Boat Essentials – What to Pack
One of the best things about being a private boater is heading in a different direction than the rest of the fleet and finding an area to fish all by myself. On the same token, one of the drawbacks of being a private boater is that if I forgot something at home, I’m going to go without on the trip.
Over the years I’ve found that it’s never a certain lure or a specific rod that I wish I’d brought.
It usually ends up being something as simple as a dry sweatshirt or something warm to eat on a cold morning. As a result I’ve put together a few things that I make sure are on the boat every time I take it off the trailer.
As fishermen, we expect to get wet at some point during the trip. That’s what foul weather gear is for right? Well, sometimes we don’t have time to grab the slickers before something happens, so it’s nice to have dry clothes available. As an example, during an evening tournament last year I came down awkwardly off a swell while running at 40 MPH and soaked my partner and I to the skin. Of course neither of us were wearing our foul weather gear at the time, so having those dry clothes saved us from a miserable night.
Ziploc makes a jumbo bag that’s surprisingly durable and has kept my back up pants, shorts, t-shirt, hat, beanie, sweatshirt and a towel dry for months at a time in one of my boat’s hatches.
The best part is that once your squeeze all of the air out, the bag is small enough to stick anywhere. My fishing partner Matt and I each keep a change of clothes on the boat and I’ll usually carry a couple extra sweatshirts in case I have another friend come fishing.
A Warm Meal
Going from necessity to comfort, the next box I take on the boat contains cooking items. The backbone of this collection is the Roadpro portable stove and hot pot. These two items, which plug into the boat’s 12 volt outlet, are absolute game changers. Just throw a couple of frozen burritos, or last night’s leftover burgers, in the cooler and you’ll have a piping hot snack whenever you’re hungry. On a cold morning you can pour a bottle of water in the hot pot and within a few minutes you can make a cup of tea, some hot cocoa, instant coffee or a cup of soup. Included in this box is some foil to wrap things for the oven, plates, cups, utensils, paper towels and some toilet paper in case I eat too much.
All of these items pack easily into A Small Deep Ziploc Weather Shield Box. While these boxes are not waterproof, the foam seal keeps everything surprisingly dry. The roll of paper towels in the box has been in my boat for several months and is completely dry.
My final box contains the items most likely to be forgotten on a trip. In no particular order; fillet knife and glove, knife sharpener, fillet bags, bait knife, spectra cutter, pliers, finger tape, flashlight, glass cleaning wipes, hand held back-up VHF radio, stabilized binoculars with extra batteries, extra sunglasses, neck buff and four different sizes of fluorocarbon leader material.