Whether to keep up with the changeable conditions of summer afloat or something to wear whilst ashore, the most essential piece of kit for any person with an interest in sailing is the lightweight sailing jacket. Let's look at the best buys.


As important a fashion piece as a barrier against the sudden and changeable conditions of summer, the choices of a lightweight sailing jacket are vast. Many companies devote more effort into the lightweight sailing jacket than into a full offshore sailing jacket.

For this buyers guide we shall look at the lightweight end of the sailing jacket spectrum, the ones suited to warmer summer days afloat and so not to concentrate on the offshore jackets with a deeper thermal lining, although there are a lot of similarities and crossovers to these warmer versions.

Our playground, even during the warmest seasons is changeable, so having an item of clothing which can protect against irritating weather is essential. They can be cumbersome to carry – so choosing a light and easily packable garment is important.

But whilst protection against those showers and annoying waves is paramount, the fashion element is equally as important, so they must be as good on the rail as on the way to the restaurant. Let’s take a look at what is great for the season ahead.

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North Sails Inshore race Jacket

Best all-round lightweight sailing jacket

Reasons to buy

– Gore-Tex pro – the best
– External adjustable cuffs
– Removable hood
– Uncluttered

Reasons to avoid

– Higher end price (but best materials)
-Not the colour range of other brands

North Sails have really hit the ground running with their full-on assault on the performance sailing clothing market, and yet again they have come into their field on top.

One of the only brands to have chosen to go with Gore-Tex at this level, you know you’ll be wearing the best, with many hours of experience from the many pro teams they have access to and the unmatched knowledge of Nigel Musto at the design helm.

This sailing jacket offers more bells and whistles and fine details than any other inshore lightweight jacket.

The removable hood is a great addition – there is nothing more distracting than having a hood flapping around on a dry but windy day. Even without the hood you know you have a fair amount of protection from the large collar.

Aquaguard zips throughout make sure you and your pocket contents stay as dry as possible, so your social media status can be updated throughout the day.

It really is a slim and uncluttered jacket, which is why we’ve chosen it as our best buy. A women’s version is also available.

Buy men’s version at North Sails

Buy women’s version at North Sails

Code Zero Waypoint Jacket

A great lightweight sailing jacket for the price

Reasons to buy

– Available in a wide range of colours
– Nice price
– Lots of input from pro teams

Reasons to avoid

– Not Gore-Tex

The people behind Code Zero are some of the biggest fans of the sport of sailing, as they have even named their company after a specialist racing sail.

With members of the management team often seen at events around the world, they have a close relationship with the sport, sponsoring events and some of the most successful pro race teams to date.

And it’s this association with the likes of the TP52 Quantum Racing and Mini Maxi Jethou that can be seen in these lightweight sailing jackets.

There is plenty of attention to detail – foremost is the water repellant outer, which is great for those annoying waves that take you by surprise, and combined with breathable membrane layers, which also stop water ingress but just as importantly, let the inner moisture out.

The cuffs have good velcro adjustment along with a storm hood, which can be reefed down in nastier conditions. The zips have a nice tight closure and are also backed up by a waterproof flap, and all the panels are really well taped. A women’s version is also available.

Buy men’s version at Code-Zero

Buy women’s version at Code-Zero


Henri Lloyd Pro Tean Jacket

Worth a look

Reasons to buy

– Stiff hood visor
– AquaGuard zips
– External velcro wrist adjustment

Reasons to avoid

– Limited colour choice

Henri Lloyd have been a force, especially in the inshore / day racing arena for many years, and their latest race-ready lightweight sailing jacket is the Pro Tean.

A breathable and multi-layered waterproof jacket, this will put up with the windier Cowes Week sea breeze days and also help ventilate the moisture from within of even the most active of bowmen.

A long term connection with the likes of Ben Ainslie and associates, these jackets do seem to boast a few unique and cunning additions – like the internal breeze clip, which limits jacket movement even when you are unzipped and cooling down.

The seams are well taped and the hood has plenty of adjustment to synch it around the head. The slightly stiffer visor is also great at keeping the rain out of the eyes.

Buy at Henri Lloyd

Musto LPX Gore-Tex Infinium Aero Jacket

Alternative Gore-Tex option

Reasons to buy

– Musto is an established name
– Gore-Tex the preferred material for outdoor activities

Reasons to avoid

– Limited colours
– Towards upper price range

Another clothing powerhouse and another Gore-Tex offering, the LPX is a lightweight jacket with plenty of waterproof credentials and great breathability.

This jacket is buried within Musto’s massive and often confusing ranges of gear.

As its Gore-Tex it is towards the upper end in budget of this category – but what price for the best level of kit?

The zips are all of a good “aquaguard” quality and the permanent hood is also light and easy to adjust to the head with a bunny pull cord.

Great taping of the seams and the patterning means minimal seams in important and mobile areas, meaning a very comfortable jacket.

A good range of sizing is available but in limited colours. Well worth looking at.

Buy at Musto


Helly Hansen Crew Hooded Sailing Jacket

Good all-round lightweight sailing jacket

Reasons to buy

– Packable hood
– Cheaper option

Reasons to avoid

– Not quite up to Gore-Tex levels

Although this jacket doesn’t boast any fancy Gore-Tex, it does use Helly Hansen’s version, known as Helly Tech, which has been extensively tested and seems pretty good.

This jacket is a lot cheaper than most competitors, and aside from the material, they are quite competitive as lightweight sailing jackets.

A packable hood may make the collar a little bulky but it is a handy addition, which will be much appreciated in those summer equals.

The collar is also fleece-lined for added comfort, but the rest of the jacket’s interior is lined with a quick dry mesh.

Waterproof, breathable and a trustworthy brand at a decent price, this jacket also offers a left-sided chest pocket, which is good for the right handers out there.

Buy men’s version at Helly Hansen

Buy women’s version at Helly Hansen

Buy men’s version at Amazon

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated sailing page for more marine products.

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