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When I first got into boating one of the first things I tried to search about was the best boat accessories. Obviously that is a pretty large subject and could cover anything from coolers to fenders and fuel tanks to gloves.
Rather than just going through and making a giant list of boat accessories I decided instead to make a list of the 15 coolest houseboat accessories. These things are accessories so they aren’t required to take your boat out and have a good time but they are pretty great to help make your time on your boat more enjoyable.
1. Bug Zapper
Now to some people this might not exactly be a “cool” gadget. Obviously bug zappers have been around for ages but this bug zapper is a little bit different. The one pictured above is waterproof and has a coverage area of up to 1 acre! It does require electricity to run (obviously) so you have to take that into consideration as well.
If you have ever been on a boat at night and had to retreat to the cabin because you couldn’t stand the bugs anymore then this is definitely a “cool” accessory to have.
This bud zapper will attract bugs to it so don’t put it next where you are sitting. If you are on the upper deck then have the zapper on the lower deck and vice versa. You can also just keep it placed in the stern of your boat if you never go back there.
2. Floating Dry Bag
If you plan on going back and forth to shore on a boat or simply have some items you don’t want to take a chance on getting wet while on board your houseboat, then you will definitely want to look into this floating dry bag. There are many different waterproof bags on the market for your electronics or important papers but most of them have the same issue…. they sink!
I have a guy on Youtube that I follow and almost all of his videos are about things he finds while diving. He finds tons of phones and electronics in waterproof bags that still work, but they are at the bottom of the lake or river. Here is one of his videos where he finds a phone in a waterproof bag. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN7zAr-wKmU
Even though those waterproof bags worked and kept the phone from getting wet it was still lost underwater (in the case of the video the guy lost it nine months prior).
This floating dry bag will not only keep your items from getting wet, but it will also keep them on top of the water so you can easily retrieve them if they do happen to go overboard. This is especially useful if you are kayaking near your houseboat or just exploring the water on a jet ski etc. A floating waterproof bag is a much better option than something that can be dropped in the water and sinks.
3. Waterproof Headlamp
Whether you are sleeping on shore or on the boat a headlamp is a great tool to have with you on your houseboat. Carrying around a flashlight might not seem like that big of a deal until you are trying to do something on the middle of the lake at night that requires two hands.
Even if you are trying to row back to the boat trying to hold a flashlight while paddling your canoe or kayak can be difficult if not impossible. A headlamp is a great investment and something that you will use over and over again.
The one pictured above is rechargeable so you don’t have to worry about going through tons of batteries or trying to remember to bring batteries on board the boat either.
4. Lifestraw Purification System
If you’ve been paying attention the last couple of years, Lifestraw has come out with a really cool gadget that allows you to drink straight from a lake or river! Now obviously those are awesome but who wants to bend down and get a few inches from the water every time you need a drink?
Enter the Lifestraw Purification System. With this system you can from 1-3 gallons at a time from a lake or river and it can purify 2-3 gallons of water per hour! If your boat has water tanks on board then you will probably not need something like this but if the quality of the water tanks is in doubt having this as a backup isn’t a bad idea.
Lifewater also makes water bottles that you can use that purifies the water as you drink it from the water bottle. Those are useful if it is just going to be a couple of people on board your boat.
If you have more than a couple of people on board then the entire purification system is definitely the way to go.
5. Nemo by Blu3
If you haven’t heard of Nemo before it is one of the coolest items to use when exploring shallow waters. It will allow you to dive up to 10 feet underwater without carrying a scuba tank! Below is a video of the Nemo in action.
Blu3 currently has 2 devices they are working on, the Nemo and the Nomad. The Nemo is currently shipping with new orders being 1-2 months out before delivery. The Nomad is scheduled to be released in late summer of 2020. It is larger than the Nemo but has a 40 foot hose reach vs just the 10 feet for the Nemo.
Both the Nemo and Nomad will allow you to be underwater for approximately 60 minutes before having to recharge the air pump.
Blu3 continues to make advances in efficiency so keep an eye on this innovative company in the next few years as the underwater world is opening up to more and more people all the time.
6. Biolite Camp Stove
If you are going to be on the shore at all when you are out boating you will most likely want to cook on shore. You can create a fire on the beach and try and cook evenly over an open fire or you can get a Biolite Camp Stove!
Now a camp stove certainly seems like a lame product for a list of “cool” boating accessories but there is a reason it is included. Not only can you cook on your Biolite stove but you can also use it… to charge your phone! You read that right, you can charge your phone with a stove!
The Biolite camp stove puts out 3w of power that can be used to charge your devices while also making a 95% smokeless fire that can be used to cook burgers, boil water, or whatever other food your heart desires!
You can use sticks, twigs, etc to burn in the Biolite to cook with or simply to burn to charge your phone! The Biolite pictured above has a built in battery that charges every time you are burning something so you don’t have to have your device plugged in while cooking if you don’t want to. You can just charge it later from the battery on the front of the Biolite.
If you camp out while using your houseboat or just enjoy camping at different times the Biolite is a neat stove for cooking and for charging your devices.
7. Lavario Portable Clothes Washer
When it comes to washing machines it’s hard to ever call one “cool”. However if ever there was a cool washing machine this is it!
The Lavario portable clothes washer can wash jeans, shirts, and even sweaters or hoodies all with no electricity required! There are many portable washers on the market but most of them only wash socks, underwear, or other small clothing. The Lavario fits all kinds of clothing and a full load is about the same as a small load with a normal sized washer!
If you don’t have a washer aboard your houseboat then this is a must have on your boating trips. You will have lots of dirty clothes from days on or in the water and being able to wash them rather than having piles of smelly clothes on board is amazing!
This portable washer does require you to pump it up and down but it is considerably easier than washers with handles that have to be turned or a foot pump washer. It also does a much better job at getting the clothes clean than either of those options as well. This washing machine is truly a “cool” thing to have on board your boat!
Below, you can watch a video giving a demo of the Lavario.
8. Hand Chainsaw
A hand chainsaw is a perfect thing to take on the water if you are planning on camping on a beach or having a fire. Finding dead limbs is easy but finding ones that are small enough to put on your fire or in your Biolite stove (mentioned earlier) can be difficult.
With a hand chainsaw what was difficult becomes easy. You can use it to cut downed limbs into manageable chunks or even to cut smaller limbs off of a large one. Since no power is required then you don’t have to worry about charging a saw’s battery or carrying gas and oil for a normal chainsaw.
The hand saw pictured above can be resharpened so when it dulls you don’t have to throw it away like many of the hand saws. This hand saw from Sportsman is 36” long (not including handles) and includes a lifetime guarantee!
A hand saw is a great option to help you get firewood or to simply clean up some downed limbs that are blocking the beach where you are wanting to play.
9. Solar Shower Bag
If your boat doesn’t have good showering facilities or if you are camping on shore during your houseboat trip then a solar shower bag is something you have to check out! There is nothing better than taking a nice hot shower and washing the lake/river water off of you after a long day.
This solar shower bag can heat water to 113 degrees after 3 hours of sunlight and holds up to 5 gallons of water. It comes with a hose, showerhead, and a water tap. This shower bag also comes with a thermostat so you know how hot the water is and if it’s ready for your shower.
Even if you have a shower on board your houseboat taking a nice hot shower under the stars is a great way to relax after a day of playing in the water or just lazing around.
10. Floating Cooler
For a day or week on the water, a floating cooler is a great option when you have any kind of party going on. The floating cooler (pictured above) includes a removable ice chest and 6 cup holders for whatever you are drinking on the water.
The ice chest is large enough to hold 72 cans and ice! That should be plenty of drinks to keep you and your group hydrated while you enjoy the water. If you don’t need quite so many drinks it throwing some extra ice in can help keep your drinks or snacks cold for hours on end.
Having to get in and out of the water for snacks and drinks can get old pretty fast but with a floating cooler you are never more than a few feet away from an ice cold beverage.
11. Solar Fire Starter
This is another cool gadget for your houseboat that many people don’t know exists. Many people who boat will camp on shore at night or at least have a fire on the beach as the air temps drop. To get that fire started they make waterproof matches and a variety of other ways to start your fire included a boring old lighter.
Since this list is about cool accessories than we went a different route. Assuming you plan ahead for when you need a fire I introduce to you the solar fire starter. You literally just stick cotton, char cloth, or some other combustible item in the middle and aim it towards the sun. Most items will light within seconds!
You can use a fresnel lens to get a fire started with the sun as well but those are often more fragile and can get broken easily. This solar fire starter can handle a lot more abuse and should last for years to come.
If you find yourself mostly starting fires later in the day or at night then this wouldn’t work very well. In that case I would find a rechargeable waterproof plasma lighter to use for making fires. Honestly as cheap as both the solar and plasma lighters are you could but both without any difficulty.
12. Inflatable Solar Light
There are a variety of inflatable waterproof solar lights but one of the best ones on the market is the LuminAid. The LuminAid (pictured above) takes 10 hours to charge and can then give you light for 24 hours!
Many of the cheaper inflatable lights are barely bright enough to use as a night light but the LuminAid is bright enough to read a book by and can even be used to brighten up an entire room! Good luck getting that brightness from a cheap knockoff!
This inflatable solar light is also waterproof and once its inflated it will float on the water if accidentally knocked or blown overboard.
13. Waterproof Socks
There is absolutely nothing worse than being on a boat or beach and walking in soaking wet socks all day long.
I had a job in highschool where I worked outside under a circus type tent selling stuff. If a rainstorm blew through during my shift (happened way too often) the area I was at would often flood and the rest of my shift would have me walking in wet socks/shoes the remainder of the day.
IT WAS THE WORST! I dreaded working simply because I couldn’t stand how my wet socks/shoes would feel all day. With waterproof socks you never have to worry about your socks being soaked again!
These waterproof socks (pictured above) are not like wearing bags on your feet either. They are made of breathable material to allow air to get to your feet while keeping the water out!
There are a variety of waterproof socks on the market with some being better than others so be sure and read the reviews on each one. All of them will only work to keep water out if the water is below the upper band so if you are swimming in the water there aren’t currently any waterproof socks that will work if full submerged.
14. Floating Sunglasses
There is a river near us where many people go kayaking and tubing. One of my favorite things to do with friends is go to the part of the river where it is the roughest and go diving for “treasures”. We have found phones, umbrellas (no idea how that sunk) and many other things. The one item that we find under water the most is SUNGLASSES!
Wearing sunglasses while on the water is almost a requirement as the sun bouncing off the water can be almost blinding but if you drop your sunglasses you will lost them almost every time.
There are two ways to fix that issue with losing your sunglasses. You can buy a glasses chain (and look like an old person with an eyeglasses chain) or you can get a pair of floating sunglasses. I personally prefer going the floating glasses route.
There are many different styles and models available for men and women but always make sure that the pair you buy is actually floatable before you take them on the boat. If you look on Amazon there are some glasses that come up when you search for floating sunglasses that don’t actually float so make sure you buy the right ones.
15. Sand Free Beach Mat
I know, I know, this sounds like a made up product as how can any beach mat or blanket keep the sand off but this is the real deal! This sand free beach mat is made by Cgear and allows sand, dirt, etc to fall through the mat and keeps sand from coming up!
One of the worst things about camping on the beach is the sand gets everywhere and you can’t seem to get away from it! With this sand free mat you now have a place to keep your cooler or chairs and not have sand get in it or on it!
This mat also has rings on the corner so if you happen to be on the beach on an especially windy day you can stake it down and keep it from blowing around. They have 4 sizes available ranging from 6’x6’ up to 12’x12’ to help you fit everyone in your party when you are eating your lunch or snacks!
You can also use this mat to put your tent up on top of so you wont have tent inside your tent when trying to sleep either. If you go to the beach at all (whether on your boat or on normal vacations) this is a must have gadget/accessory for your family.
Check out how the mat works in this video below!
I’m sure you noticed that many of the cool gadgets for your boat on this list involve solar and there is a good reason for that. The less you can run the generator on board your houseboat the more money you will save on gas. Since gas is often the most expensive part of your boating trip any way to reduce your fuel use is a great way to go.
There are obviously many other boating gadgets that I could have added to this list and in a few months or years from now there will probably be many new products released as well. Finding cool accessories for your boat/houseboat is an ever evolving endeavour so be sure and keep your eyes out for new and exciting products.