Santa’s not the only one making lists and checking them twice this time of year. We know plenty of you out there in the are compiling wishlists in your tally books, guessing what your loved ones are pining for. This is where we come in. From coffee gear to gadgets and goodies, gCaptain’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide is a selection of the finest gifts of 2018.
1) Aeropress Coffee Maker ($31) – Most sailors we know enjoy a thick, strong cup of coffee but you only have options most automatic espresso makers. You can use an single serve coffee machine like the Nespresso that works great but uses dried out beans that were packed months ago or you can dump an extra cup full of grind into your coffee maker and hope for the best. AeroPress is a better option because it’s fast, simple and makes a strong cup of coffee that will put hair on your chest and taste better than a french press. Best of all it’s easiest clean up of all. This is the coffee maker of choice at gCaptain HQ. ($26)
2) Bonavita Electric Kettle ($39) – If you go into any hipster coffee shop you’ll likely to find a $50 Hario Buono kettle. Coffee aficionados use the Hario because it’s elongated spout in order to better control your pour. Aboard ship that same spout design means you’re less likely to spill the water when your vessel is rolling. We like the Hario but for $5 more you can get this electric version.
3) Airscape Coffee Canister ($28) – You can buy the best, most expensive, coffee beans in the world but if you don’t store them properly they will dry out and begin to go stale. Air is the number one enemy of many things, including fresh food items like coffee. Unlike canisters that lock the air inside with the contents, the AirScape is an innovative container that removes substance-eating air.
4) Encore Burr Grinder ($139)– This is the the most expensive piece of coffee gear on our list you’ll own but also the most important. Those “whirlybird” coffee grinders pulverize your beans and leave you with an uneven grind but great coffee is ultimately about extraction. You want even extraction. The first step to an extraction is an even grind — and you want the particles to be as close to the same size as possible. For that you’ll need a burr grinder and our favorite is the Encore.
P.S. Need Coffee? We suggest light roast Ethiopian whole been coffee.
An excellent tool for any naval architect, marine engineer or navigator, The Tool Pen features a machined aluminum 6-sided barrel houses a smooth-writing ballpoint at one end and a touch screen stylus at the other.
Under the stylus top are Phillips and slotted screw drivers, while on the barrel are a built-in spirit level, and centimeter and inch scale ruler. ($22.50 Via gCaptain)
1) Kindle Paperlight ($129) – In the battle for the best e-book reader, the critics are split between Amazon’s Kindle is the reigning champion over the second place Nook and we like the kindle better for its larger library of available books and a 3G version that allows you to download content from ports around the world.
2) Fintie Folio Case For The Kindle Paperwhite ($15.99) – This is the Kindle case we prefer because it’s cheap, well built and comes in a selection of high end colors.
1) Leatherman Wave ($99) – Two years ago Leatherman redesigned their most popular knife and the result is a solid knife sold at a very reasonable price. This knife comes with 17-tool multitools all constructed of stainless steel and backed by Leatherman’s 25 year warranty.
2) Spyderco Atlantic Salt ($125) – This is our favorite knife. Constructed of H-1 steel the blade does not require heat treatment, gets harder and tougher with use and is absolutely impervious to rust! The Atlantic Salt’s sheepfoot blade allows safe, efficient cutting and its large 14mm Round Hole makes one-handed opening easier with gloved or wet hands.
3) Kaenon Burnet Label Sunglasses ($177) – Sleek, sporty and stylish these glasses will turn heads when you stride down the streets of south beach but… We don’t recommend any gear based on how it looks. We only recommend based on how it performs and Keanon glasses simply have the best polarized glass around.
4) ACR RescueLink PLB ($285) – If your ships starts sinking and you only have time to grab one item before heading to a lifeboat… grab this. From the north pole to the south, from the date line to the Greenwich meridian, the ResQLink+ will notify the Coast Guard that you are in danger. This unit uses the same technology as an EPIRB but in a tiny package making it perfect for clipping to a lifejacket during harsh weather.
Every sailor needs a few extra shirts for his wardrobe so don’t forget that gCaptain has the best collection of nautical shirts in the world. Quality cotton shirts printed with vibrant weather fast colors, gCaptain’s shirts like our popular A Ship Dead Ahead At Night T-Shirt and our Ultimate Ship Shirt make the perfect gift this holiday season. ($28 and up via gCaptain)
Our friends know just how seriously we take our coffee here at gCaptain HQ and there is only one mug that’s up to our standards. Seriously, forget buying a Yeti Rambler mug (those are great too but this one is better!)… if you want to keep your coffee piping hot till the end of a long 6-hour watch your only solution is Zojirushi. ($25 via Amazon)
Hydro Flask – Insulated Water Bottles
Working on deck in a cold harsh environment? Nothing will make you happier than a nice warm cup of great coffee. Working in swelter of summer just south of the equator? Nothing will make you happier than a nice cool sip of cold water. Either way you’ll love your Hydro Flask Insulated Water Bottle…. and it’s built strong too! Starting At $21 via Amazon
Ticket To Ride Rails And Sails
Amazon’s best selling board game for adults, Ticket to Ride, has published a new edition and… it has ships! Players collect cards of various types (trains and ships) that enable them to claim railway and sea routes on a nicely illustrated double-sided board, featuring the world map on one side and the great lakes of North America on the other. Elegantly simple and fast to learn, it takes the ticket to ride series to the next level! $75 via Amazon
Tugboats Illustrated: History, Technology, Seamanship by Paul Farrell is a new book released this week and it is both gorgeous illustrated and informative! Paul’s been working on this book for 13 years and the book he’s produced traces the evolution, design, and role of tugboats, ranging from the first steam-powered tug to today’s hyper-specialized offshore workboats. Through extensive photographs, dynamic drawings, and enlightening diagrams, he explores the development of these hard-working boats, always shaped by the demands of their waterborne environment, by an ever-present element of danger, and by advancements in technology. $36 Via Amazon
Terry Breverton has a knack for organizing information and presenting it in fun, interesting, easily digestible chunks. He begins in familiar waters: chapter headings include “An A-Z of Sea Slang,” “Sea Conditions and Weather,” “Life at Sea,” “Death at Sea,” “Heroes, Heroines, Sea People and Navigation,” and “Villains of the Sea.” Read through these sections and you’ll learn a lot about types of ships, parts of a ship, a ship’s food and medical care, naval weapons, famous captains and, of course, pirates. Also check out Breverton’s other nautical book The Pirate Dictionary. $16 via Amazon
At the suggestion of a veteran maritime pilot we decided to add one more late entry…. Watershed Drybags. The company makes gear for the Navy Seals and they’re the bomb and made in the US. If you absolutely must keep your gear dry and secure then check out watershed’s products.
There is nothing worse than getting wet and cold on watch, especially when the rain starts dripping down the back of your neck which is why a Southwester style hat like the Grundens Sandhamn 21 Sou’wester with its traditional scooped back awning is the only choice for harsh conditions. Inferior foul weather gear leaks at the seams but not Grundens which is the gear trusted by hardy Alaska Fisherman. Sure you’re going to look like a dork wearing this hat (especially if you choose high visibility orange or green colors!) but you won’t care what you look like when the barometer drops and the rain starts falling sideways! ($55 via Amazon)
This item is certainly not like the high quality watches we sell in the gCaptain store but it’s certainly a lot more fun. This Engine Order Telegraph watch features a 33mm diameter face, genuine leather band, and accurate Japanese quartz movement. The watch is truly a delight. ($40 via Amazon)
Show the world all the places you’ve travelled to aboard ship with this high quality frameable Scratch Off World Map. The set comes with extra stickers to show your homeports over the years plus a guitar pick and specialized scratch off tool to help you stay within the lines. ($33 via Amazon)
We hate to beat a dead horse but we really do love the durability and form factor of gCaptain’s own Offshore Tally Book, that said some people might want a thinner, more upscale (yet still highly durable!) and more customizable notebook. For this reason our favorite notebook is the Traveler’s Notebook in Brown Leather. What’s great about this notebook are the dozens of custom inserts available that all fit neatly the notebook’s simple leather cover using Midori’s innovative system. We also like the fact you can have one set of inserts for home and another for the ship or office. ($32 Via Amazon)
If you have ever been aboard a commercial boat in really rough weather chances are that you either wore Grundens foul weather gear or wish you had. Now the name already famous in Alaskan waters is selling a boot with a rather serious name… The Deck Boss Boot! These boots are injected molded, making these boots better than traditional vulcanized boots as no glue/taping is used in the design. They are made to be able to roll down for more flexibility while you are wearing them. ($129 via Amazon)