*scroll down for the full video blog of items **this blog contains affiliate product links
That cute mini beach sundress with the sunflowers or the white and black one that you can wear anywhere? The flip-flops with the rhinestone bling or the sensible tan colored ones that are waterproof? And how many yoga leggings will you really need in the Caribbean? With airlines charging for every checked bag and then almost doubling the charges for just one little pound over the maximum weight allowance, even for carry-on bags, you definitely want to create your “this will do just fine” and your “I won’t miss it if I don’t bring it” piles at home BEFORE you get to the check-in counter. You don’t want to be “that person” with all your luggage items strewn on the airport floor as you try to get each bag under 50 pounds. It does help to have a reliable scale at home too.
Can I Bring My Inflatable Life Jacket on The Plane?
Yes! And you should, because the charter company just provides the big bulky Type IV kind. This time around, we did put our inflatable PFDs and the extra CO2 cartridges in our checked luggage as we have had mixed reactions from the security screening officers when travelling with them in carry-on luggage. Here is a link for the TSA rules for travelling with CO2 cartridges and inflatable life jackets and another link from the FAA.
Of course, it is completely up to the security guards to honor these lists or not. It can be totally random what they let you bring through the gates. I was mortified when the X-Ray dude discovered my antique brass chart navigation dividers in my carry-on. I had totally forgotten they were there and my heart sank at the thought of losing them. As the top official examined them, I was astounded that he let me keep them!!
Along with your PFD, other obvious things to pack are sunscreen (reef friendly, which you cannot find everywhere very easily), sailing gloves (or 2 pairs), a great sunhat (one that doesn’t fly off in the wind) and of course a couple of bathing suits! And if you want to protect your toes, proper boat shoes, and wet shoes for swimming in coral or shell heavy beaches!
Almost Everything You Need To Feel Like A True Liveaboard
Your charter company will provide everything you need to feel like a liveaboard; lots of towels, sheets, pillows, dishes, pots and pans, even a bar BQ, but you usually need to bring your own charcoal and lighter fluid.
They can even provide snorkel gear if you ask for it. They also provide navigation charts and a tourist guide book, binoculars, a basic first aid kit, dish soap and even sometimes a bottle of rum! But, there are some items that they do not provide. Items that you may not have ever thought would be useful, until you find yourself saying, “wow, I wish I had a pair of scissors!”
20 Unlikely Items To Bring on a Bareboat Charter
So, with all that in mind, keeping your home scale close by to monitor the weight of your luggage, consider these 20 unlikely items that you may consider bringing on your next bareboat charter. They may require you to leave behind your hiking boots, and force you to be extra conscious of what you pack in carry-on vs checked luggage, but in the end it will be worth it!
Watch The Video (15 minutes) and read the list below and leave your comments if you have any other suggestions!
1. Re-Usable Baggies (Ziploc) – invaluable for keeping things organized, dry and separated.
2. “Dog-Ear” Binder Clips (large and/or medium size) – used in so many applications like resealing opened food stuffs (coffee, pasta). Re-sealing cookies, crackers and chips is also helpful, but then place these in a re-sealable baggie as they will get soggy with the humidity of a lot of cruising areas. I also use clips to hang my “privacy curtain”.
3. Mini Velcro Straps one of my favorites! hanging my water bottle to the lifeline, securing the windlass remote so it wouldn’t break the wire, making a new watch strap!
4. Bungee Cords (and rubber bands) – securing the wheel, lashing the water bottle to the salon table.
5. Cord lengths – to lash the boom (preventer on anchor), to hang my hammock!
8. Bar BQ Lighters – a MUST HAVE. Matches are very frustrating in the humidity and rain in many cruising areas! And almost impossible to light the charcoal grill on a windy transom. We always use at least 2 matches at a time as you get a better rigidity in the strike and a bigger flame. Remember to keep your box of matches in a re-sealable baggie!
9. Scissors – for first aid purposes to cut gauze, and to cleanly cut food bags like pasta!
10. Waterproof Cellphone Bag – Who cares if your cellphone is waterproof if it drops out of your pocket while getting in and out of your dinghy! Get one with a strap! Or one that acts as a “fanny pack” around your waist that you can also put your I.D. and money in.
12. Re-Fillable Water Bottles – single use plastic bottles are a huge polluter of shores and oceans. Do your part and bring a re-usable one! It doesn’t have to be expensive.
13. Maple Syrup – okay, I admit, it’s my indulgence. You find yours!
14. Spices – I either pre-mix one at home or find a good ready-mix. One is a grill steak spice and the other more of a herb/garlic spice. And I bring a curry spice mix! Of course, salt and pepper is a must, but can be cheap to purchase at your destination.
15. Fabric Tape Roll – Great for more permanent lashing needs or repairing broken things! I also, use it for labeling my food bags into categories in my fridge to save on the door being open for too long while preparing a meal.
16. Pad-Lock – make sure you have an extra key in case one gets lost! In some areas they like you to lock the dinghy to the dock. If you do, bring a colorful bandana to tie to yours so you remember which one it is. They all look the same after a few rum punches!
17. Multi-Tool – this definitely has to go in checked luggage, but is useful in so many areas.
18. Portable VHF Radio & carabiner clip – Nice to have something in the cockpit and really nice to have it in the dinghy when going to shore. Put a clip on it so it can hang anywhere. Sometimes I also hang an extra floatie on it, even though they say it floats.
19. Privacy Curtain / Shawl – when you don’t want to close up the companionway hatch boards, but you don’t want people peering in when they walk by, presto! Also, if you are sailing with strangers, it’s convenient to be able to divide the space when trying to exercise modesty or create a little privacy. Don’t forget your Binder Clips to hang it!
20. Plastic Storage Container – your re-useable baggies can be used for leftovers, but if you have room, bring at least one plastic storage bin. I have never seen one on a bareboat charter.
Related Bonus Items!
A Water Jug Pump – They are bulky, but relatively light! The water in the boat’s holding tanks is good enough to cook with, but for drinking, we loved the convenience of the 5 gallon bottle AND the store will accept it back when you’re done. The one gallon jugs most often just go into the trash and do not get recycled, sadly.
A HAMMOCK – For anyone who knows me or follows The Desert Sailor on Instagram, you know that I love my hammock! Hang it from your halyards, attach it to your stays or your boom. I never travel without it. I love the woven kind or the fabric kind, but a lightweight, quick-dry kind is probably the best answer for cruising! Packs up small and is light-weight.