foul weather sailing gear- What do I need and why do I need it?
Foul weather gear can act as the difference between a super fun, dry sailing expedition and a not so fun, cold one. Whether you are cruising the coast, inshoring, sailing the globe, or day sailing, there is foul weather gear for every kind of sailor out there.
Let’s face it. Sailors are always going to want the lighter/dryer combo. They want the latest in technology in jackets and pants. Don’t get lost in the sea of brands but make sure you know what you are buying and for what purpose before you pull the trigger. Whether you really love how the watertight P.V.C. feels on your skin or you would rather go for Helly Tech (breathable) technology, the choices are endless..Just make the right one based on the type of sailing that you are going to do.
Make sure you are being realistic with what kind of sailing your doing and don’t just buy gear to buy it. Most times new sailors will buy gear because of the aesthetic/cool factor without knowing its purpose. Don’t be this purpose. If you are truly serious about crossing oceans that get the offshore/coastal gear, otherwise go with comfortable inshore gear!
If you are unsure, ask your instructor as to what you should be investing in. Go to boat shows, ask retailers and even interview manufacturers to really understand what you are getting into before buying offshore foul weather gear.
How to choose foul weather gear
Once you understand and determine which application to go with, you’ll then want to shift your attention to fit , how durable the product is, how warm will the product keep you and how comfortable the product is. Read reviews (like the ones below) if you don’t want to take the time to visit retailers. Make sure whatever you pick has a great range of motion. Go after jackets and pants that make room for multiple layers all while allowing you to shift around in all the on-deck positions you will come across (ducking under booms, grinding winches, pulling in sheets)
This lightweight onshore sailing jacket is great for warmer weather (spring/summer) ..If you are looking for a little bit of waterproof performance. It has taped seems to keep you nice and dry but is not too heavy. Its got a very nice mesh on the inside that allows it to breathe quite a bit. It is very easy to move in and wear so if you are working on your boat or even small boat racing inshore kind of sailing.
Improvements: This is an all-around jacket but is limited to inshore. We aren’t surprised since this is a crew jacket. This jacket does not have a hood so not really made for off-shore sailing
Conclusion: this jacket has it all with cinch finishes on the hem , Helly Tech Technology, Quick dry lining and adjustable cuffs. If you are inshore sailing and don’t need a hood, then this is the jacket for you.
Overall Ratings: 3.8/5
As far as price is concerned, the Gage Weather Jacket is our #1 Choice. Although it may not have all the bells and whistles of Helly Tech technology, it has a 8,000 MM waterproof grade and a 3,000 read for MVP breathability. The seems are fully taped, has drop tail adjusters at the hem line and a wonderful hood that is fully adjustable. Also has adjustable cuffs that do a pretty decent job of keeping water out.
Improvements: Wish it had some fleece to keep the hands warm. its 100% Nylon and that can be a good and bad thing
Conclusion: We are very happy with the lightweight Medium Duty Gage by Gruden. It is of great quality and seems way more flexible than other PVC rain-gear. It is not the most stylish but as far as function it really excels. This works as an offshore jacket but will not be as comfortable as some other jackets. The cheap price-tag makes up for it!
Overall Rating: 4.4/5
7| Helly Hansen women’s hooded midlayer Jacket
We really really love this midlayer jacket! Kelsey, my wife tends to wear this mid-layer in the fall for any kind of outdoor excursions or even just visiting family in the mountains. Its easy when Moinca Rodal with Ventelo Norsteam Sailing, a renowned sailor wears this on the dock or when she is out ripping through the currents. We found that the inner and outer pockets on this jacket is really great. It is very versatile. You can wear this under your bulkier coastal jacket and you can wear it when you are on land, hiking, etc. We found that it is really breathable even being 100%polyester . We are very pleased with how warm it keeps you.
Improvements: As far as sailing, you really are limited to how much this can really protect you from the elements because it is a mid-layer. with that being aid the construction on this jacket is super quality utilizing Helly Tech. (Making it waterproof, windproof and breathable)
Conclusion: If you are a day sailor who goes sailing when the elements aren’t rough then this mid-layer may be the perfect prime jacket for you. This jacket really has all the bells and whistles you need with its Polartech fleece lining, adjustable cuffs, fleece lined collar and stow away hood. Go for comfort with this HH mid-layer.
Overall Rating: 4.2/5
When we first go our hands on this set, we were shocked as we really liked what we saw in the Navis Marine Finishes. The stitching is of great quality and almost goes unseen. They use a synthetic thread to stitch these units together using a 2 layer SERA-TEX Pro fabric and a Micro Grid Backer.
Jacket: Wonderful double zipper made of nylon which come with pull tabs. We are happy with this nylon as it is perforated nylon taffeta lining. both the sleeves and collar have 3M retroreflective piping. We are happy they used this reflective technology on arms, shoulders and center hood. You may notice that the jacket sleeves are sewn using a multi-layered process which allows for more of a natural bend and turn of the arms, elbows.
The panels lining the upper back ensures this freedom of movement. We really like the extra room you get with the lower sleeves at 1.5″ w/ a wide velcro adjustment band, so it can really fit/adjust to mostly anybody. Note: We really like the storm seal flap on this jacket. It seems to be perfectly straight! You will notice that the fit of the two overlapping pieces is extremely precise. You can also hand-monogram the jacket with your signature or name as there is a little white patch to write your name/custom message or whatever you want!
Comes with two pockets on the outside of the jacket and both of these pockets have zippers to seal the pockets. You also have inner pockets for your cellphone/wallet. We are very pleased with the neck seal which measures 4” tall. We found that there was a velcro patch that is used to seal the neck and give your face added protection/warmth. As far as the collar, we are pleased to an extent. It is very soft and warm material but if it gets wet it gets slightly uncomfortable/moist. Overall though it prevents chafing around the neck pretty well.
We are pleased with the hood (also made of nylon). It has a 6”x1” long reflective patch running down the center of the hood for added safety and wraps around the crown of your head. The shock cord in the brow really works well. The hood is deployable and folds into the back of the collar out of site when not using Hood can be cinched.
Pants: The trousers are of the same material as the pants but have a non-perforated nylon taffeta lining. We are very pleased with the Cordura fabric reinforcements which are hemmed into the pants seat and knees. We really like where they placed these reinforcements. The pants utilize 1-1/2 ” elastic suspenders. We are happy with the true fit feel of these suspenders. Right before a coastal trip we tried sitting down and getting back up about 50 times to see if there were any binding issues. We moved the boom back and forth and ducked down underneath it. They passed the test for sure! No issues and felt very natural.
The pants come with a single front pocket on the upper right side. The pocket is pretty wide measuring about 7.5 inches wide and 9” tall. You also get a decent plastic key holder loop hemmed into the top of the pokcet. The pants also have a loop on the back of the pants incase you need to hang something else. There is also a place to monogram the pants from the inside
Improvements:We would have liked to see the pants NOT have a sewn inner flap near the jewels! Easy access to when you need to go to the bathroom would have put this product higher on our list.
Conclusion: If you are looking for a set for offshore or coastal sailing and fishing, look no further than this set. Very high quality and water not dare get through!
Overall Rating: 4.3/5
This a 2 layer laminant ply fabric construction jacket. It’s waterproof breathable. We love the micro mesh inner lining on this jacket. The inside storage pockets are a nice touch. We love the length of this jacket is it a true fit jacket for sure! There is an elastic adjustment to pull the hem in on the inner lining in case you need to cinch for extra warmth. The double slider zipper functions really well so when you are sitting you can slit open a little with the second zipper. The collar is very high and scalloped and tapered down in front to maintain your vision and more protection up high in the back!
We really like the storm flap over top. In terms of the hood, it stows into the collar and once deployed you are working with a semi-stiff peak, has a rain gutter so water doesn’t get in your face, rather will flow to the sides of the molded front hood flap. This hood has the standard adjustments to pull it in and then a peak adjuster to maintain peripheral vision (will adjust open or closed face) . On the outside, you’ve got an interesting cuff adjustment that folds over the actual jacket which is a very modern touch. Nice PU adjustable cuffs to keep water out. Fully Helly Tech (Breathable, Waterproof, Windproof) . Made of 100% Polyamide
Improvements: Some may want a larger then normal fitted foul weather jacket. this one is more true fitted so keep that in mind. We also would have liked to have seen more reflective tape on the arms or shoulders
Conclusion: If you are looking for a coastal jacket and want a great brand backing it, we like this choice. We would only use this jacket as a coastal jacket as it does have its limitations
Overall Rating: 4.4/5
We love the way the roll away (deployable) hood reflects off this Gill Coast jacket. The hood itself has wonderful fitting because of the adjustment options, you can adjust the peak and where it lands on your brow, with cinch features. The high cut collar has a face-guard that does an excellent job guarding against chafing all while keeping the elements out. We are very pleased with the adjustable cuffs that utilize PU inner seals for excellent watertight quality. The two way zipper makes life easier when you are sitting down in the cockpit. The fleece lined hand warmer pockets are an excellent touch on this coastal jacket, especially the bellowing front cargo pocket. Expect a yellow hood for visibility!
Best Use: Coastal/inshore and will lend itself to offshore use as well. This is a 2 Dot Fabric jacket
Improvements: it does offer a low tightening strap but we found it didn’t really work all that well. Fit isn’t true but that is not always a bad thing. The lower half of the jacket seems to fit larger than the upper half but we can live with this. It is a two layer material (liner is waterproof and breathable) If it is cooler out, you can cinch the waste in by pulling the hem adjuster in. The storm flap is a nice touch.
Conclusion: We love the stitch work on this jacket. The cuffs are neoprene with velcro adjustments and we really like this. It has the extra mold to cover your mouth around the collar for added warmth. Most jackets do not have this option. Excellent overall coastal jacket, we would not hesitate if this is the type of sailing you do often
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
This jacket is phenomenal, made with Helly tech protection which makes it breathable, windproof and waterproof . We found it to be a great overall jacket whether the elements are tough or light. This jacket will do it’s job in keeping you warm and dry no matter where you are. We really like the forearm solas reflectors. You are absolutely feeling very secure with this jacket on. Great safety factor jacket. Has a deployable hood for extra comfort, and you do not always have to have it out (hence deployable). Has cinches on both sides of the hood so you don’t blow off your head if you are going upwind
Improvements: You don’t have way too many pockets with this jacket but you have enough to keep your hands warm , and lined inner pockets to store cell phone/camera.
Conclusion: this will probably be the easiest jacket you have ever put on. And fashionable and gets the job done. Very comforable.
Overall Rating: 4.7/5
We really like this jacket for the classic look and the features are very retro. It’s lightweight breathable and waterproof. The lining is mesh, combined with a pretty smooth nylon and will not interfere with the breathability of the jacket. Very easy to put on and take off. There is full hood is tucked into the collar. You will not know it is there until you actually need it. The hood is fully adjustable so it doesn’t creep over your eyes. with an excellent reflective patch on its center. The tall collar covers all the way up to your ears when you pull it up all the way to its fullest height and is lined with an excellent fleece from the inside.
Improvements: This jacket is very retro and does not have much of the new bells and whistles on more modern looking foul weather gear. With that being said it is absolutely one of the best jackets on the market in our opionion. Helly Hanson has a wonderful heritage behinds its brand and for good reason.
Conclusion: We are very pleased with how this jacket was constructed. If it aint broke, don’t fix it! With quick dry lining, DWR (water repellency), this polyamide jacket does everything you need it to do
Best use: offshore, coastal
Overall Rating: 4.8/5
We really love how the high cut feels with this jacket. It almost feels like an extra layer was stitched around the upper portion of the neck line. This jacket has a thermal fleece collar and the chin guard is a nice touch. The outer cuff is adjustment graded with PU seals that really work excellent in keeping water out. We love the elastic adjustments on the inner lining of the jacket. Pulling and locking them to cinch the jacket down and will help keep cold air out of the jacket. The security pocket near the inner chest is a nice touch. Engaging the zipper is extremely easy and has a second slider, which you can use to open up a small slit in the jacket when you are sitting down. We also like the velcro cuff adjustments that makes it more flexible. They reinforced the hem so it won’t chafe over time during heavy use. We are also really happy with with the chest watch pockets , cargo pockets with drains and all the reflects all over the jacket.
Improvements: They fit on the larger side so don’t be surprised when you order medium(since that is your size normally) and it fits like a large. They are meant to work a little bigger. we recommend layering up underneath to compensate and get true to size . You can even wear a watch cap which will help with fitting.
Best Use: Excellent for coastal use and really lends itself to some offshore use. Uses a Dot3 fabric which is waterproof breathable so you can use it for all your sailing activities.
Conclusion: The hood puts this jacket over the top. The zipper can go all the way up to where you can deploy your hood. The hood has a peak where you can mold up so that you can keep water from running down your face, like a gutter! Also has adjustments on the back of the hood that will pull the hood back to give you better peripheral vision.There is also a peak adjustment to pull hood back up if it getting too far up on your face. Gill has continued to shine in making jackets that truly protect you from the elements.The neck velcro can be molded into a 3d shape to protect your face. This OS2 line is our favorite jacket on the market today for doing just that.