All Hands Heave Out And Trice Up
October 30, 2012 3:21 AM   Subscribe

Navy rack (bed, not ribbons) kit I saw a few years ago. Now I can't seem to find it. Also looking for other tips and tricks in regards to ship life. Help?

I don't know if what I saw were homemade or what but they were for Navy racks for the ship. Included heavier blackout style curtains, sheets, maybe a comforter, and possible some other helpful in-rack storage items.

Now I see these sites with "curtains with storage pockets" but I don't know how recommended those are and they don't seem like the same thing.

I'm also looking for other tips and tricks for storage or Navy in-rack life, like when I saw a girl using those push button lights that you stick to surfaces. I'd ask some of these other people but the women I try to make friends with are -seriously nasty creatures-.

Could you maybe help me out?
posted by DisreputableDog to Shopping (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Firstly - have you checked with the LPO or LCPO in charge of berthing? Are you sure what mods are allowed? That would be my first step. It would suck to trick your rack out and then have it all torn down at the first messing and berthing inspection.

You should have a built in rack light, although the odds of it working depends on a lot of factors. A headlamp might be a good solution - it's what I used for reading after taps,etc. Stick up lights also work well but make sure you figure out where you want it before you stick it up (are you using it for reading? General light? Illuminating the inside of the rack? ) You might want a couple if you go that route. Make sure you get one where you can change the batteries easily as they're easy to leave on accidentally.

The way my rack was, the curtain gap at the top and around the edges meant that special curtains weren't ever going to solve the light problem. A heavier fabric or lining might cut down on noise slightly but for light issues if you can sleep with a eye mask, that's the best solution. Earplugs or isolation headphones help for noise if you can sleep in them. Are you going to be a day sleeper?

You can get fitted sheets that fit the racks - the NEX used to have them or you can google them. A fitted bottom sheet is a definite must. Go for the highest thread count you can and get a spare.

For in rack storage, I used a mini net-hammock that went along the wall. I could drop pretty much anything in it. Note that you'll have to get a feel for your berthing but generally you won't want to leave anything expensive and easily pilferable unsecured (phones, ipods, etc). West Marine or another boating supply shop is a great resource - they've got a lot of stuff that's made for boat type living.

Are you new on the ship? I know you said the other women in your berthing are nasty but if you try to get through four years on a ship without creating some kind of support system, you'll be miserable. Start engaging - ask the folks in your division if they have any storage tips, talk to your LPO or Chief, start attending services if you're religious. Even if you're not, the Chaplain can be a good resource - tell them you're new onboard and your into gaming or D&D or sci-fi novels or whatever and they can probably point you to a couple people who are into the same thing.

How soon do you deploy? Or are you already deployed?
posted by macfly at 7:38 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Macfly's got it right on all counts. Depending on how big the space is I wouldn't leave anything I care about in the curtain pocket. 4-person berthing where I know the other 3? Not that much of a problem. 50-person? Hell no. If you can't hang something from the wall or curtain hooks I would use a zippered cloth bag that I'd stash at my feet when sleeping and in the locker when I was out.
posted by Runes at 9:09 AM on October 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, macfly nailed it. I have nothing else to add, except that if this is your first ship, the biggest change is going to be in your head. Learn to live with the barest minimum you need in your lift-up locker in your rack. Civilian clothes-- put them away in storage unless you are in the Med and hitting a liberty port twice a week. They'll keep fine in the Bosun's locker and you can iron them right before your next liberty call. Laptop-- do you really need one? They have computers for you to use somewhere, even if it is in your workspace. Books, magazines-- take them one at a time from the library (if you have one, otherwise there should be a help-yourself bookshelf in Cruise Rec) and then put them back or give them away. Once you start to see the possibilities, it is a real eye-opener to see just how little you need to live. For me it was just a book, journal (you should keep one!) laundry soap (I'm funny in wanting to wash my own underwear but if you don't have that phobia then don't pick it up) the bare minimum toiletries kit (for me-- soap, deodorant, sunscreen, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, mouthwash, Bag Balm for my hands, Mexsana or Goldbond powder for my boots, razor and shaving cream), clean uniforms (don't know if you are in coveralls or the new utilities), lots of underwear and socks, shoe polish and a brush, Ipod and that was it. Be a hawk about paring down your equipment and possessions. You might be on a smaller ship (I always was) without a Chaplain, but make an effort. In any case, find a squared-away First Class Petty Officer and make friends with her-- doesn't have to be in your Rate, but does have to be a female-- she can help you navigate the unknowns on your first ship. You don't even have to make friends or like her-- just make sure she is acting as a mentor for you and that she has your back. If your ship has any sense they already have a formal mentorship program. You'll probably have more success making friends with other females in rates that are closer to your own, and (hmm, how to be polite here...?) also use their brains more like you do. Your profile makes me think you are probably an IT, so look around the ETs, FCs (OS if you have too, but they aren't all pearls), and so on for better candidates. If you are trying to talk to female Deck or Engineering Sailors, well, they definitely have their own little cliques and you aren't really likely to ever be let in that much. So no worries, you just need to look for your own kind-- the CSMC mafia, or whatever it is called on your platform. Best of luck to you, and savor these years at sea, because they go by frighteningly fast, and there is nothing else like it in the world.
posted by seasparrow at 12:19 PM on October 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have no idea about anything else but can give you advice on curtain gapping - ironing on with Stitch Witch (or just sewing) a floating edge (or even a ruffle) in stiff/black-out fabric around the curtain will close the gap, as it stands up around the curtain to block the light without being impeded by the structure. You can have the overlap at the corners so those aren't fail points.
posted by batmonkey at 1:56 PM on October 30, 2012

A trick I used with my rack was doubling up the curtains. I obtained an extra curtain and alternated feeding the hanging tabs through the slot they hang from. This helped with keeping more light out. You only need to do it with the curtain by your head.
posted by Crashback at 10:33 PM on October 30, 2012

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