer and a digital readout. The 3/4″-wide tape has the usual markings in inches and centimeters, but between them there’s a row of what looks like a Morse-code message in rectangular dots and dashes. I’m guessing the markings pass by some optical scanner inside the polycarbonate case and translate them into the numbers in an LCD display powered by a 3-volt CR2032 button battery.

Force 5K Power Dolly

The Force dollies can be plugged into a trailer's 12-v, electrical system is it's a camper trailer. Adding a battery box, as seen here, makes the unit self-contained.

o get my 20′ West Coast dory out of the garage I had solve two problems: the trailer fenders have only about 2″ of clearance between the sides of the garage opening, and about 15′ from the garage the driveway makes a sharp turn up a slight incline. It’s impossible to make this maneuver with . . .

Barry King Hammer-Style Mallet

The nylon head has enough weight to make quick work of punching holes and setting grommets yet it won't damage the tools.

  udrey and I have a little fleet of small boats and do a lot of work taking care of them. Setting grommets is a regular task when we’re making and repairing sails and boat covers, and one of the best tools we’ve found for the job is the Barry King 48-oz hammer-style mallet. It . . .

Blackbird XLC and Thunderfly

The Blackbird XLC and the Thunderfly are a good match for a steep shoreline and a narrow beach.

To preserve beautiful wild places for the future, visiting the wilderness requires camping with minimal impact. The Blackbird XLC camp hammock by Warbonnet, a Colorado based family-owned business, is a flexible, all-weather system that leaves no mark on the landscape. It’s comfortable, too. The hammock is available in a lightweight version, aimed at backpackers looking to save every possible ounce of carried weight, and a heavier version, with a double layer of fabric which increases its weight-bearing capability. The Blackbird is an asymmetric design, so that a sleeper lies on the diagonal. Initially a little counter-intuitive, the arrangement creates a sleeping position which is fairly flat.

Knipex Plier Wrench

The 180 mm Knipex plier wrench is a good size for all of my boat and trailer applications.

I have a lot of wrenches and pliers in my shop. There’s plenty of room for them there, but aboard my boats I have to keep my toolkit to a minimum. A single tool that can stand in for several is a welcome addition; the Knipex plier wrench, as its name suggests does the work of both pliers and wrenches. Its parallel jaws will fit hex nuts and bolts and its extraordinary gripping power makes it possible to tighten nuts and bolts and even loosen rusted ones without slipping off and rounding their corners.

Dynamic Dollies

A dolly opens up access to the water in areas without launching ramps.

We first used dollies about 20 years ago, after years of toting around 140-lb Sunfish. Life immediately became easier when we could roll our boats to and from storage, load them on and off trailers, move them to the beach, and launch and recover from the dolly. Because we did not dunk our trailers so often, they lasted longer. Dollies also reduced the number of scrapes and gouges on the hull, as well as the amount of labor required for repairs. We now own six lightweight dollies that are easy to store when not needed.

On-Demand Paper Charts

The Small Craft version comes folded to fit a waterproof chart case.

While my fondness for old charts may be somewhat sentimental, I still find paper charts useful even though there are some very sophisticated electronic alternatives. If I were traveling the Inside Passage or the Intracoastal Waterway again, electronic charts would have a clear advantage in lower cost and bulk, but my cruising grounds are limited in range, so I don’t need many charts to cover the area. The screen on my handheld GPS is less than half the size of a credit card, and while it can zoom in and out, it can’t give me the big picture and the details all at once in the way that a chart can. And on a sunny day I can rarely see through the glare on the screen.

EP Carry

he EP Carry is the second generation of an electric outboard developed and manufactured by PropEle Electric Boat Motors in North Bend, Washington. It is designed specifically for small boats and weighs just 14.4 lbs, making it an easy, one-hand lift. The battery, in its case, weighs 6.3 lbs and will float if dropped overboard. . . .


The end flaps close off the ends of the HouseFly, sealing the the cockpit against cold or wet weather.

hen Kyle and I built SOLVI, a 20′ open sail-and-oar boat to take down the Mississippi River, we had plans for an elaborate boom tent, but, as many boat projects seem to go, we ran low on time and money and we had to scale back. I spent hours looking online for an affordable product . . .

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