Packing Up

Before the real fun begins we’ve got to finalize our packing list. We have gone through everything a half a dozen times (at least!)…adding one thing, taking another away…back and forth again and again. Because the living space aboard s/v Bosco is pretty small, we want to start out with as LITTLE as possible. This way we can grow into the space as opposed to over-cluttering it right off the bat. But its difficult to say exactly whats necessary and what isn’t at this point.

Good thing we did our research! Plus we are giving ourselves 3 months of “trial and error” time to deem what is necessary and what isn’t. When we pull into North Carolina during mid-summer, we will hopefully have a good sense of this, and ditch anything that isn’t paramount to our journey. (i.e. – send it packing with our van when we head south).

Being the super crazy, OCD-person that I am (thanks mom for those genes!), I actually made a list of everything we’re bringing this first go-around. Quite literally, an itemized list of each and every single item – which is a little nuts because its A LOT of things – maybe too many. But if we manage to fit it all in the back of the van, then it should easily fit on the boat, right?

Here’s a quick summary of the main areas of the boat and items associated in no particular order…

Packing Inventory


I probably went a little overboard on the kitchen items, because I plan to do a boatload of cooking (pun intended)! I am excited though because a lot of things pack into themselves pretty nicely. Much of our inventory consists of items including folding bowls of all sizes, folding measuring devices, even a folding strainer and tea kettle! We have some high-quality stainless steel pots and pans, a gift from my parents as well as a pressure cooker.

I read that Corelle dinnerwear is virtually unbreakable and made sure to stock up on a set of 6 bowls and plates of various sizes. I also have a TON of cooking gadgets or containers for baking, grilling, grating, peeling, zesting, skewering, chopping, you name it. Other items include all the place settings, napkins, towels, tinfoil, seran wrap, etc. But a pretty hefty list of things in our small boat kitchen – hopefully everything fits!


The bathroom is pretty darn small on s/v Bosco. However that shouldn’t stop us from being able to have most of the comforts we are used to. We are planning to install a mounted soap dispenser to save space. But really all the typical bathroom things will be included here – extra toothbrushes and toothpaste, soaps, cleansers, contact stuff, hair care items and of course a hair dryer. I also packed a small makeup bag with the bare necessities if I should need to glam it up!

I discovered some pretty cool accessories like super absorbent, fast-drying towels that pack up TINY. We are super excited about the composting toilet too, which will replace the marine head that currently resides onboard.


This is not my forte (yet) but Jake did a pretty thorough job of widdling down our tool collection to a manageable chunk! He made a short video walking through the “super handy” tools that we plan to take aboard :

Most of it is pretty straight-forward, and really the goal is to make sure that everything has a consistent power-source; again since space is limited and energy is limited, that is important.


We have a large v-birth at the bow of the boat with the “master bedroom”. This would be equivalent to a Full-Queen-sized bed. After doing some research, we learned that quilts are better than comforters on a boat, because they are easier to wash and keep clean than a comforter. So we plan to pick out the cutest quilt we can find, along with matching sheets and one or two sham pillows to accent. The guest bedroom will probably not be used often, so we will make sure to get some extra sheets and throw blankets for when guests visit – which will probably be in warmer parts of the world so they shouldn’t need too much! We are also planning to install some custom shelves in one of the “hanging” lockers inside the v-birth, so hopefully I can fit all of my clothes! We shall see how that goes, but it is at the very top of our boat-project list.


Everything from all-purpose household cleaner to laundry detergent to degreaser to engine lubricant and oil…we have a large box full of supplies to clean or polish everything onboard. We will also include a bunch of painting materials for polishing, repainting and refinishing old or worn parts of the boat – The VERY FIRST thing we will do when we get aboard is clean our girl from head to tow (bow to stern) ; we want her sparkly and new before we move aboard full-time! Buckets will be one of our most-used items for just about all cleaning-related activities.


One of the best things about boats is they come equipped with a hefty amount of book-shelf storage. This is great for those long passages or crummy weather days where we are stuck inside or simply stuck in the middle of the ocean! We each have our own kindles with about 100 books each to choose from, as well as our boat’s own library collection. Most of these books are maintenance related, but EXTREMELY important. My favorites are the Diesel Mechanic books, since that will be my job once aboard, and Jake has really taken to Electrical Systems Maintenance books. We also have a variety of cookbooks and some fun / silly books to occupy the time.


This is an interesting area, because our boat already comes equipped with several key electronic devices such as autopilot and radio systems, even a handheld GPS. But we decided to add to this with rechargeable batteries, 2-way radios (walkie talkies baby!), a fully-electronic GPS charting system that can be run on our I-pad, a Garmin GPS watch, a series of transmitters and receivers and safety epirb device – for in case of emergency only. We will also have a laptop computer and some various video and handheld cameras so we can capture the magic and memories!


While we hope that we always have fair skies and calm seas, reality definitely doesn’t work that way. So we have to make sure we are prepared for the worst-case scenarios, and that includes bad weather. We have a very solid set of gear for bad weather including various jackets and bibs that are fully waterproof. We are set for light rains or heavy hurricane-force rains or big seas. We even have tall cruising boots that look like the big rubber boots I had as a child – only not bright pink! We also have several medium and lightweight jackets for wind or cold or snow or rain or any combination of those things…so hopefully we will be “covered”!


Safety is our NUMBER ONE priority and we made darn sure that we were above and beyond prepared in this arena. We have some of the best PFD’s that are on the market – jacklines, tethers, flares, noise making devices, fire extinguishers, boat plugs, EPIRB’s, Radio, and personal firearm protection. Its important to follow guidelines for the size of the boat and what sorts of safety gear is required by the USCG, and so we have.


The first thing we bought were several books about outdoor rescue and emergency situations as well as a huge Merck Manual that is used by nurses and pretty much has any and every ailment that has ever afflicted a human being. We also have a marine adventure medical kit – a super beefy first aid kit with just about any device needed in an emergency. We bulked up on our prescription and OTC drugs for various ailments and got vaccinated for various bugs that we may come in contact with along our route. Our plan is to take an emergency rescue course once we get to Maryland, to bulk up on our knowledge and make sure we are prepared for worse-case scenarios, though obviously we hope to never have to use them. Everything else is more-or-less basic stuff like burn cream, sunscreen, extra saline solution, surgical tape, supplements, etc.


This includes all the miscellaneous stuff that is coming with, like travel bags, purses, boat decor, sewing kit, binoculars, dry bags, anything useful that didn’t fit in any other category.


Games – Video Games, board games, mind games…it doesn’t matter to us – as long as we have ways to entertain ourselves – which comes pretty easy for us – we will be some happy boat campers! Movies & music are also going to be aboard. We’re even bringing some recording gear if we feel inspired to create music while at sea or parked at anchor! We also have a bunch of water-sport gear…snorkel gear, sea kayak, and paddle boards (also to be used as surf boards).


packing clothes

I made a simple list of clothes that we are taking with us – Mine is a bit longer than Jake’s but I think its a very solid wardrobe for our first year aboard – some of it may change within the next few weeks, as I have no idea how everything is going to fit yet. I’m hoping we can make it work though!

10 pairs of underwear – exofficio or patagonia – outdoor specific / non-odorous
6 pair socks (3 tall, 2 short, 1 thick / warm)
7 t-shirts
3 sweat pants / pj pants (combination)
3 yoga pants
4 pair shorts
2 pair jeans
4 pair pants (cargo / capri / athleta-type – outdoor)
1 pair work pants (heavy-duty)
3 dresses
1 maxi skirt
1 short skirt
4 tank tops
2 sun shirts
3 cardigans/sweaters
2 pullover nicer sweaters
2 sweatshirt type hoodies
1 icebreaker pants (long underwear)
1 icebreaker shirt (long underwear)
2 med-weight long underwear shirts
1 light wool hoodie (athletic)
6 swimsuits – bikini / full pieces
2 pair flip flops – 1 nice, 1 casual
1 pair gym shoes
1 pair boat shoes
1 pair toms (slip ons)
1 pair flats
1 small travel bag various jewelry – necklaces / bracelets
7 pairs of underwear – exofficio non-odorous
6 pair socks (3 tall, 2 short, 1 thick / warm)
7 t-shirts
1 pj pants
4 pair shorts – varied
2 sun shirts
4 button-up shirts – casual
3 pair pants (linen / heavy / nice)
1 pair work pants (heavy-duty)
1 hoodie
1 icebreaker pants (long underwear)
1 icebreaker shirt (long underwear)
1 fleece vest
1 pullover fleece
1 pair flip flops
1 pair gym shoes
1 pair toms (slip ons)

All-in-all it seems like a lot, but I think as long as it fits in the car, it will fit in the boat. I guess we will see in a few short days!

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