Top 12 Absolute Essential Sailing Gear Year-Round

Having the essential sailing gear when going out on the water, whether it’s a quick afternoon sail or a weekend sail, is crucial for having a good time and being absolutely safe. Over the years I’ve learned that having certain sailing gear provides me with a feeling of comfort because I know I’ll be ready for almost every obstacle I confront.

While there is some sailing gear that is more aimed at health and safety, there are other items that are just plain useful when you need them. This list certainly doesn’t cover all of the sailing gear you might need when out on the water, but they’re most definitely my favorite gear whenever I go out.

Without further adieu and in no particular order, here’s my list of the absolute essential sailing gear you’ll need year-round.

1. Waterproof Duffle Bag

Being out on a sailboat means you’re going to get wet, but that doesn’t mean the rest of your sailing gear you bring on-board should also get wet. That’s why I always bring a waterproof duffle bag whenever I set out to sail. Since you’ll need to bring on-board a few essential sailing gear items anyway, it’s arguably the best first investment.

I personally own a Marchway Floating Waterproof Bag, which is arguably the most popular waterproof bag when going sailing, kayaking, rafting, camping, and more outdoor activities. It’s an amazing addition to your sailing gear items since it’s easily able to hold all of your items due to it coming in sizes ranging from 10-40 liters.

The best part about owning a Marchway waterproof bag is that it floats, so in case your bag goes overboard you’ll know it won’t be sinking any time soon. On top of that, it comes in a variety of colors that’ll help you spot it out on the water in case it gets away from your sailboat.

MARCHWAY Floating Waterproof Dry Bag 5L/10L/20L/30L, Roll Top Sack Keeps Gear Dry for Kayaking, Rafting, Boating, Swimming, Camping, Hiking, Beach, Fishing (Red, 10L)
  • Durable and Compact: Made from ripstop tarpaulin with sturdy welded seam which is designed for years usage, tear, rip and puncture proof. Perfect for almost any extreme adventure you can imagine.
  • Waterproof Guarantee: Solid roll-top closure system provides secure watertight seal. Keeps your gear dry in any wet situation where the bag is not fully submerged. Protects your valuables from water, snow, mud and sand.
  • Easy Operation and Cleaning: Just put your gear in bag, grab top woven tape and roll down tightly 3 to 5 times and then plug buckle to complete seal, whole process is very quick. Dry sack is easy to wipe clean due to its smooth surface.
  • Multiple Sizes: 5 Liter to 40 Liter to meet your demands on different occasions. 5L, 10L include one adjustable and removable shoulder strap for cross-body, 20L, 30L, 40L include two straps for backpack style carrying.
  • Versatility: The dry sack can float on water after being rolled and buckled, so you can track your gears easily. Perfect for boating, kayaking, paddling, sailing, canoeing, surfing or having fun on the beach. A nice Holiday Gift for families and friends.

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com

2. Knife with Marlinspike

There are times when you’ll need to quickly cut loose a sheet or untie an exceptionally tight knot. These moments can be crucial for ensuring the safety of your crew and sailboat, so having a high-quality sailing knife with a marlinspike is most definitely one of the most essential sailing gear you’ll want to have on you.

There are a vast number of sailing knives with marlinspikes out there, however, the ones produced by Myerchin are quite exceptional in terms of quality and variety. Whenever I’m out sailing, I always carry with me the Myerchin Sailors Tool Linerlock Silver since it has just what I need to be quick and effective when in need of a knife.

Not only is this particular Myerchin knife high-quality and exceptionally durable, but it also has a stainless steel serrated blade which comes in handy when having to cut a line fast. It also has a nice heavy weight to it so you know its able to handle a bit of abuse.

Myerchin Sailors Tool Linerlock Silver
  • Crafted from the highest quality materials
  • Built for performance and durability
  • Made in China

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com

3. Solar-Powered Watch with Compass and Barometer

It would be impossible for me to be able to count the number of times I needed to quickly check the compass and barometer while out sailing. Whether I’m in the saloon reviewing where we are and where we’re going or keeping my sailing log up-to-date, there’s nothing better than having a watch that gives you the exact information you need.

There are a lot of fancy and expensive watches on the market for sailors, but most of them are less functional and more fashionable. If you’re looking for a sailing watch that you’ll never need to replace, you’ll definitely want to check out the Pathfinder Multi-Sensor Multi-Function Sports Watch by Casio.

This sailing watch has it all. Apart from being extremely durable due to its stainless-steel design, but it also has a built-in compass, altimeter, barometer, and thermometer! The Pathfinder is also 100% solar-powered and can run without light for 6 whole months, so it’ll never need a replaced battery and always have a full charge. Hands down the best watch I’ve ever owned.

Sale
Casio Men's PRO TREK Stainless Steel Quartz Watch with Resin Strap, Black, (Model: PAG-240-1CR)
  • Black solar-powered sport watch with multiple features including digital compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, low temperature resistance (-10 C/14 F), EL backlight, world time (31 time zones, 48 cities), city code display, five daily alarms, 1/100-second stopwatch, full auto calendar (pre-programmed until 2099), countdown timer, 12/24-hour formats, battery power indicator, and power-saving function
  • Approximate battery life: 6 months on full charge (without further exposure to light)
  • 51-mm stainless steel case with mineral dial window
  • Quartz movement with digital display
  • Resin band with buckle closure; Dimensions:57.3 x 50.9 x 15.3mm

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com

4. LED Headlamp

Whether your out on the deck at night keeping an eye out or simply relaxing inside to catch up on a book, having a headlamp is a nice little addition to anyone’s sailing gear. Being able to see quick and easy in the darkness can be a lifesaver when out sailing at night or anchoring overnight somewhere.

There are a bunch of fancy, high-functioning, blinding headlamps out on the market that can be a bit too much at times. However, I personally like simple but quality products so I keep a Black Diamond Storm Headlamp handy when out sailing and during other outdoor activities.

The Black Diamond Storm Headlamp is simple and has everything you’ll ever need. This headlamp is waterproof and can be immersed in water for up to 1.5 minutes. It also can be easily set to a number of lighting modes, including full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red, green and blue night-vision, and lock mode. If you’re looking to not overcomplicate things, check out this headlamp.

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, One Size, Octane
  • One Quad Power LED and one Double Power white LED emit 350 lumens
  • Red, green and blue Single Power LEDs for night vision have dimming and strobe settings and activate without cycling through white mode
  • Power Tap Technology allows instant transitioning between full and dimmed power
  • Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red, green and blue night-vision, and lock mode
  • Waterproof and dustproof: Sealed housing withstands immersion up to 1m for 30 minutes

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com

5. Polarized Sunglasses

Having a good pair of sunglasses is an essential part of a sailor’s gear since you’ll likely have sun rays shooting at you in all directions. From the reflection off the water and the deck and directly from the sun, getting yourself a good pair of polarized sunglasses is a fantastic investment.

For the longest time, I’ve always purchased Polaroid polarized sunglasses because they look great and are high-quality. The issue I always had is that they pinched my nose, so I ended up trying out Oakley Fives Squared Rectangular Polarized Sunglasses and haven’t looked back since.

These Oakley polarized sunglasses are perfect for sailing because they encompass the entirety of your eyes and have a comfortable but secure feel. They’re also extremely durable, 100% UV protectant, and made in the USA, all at an affordable price. These sunglasses will last you a long time and look great!

Oakley Men's OO9238 Fives Squared Rectangular Sunglasses, Polished Black/Prizm Shallow Water Polarized, 54 mm
  • Case included
  • Lenses are prescription ready (rx-able)
  • FIVES SQUARED is an unconventional frame that uses Condensed Cranial Geometry for an architecture feel that adds sophistication to the look.

Last update on 2021-07-19, Source: Amazon.com

6. Quick-Dry Deck Shoes

When you’re on the deck of a sailboat, there can be a lot of water splashing around and movement going on which is when you want stability the most so to avoid falling over or even going overboard. For these reasons, investing in some high-quality, long-lasting deck shoes is great for any sailor’s year-round gear.

When it comes to deck shoes, you want to make sure the sole can grip the deck well during wet and dry conditions while also being able to dry quickly. That’s why I always wear Poseidon Water Shoes by Mohem. These shoes not only check off the requirements for safety, but they’re very comfortable and breathable.

These deck shoes by Mohem have some other features that not all deck shoes have. For one, they’re extremely flexible without being damaged so you can take them almost anywhere. Also, they’re so lightweight and flexible that you get the feeling your walking around barefoot on deck, so you’ll for sure feel safe and secure on the deck while out sailing.

MOHEM Mens Womens Water Shoes Mesh Quick Dry Barefoot for Swim Diving Surf Aqua Sports Pool Beach Walking Yoga(M1819Blue43)
  • Mohem Poseidon Water Shoes Capture the spring and summer's easy elegance
  • Breathable air mesh upper lets the air flow through,very durable and comfort
  • Zero burden - Less than 8oz/shoe,soft shoes design,fresh and breathable lycra net cloth
  • Pure handmade,Made in China,High Quality And Inexpensive,The most comfortable gift to lover,father,friend,colleague
  • OCCASIONS:Great Water shoes for Walking,Driving,Boating,Hiking,River Tracing,Surfing,Beach Vacation

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com

7. Padded Gloves

Have you ever been holding onto a rope as hard as you can just to have it rip right through your grasp and burn your skin to no end? I don’t know about you, but this has happened to me plenty of times until I decided to invest in some high-quality sailing gloves. By adding sailing gloves to your essential sailing gear, you’ll easily avoid one of the more common injuries while out sailing.

I cannot stress enough the importance of having good sailing gloves, especially since it’s a relatively inexpensive purchase. The WindRider Pro Sailing Gloves fit the bill perfectly in regards to price, quality, and durability. It’s difficult to find sailing gloves with these qualities, so it’s really a no-brainer in my opinion.

The WindRider sailing gloves are extremely breathable and are able to dry exceptionally fast after getting completely drenched. They’re also quite versatile, so you’ll be able to use them in a number of other watersports including kayaking and wakeboarding. On top of that, they’re great for men, women, and children since they come in a number of sizes and are available in 3/4 or full finger form.

WindRider 3/4 Finger Performance Sailing Gloves
  • Breathable and Fast Drying - We put a mesh back on these gloves so they will keep your hands cooler in warm weather and so they dry faster when your hands do get wet. No more soggy gloves on those multi-day regattas or paddling trips
  • Excellent Protection - Newly updated with a brushed amara leather palm gives you the ultimate protection from rope burns or blisters, while providing better grip. Say goodbye to blisters and hello to more fun
  • Extra Padding - You spoke and we listened. New for 2018 we have added a layer of padding under the palm. Not so thick to lose any feel, but added protection while hauling on the sheets or gripping your paddle
  • Nimble Fingers - With either just the thumb or forefinger or all the fingers cut to about 2/3 finger length, you will have full mobility to tie knots, open sandwich bags or twiddle your thumbs.
  • Multisport - We hate single use appliances, why tolerate single use gloves? The WindRider gloves can be used for kayaking, SUP, Sailing, wakeboarding or anywhere else you need your hands protected on the water. 1 pair of gloves = endless fun on the water. Unisex sizing for Men, Women, or Youth

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com

8. Handheld GPS

Every sailor should know how to properly use a map and compass to figure out where they are and where they’re going. While there’s no replacement for this skill and it should always be practiced, it doesn’t hurt to have a handheld GPS to guarantee your position, speed, and other important metrics.

Being able to quickly locate where you and your crew are is crucial, which is why I always keep handy a Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide Handheld GPS. Just knowing I have this on me brings me at ease since it’s essentially the ground truth for knowing our position and speed wherever we are, just in case.

This Garmin handheld GPS also comes with a color display that illustrates where you are on a worldwide map. It’s also able to connect to my smartphone and other Bluetooth so I can track all of our metrics over time, including position, speed, heart rate, and temperature. If you’re sailing without a handheld GPS, I highly suggest picking one up before your next adventure.

Garmin GPSMAP 64 Worldwide with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver
  • Sunlight-Readable 2.6" color display
  • Expanded Internal Memory 4GB
  • DUAL BATTERY SYSTEM Use with 2 traditional AA batteries, or the optional rechargeable NiMH battery pack that can be charged while inside the device.Weight 8.1 oz (230 g) with batteries
  • Receive Smart Notifications* and pair with optional ANT+ sensors, such as heart rate monitor, Tempe temperature sensor, speed/cadence, or use to control your VIRB action camera (64s/64st only)
  • Wirelessly upload data to Garmin Connect and view on smartphone, plus share activities as they happen with Live Track (64s/64st only)

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com

9. Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

It goes without saying that you want to be 100% ready for the most dangerous situations when out sailing, even if they might seem highly unlikely. In the case of a dire situation, you want a guarantee that you’ll be found when out on the water so investing in a personal locator beacon is worthwhile.

Maybe it’s because I used to work for an insurance company back in the day, but I like to cover the “black swan” events whenever possible. That’s why I always have on me the ResQLink+ 406 Buoyant Personal Locator Beacon by ACR. If you’re in an emergency situation and you need assistance ASAP, this little device can save your life.

This PLB is exactly what you’ll need when calling for help. While some PLB’s require a monthly or annual subscription to work properly, this one doesn’t. If you need to contact Search and Rescue, all you have to do is flip it open, stick the antenna up, and press the button to activate. It’s also the world’s smallest PLB, so it’s easy to take with you anywhere you go.

ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ 406 Buoyant Personal Locator Beacon
  • All Personal Locator Beacons sold by US are pre-programmed with the US country code.
  • This PLB should only be used in situations of grave and imminent danger to life. False alerts endanger lives and cause expensive disruption to Search & Rescue services.
  • Deliberate misuse of the device could result in a penalty. Antenna clip
  • Unlike most satellite enabled notification devices, the ACR ResQLink+ PLB requires no monthly or annual subscription, making it one of the most cost effective GPS enabled emergency beacons available for long term use.
  • Radiated Power:5W (406 MHz), 50 mW +/-3dB (121.5 MHz)

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com

10. Foul Weather Gear

There’s nothing like going out in the warm, sunny weather sailing with a calm, steady breeze. Sadly, sailing in paradise weather doesn’t happen all of the time, which is why it’s important to have proper foul weather gear when having to deal with strong winds and stubborn rain.

Ensuring you and your crews’ safety is the top priority when out on a sailboat, which is why you’ll often find foul weather gear like Navis Marine’s Rain Suit Sailing Jacket and Bib Pants. Navis Marine is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to foul weather gear, which means a lot when you need it the most.

This jacket and bib pants by Navis Marine come in a number of sizes and are an excellent choice for any crew member. They have a number of fantastic qualities including having a strong nylon outer Seratex shell, fleece-lined hand warming pockets, and reflective patches. On top of all of that, they’re also 100% waterproof and windproof so you’ll easily be able to stay warm and dry.

Navis Marine Sailing Jacket with Bib Pants for Men Women Waterproof Breathable Rain Suit Fishing Foul Weather Gear(Red, Medium)
  • Nylon outer Seratex shell; All zippers are nylon YKK-brand and all have pull tabs on them. There is an inner pocket for a wallet inside the jacket on the left side that measures 8-1/2" high by 7" deep and has a zipper closure.
  • Polyester eyelet lining; Heavy duty 2-way nylon zip protected by double storm flap.
  • Front pockets with storm flap & D ring; The sleeves and collar has a 3M retroreflective piping. There are patches of retroreflective plastic material on the sleeves, shoulders, and on top of the hood. There is a hanging strap sewn into the jacket just below the collar to allow hanging from a hook.
  • Fleece lined hand warmer pockets; There is a white patch to write your name into the jacket on the inside.
  • Retained adjustable elastic draw cord at hem; Fluro stow-in-collar hood.

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com

11. Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

Ensuring that everyone on your sailboat is safe and secure is a top priority, so investing in the proper equipment is of the utmost importance. When out on the water, you’ll want to make sure you have a personal flotation device (PFD) in case you have a man overboard.

When looking at PFDs, there are virtually an unlimited amount to choose from. I personally like a PFD that I can wear without cover too much of my body in case it’s warm out. That’s the reason I own a Lifesaving Pro Highly Visible PFD. This is a fantastic PFD since it’s lightweight and comfortable, it has a whistle and 3M reflective strips, it automatically inflates once in the water, and it’s reusable.

Premium Quality Manual Inflatable Life Jacket Lifejacket PFD Life Vest Highly Visible Inflate Survival Aid Lifesaving PFD New
  • Inflates less than 3-5 seconds when the wearer manually pulls the inflation handle.
  • CE Certificated & SOLAS approved USA 3M reflectors. Highly visible in dark.
  • Light weight, durable, and comfortable to wear. Adjustable belt fit for adult and youth.
  • Made from best quality materials. Reusable, washable, easy to air dry and repack.
  • FAST SHIPPING FROM USA. Great customer service!

Last update on 2021-06-30, Source: Amazon.com

12. Safety Harness

If the weather’s getting rough and you need to ensure you won’t be going overboard, you’ll need a harness to keep yourself attached to your sailboat. You never know when you’ll need a harness, so it’s a good idea to always have one handy at a moment’s notice.

Sailing harnesses can come in all shapes and sizes, but this is an essential sailing gear item that’s fairly standard across the board. One of the highest quality sailing harnesses you can own is the Stearns Sailing Harness by Sospenders. It has everything you’ll ever need in a harness, including bright reflective tape, high-strength nylon webbing, and ISAF standard compliant. It’s also able to fit many sizes and comes at an affordable price.

Stearns SoSpenders Sailing Harness (ACC, Large)
  • Multi Colored webbing and bright reflective tape for maximum visibility
  • High-strenght nylon webbing sewn with lock-stitched three-cord thread
  • Meets ISAF standards requirements
  • Use as directed
  • Fits Chest size from 44" to 58"

Last update on 2021-07-25, Source: Amazon.com