Top 10 Gift Ideas for 2016

If you’re looking for gifts for that stingy sailor on your gift list or even if you ARE that stingy sailor and you need some hint-dropping ideas, let me help you out. What follows are my top 10 gift ideas this year. I’d appreciate receiving any one of these and I’ll tell you why in the description of each one.

I’ve even made it easy for you by linking to each item at where you can order the item and get it shipped right to your door – no driving, no parking, no out of stock problems, no waiting in checkout lines, no hassle. And by shopping with these links, you’ll help to keep this blog free for everyone to enjoy. That’s because I’ll receive a small commission from Amazon when you buy something. It won’t cost you any extra and it helps me to cover the cost of running this website. That would be a nice gift too.

I’ve included items in this list for all budgets, so you should be able to find something here that your sailor will like and you can afford. In fact, many of the gifts on this list a stingy sailor would be too stingy to buy for themselves. That makes them even more thoughtful to give.

Here they are in order of increasing price, the $tingy Sailor recommended gifts for 2016.s

Stingy Sailor T-Shirt


Nothing says you’re a stingy sailor quite like authentic StingyWear. Designed by yours truly and made in the USA by TeeSpring, These are premium tees in your choice of sizes S to 5XL. They’re available in three original designs printed on the back with the Stingy Sailor logo on the front upper-left corner. More designs, shirt styles, and colors are on the way.

These shirts will be printed in batches when enough orders are placed to run the presses. In between runs, you can reserve yours in the next batch. Just click the picture above to go to my Teespring storefront to place your order and for complete details. Get one for yourself, a family member, or a stingy friend who helped you finish that DIY project.

Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat

In fair weather or foul, every skipper needs a comfortable, practical hat that looks good. I have one of these and there are several things that I like about it:

  • The light color helps keep you cooler
  • Mesh lining helps keep you cooler
  • Built-in vents help keep you cooler
  • Moisture-wicking fabric helps keep you drier
  • It floats
  • Chin cord (removable) helps you keep the hat

I buy Outdoor Research gear and clothing for mountaineering and love every piece I have. Their design and quality have never disappointed.

SOG FF23-CP Nautical Knife

Every skipper should carry a knife on his person at all times while sailing. You never know when a halyard or sheet will jam, hockle, loop, or snag something it’s not supposed to in an emergency. Sailboats have sunk from a jammed mainsheet. When (not IF) it happens to you, you don’t want to have to hunt for a useful knife.

I keep a SOG multi-tool onboard Summer Dance at all times. It’s built like a tank and I use it often. The FF23-CP is a no-nonsense lockback design with a rescue-style blade, marlin spike for ropework, and a lifetime warranty. It’s a keeper. For more information on being prepared, read The Essentials You Should Have in Your Onboard Toolbox.

Dewalt DCF680N1 8V Gyroscopic Screwdriver 1-Battery Kit

I picked one of these up at my daughter’s house while I was helping her to wire her basement. I couldn’t figure out how it worked for a minute. There’s no forward/backward button. When I pushed its single button, nothing happened. Then I unintentionally rotated it and it began to turn. It’s so intuitive that after using it for half an hour, I wanted to steal it. She gave me one as a Christmas gift that year and I’ve enjoyed it ever since.

This screwdriver has a gyroscope built into it so that it senses not only the direction that you want to drive a screw, but also how fast. All you need to do is push the button and twist the screwdriver in the direction you want it to go. It turns on automatically, turns faster the more you twist it, and stops when you return it to the starting rotation. It even reverses direction automatically. Genius!

To make it even more useful, the screwdriver folds into a pistol grip or unfolds into a straight grip. A built-in LED lights up the screw so you don’t have to hold a flashlight in your other hand, perfect for working in those dark enclosed spaces.

Pyle PLCM7500 Backup Camera & Monitor System

If you’re a trailer sailor and don’t have one of these already, you must be fed up with the trial and error method of hooking up to your tow vehicle. There’s something wrong with anybody who likes doing that. Installing a backup camera was one of the best upgrades I’ve made to my towing gear. The first mate even loves it. Now she can just stand back and watch the magic. I can back up and put the ball right under the coupler on the first try 9 times out of 10.  It saves time and stress. Isn’t that what sailing is about, relief from stress?

This Pyle system is very similar to the system that I assembled à la carte and it contains everything you need except maybe a few crimp connectors. You can install it in an afternoon. It also comes in handy for parallel parking too! For more information, read Speed Up Trailer Hookups with a Backup Camera.

Loos Cableware PT-1 Tension Gauge

If you care at all about your standing rigging performance, safety, and longevity, you need a tension gauge and this Loos PT-1 is the hands-down favorite. It works with 3/32″, 1/8″, and 5/32″ wire rope, which covers most trailerable sailboats.  It’s durable enough to keep in your tool box onboard and handy enough to use anytime. Just hook it over a cable, pull the lanyard, and read the scale. No more guesswork. Use it with a rig tuning guide like this one from North Sails, and you will get more speed, safety, and life out of your standing rigging. For more information, read my Product Review: Loos Tension Gauge.

Garmin 72H Waterproof Handheld GPS with High-Sensitivity

Most of us don’t need thousands of dollars of navigation electronics on our sailboats. I use a simple, hand-held Garmin GPS similar to this one on Summer Dance and it does everything I need for basic navigation and speed display. I stick its suction cup windshield mount to the bulkhead in the cockpit next to the companionway, plug it into a 12 V outlet I have just inside the cabin, and I can read it from my helm position. I use it with paper maps instead of digital maps that can lack important details, especially on a small screen.

I like to load mine with waypoints for all the prominent features of the lakes where I sail. I can easily select one and head straight for it. Knowing our estimated time of arrival keeps the crew happy and the ability to see the effects of sail trim changes on our speed keeps me happy. It floats and it’s a Garmin. Look no further.

Nikon 7245 Action Ex 10 X 50 Binoculars

If you or your stingy sailor don’t yet own a good pair of binoculars because you thought you’d have to spend a pile of bills to buy quality, you’re missing out. The first mate gave me the little brother (7 x 50) to these one Christmas and they have not disappointed me yet. The optics are bright, crisp, and clear. Nikon is famous for their camera lens quality and it carries over to their binoculars as well.

They’re tough too: waterproof, fogproof, shockproof. Built with a metal chassis in a polycarbonate shell with rubber coating, it’s no wonder they come with a 25-year warranty and no-fault repair/replacement policy. See what you’ve been missing!

Kuuma Stow and Go 125 Propane Grill

This one’s sort of a no-brainer. Propane BBQ grilles are THE go-to gift idea for any boater. This grille is half the cost of a comparable Magma grille so even a mere mortal can afford one. It’s also smaller so that it can fit in your lazarettes. Besides the grille, you’re going to want to also buy the Kuuma 58182 Stow N’ Go Grill Rail Mount to attach the grill to the pushpit rail. I also recommend you get the Kuuma Stow N Go BBQ Tote Bag so that any drippings in the grille don’t make a mess wherever you store the grille onboard.

GoPro HERO 4 Black Action Camera Bundle

Okay, we’re talking about a seriously non-stingy Christmas gift here. If you haven’t yet seen a video shot with one of these, you must be hiding under a pier somewhere. If you have seen these before, then you know how amazing they are. My son the online media producer has one and it puts you right in the action. You can mount it practically anywhere on your sailboat, even underwater, and take eye-popping 4K resolution footage of your best or worst moments at the helm.

This package includes everything you need to get started plus all the mounts you could want to catch the action wherever it is. Get in touch with your inner movie producer. Home movies will never be the same.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Scott Weston says:

    Great list Ken. I’ll be looking into a couple of these items. Stay warm. Scott

  2. Kevin Patton says:

    Thanks Ken, several items are now linked from here to my Amazon Christmas list.

  3. Halfpint says:

    I love your list but could really use some new ideas for a stingy sailor in my life who seems to have everything or will make it himself if he has to 😉 Any chance you’ll be putting out a new list soon?

    1. Hello, HalfPint

      I revise the gift list every year before Christmas when most folks are shopping. It sounds like your stingy sailor has most of the material things that he could want. What he probably appreciates more now is time and experiences with the most important people in his life, his family. Try to think outside of the box for something fun that the two of you could do together, no matter how zany. It doesn’t even have to be about sailing. Love expressed through shared experience is the best gift of all. Its something every stingy sailor cherishes and will keep forever 🙂

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