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Have you ever noticed how you don’t find negative product reviews in the popular magazines? For some peculiar reason, things like that don’t seem to go over very well with advertisers. Fortunately for those readers looking for honest reviews (but not so nice for our cruising kitty), we have no such big list of advertisers. So, with no further ado, what you’ve all be waiting for (no, not the bikini shot), the list of things we DON’T like!

Although this seemed like a good idea at the time, take note that we purchased and installed these before we had really done much sailing. As it turns out, the metal containers rusted in short order (we weren’t even in the salty Caribbean air yet) and the magnets would not hold them secure in any kind of wave action. Oh well. Nice, but not for boats.

This is one of those controversial subjects. Composting heads certainly have their proponents but we are definitely not among them. I have written a great deal on this subject so use the search feature if you like. For us, this was just a big thousand dollar mistake.

This item cost much less than the composting toilet and it’s a good thing too because it broke shortly after we purchased it. Those living nearby a West Marine could have just returned it. We had no such opportunity.

Do not buy one of these to go cruising. In fact, I wouldn’t buy one, EVER! The floor boards of our brand new dinghy promptly rotted away in the fresh water and the oar lock broke at a very inopportune time. Just don’t.

A good idea that required more R&D. Do not copy this design.

This just stopped working after less than 6 months of use. Additionally, the only method for charging the radio is via the drop-in cradle which frequently wouldn’t work. A very bad design in my opinion. Once again, if you live by a West Marine and can return it, no problem. There are no West Marine stores down here though.

Oooo… I really don’t like this POS. This less-than-6-month-old hard drive, which contained all of our movie files, just stopped working. Not only will the drive not mount, I can’t even erase/reformat it. It is now a stupid paperweight. Do not buy one of these. Period!


  1. Great information as always from you guys. This will save me a lot of grief, and money when it finally comes time for me to outfit a boat!

  2. Re. gas siphons: We have a great one up north. It’s just a marble trapped inside a little piece of machined aluminum, stuck on the end of a 5/8″ hose. It works as well as (or better than) the fancy plastic ones, has lasted for something like ten years now, is almost indestructible, and I doubt it was more than ten or fifteen bucks. No idea who made it, though.

    Re. hard drive: Data recovery from a wonky drive falls in the Usually Possible But Not At All Fun category. (I’ve had to do it far too often for my liking; I’d rank it well above head-hose-failure cleanup, though.) Want some unsolicited advice? Forget about fancy “backup solutions” with pretty cases and shiny built-in backup software. Just pick up a $12 SATA ‘toaster’ or external cable with an interface that matches your laptop , and a couple of bare 3.5″ drives. Also pick up a few large ziploc bags and some of that plastic foam that fragile stuff comes wrapped in, or a watertight box of some sort. Copy everything to one of the drives, unhook it, double-bag it, seal it up, hide it somewhere safe. Then copy all the same stuff to the second drive, seal it up, hide it in a different safe place.

    That strategy’s saved my data twice in the last four years, when laptop HDs failed and DVD-R backups were found to have deteriorated over time. A single drive just isn’t trustworthy; neither is a single physical location.

    • The super siphon thing works on that marble principle but it always got stuck. I think it was just cheap construction.

      We back up to a 1T Apple drive. At home it was running all the time in the background (Apple Time Capsule) but because it runs on AC, I now only plug it in from time to time. I just need to do it a bit more frequently. Unfortunately that Lacie drive I purchased was supposed to also fill the backup role. Sadly it failed!!!

  3. Looks like West Marine needs to give you a call! So why are we not seeing you in some sort of swimwear???

  4. Great report. Negatives are important.

    I think your ratio of good to bad is very respectable, considering how quickly you went ZTC. It seems like the realy bad choises where early on, so what the hell. Us dirt-bound semi-cruisers have a lot more time to think about choises, and in my case, have had time to make mistakes.

    I posted a few similar thought s here:

    Our mistakes? A few things that we tired of or took too much space, generally houshold items. A few times I used non-stainless parts or low quality materials. I suspect most of my mistakes were failed repairs, starting from shade tree mechanic work as a kid. And I ‘ve learned a lot from others.

    And I too have a cheap POS dingy in my past. That was probably my biggest goof. Gotta have a real floor. I wish someone would have been more clear on that!

    Again, thanks.

  5. I really appreciate all the great information you post here but I can’t be the only one thinking “less talk, more bikini!” 🙂

    Thanks again for all the great info, I’m sure it will come in handy when I can finally live my dream in the Caribbean!

  6. I was so excited the day I finally filled all my magnetic spice containers as it made me feel like a true live aboard. I wasn’t nearly as excited the day we got ‘waked’ by a speed boat and those damn containers flew all over the salon area. Luckily not all of them burst open.
    It would appear you could have a bikini calender in your future! I’m jealous; I don’t think anyone wants to see me in a bikini and the only calender we possibly have in the works is one with our pit bull Wilbur (all monies to go to pit bull rescue). We are now calling him our Hunk of the Month!
    BTW, my youngest daughter was at a coaches training camp recently and used the TRX exercise system that you use. She was pretty impressed with it.

  7. Fantastic post! I was tempted by the simplicity of the Nature’s Head but we have an electric toilet that works well, even if it uses a bit of electricity. Mark will be happy to know that he will be getting his wish to stick with what we have. Thanks for saving us $1000! I think that means I owe you a beer or something.

    Also, Rebecca has fantastic abs. I need to pick up a tip or two from her to work on my pillow topped abs but sadly, somehow I do not think pastry is part of her regime. *sigh* I shall miss you carbohydrates.

  8. That’s the blogging I look out for! Stuff that doesn’t work as advertized. Now I gotta catch up on your back posts…..

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