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Old 08-09-2016, 12:06   #1
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Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

I've got a couple helpful lists of what to bring and what not to bring for crew joining the boat for an afternoon sail or for a passage. But...

One of my own pet peeves is when the crew come with multiple huge bags just crammed full of stuff. If the crew member is well outfitted with their own binoculars, PFD, foulies, handheld VHF, well it just sort of takes a bit of room. The reality is that it does take a pretty good size duffel bag to fit one's own safety gear, foulies, and then some clothes in.

It's no fun to enforce the rather punitive "you'll be sleeping with all the junk you bring along." It's just better to make sure there's good guidance upfront so we can properly stow things away once the person is aboard.

We're already very clear on the "soft pack" only vs hard suitcase or anything with wheels!

So adding to my list, I'd like to suggest a particular size bag--a sort of "not larger than" size as well as a smaller backpack/daypack/fannypack. These days those daypacks can be bigger than the typical duffel that I'd expect someone to bring along so I'll probably end up giving capacity recommendations for both...

That was the background. Here's the question: What size duffel bag and what size backpack would YOU recommend sailing crew bring along? Presume for a passage of up to a few weeks, not for embarking on a circumnavigation or arctic exploration.

Thanks! so much.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:17   #2
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

I crewed for a month this summer. I used my camping backpack. 85 liters. I really had to get creative packing it. I had a small bag (probably half the size of a regular backpack) for electronics/books that could be used for day trips ashore. It was also my airline carry on along with my sleeping pillow.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:24   #3
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

I think 60L and a daypack/gobag is about right for most situations. Too big and it becomes too hard to stow without completely unpacking, too small and you have people showing up with five bags cluttering about.
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Old 08-09-2016, 12:30   #4
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

The size will very much depend on the season & anticipated weather when the crew are onboard. Plus, personally, if I don't have a feel for the boat or the skipper, I'm brining more gear. Some of it for safety, other bits as "tools". Such as in case I have to go into the water or up the mast. And some boats, & owners, have zero gear or experience with that.

So asking for one size fits all just doesn't work. Though you'll have better luck with the idea if the crew knows you & the boat. As well as what the plan is for the trip/trips, etc.

Plus, again, if I don't know the boat or the skipper, I'll bring extras of some things, since there are always, & I mean always, crew who are newer to sailing, who forget or don't think to bring some items. With or without provided lists. And if they don't have say, warm enough hands, for example, then everyone will be miserable. Not just them. Thus some of my "extra" gear.

I can't see arbitrarily telling them size X, without giving them a lot more background info on things. As you'll come off as Capt. Bly. And also will wind up with crew who also aren't well prepared for the trip.

The other thing which comes to mind though. Is that unless you're racing, where weight is a concern. Or are on a tiny boat. Why the big issues on strict gear limits?
As in crewing on literally hundreds of boats, a good percentage of them racers, there's rarely a genuine space issue. Even if you do wind up sleeping with one of your duffles. Which isn't unreasonable sometimes.

Being flexible is part of the game, for all parties. And starting off on the wrong foot about such things can make for an unpleasant trip. Or worse, crew leaving or needing to be flown home.
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Old 08-09-2016, 13:33   #5
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

Short answer: I chose a medium sized (about 30 inches long) cordura nylon "soft duffle" that is sized to fit in the carry-on restrictions box of most airlines. I consider this important. I would rather have two smaller bags instead of one larger bag. Easier to load, stow, carry, and one can be taken on as "carry on" luggage to avoid a checked bag fee.

But, since you are saying "two weeks" I think there is more information needed in order to make sure the crew member comes with adequate gear. When I say "adequate gear" I mean for their safety and comfort too. A cold, wet, tired, or injured crew is less useful than a dry, rested, "comfortable" crew and who is safer and more fun to be with too. Being "wet and miserable" is a sure way to reduce the fun factor of any sailing. Being "wet and cold" can be a threat to health or life. Most boats do not have insulation or heaters, so time of year matters too. Water temps in the 50s mean cool to cold nights, especially if the crew member is accustomed to living in 70 degree air conditioned environments.

So, I think it is important to first identify the location for the sailing and to tell the crew the water and air temps at that time of year.

And, as the skipper, I would provide the crew with photos of the gear I recommend and a list too. I would SHOW them what I would take for myself if I were going on a strangers boat as crew. Better to show the gear unpacked and then packed into a recommended size and type of gear or seabag. I would also tell them what NOT to bring to prevent unnecessary waste and discomfort.

Because sailors in the tropics may sail barefoot and bare skin or wearing a t-shirt and shorts and flip flops, while others in cold water will need insulation (warm clothing and warm bedding). Being cold on a boat (shiver me timbers) whether above deck on watch or below decks in a damp bunk is no fun and hypothermia is a risk.

1. Where is the sailing going to take place and what will be the water and air temperatures? Will it be in cold water (San Francisco, PNW) or in subtropical (Miami)?

2. Will the boat owner provide a PFD, harness, and tether, or is the crew member expected to bring their own (typical)? Those two items do take up room in small bags.

3. Will the boat owner provide a sleeping bag or warm bedding (more than just a thin blanket) if the boat is in cool or cold water (and air) environments? Or is the crew member expected to bring their own sleeping bag with them? A poly fill "cold weather" sleeping bag can be bulky and can fill up a lot of the space in a small duffel.
________

My solution is to have two seabags:

I have one medium duffel packed with warm weather clothing (lightweight underwear, shirts, shorts, flip flops, swim trunks, swim mask, etc), light weight rain clothing, and safety gear (PFD, harness, tether, gloves).

I have the second bag packed with cold weather clothing (fleece, insulated bib pants, knit caps, wool socks, deck boots, and a sleeping bag.

Anticipating a 7 -14 day voyage in cool air temps and cold water?

I found it takes two medium sized bags to fit the minimal clothing with related gear for cold water sailing (sleeping bag, PFD, harness, gloves, fleece clothing, wool socks, deck boots, etc.). That is IF you want to stay dry and not smell like a wet sheep, because it is very likely you will get wet on deck.

If the sailing in warm water, then a single medium duffel with a typical day pack would probably fit all that is needed.

This does not include "toys" such as snorkeling gear, DSLR or other stuff like that for activities, or clothing for "yacht club" or dinner out.
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Old 08-09-2016, 13:33   #6
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

I would tell then they are limited to one paper grocery shopping bag, sounds silly maybe, but that is sort of a universal size that almost everyone can visualize.
Now if they are to provide their own harness, foul weather gear etc, then maybe two bags.
A lot will depend on the size boat and number of crew I would think as well as duration of crossing and type of weather, but then I have never had crew, not really.

Doing the Army thing for 20 yrs, you can really travel a lot lighter than you think if the need is there.

On edit I am not saying they should show up with grocery bags, but that is a size that I think everybody knows, I for example don't know how big an 80L bag is.
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Old 08-09-2016, 13:59   #7
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

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Originally Posted by SV DestinyAscen View Post
I think 60L and a daypack/gobag is about right for most situations. Too big and it becomes too hard to stow without completely unpacking, too small and you have people showing up with five bags cluttering about.
IMO the crew should have some hanging locker access. The bag they brought in should be nearly flat and easily stored. 60L is too small. Even though it was summer I did plan for colder weather. I used my insulated weather gear once but it was worth it. Why be miserable on a night watch when you need to be at your best?
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Old 08-09-2016, 14:02   #8
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

Agree with all the above except harness and tether. Unless I have a good feel for the boat I am bringing my own. I am a tall guy, last thing I want is foulies that don't fit. So I bring my own.

As skipper I would prefer crew to bring their own harness/PFD and tether, same for foulies.

If foulies and harness make the boat to cramped, there is too much crew or too much "stuff" on board.


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Old 08-09-2016, 15:51   #9
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

Lets refocus. Go to the first post. Crew period of a day to a few weeks--nothing requiring expedition outfitting. I was working with the premise (see the first post) that folks would bring their own PFD, binoculars, handlheld VHF, tether...all their own safety gear AND their own foulies. That's a big lumpy pile. The rest: clothing and toiletries, not so much.

Aboard our boat (though not all boats are this way I suppose) we supply bedding and do not expect crew to provide tools or other equipment needed. So that's not in the mix. Tools and bedding are not personal to the crew but rather communal/to the boat.

This question comes up just purely to provide better guidance to crew (day or for a few weeks, not months) about the volume of stuff they'll have room for once aboard. I like the idea of quantifying things in terms of the paper grocery bags 1 or 2 Everyone in the USA does understand that size.

We do like folks to have locker space to stash their stuff away in -- so they won't have to be sleeping with their gear -- and just wondered what actual volumes of duffel bag and daypack the folks here on the CF think is a good idea.

PS I must admit I did chuckle at the idea of providing crew with hanging locker space. LOL. We have exactly 13" of hanging locker space and it is not available for daily use items but rather is used to store particular items that happen to only fit there. Perhaps the person who was mentioning the need for hanging locker space was thinking of WET locker space? That makes a bit more sense to me though we do not have an actual wet locker either. We have a wet gear area that I sometimes call the foyer when I wish to put on airs...at the rest of the time it is merely that "space on the starboard side at the bottom of the companionway stair."
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Old 08-09-2016, 18:45   #10
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

One could probably find the appropriate size duffel bag at the Schooner Chandlery lol.
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Old 08-09-2016, 20:16   #11
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

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One could probably find the appropriate size duffel bag at the Schooner Chandlery lol.
You're funny. Schooner Chandlery does have a couple sellers with sailcloth duffel bags but we don't carry any other bags as stock products. One of my own problems is that I have no idea how big is "big" and I thought after I gathered some ideas here I would start measuring bags we have around the boat to see what is close to the general consensus and then if I've got something close I would take a photograph of it for my purposes. You're right though--if a bag in the marketplace is the right size I can just say "go here" and make sure you are using something about like this one...AND NO BIGGER.
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Old 08-09-2016, 20:19   #12
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

IMHO,

In the tropics, all your stuff should fit into one 20 liter bag. No no no please do not bring your fancy tees to where you can buy a tee on every beach!

In the ice, ... , at least 60 liters per person - fleece, gtex, caps, gloves, ... and equipment store every 100 miles or so ...

So I think it is all somewhat 'localized'.

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Old 09-09-2016, 05:56   #13
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

You guys might be overthinking this. How about 30" long, 10-12 inches diameter? Will do for most situations. Sure if you need cold weather gear, might be more, but you come to the boat wearing your foulie gear, do you not? Or has this, too, changed?

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Old 09-09-2016, 06:33   #14
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
You guys might be overthinking this. How about 30" long, 10-12 inches diameter? Will do for most situations. Sure if you need cold weather gear, might be more, but you come to the boat wearing your foulie gear, do you not? Or has this, too, changed?

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That's about 40-55 litres, which fits pretty well with Barnakiel's 20 or 60 depending on climate.

It's the size I carry on OPBs when doing a delivery - along with a backpack which is generally about 15 litres.

And if you're flying to/from wherever, you don't want to be wearing your cold weather gear while travelling
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:34   #15
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Re: Ideal Crew Duffel Bag Size

I know this is drifting off the OP a bit but, tips on how to pack also might help. I bought this

Pack-It™ Garment Folder Large - Garment Folders | Eagle Creek

at REI, but they are widely available elsewhere. It's made by eagle creek and they work great. They come in different sizes and have a hard sheet of plastic inside you fold each garment around and has the instructions written on it on how to fold them. You can really fit a surprising amount of clothes into a very compact, organized compartment. Could help with minimizing bag size needed.
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