Everything you need to know about the outerwear that is going to keep you warm and dry wherever you are at sea.
From inspecting the deck for damage to checking the shroud and cotter pins are in good condition, there’s nothing worse than inspecting your yacht without the best waterproof jacket.
When you’re up against some drizzle, a shower or a storm, even the best sailing jackets won’t compete if the waterproofing isn’t up to scratch. With so many options available, you might find it challenging to select the one that meets your specific needs.
Whether you’re searching for the best lightweight waterproof jacket or a waterproof jacket for racing, we’ve put a spotlight on market-leading options so you aren’t steered in the wrong direction.
Best waterproof jacket at a glance
Best waterproof jacket with quick-drying lining – Gill OS3 Coastal Jacket
Best waterproof jacket for heavy rain – Musto BR2 Coastal Jacket
Best lightweight waterproof jacket – Zhik INS200 Coastal Sailing Jacket
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Best waterproof jacket with quick-drying lining
Specifications: Weight – 2,000g | Sizes – S-XXL | Choice of colours – 3 | Materials – Nylon, Polyester, XPEL
Reasons to buy: It has fully taped seams, hi-vis hood with a two-way adjustment system and a non-absorbent and quick-drying lining.
Reasons to avoid: In colder climates, you’ll want to add a base layer or two.
Gill’s 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.
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.
Musto BR2 Coastal Jacket
Best waterproof jacket for heavy rain
Specifications: Weight – Undisclosed | Sizes – S-XXL | Choice of colours – 2 | Materials – Polyamide, Polyester
Reasons to buy: It features a double storm flap, fluorescent hood and fleece-lined handwarmer pockets.
Reasons to avoid: At the pricier end for a waterproof jacket.
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 higher wet abrasion resistance means that the fabric stays drier for longer which is ideal for when you’re working out on the deck in the rain.
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.
Zhik INS200 Coastal Sailing Jacket
Specifications: Weight – 510g | Sizes – S-XXL | Choice of colours – two | Materials – Vecta, Polyurethane
Reasons to buy: It has three-layer fabric with taped seams, it is fully waterproof and features adjustable cuffs.
Reasons to avoid: It is relatively expensive for a coastal jacket.
There’s a lot to be said for choosing the best inshore jacket you can find. It will be lightweight, comfortable to wear, very easy to move around in and is likely to see a lot of use.
Zhik’s INS200 and 300 series are arguably the most carefully designed of all. Both are made of an impressive three-layer fabric with taped seams and have a sculpted fit that minimises excess material.
Decathlon Tribord Sailing Jacket Offshore 900
Best waterproof jacket with a face guard
Specifications: Weight – Undisclosed | Sizes – XS-XXXL | Choice of colours – 3 | Materials – Polyamide, Polyurethane, Polyester, Elastane, Rubber
Reasons to buy: As well as being a competitively priced for an offshore jacket, it was developed with ocean racing skippers Jean-Baptiste Daramy, Achille Nebout, Romain Le Gall and Léo Bothore. It also has a 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.
Helly Hansen Aegir Race Jacket
Best waterproof jacket for racing
Specifications: Weight – 1,050g | Sizes – XS-XXL | Choice of colours – 2 | Materials – Polyamide, Polyester
Reasons to buy: It is machine washable, available in a wide range of sizes from S to XXL and is fully taped seams.
Reasons to avoid: The large sizing prioritises width over height.
This range was developed with serious ocean racing in mind, with considerable input at the design stage from professional sailors, including the Mapfre team in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The Aegir Race Jacket is a premium choice for deep water races that last several days, such as the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Newport-Bermuda.
Smaller pockets and zippers compared to the standard Aegir products create a sleek and light design that makes it easy to move around. A four-layer fabric with a very high level of waterproofing is used and attention to detail is excellent.
Best premium waterproof jacket
Specifications: Weight – Undisclosed | Sizes – XS-XXL | Choice of colours – 2 | Materials – Nylon, Polyester
Reasons to buy: The Ocean height collar with a concealed, wrap-around face guard. It has a shackle tool and PLB attachment point. Alongside this, it has features such as the deep cargo pockets with secure closure and hand warmer pockets behind.
Reasons to avoid: The premium features on this coat come with 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.
How to choose the best waterproof jacket
Checking how waterproof a jacket is isn’t as simple as you would think. Until you’re out of the open water, you never really know how well the garment will perform until you’re up against the elements.
That said, there are a few features you can look out for to select an option that is waterproof and breathable. We recommend packing a lightweight jacket for a hotter climate or a warm choice for cooler conditions.
Before purchasing, look into if the jacket is made from waterproof material as some coats feature a waterproof coating that isn’t as durable. We’d also recommend checking that it has taped seams and waterproof zips as this is an area where water can get in.
A final tip is to measure the dimensions of the waterproof jacket so it will fit you correctly. More coverage should reduce the amount of water able to squeeze through to the next layer.