Do you get frustrated with things you set down for just a few minutes sliding on tables and counters? Cameras, cell phones, remotes . . . even pens rolling back and forth and threatening to fall to the floor.
I just recently discovered sticky pads — what a wonderful way to keep all sorts of items from sliding around on a boat!
We used to put Velcro on everything — GPS, cell phone, camera, pens, pencils, even the laptop, AA battery chargers and autopilot control. And then we had a number of Velcro strips where we could put them. Sticky pads are so much better . . . and, frankly, cheaper than the super-strength Velcro.
Unlike the Velcro, sticky pads can be moved around, aren’t permanently attached and won’t mar most surfaces.
They have the added advantage of being able to be washed with soap and water when they get dirty and lose their stickiness — with Velcro, we had to replace it.
So what is a sticky pad? They’re marketed for holding a cell phone or GPS on the dashboard of a car . . . but they work wonderfully on boats, too. It’s a silicone pad that just has a really grippy surface. They come in a variety of sizes from the small one I have here to ones that are three or four times as large.
The pads have no metal, aren’t magnetic and won’t interfere with radios, compasses or anything else.
Now, these aren’t going to hold items in rough conditions — you’re still going to need to tuck things away in rough seas, beating hard on the wind and in storms. A hard “bounce” or jolt will dislodge most items. But for typical times at anchor — or in fairly smooth seas — they work well.
The amazing thing is that it held my phone and camera until they were almost vertical (I put the pad on a clipboard and then played with the angles). Actually, the items never did slip — I just got nervous about going any further.
Items with a smooth back will obviously grip better than those with a bit of contour (the handheld GPS with a bit of a curve to it only held to about 60 degrees). Tall items also have a problem as they still tend to tip — don’t try to use it with a coffee mug or wine glass.
Sticky pads work well for:
- Cell phones
- Handheld GPS
- MP3 player
- Remote controls
- Other small electronics
- Pens and pencils
- Glasses — both sunglasses and a place to put regular glasses overnight
- Tools (great to set wrenches, pliers, etc. on while working anywhere — but particularly on deck to avoid things slipping through scupper holes — no guarantees, though!)
- Books and magazines (generally don’t work with with them open unless they’ll lie flat, but do if they’re closed)
I haven’t tried it, but I’m thinking that one of the larger pads could work well under a laptop if it didn’t interfere with the airflow for cooling it (that would depend on the design of the laptop). Smaller pads would also be great to hold peripherals in place while you’re using them — for example, an external hard drive, card readers, or DVD burner.
If you need a weird size or shape to fit in a particular area, they’re easy to cut with kitchen shears or utility knife (place on a cutting board to use a utility knife).
Don’t ask me why, but I haven’t seen sticky pads in stores where I live — or maybe I’m looking in the wrong stores. But they’re available on Amazon, with some of the smaller ones costing less than $5 and most under $10 — great if you need a small but useful item to get over the threshold for free shipping! Or buy several to use in various places.
They stick really well to smooth fiberglass and Formica/Corian/etc. surfaces as well as smooth plastics. I’ve put mine on wood veneer and varished surfaces without a problem (removing them after a few hours), although the literature says not to — I’m guessing that leaving one in place for a long time could peel varnish and possibly even paint. I doubt they’d be as destructive as the super-hold Velcro we used, though!
UPDATE: If you need an even stickier pad, check out my article on Tree Frog Pads — slightly more expensive for LOTS more stick!
Got any other good uses for sticky pads? Let others know in the comments!