Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 29-12-2017, 17:59   #1
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 29,244
How Long Do You Provision For?

Question, how much “stuff” do you pack aboard?
I know this is a variable question, if I were planning the North West Passage then that is a different answer than cruising the Caribbean.
We are leaving soon for the Western Caribbean, jump over to Mexico from Florida and meander South hoping to be the Rio Dulce by Hurricane season.
Some people we are going with plan on Provisioning for six months, and while I can see maybe doing that keeps you from having to go to the store very often, I seem to think that maybe that is a bit much, that provisioning our favorite things, like deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste etc for months is maybe logical as maybe our favorite brand may be hard to find, but that laying in months of toilet paper and basic foods just isn’t necessary.
If you were leaving on this trip, what would you lay in a long time supply of, and what would you not?
For instance just as an example, not meant to be specific just as an example is all, but let’s say that garbage bags just are not available in Mexico, then of course laying in months of supply is warrantied, but not if they are.
I assume they are, but was looking for suggestions of what you can’t get, but wish you could.
I suspicion that just about anything that can be had in the US is available in Mexico and that laying in months of supplies isn’t necessary or even desirable.

a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2017, 18:19   #2
Registered User
Sailmonkey's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Houston
Boat: '76 Allied Seawind II, 32'
Posts: 7,622
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

We provision based on our estimated time away from people. For instance, in Belize we knew that we were planning on being out for 2-3 weeks before heading back to a town. So we carried 3 weeks worth of stuff. We did run into people that had deep freeze aboard with over a years worth of frozen meat in it. IMHO that’s just a little nutty. You can get food anywhere there are people, as well as anything else. Although if your partial to unscented laundry detergent you may want to carry quite a bit of that.

Sailmonkey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2017, 18:22   #3
Senior Cruiser
SV Windrush II's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Somewhere in the Philippines
Boat: Mariner 40 Ketch
Posts: 523
Images: 18
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

Provisioning needs to be based on estimated time on the open sea and what is available at your planned destinations.
I like to stock up on items that i know will be hard to find along the way.
For example, I like black olives which is scarce on pacific islands

As far as how much. I usually figure out my daily food consumption and at least double it. Here is some things I think about when provisioning.

1. Passages almost always take longer than expected
2. I like to invite people on board and prepare dinner for guests
3. I over stock things that are not available or hard to find where I am going
4. Bring giveaways to people I meet. Its amazing what people will do for you after receiving a gift!
5. When running into rough weather I usually do not like to cook, so I bring lots of snack foods, such as protein bars, fried fruit, nuts, caned food that has pop off lids that you can eat right out of the can.

Just my two cents
Fair Winds to all
SV Windrush II is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2017, 18:24   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: On the Water
Boat: 53' Cutter
Posts: 193
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

We keep one year of non-perishable food aboard, 6-months of paper goods, and 6-12 months of non-food/paper consumables, no matter whether we are tied to the dock, cruising, or land locked. We only add more to this based on our plans.
SailsWithFists is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2017, 18:25   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 2,008
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

You are right. Everywhere you go that there are people and they eat every day. Traveling in Mexico and the Caribbean and provisioning everything you will use for 6 months is just plain silly.

Now, you might not be able to get the foods you are used to, but sharing the local culture should be part of the pleasure of the trip. If there are things you "have to have", then bring them along, but really--there are stores in every town along the way.

There are things that are cheap in the USA and easy to carry. For example, one box of garbage bags from Costco has 300 bags in it. That lasts us for 3 years--so why not?
Paper products tend to be much more expensive in the Caribbean, but they are bulky so if you are tight on space they can be tough to pack.

Otherwise, you are far better off devoting your storage space to spare and repair parts specific to your boat that ARE hard to get.

In cruising around the Caribbean we generally keep about a month's worth of provisions onboard, mostly so we can be flexible in schedule and stop when we want instead of when we have to. If we find something cheap and delicious, we stock up when we can.

That might change if you are spending a significant amount of time out in remote places, like the San Blas Is.
billknny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2017, 18:50   #6
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 29,244
How Long Do You Provision For?

We plan on being remote after Mexico, that is just my nature, I’d rather be alone than with a crowd, so I think we will provision for a couple of months, but stock up as necessary in Mexico.
However the Wife is allergic to almost any laundry detergent, so we will stock up the “free” stuff, no smell etc.
a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2017, 19:02   #7
Registered User
El Pinguino's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Boat in Puerto Lucia, Ecuador, Body in SE Australia, Heart in Patagonia....
Boat: Westerly Sealord
Posts: 5,506
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

I work on a 1:1:1 basis where antifipated time to resupply is 1...

So maybe one month's full rations, one month's half rations, and one month survival rations....

I always carry lots more toilet paper and kitchen paper than I need to.

You only learn by experience what you can and can't get and sadly when you find you can't buy it where you are you have most likely run out....

The two items I know I can't get where I am are decent canned green peas and any form of baked beans.... and pretty much any sort of canned fruit apart from peaches.

Other items I go overboard on are curry powder and assorted sauces and pickles such as Branstons.

Don't know what you want that will be unavailable in Mexico but I am sure there is something....

If you get as far as Tahiti I don't think there is anything you can't get there....
Simple Celestial
A little bit about Chile
Some Patagonian cruising notes
El Pinguino is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2017, 20:02   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,743
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

The major ports in in Mexico are excellent for provisioning..Cancun has a Costco. Belize has good fresh fruits and vegetables and groceries. If your going to spend some time in the outer atolls in Belize you'll need to provision for that because nothing is available there. We've been in the Rio for our second season and it has excellent fruits,vegetables and a few small stores that cater to Gringos as well as a mid sized Super Market. Stock up on boat stuff you feel you need as it's a pain getting stuff and none of it is cheap but the labor rates are beyond reasonable and there are people here that are quite skilled in their trades. There is a small West Marine store here that charges pretty close to double USA prices. If your planning on leaving the boat here in the summer then be light on provisions as you'll end up throwing it all out before you leave. Here's a list of stuff my wife brings back from home...Good quality batteries for portable devices, prescription drugs,over the counter meds,good quality razor blades,vitamins,good quality saran wrap,ziplock bags,brand name toiletries, sun pac bags,energy bars,chocolate bars and powder(she's a chocolate freak)...any personal items that you really like.
We carry a small amount of dried food we always carry just in case that we could live on for about 30 days in a pinch. If we are crossing oceans we carry more. Takes up very little room. If you really like certain canned goods stock up on them in the USA as the selection is not great down here because the locals eat very little canned stuff. If you have anything really specific just drop us a note. Your last stop heading down before Belize will probably be Isla Mujeres and it's a real cruiser hangout, Costco is here so a good spot to load up on personal stuff. Some of the best cruising in Belize in our opinion are the outer atolls, clear water, good snorkeling and fewer boats so plan some time there. Inner parts of the Belize waters are fairly murky and not our favorite spots. Placenta is a favorite hangout and has decent provisioning, check in and checkouts are not cheap. Try to leave enough time to visit the Bay Islands, really the only reason we spent another season down here as they are a very nice place to cruise. Excellent diving and the best Super Market in the whole area. Each island with it's own unique personality. Single side band net out of Belize each morning with weather and check ins which reach the whole general area if you have a SSB. I'm sure this is getting close to some very exciting times for both of you, you'll have nothing but fun. Cheers, R
robert sailor is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2017, 22:07   #9
Marine Service Provider
Scott Berg's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Aboard
Boat: Seaton 60' Ketch
Posts: 1,154
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

For me half the fun of cruising is 'going native' so we plan to eat locally wherever we are. Passage provisions are for 150% of the scheduled passage. We also carry about 2 months of emergency rations (rice, beans, canned goods, etc) in addition to planned local provisions and more wine than most <grin>
Scott Berg
Scott Berg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2017, 02:04   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Underway in the Med -
Boat: Jeanneau 40 DS SoulMates
Posts: 2,238
Images: 1
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

The only place we really stocked up for was Bahamas - other than that we provision locally and if we are going to be out a bit we may add a bit for the extra days - but learned that sometimes we just had to much on board like the time we got a sale on tomatoes in a can and stocked up with 12 cans - the big ones - we ended up throwing a few out when they were a few years past expiration -
just our thoughts and opinions
chuck and svsoulmates
Somewhere in the Atlantic
chuckr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2017, 02:42   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Bellingham
Boat: Outbound 44
Posts: 8,198
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

Probably not an issue with the countries you mentioned, but before stocking up try and understand what Customs or Biosecurity will take away from you when you clear in. In some places you can end up loosing a lot of food (such as New Zealand and Australia). Other places have really low limits on alcohol ( such as Canada or Fiji). We rarely stock up for more than a month. Provisioning is just part of cruising.

You often hear of people in the Bahamas who brag about provisioning in FLA for 6 months and never buying anything in the Bahamas. Seems isolating and counter productive to cruising.
Paul L is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2017, 02:48   #12
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Denmark (Winter), Helsinki (Summer); Cruising the Baltic Sea this year!
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 26,633
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

We sail through the waters of 10 or so countries every year. Like someone said -- everybody eats, so food is available everywhere so I don't stress that much about provisioning. I do like to buy in bulk where the shopping is best, and so that's what I do in the UK and in Germany (the Real hypermarket in Cuxhaven is one of my favorites, and food in Germany in general costs literally about half what it does in Sweden). But you only buy in bulk what is not perishable. I do like to keep a good supply of canned goods on hand to give decent autonomy in cases where it is inconvenient for some reason to shop. Cruising in Mexico years ago I found the provisioning to be superb, maybe better than in the U.S. Bulk stuff at Costco, and you are overwhelmed with choice for fresh stuff. If I were the OP, I would buy as much non-perishable stuff as he can reasonably store (without sinking the waterline -- LOL) where the buying is good, freeze some stuff if he has a freezer, but not overly worry about it. You can buy what you need everywhere in Central America, so having good bulk supplies on board is probably more a question of convenience, and perhaps, price. Pay attention to having on board whatever canned (or tetra packed or bagged or whatever) goods on board in sufficient quantities that periods without fresh food can be lived through without stress. A few weeks worth is probably plenty if you're cruising along the coast; certainly I don't store even that much on my boat. I would be more concerned about spare parts and tools. You can always find something to eat, but if you have a fresh water supply pump or whatever break on you, you might be weeks away from getting a new one flown in, in some remote parts of Central America.
"Parce que je suis heureux en mer, et peut-ętre pour sauver mon ame. . . "
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2017, 03:57   #13
Registered User
dwedeking2's Avatar

Join Date: May 2014
Location: Key West, FL
Boat: Morgan Out Island 415
Posts: 732
Images: 1
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

Bacon. I couldn't find thick cut bacon the 2 years I lived in Mexico. (Plenty of normal packaged bacon but not the good stuff you buy at the deli section in the US)
S/V Pomaika'i Blog
dwedeking2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2017, 04:03   #14
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Bristol RI
Boat: Cape George 31
Posts: 1,132
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

With five people aboard, I always packed as much as would fit and still went to the grocery store as often as there was one in range.
We pretty much subsist on peanut butter, which is usually unavailable or expensive in other places, and have carried a year's supply. Jasmine rice is cheap in Asian stores 'stateside: only available in small quantities elsewhere, and not real Jasmine. Also all the curry pastes and ingredients that only Asian groceries carry. Quinoa is hard to find in Mex and CA. Four of us are females, so toilet paper is a big part of our lives--and nice, soft toilet paper is often hard to find. We vaccuum-bag large quantities of both it and paper towels. Chocolate can be harder to find as well. One thing we no longer bulk up on is spices: you can always find them in small packets which will be fresher.
Personally, I don't see that there needs to be tension between "stocking up" and "going native." I stock up on non-perishables, and they're always good to have, but go native whenever I can, to save on my stock. But again: small boat, lots of people.
Benz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2017, 05:49   #15

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: currently in Bahamas
Boat: Hunter 410
Posts: 16,293
Re: How Long Do You Provision For?

I work on the "there' no reason to have empty space in the freezer" method and just fill in when opportunity of doing so with good choices and ease present itself. I pretty much follow the same with dry stores and canned stuff, but are a little slacker.

Mainly the amount of food I have depends on where I going and the trouble of getting of supplies. But there's no reason to have 6 months supply as I bet where you are going there's people, and if there's people there's food

sailorboy1 is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
South Florida - Best Place to Provision / Do Some Projects brianontheroad Atlantic & the Caribbean 4 24-12-2010 15:56
Best Place to Provision in BVIs ? TEE10 Provisioning: Food & Drink 11 17-09-2010 18:07
Gaz Provision in Norway bosunof General Sailing Forum 0 19-05-2009 10:46

Advertise Here

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:30.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.