The very best of today’s technical clothing is extremely good and will keep you warm and dry in all but the most extreme conditions imaginable.

The massive choice of sailing jackets – and wildly varying price points – can be bewildering even for the most experienced sailors. This can make figuring out the best sailing jacket for your specific needs a daunting task. Of course, this is an easy problem to solve if you simply throw money at it.

However, for most people it would mean spending far more than is necessary and at the high end, some of the pricing is eye-watering. In any case, if the only sailing jacket you have is truly top-notch, you’re likely to wear it out in conditions that lower-spec garments could not handle as well. Although, it may not be as comfortable in ordinary weather as cheaper alternatives.

At a glance – Editors choices

Best summer sailing jacket – Zhik INS200 Jacket – Buy now
Best offshore sailing jacket under £300 – Decathlon Tribord 900 – Buy now
Best sailing smock – Gill Verso Lite Jacket – Buy now

Best coastal sailing jackets

Gill OS3 Coastal Jacket

Specifications: Weight – 2,000g | Sizes – S-XXL | Choice of colours – 3 | Materials – Nylon, Polyester, XPEL

Reasons to buy: Fully taped seams | Hi-vis hood with 2-way adjustment system | Non-absorbent and quick-drying lining
Reasons to avoid: In wintery conditions, you’ll want to add a base layer or two

Gill’s latest lightweight OS3 fabrics use a fundamentally more sustainable material than the long-running industry standard durable water-repellant (DWR) coatings. These have been used for decades to improve waterproofing. Did you know it’s what makes the water bead off a new jacket?

However, DWR finishes are typically based on fluoropolymers that have toxic by-products which persist in the environment. Instead, Gill’s OS3 range uses a plant-based finish that performs the same function as the DWR coating. Result!

The OS3 jacket is made of a two-layer fabric with a non-absorbent, quick-drying lining. It has a high-visibility hood, adjustable cuffs with PU inner seals, and an internal storm guard. It’s available for men and women.

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Gill Verso Lite Jacket

Best sailing smock

Specifications: Weight – 420g | Sizes – S-XXXXL | Choice of colours – 2 | Materials – Polyamide, Polyester

Reasons to buy: Excellent light weight option | Excellent protection from water ingress | Packs down very small
Reasons to avoid: Not suitable for very windy or cold conditions

There’s much to be said for the advantages of a smock style top, without a full front zip, as they usually offer better protection than a jacket of similar specification. The Gill Verso Lite Jacket is a slimline and impressively lightweight garment – the medium size version I tested weighs only 420 grammes.

The jacket is made of Gill’s Explore fabric, a two-layer system without a separate lining that balances outright performance against weight and breathability. All seams are fully taped.

Cuffs are lined with PU, which makes an effective seal using the Velcro tabs, but without the extra bulk and complication of an inner cuff.

While this isn’t the only jacket I’d take for a long offshore passage in serious weather, it’s ideal for use in more moderate conditions and packs so small it’s feasible to carry in addition to full ocean gear.

Buy now from Amazon

Musto Sardinia Jacket 2.0

Specifications: Weight – 652g | Sizes – S-XL | Choice of colours – 7 | Materials – Polyamide, Polyester

Reasons to buy: Mesh lined for enhanced comfort | Zipped side and chest pockets | Detachable and adjustable hood with a stiffened peak
Reasons to avoid: Not designed for winter sailing so you would need to buy another sailing jacket

Economical and very lightweight is the best way to describe the Musto Sardinia Jacket 2.0. If you’re out at sea for daysailing in the summer, this is an essential.

It uses the same two-layer BR1 fabric Musto uses for its full-specification BR1 inshore jacket. It has a detachable hood, plus four pockets, including an inner chest pocket that gives valuables some protection from the wet weather.

On the downside, there are no hand-warmer pockets, the collar is not fleece-lined and there’s no inner cuff seal.

Nevertheless, its lightweight, packs super-small, is comfortable and doesn’t restrict movement. You won’t need anything better for many decent summer days and it can be worn ashore as well.

Buy it now


Musto BR2 Coastal Jacket

Specifications: Weight – Undisclosed | Sizes – S-XXL | Choice of colours – 2 | Materials – Polyamide, Polyester

Reasons to buy: Double storm flap | Fluorescent hood | Fleece-lined handwarmer pockets
Reasons to avoid: At the pricier end of the coastal jacket spectrum.

This is an ideal mid-range jacket from one of the big-name manufacturers. The two-layer fabric has a significantly higher level of water resistance than inshore products.

The articulated cut ensures freedom of movement and there’s a double storm flap, fluorescent hood and high fleece-lined collar.

There are also fleece hand warmer pockets, plus two cargo pockets, an internal zipped pocket and a sunglasses pocket. The reflective detailing shows up clearly at night and there are double waterproof cuffs.

Buy men’s Musto BR2 Coastal Jacket from Musto
Buy women’s Musto BR2 Coastal Jacket from Musto

Zhik INS200 Jacket

Best summer sailing jacket

Specifications: Weight – 510g | Sizes – S-XXL | Choice of colours – 2 | Materials – Vecta, Polyurethane

Reasons to buy: Three-layer fabric with taped seams | Fully waterproof and features adjustable cuffs
Reasons to avoid: It is relatively expensive for a coastal jacket.

If you’re in the market for a lightweight performance sailing jacket, then the Zhik INS200 jacket might well be the right thing for you.

Lightweight technical fabrics are expensive and typically Zhik’s kit is therefore not the cheapest on the market. Nevertheless, the state of the art fabrics it uses and the high level of attention to detail rarely fails to impress.

The streamlined and minimalist look of the INS-200 jacket conceals many neat features. For instance the hood has a soft Spandex gusset that sits comfortably on the forehead and performs several functions.

This improves protection against water ingress, while sealing the hood against wind, making it feel much warmer. It also automatically turns the hood as you turn your head.

For offshore use, when extreme conditions may be encountered, you can use this as a comfortable option when under way in good weather and when going ashore, while reserving a cumbersome full-ocean spec jacket for use only in bad weather.

Buy it now from Amazon

Best offshore sailing jackets


Decathlon Tribord Sailing Jacket Offshore 900

Best offshore sailing jacket under £300

Specifications: Weight – Undisclosed | Sizes – XS-XXXL | Choice of colours – 3 | Materials – Polyamide, Polyurethane, Polyester, Elastane, Rubber

Reasons to buy: Competitively priced | Developed alongside ocean racing skippers Jean-Baptiste Daramy, Achille Nebout, Romain Le Gall and Léo Bothore | Reinforced bottom for improved durability.
Reasons to avoid: The women’s version doesn’t include a face guard

This French company develops and retails its own brand products, but doesn’t change its ranges unnecessarily merely to suit the whims of fashion. The result is long-lasting gear at very competitive prices.

This is the firm’s top-specification offshore jacket, made from a three-layer fabric with four times the waterproofing rating of typical inshore products.

It also has a high collar, adjustable hood with rigid visor, double sleeve seals and two hand warmer pockets. In addition, there are two cargo pockets and a further secure and drier pocket under the storm flap.

Buy it now from Decathlon


Helly Hansen Aegir Race Jacket

Specifications: Weight – 1,050g | Sizes – XS-XXL | Choice of colours – 2 | Materials – Polyamide, Polyester

Reasons to buy: Machine washable | Available in a wide range of sizes from S to XXL | Fully taped seams.
Reasons to avoid: The large sizing prioritises width over height.

The Helly Hansen Ægir Race Jacket is the outcome of extensive work with professional racing teams who know what works best in extreme conditions, including Thomas Colville, Pip Hare and Joan Mulloy.

The result is a very high specification full-length offshore jacket that’s still surprisingly lightweight, streamlined and comfortable to wear.

A big element of the comfort factor is down to the choice of three-layer fabric that doesn’t need a lining.

The new four-layer fabric is supple and doesn’t noticeably restrict movement. Yet it offers a very high level of both waterproofing and breathability. It’s made of 50 per cent recycled content and uses a PFC free durable water repellent treatment.

Buy it now from Amazon


Gill OS1 Ocean Smock

Specifications: Weight – Undisclosed | Sizes – XS-XXL | Choice of colours – 2 | Materials – Nylon, Polyester

Reasons to buy: Ocean height collar with a concealed, wrap-around face guard | Shackle tool and PLB attachment point | Deep cargo pockets with secure closure and hand warmer pockets behind.
Reasons to avoid: The premium features mean a premium price.

Did you know that smocks work much better than jackets for really serious work? Granted, they are not as easy to put on or take off, but the neck seal and lack of a front zip means they are intrinsically far more waterproof.

An additional advantage is that, unlike a big and heavy jacket, they don’t restrict movement which is a plus if you need to wear it while doing repair work on your yacht. The Gill’s OS1 also has all the elements you would expect in a serious ocean specification jacket.

Details such as the high-lined collar, first-class hood, hand warmer pockets and reinforced bottom section make it stand out from others on this list. It also benefits from neoprene cuff and waist seals to keep the water out in testing conditions.

Buy it now on Amazon

Helly Hansen Skagen Offshore Jacket

Specifications: Weight – 1200g | Sizes – S-XXL | Choice of colours – 4 | Materials – Polyamide, Polyester

Reasons to buy: High fleece lined collar with storm flap | Competitively priced offshore option | Great reinforcement
Reasons to avoid: Quite bulky so limits manoeuvrability

The Helly Hansen Skagen Offshore Jacket is part of the Norwegian company’s mid-level ‘Performance’ range and is competitively priced. Yet it shares ergonomics and features with the brand’s top specification Ægir collection that sells for two or three times the price.

The high fleece lined collar includes an effective storm flap with fleece fabric under the chin that maximises comfort and minimises chafe.

There’s also a two-way main zip, with Velcro fastened storm flap, plus plenty of reinforcement in high wear areas around the elbows and lower back.

Despite the obvious bulk of the Helly Hansen Skagen Offshore Jacket, articulated arms and shoulders facilitate ease of movement.

The high visibility hood proved effective and for night sailing there are six strips of retro-reflective tape. This is a feature that’s all too often lacking in other kit that’s described as being suitable for offshore use.

Detailing includes a big and obvious hanging loop. This may sound like a small point, but can make a big difference when coming off watch in the early hours of the morning on a boat that’s bouncing around in a big sea.
On a late autumn day in the English Channel, with gusts the wrong side of 30 knots, this jacket was very cosy to wear. And the extent to which it eliminates wind chill is impressive at the price.

Buy it now from Helly Hansen

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

What makes a good sailing jacket?

My Gill OS1 sailing jacket, for instance, is great for cold and properly wet night watches, but the extra-high collar can feel claustrophobic in lesser conditions. For many people, it’s therefore a better option to start with an inshore or coastal sailing jacket and then add a high-spec offshore sailing jacket when it’s needed.

There are two key exceptions to this. Firstly, those who race offshore, where the weight and bulk of kit needs to be kept to a minimum. Equally, delivery crew will often be at sea in conditions that keep all but a handful of cruising yachts in port.

How to choose the best sailing jacket

How can you identify the best sailing jackets? Well, it’s not as simple as you might think. All have some features in common, including articulated arms for ease of movement, reinforcement in the lower back panel, handwarmer pockets, a quick-dry fabric-lined collar and effective cuff seals.

All the important brands have nailed the attention to detail at the design stage to ensure all the elements to work well while out at sea.

One important aspect that’s not often fully understood is the differences in fabric types. Less expensive garments usually employ a two-layer outer material, which requires a separate inner lining. This can make the sailing jacket more awkward to put on and take off and adds to the bulk in your kit bag.

Three-layer fabrics don’t need an inner lining and from a comfort perspective are therefore preferable to two-layer options. They also tend to dry a lot faster. This puts to bed the old idea that a heavy sailing jacket automatically offers better protection.

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