The best foul-weather gear overall is the Gill OS2 Offshore Series. However, the equation has more nuance when considering what type of sailing you will do. For example, coastal foul weather gear won’t perform well under open ocean conditions. And ocean-going gear is overkill for day sailing.
The team at Sailing Savvy has 20 years of experience in the yachting industry. We have been to places like Alaska and Norway while also experiencing torrential downpours in the Caribbean. These are our most recommended products:
Best foul weather gear for coastal boating: Gill OS3 Offshore Series
Best foul weather gear for ocean sailing & racing: Mustang Survival Hudson Dry Suit
Best foul weather gear for offshore sailing & boating: Gill OS2 Offshore Series
So now, let’s get into it!
⛵ Best Foul Weather Gear For Coastal Sailing & Boating
These are good entry-level options and will keep you dry in heavy downpours. They are also suitable for warmer climates.
Best Foul Weather Jacket For Coastal – GILL OS3 Coastal Jacket
- Key Benefits:
- High visibility adjustable hood
- Xplore Fabric Technology
- YKK Aquaguard zipper with storm guard
The latest series of Gill coastal sailing jackets come in men’s and women’s models. They are sleek and modern-looking garments packed with clever features to ensure you’ll be kept dry in foul weather.
The OS3 coastal jacket has waterproof fabric that is also breathable and durable. With safety features like the high visibility adjustable hood, safety accents on the pocket piping, and callouts on the zip pockets. On the wrists, there are retro-reflective molded rectangles to help you attract attention if you are in the water.
The use cases extend well beyond sailing. For example, if you are powerboating or saltwater fishing, this jacket is also perfect for those situations.
The jacket is constructed using Gill’s patented Xplore Fabric Technology, a two-layer fabric consisting of an outer and inner shell. The outer layer is abrasion resistant with good water-repellant capability from Gill’s new Xpel treatment. The inner is made from a breathable and waterproof coating which keeps you dry and prevents you from overheating. It’s fully lined to make getting in and out easy.
The front of the jacket uses a YKK Aquaguard zipper with storm guard. This feature eliminates metal in the zipper, which is ideal for marine use. In addition, the storm layer provides the wearer with a double layer of protection so that if any water does ingress, it simply collects between the zipper and the jacket and falls through the bottom.
Two well-sized hand pockets are enclosed with a hook and loop design to ensure valuables won’t fall out. In addition, they are fleece lined to keep your hands nice and warm in colder conditions.
On the inside, there is an extra security zipped pocket for items like mobile phones. Finally, a mesh section on the backside of the jacket means that if you are unlucky enough to fall overboard, the jacket will drain itself when help arrives to haul you out of the water.
Best Foul Weather Trousers/Bibs For Coastal – GILL OS3 Coastal Trousers
- Key Benefits:
- Xplore Fabrix Technology
- Lined all the way through
- Full-length front zipper
The OS3 coastal trousers are designed to compliment the OS3 coastal jacket and are available in men’s and women’s options.
As with the jacket, it’s made from Gill’s Explore Fabrix Technology, their two-layer waterproof material with a durable outer face and fully breathable coating.
The bibs are lined all the way through to ensure getting them off or on is easy. The exception is at the ankle, where a drainage mesh lining works the same way as the jacket to allow the water to fall out of the trousers when being lifted out of the water.
These trousers are built with a practical approach. The durable outer shell will come into contact with items on deck, so they are reinforced in the main contact points, such as the knee, so they hold up during rough use.
The men’s and women’s models have elastic stretch braces over the shoulder. In addition, you can adjust the height of the trousers with an easy velcro system.
There is a full-length front zipper, the YKK Aquaguard, so they have eliminated the metal components of the zipper. In addition, there is a waterproof gusset on the inside to prevent water from gushing in when the zipper is down.
A generous side cargo pocket and wide hem openings round out these trousers as a truly premium product that’ll keep even the heaviest downpour from getting you wet.
🌊 Best foul weather gear for ocean sailing & racing
Most foul-weather gear isn’t made for serious ocean-going voyages. But here are some that are, and if you are after the best, look no further.
Best Men’s Ocean Sailing Suit – Mustang Survival HUDSON CCS DRY SUIT
- Key Benefits:
- 3-layer MarineSpec BP fabric
- Waterproof YKK® AQUASEAL® zipper
- Adjustable CCS (Closed Comfort System) neck seal
Admittedly these are for hardcore racers looking for the ultimate performance foul-weather gear. Needing a suit of this caliber and putting it through its paces will mean you’ve probably found yourself in rough conditions. Still, it’s the peak of sailing performance gear if money is no object.
This is Mustang Survival’s first dry suit for the recreational market. However, they have more than 30 years of experience making them for the US Coast Guard and military, so they are good at making them.
The entire suit is made from a three-layer marine spec fabric that is durable and fully waterproof. In addition, at the sleeve cuffs and the neck, you’ll find a patented seal (called the Closed Comfort System) that allows the wearer to seal these areas without feeling any restrictions.
A bomber zipper that opens diagonally across the suit from the shoulder down to the waist is constructed with the next step up from YKK, the AQUASEAL. This means that the only opening in the suit is as waterproof as the rest.
Articulated knees that are fully adjustable and guarded at the front make working far easier and keep the suit durable over its lifespan.
Suspenders on the inside ensures the wearer finds an optimal fit before sealing themselves in for the long haul. In addition, Mustang ensures that their suit will not sag throughout the day and will be held in the same position on the body.
Lastly, the feet are made from the same material as their inflatable lifejacket bladders, so it’s extremely tough and highly visible. It’s a clever design touch because anyone overboard with a life jacket inflated will have their feet pointing upward. It gives rescuers another target to see.
Best Women’s Ocean Sailing Suit – Mustang Survival Helix CCS Dry Suit
- Key Benefits:
- 3-layer MarineSpec BP fabric
- Trimmable latex neck and wrist seals
- ACT (Agile Comfort Technology) internal suspenders
- Helical YKK® AQUASEAL® zipper
For women wanting the ultimate performance ocean-going dry suit, this product features trimmable latex at the sleeve cuffs and neck, ensuring a perfect watertight seal.
With three-layer Marinespec BP fabric and 500D Cordura reinforced seat and knees. The wearer has unrivaled durability and waterproof protection. A martial overlay protects the latex to prevent any damage from snagging.
The diagonal bomber zipper is the market-leading YKK® AQUASEAL® that prevents water ingress at three levels. The internal suspender system means you’ll find the perfect fit and comfort before sealing the suit from outside elements.
Fully articulated knees allow freedom of the joints matched with extra outer protection material to increase durability.
Mustang Survival brings their decades of research and development and makes their first women’s dry suit available to the general public. So that you can still enjoy your favorite water-based activities even in the most inclement weather conditions.
🌊 Best Foul Weather Gear For Offshore Sailing
Next, we have offshore, which is between coastal foul weather gear and open ocean gear. This is when you need more from your gear equipment nearer to shore, but you’re not quite ready for the full dry suit experience.
Why does this list feature more Gill products? Well, quite simply, they make great sailing apparel at appropriate price points. The OS2, like the OS3, is designed for both men and women.
Best Offshore Sailing Jacket – GILL OS2 Offshore Jacket
- Key Features:
- High-cut thermal fleece inner collar
- Fully lined mesh drainage
- Adjustable outer cuff with PU internal seals for watertight comfort.
During my 10-year career in yachting, this is the foul-weather jacket I enjoyed wearing the most, even over more expensive brands like Henri Lloyd and Helly Hansen.
The OS2 is made from Gill’s exclusive Xplore Fabric Technology. A two-layer fabric consisting of an outer and inner shell.
An outer layer is an abrasion-resistant grade with a high water-repellant capability from Gill’s new Xpel treatment.
With the inside constructed from a breathable and waterproof coating. Keeping you dry and prevents you from overheating due to condensation inside the garment. To finish off, it’s fully lined to make putting it over layers easier.
One upgrade over the coastal jacket is the high-cut, high fleece-lined collar designed to keep you comfortable and warm. Another is the hand warmer pockets protected by YKK AQUAGUARD zippers rather than a hook and loop system.
A hi-visibility adjustable hood has three different adjustment points, which is excellent for keeping rain and spray out of your face. Adjustable sleeve cuffs make creating a watertight seal at the wrist a bonus.
Five additional retro reflective pieces are mounted to the outer shell to aid rescuers in locating a man overboard. But the best thing about this offshore foul-weather jacket is the price. You get the same level of performance at a fraction of what a comparable Henri Lloyd would cost you.
Best Offshore Sailing Trousers – GILL OS2 Offshore Bibs
- Key Features:
- Abrasion-resistant panels to protect against wear and tear
- Elasticated waist for an improved fit
- Velcro shoulder adjustment with stretch back panel
Following the Gill OS2 Offshore Jacket, their trousers are built to work in unison. Again, you get the trademark Xplore Fabric Technology. Two layers of fabric consisting of an outer and inner shell.
I won’t repeat the specifications because I have just mentioned them above. You can expect new features from the OS3 Coastal Trousers: two additional front zippered pockets with hand warmers for when you have your jacket off.
All the key benefits of the OS3 series are included. Like the abrasion-resistant seat padding and articulated knees. The fully adjustable shoulder suspenders keep the fit correct even on long days.
And the gusset-protected front zipper with a YKK AQUAGUARD zipper which opens fully to make changing in and out of the bibs easy. While another security pocket above the cargo pockets makes the Gill OS2 Offshore trousers a premium product at an affordable price.
🧑⚖️ Our recommendation process
Between myself and Craig, we have nearly 20 years’ worth of experience within the yachting industry. We have used numerous brands like Gill, Helly Hansen, and Henri Lloyd.
The recommendations we share are 100% impartial and bias-free. We only offer genuine advice on what we have come to know as the best and most reliable sailing gear. And we also strongly advocate that the best boating foul weather gear on the market today Gills OS2 series.
📃 Guide To Buying Foul Weather Gear
Here are some elements I recommend you look out for when browsing for your next set of foul-weather gear.
1. Buy A Reputable Brand
I can’t stress enough because it’s so essential. The adage of you get what you pay for applies. Don’t be tempted to buy sub-par gear from an unknown name in the sailing/boating apparel industry.
Some brands to consider are Gill, Helly Hansen, Musto, Henri Lloyd, and Mustang Survival. These are brands that make gear with sailors in mind. However, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy from them if you are looking for powerboating gear or saltwater fishing apparel.
A quality set of foul weather gear will last years, and more importantly, it’ll do what it is supposed to do: keep you dry.
2. Choose For Your Sailing Needs – coastal, offshore, ocean
Bear in mind what type of boating you will be doing. A fully watertight suit is overkill if you are cruising through the inlets and close to shore.
Conversely, don’t expect a coastal jacket to hold up to torrential downpours and bug seas on an ocean crossing. Manufacturers tailor their gear to match the situation. If you are looking for a good all-rounder, get offshore foul-weather gear because it provides the best of both worlds.
3. Look For Hi-Visibility Colors
They say that looks aren’t everything. Well, I can’t entirely agree when it comes to foul weather gear. Where possible, get something that has good visibility in poor weather. Luminescent yellow or orange is a good place to start. At the very least, buy a jacket that has a high-visibility hood.
4. Look For End Of Season Deals
The best time to snag a good deal is when brands change over their models into newer versions. You still get fantastic equipment but at a better price. Do your research and find out whether the added features and benefits of the newer model will outweigh the cost savings of getting the previous generation.
💭 Final Thoughts
The best foul-weather gear for sailing ultimately depends on what area you’ll be sailing in. At Sailing Savvy, we recommend the Gill OS2 Offshore foul weather gear as the best overall.
Do your research on cost, brand reputation, and features of previous models. Next, you’ll need a decent pair of sailing boots to round out your foul-weather gear.