Ten things that have made cooking in the boat galley a lot easier -- from not lugging water to ventilation to kitchen tools and pans.

10 Things That Make Galley Life Better

I’m often asked about what I think are “the best” things for the galley. I wrote this a couple of years ago, and all still stand as long-term things that just make it better. And of course, it’s no longer ten but twelve . . .

While I’ve given a quick description of why I love each of these, each item is linked to a full post where I discuss it in greater detail.

  1. Water filter — having great-tasting water from the tanks instead of buying, schlepping and storing bottled water:  priceless.  And a lot less trash to deal with!
  2. 4-Way Windscoop — if you’re in a hot climate, ventilation is key for keeping the galley cool and moving cooking smells out of the boat.  And a 4-way (omnidirectional) wind scoop is one of the truly great things I found — it really does do a better job than the “regular” ones.
  3. Caframo fans — and lots of them.  Admittedly, we were in a very hot climate, but we had 8 Caframo fans (plus spares) on a 37-foot boat.  These really contributed to being able to “cook as usual,” including baking, when it was hot out.  Putting one in the head was a stroke of genius (yeah, that’s not galley . . .).
  4. Scrubr dish cloths — they never, ever get stinky and they get dishes clean.  Need I say more?
  5. Baking stone — most boat ovens have hot spots due to their small size; a baking stone will do wonders to even them out.  No oven?  Look at the Omnia Stove Top Oven instead — absolutely the best way to bake on the stove top.
  6. Lock & Lock or other gasketed food storage containers — do I ever wish I’d know about these before we left!  They don’t break or leak and bugs can’t get in.
  7. Good knives — where we cruised, I didn’t use much prepared food and I did a lot more chopping and cutting.  I didn’t need a lot of knives (chef’s, serrated, paring and fillet were all I had) but having sharp ones made galley life much more pleasant.  The brand I talk about in my post is superior to what I had as it has non-slip handles, great blades and costs less.
  8. Magma Nesting Pans — nice heavy pans that can double as bowls, baking pans and serving dishes and take very little space to store.  Sold mine with the boat and missed them so much I bought another set! UPDATE: I now have Galleyware nesting pans and love them, too.
  9. Great coffee system — we began our cruising life making instant coffee.  When we acquired a Melitta cone, life aboard became much more enjoyable.  Different people prefer different coffee options, but this is one place not to skimp.
  10. Spare propane tank — I might run out of propane in the middle of cooking something, but we never had to worry about being totally out.  Even if you spend most of your time in marinas it’s nice to know you’ll never have to eat a half-cooked meal.

UPDATE: Another item I’d add since getting it a year ago is my thermal cooker. Wonderful to be able to start dinner whenever I want and let it continue to cook on its own without any more stove heat — I can be working on a project, ashore or even snorkeling. Basically, it’s the cruiser’s crock pot . . . but doesn’t use more fuel or put heat into the boat.

The-Boat-Galley-Cookbook-smShameless self-promotion, but I do think The Boat Galley Cookbook makes galley life a lot easier.  It’s the cookbook and collection of “other useful info” (such as over 150 substitutions) that I wished I’d had from the start.  Available in over 90 countries and on the major electronic formats, too (see list of where to get it).

Ten things that have made cooking in the boat galley a lot easier -- from not lugging water to ventilation to kitchen tools and pans.

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  • Vala Richmond
    Posted at 05 September 2013 Reply

    The Boat Galley cookbook is definately high on my list!!!!
    I’m working my way through adding to my supplies from your list.
    LOVE my Magma nesting pots, tried the Carframo fans and couldn’t believe how much air that little fan could move (and didn’t hurt -much- when I would hit the blade with my fingers), spare propane comes in handy as it seems I always run out half way through something. Found a really cool little stove top espresso maker – Bellman Stovetop Espresso Maker – makes great coffee – a bit of a drag to clean, but otherwise very easy to use and great results. next on my list is the baking stone and dishclothes.

  • Janet Malenfant
    Posted at 06 September 2013 Reply

    We still have a windscoop on our boat that my grandparents bought in the 70’s… it’s great!

  • MaryMarie Quigley
    Posted at 10 September 2013 Reply

    I was SO overjoyed when I saw your solution for coffee – and felt very proud! We tried the Keurig first . . . even the small one seems to still make a major power hit when it first comes on. Second – the French press, but doesn’t keep coffee hot without transferring into something else, a pain to clean grounds, etc. Tried for a while and quickly fell out of love. Tried the old fashioned percolator . . . never did like the coffee from that and also a pain to clean, lots of part (Tried emptying the grounds overboard – accidentally threw the filter in with the grounds . . . oops). Then I saw the old Melita filter in the store – probably my first coffee maker in my first apartment after college. And so we have been using: Melita cone, Thermos, tea kettle. Thank you for making me feel totally brilliant when I figured there was some better solution that I was completely missing out on!! Validated at last.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 10 September 2013 Reply

      Of course you’re totally brilliant! 🙂

    • Lynn Kaak
      Posted at 04 August 2014 Reply

      Thermos makes a double insulated stainless steel French press which will keep your morning brew piping hot until the last pour.The dent suffered from taking flight on a boisterous inter-island passage proves that it’s absolutely unbreakable! Thermos will ship you replacement screens free of charge.
      Here’s the Thermos Coffee Press on Amazon

    • Shelley Myers
      Posted at 16 July 2015 Reply

      Coffee bags! Just like tea bags. Boil water, steep and enjoy. Just like fresh brewed.

  • Dan N Jaye
    Posted at 03 August 2014 Reply

    This is still a great list, Carolyn. Saw this today and thought of you, it’s from a Tiny House Movement blog but really, a sailboat is just a tiny house that has the additional advantage of floating (and the disadvantage of mold/humidity LOL) http://tinyhouseblog.com/uncategorized/simplify-kitchen-tiny-house/

  • Fred Christoffel
    Posted at 03 August 2014 Reply

    Power out again in St Thomas. Just another perfect evening in paradise.

  • Lynn Kaak
    Posted at 03 August 2014 Reply

    I agree with all of your points! And definitely the basic Caframo fans, more blow for less bucks.

  • Douglas Reed
    Posted at 04 August 2014 Reply

    u just need a galley hand now.

  • Jo Christoffel
    Posted at 29 August 2014 Reply

    Any thoughts on electric tea kettles? Yes, power hungry, but don’t create heat that stove boiling does, and much faster too . Starting almost any meal prep w boiling water, let alone tea or coffee, ought to be a big propane saving too. With solar to provide the power I think a viable option.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 29 August 2014 Reply

      If you have the power available — and the inverter if not on a generator — they’re fine. Put the boiling water in a good Thermos (see my favorites which really retain heat well) or an airpot (see favorites) will keep the water hot for hours so you won’t have to use the electric kettle so much, too.

  • Jan Bogart
    Posted at 15 November 2016 Reply

    I rarely use my oven, but do you use your pizza stone in there for everything? I make brownies, lasagna etc. in he microwave. (On shore power) Princess stove has very uneven heat.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 15 November 2016 Reply

      Yep. Everything. Makes a huge difference as my oven just has a flame strip at the very back, not even in the center!

  • Becky
    Posted at 15 November 2016 Reply

    I had a hard time finding a second Melita cone so I had one for the camper and boat, but finally found one at an Ace hardware store, of all places! It came with the glass pot, not expensive. The plastic flange can be trimmed to fit most insulated “pumper” tops too. The glass pot is now a spare for the house coffee maker.

  • Doug Purdy
    Posted at 23 November 2017 Reply

    Nothing brings my incessant scrolling to a screeching halt like another article from The Boat Galley. I have a list of things to get for living aboard thanks to your insightful posts. Like Practical Sailor for living aboard. Thanks sgain. Just added the scrubr to my Amazon wish list.

  • Susan Spiller
    Posted at 23 November 2017 Reply

    Haha I had already pinned this for later!! 2 great minds 😊

  • Jennie Bostock
    Posted at 24 November 2017 Reply

    Shameless self promotion is good!
    I requested your book from my sister for Christmas a few years ago and it’s been amazing, the information in it as well as the recipes.
    Well worth what it costs. 🙂

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