Gill OS1 vs OS2

Gill has long been a trusted name in sailing apparel, delivering products designed to endure the rigors of the marine environment. 

The OS1 series is often celebrated for its robust construction and suitability for extreme conditions, as Louis Burton attested during the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe.

When selecting the top gear for offshore sailing, your choice between these lines should be informed by the type of sailing you’re planning to undertake.

But let’s be honest, the single biggest factor for most of us is price. The OS1 jacket and pants are almost double the OS2. 

So I’ll dive deep into the pros and cons of each to help you decide whether or not that expense can be justified or not. 

Comparative Analysis

While the OS1 series represents Gill’s top-tier offering for serious offshore and ocean use, the OS2 collection is also a formidable contender. But how do they compare to other leading brands?

Gill OS1: Designed for severe ocean sailing, the OS1 provides maximum protection with its durable waterproof fabric and attention to detail like high-lined collars and reinforced stress points. It’s the choice for sailors who expect the toughest conditions.

Gill OS2: Favoured for versatility, the OS2 is suitable for a range of conditions from coastal to offshore. The OS2 series is praised for its balance of breathability, water resistance, and durability, making it a value for those who sail in varied environments but still require significant protection.

Competition Comparison

Gill’s ocean gear stacks up impressively against competitors:

  • Helly Hansen: Known for the Ægir Race Jacket, which is tailored for professional ocean racers seeking lightweight and freedom of movement without compromising on protection.
  • Musto MPX: Often recognized for balancing weight and resistance, its gear is stated to be 30% lighter and 20% more breathable without sacrificing waterproofing according to Sailing Today’s evaluations.
  • Zhik: A brand associated with innovative designs, particularly favored for its high-performance racing gear.
  • Mustang: Their collections are known for integrating survival features, appealing to those who prioritize safety.

Personal Experience

The real test of any sailing gear is its performance under sail. I can personally attest that the Gill OS1 will stand up to withstand heavy weather.

And in my yachting career, I actually wore the OS2 more often than the OS1. It’s comfortable and probably more adaptable than other more expensive options from brands like Musto and Helly Hansen.

Material and Construction of the Gill OS Series

Now this is where I’m going to get nerdy and rack off all the technical details that statements made by Gill on their website.

My anecdotal take on each is in the final verdict section of this comparison. 

The Gill OS1 series is designed with features like advanced 5-Dot™ fabric technology, which provides exceptional durability and protection. The fabric is not only 10% lighter but also boasts 15% more abrasion resistance. The OS1 range is a premium choice if you prioritize long-lasting wear and robust performance.

The OS2 is equipped with the XPLORE® 2-layer fabric and a plant-based XPEL® finish, ensuring 20,000mm HH waterproofness and 70-80% breathability rating. I’ll get to what these numbers mean a bit later in this comparison

These characteristics promote a comfortable experience while providing ample protection, making it ideal for a variety of offshore activities.

Another notable aspect is the environmental consideration, as the jacket is made from 98% reclaimed plastic bottles and recycled fibers.

Okay here is where I explain those weird numbers from earlier.

Waterproof Rating (mm) Water Resistance ProvidedConditions
0-5,000 mmNo resistance to some resistance to moistureLight rain, dry snow, no pressure
6,000-10,000 mmRainproof and waterproof under light pressure.Light rain, average snow, light pressure.
11,000-15,000 mmRainproof and waterproof except under high pressure.Moderate rain, average snow, light pressure.
16,000-20,000 mmRainproof and waterproof under high pressure.Heavy rain, wet snow, some pressure.
20,000 mm+Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressure.Heavy rain, wet snow, high pressure.
data source from

Gill OS1: Employs the XPLORE®+ 3-layer fabric, known for its superior ability to repel water. This fabric’s waterproofness is rated at over 20,000mm Hydrostatic Head (HH), indicating a high level of water resistance. Moreover, its fully taped seams ensure no water penetrates, keeping you dry in the harshest conditions.

Gill OS2: Rated up to 20,000mm HH and employs Gill’s patented XPLORE® technology. For context, the industry standard is set at a minimum of 1,500mm HH to claim true waterproof performance. Both go above and beyond this requirement.

Embracing the need for environmental responsibility, the OS2 jacket and salopettes are made from 98% reclaimed plastic bottles and recycled fibers. This showcases a commitment to sustainability without sacrificing function. The use of recycled materials is a significant step forward in reducing waste and the environmental impact of your gear.

Gill OS1: Crafted from the company’s most rugged 5-dot high-performance fabric, designed for high durability and improved abrasion resistance, outlasting strenuous conditions. Furthermore, the fabric’s XPEL® plant-based finish offers stain resistance, adding to the longevity of the garment.

Gill OS2: Although it may not boast the same level of fabric enhancement as the OS1, it is a durable option that offers sufficient protection for less extreme sailing conditions.

If you have used foul weather gear before you’ll know that they can get smelly (understatement) after wearing them constantly.

Both offer consistent levels of performance for up to 30 washes, with the treatment continuing to be effective for up to 50 washes.

If you have reached the end of the road then you’ll need to re-waterproof your foul weather gear.

My Verdict on Gill OS1 vs OS2

This ultimately boils down to how much rough weather you expect to encounter. If you are planning on doing some ocean-going rodeo then spend the cash and get the OS1 series. 

I wrote a full review of the OS1 on a delivery I did from France to Croatia where I broke down how they performed (the tl;dr is that they smashed it).

If, however, you are sailing or boating more casually then the OS2 is the way to go. In my opinion, these are the best overall foulies for most mariners.

Frequently Asked

Gill OS1 series is designed for extreme offshore sailing, with Louis Burton having tested the system during the grueling conditions of the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe. The OS2 series, while also built for substantial protection, is considered slightly less robust than the OS1, suited for serious offshore sailing but not quite to the extent of its OS1 counterpart.

The Gill OS1 gear has been completely redesigned to be both lighter and more resistant to abrasion than previous iterations, featuring the company’s most durable 5-Dot fabric. The OS2 series is highly rated for offshore conditions but may not offer the same level of extreme durability found in the OS1 garments.

While the OS2 series is built to handle offshore conditions and is considered a reliable choice for many sailors, if you are planning to face the most extreme conditions, the Gill OS1 series may be a more suitable option, offering higher levels of protection and durability.

I’m the founder and chief editor here at Sailing Savvy. I spent a decade working as a professional mariner and currently, I mix those experiences with digital publishing. Welcome, and I hope that we can be the hub you need for safe passage.