Shopping Bags

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2013 • all rights reserved

Shopping-BagsThere is nothing as frustrating as having a bag of groceries break as you’re going down the dock or — worse — handing things aboard from the dinghy.

One of the very first lessons we learned in provisioning was on our first charter when we picked up a few extra treats at the last minute.  The bag broke just as I handed it over the “gap” between the dock and boat and my chocolate bar quickly sank out of sight.

We learned to never, ever trust a plastic grocery bag.

And so, when we moved aboard Que Tal, we began collecting shopping bags.  Actually, the previous owners had left one nice canvas bag on the boat, but I quickly learned that I needed more.

I ended up with a half dozen, which I kept stuffed into a day pack that I took on my shopping trips.  I’d put the heaviest items into the day pack and canvas bag for easier carrying, then would try to distribute the load somewhat evenly between the other bags.

When we were anchored out and making a provisioning run, I also used a bunch of dry bags to get things that could be ruined by water (flour, sugar, toilet paper, etc.) safely to the boat (read about provisioning by dinghy).  Other things went into the shopping bags so that I didn’t have to contend with plastic bags breaking anywhere along the line — from the store to the dock, down the dock to the dinghy, handing them into the dinghy, out of the dinghy, into the cockpit and then down the companionway.

Heavy duty canvas bags are nice and will last forever, but they’re expensive.  I only have a couple and I save them for the heavier items.  Most of my bags are the inexpensive type sold at the grocery store for $1 or so.  And yeah, sometimes I give some away here — when I was looking for a “thank you” gift for readers it struck me as something that everyone could use more of, no matter where they were cruising . . . or even if they were former cruisers!

Two notes:

  • It’s a good idea to tie the handles together to keep stuff from spilling out — particularly if it’s being loaded into the dinghy.
  • If the bag gets wet or even just damp, be sure to hang it to dry completely before putting it away.  If you put it away damp, it will develop mildew and mildewed fabric doesn’t just look and smell nasty, it’s more likely to tear.

Could you use another shopping bag?  If you send me a tip (use the contact me form) and I use it for a post, I’ll send you a bright red TBG bag.

P.S. If you’ve got one of The Boat Galley bags, I’d love it if you’d post a photo of it on The Boat Galley’s Facebook page (by doing so, I assume it’s okay for me to repost so everyone can see it).  Tommy Jensen decided that it was all he needed for his whole galley —

Do You Find The Boat Galley Useful?

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Comments

  1. Jackie Bartz says:

    I also use string bags that I crochet out of nylon string. (I think it’s used by the locals to fix their fishing nets.) Anyway, they are strong, won’t rot and fine if they get wet. My husband also commented that the handles are a lot easier on your hands than the plastic bags when the bag is particularly heavy.

  2. Karla McGaugh Vialle on Facebook says:

    We recently learned this lesson the hard way by losing a couple pounds of meat during a transfer from dock to boat. A corollary lesson is to use canvas bags as opposed to the polyester ones so that you can easily wash and dry them with the laundry. Learned that the hard way also.

  3. Karla McGaugh Vialle on Facebook says:

    We recently learned this lesson the hard way by losing a couple pounds of meat during a transfer from dock to boat. A corollary lesson is to use canvas bags as opposed to the polyester ones so that you can easily wash and dry them with the laundry. Learned that the hard way also.

  4. I especially like ChicoBags, they’re nylon so they wash & dry fast & won’t rot, they fold up to nothing inside an attached pouch, & they’re strong — advertised to hold 25 lb., I haven’t put that much in them but now that I’ve had them for a while I wouldn’t hesitate to do so. I keep one in my purse at home & a few more on board. Great product, check ’em out!

  5. LaMarr Harding says:

    I’ve got the zippered insulated bags for frozen food transfer, Walmart has just came out with some folding hard sided typar covered bags that the solid bottom hinges down for loading and up for folding. Baggers everywhere have raved over them.

    For pantry space I have some mesh see through bags that I can see the can labels through. Spin a bag or two until you see the olives or bottle of jam you want.

    Some wine stores have partitioned shopping bags to keep your glass bottles from rattling.

    I get my drinking water in old glass one gallon wine bottles. The gallon jugs are carried in the recycle bags and the weight of the glass and the water has torn the handles off of the cheaper lighter bags.

  6. Jill Brown says:

    We always save a few plastic bags to line the wastebasket with. Just tuck them in the bottom of the wastebasket, so that they’re out of the way and ready to replace the one you’re using now (An old hospital-cleaning trick).

  7. If you have access to a sewing machine and some old sail material, with a little skill you can make nice sailcloth provisioning bags.

  8. Stephanie Kershaw-Marsh says:

    We use these, they pack up nice and small and are handy to carry everywhere, especially if there’s a chance of some scrumping!

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Original-Onya-Reusable-Black-Purple/dp/B0038WLT9S/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

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