Explore The Best Sailing Jackets In 2024. From Inshore To Offshore, Find Your Perfect Fit!

Reviewed by Tim West

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sailing jackets

Choosing the right sailing jacket can be tricky. I’ve been sailing for a long time, and I know how important it is to have the right jacket. 

There are so many options out there! Some jackets are great for calm days near the shore, while others are made for big waves and strong winds out in the open sea. 

In this guide, I’ll help you figure out which jacket is the best for you. We’ll look at different types, what makes them special, and which ones are the top picks. 

Ready to dive in? Let’s go…

Top Sailing Jackets – At A Glance

Best Inshore Sailing Jackets For Men 

Best Inshore Sailing Jacket For Women 

Best Coastal Sailing Jackets For Men 

Best Coastal Sailing Jackets For Women

Best Offshore Sailing Jackets For Men 

Best Offshore Sailing Jackets For Women

Looking to upgrade your sailing attire? Check out our detailed guides on the best sailing outfit, best sailing shoes, top-rated sailing sunglasses, best sailing watches, best sailing gloves, and best sailing hats. Navigate through them for optimal preparation before setting sail!

Best Sailing Jackets in 2024 – Reviewed

Before we dive into the specifics, it’s worth noting how we’ve structured our reviews. To make your journey smoother, we’ve categorized the best sailing jackets available based on their primary use: inshore, coastal, or offshore. Additionally, we’ve distinguished between designs tailored for men and women. So, without further ado, let’s kick things off with the best inshore sailing jackets!

Best Inshore Sailing Jackets For Men 

Helly-Hansen Crew Sailing Jacket

Helly Hansen Mens Team Crew sailing Jacket
Helly-Hansen Men’s Crew Sailing Jacket

Pros:

  • The outer layer ensures you stay dry and comfortable, even in unpredictable weather.
  • Perfect for inshore sailing, mild weather conditions, and even casual wear at the marina.

Cons:

  • Might be a bit pricey for some. But well worth the investment.

Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of sailing coats, but the Helly-Hansen Crew Sailing Jacket has truly made an impression. Sailing in the mild breezes of spring and the crisp air of fall, this jacket has been my trusty companion. The HELLY TECH® Protection fabric is a game-changer. It’s not just about staying dry; it’s about feeling comfortable while you’re at it. And this jacket nails it.

The Polartec® fleece lining – in the midlayer version-  is a delightful touch, especially when the temperatures start to dip. It’s like having a warm hug while you’re navigating the waters. And for those who’ve faced the challenge of adjusting cuffs with one hand while holding onto a rope with the other, the easy one-hand adjustable hem and cuffs are a blessing. Now, while I adore this midlayer version for its fully fleeced inner layer, I’ve heard great things about the standard version too, especially for those warmer days when you’ll need just a fleece around the neck. So make sure to check it out if you are just looking for a lightweight jacket.

But it’s not just about sailing. Docked at the marina or heading out for a seaside dinner, the jacket’s stylish yachting cut ensures you’re looking sharp. Plus, the dual hand pockets with brushed lining? Perfect for those chilly hands or stashing away small essentials.

If you’re in the market for a sailing jacket that offers both performance and style, the Helly-Hansen Crew Sailing Jacket is a solid choice. Whether you’re into men or women’s jackets , this brand has consistently proven its worth. So, why wait? Set your sails, and maybe add this jacket to your cart while you’re at it.

Best Inshore Sailing Jacket For Women 

Helly-Hansen Women’s Crew Sailing Jacket

Helly Hansen Women's Crew Sailing Jacket
Helly-Hansen Women’s Crew Sailing Jacket

Pros:

  • Fully Equipped for the Elements: The outer layer fabric ensures you’re shielded from wind and water, while still maintaining breathability.
  • Not only perfect for sailing adventures, but its classic marine style also makes it a chic choice for onshore activities.

Cons:

  • It might lean towards the pricier side, but the value it offers is undeniable.

Having had an impeccable experience with the men’s version of this sailing jacket, I was curious to see if the womens Helly-Hansen Crew Sailing Jacket would impress just as much. Spoiler alert: it did. But don’t just take my word for it. One of my trusted female crew members, who’s weathered many a storm with me, swears by this jacket. 

The HELLY TECH® Protection fabric is her trusted shield. It effortlessly keeps the wind and water at bay, ensuring she remains dry and comfortable, even when the weather is less than forgiving.

The jacket’s design is both practical and stylish. The dual hand pockets, lined with a soft brushed material, are a cozy refuge for cold fingers. And the adjustable cuffs? They’re a small detail that makes a world of difference in keeping the chill out. Now, while this is the midlayer version with a fleeced inner layer perfect for those cooler days, there’s also a standard version that only has fleece around the neck area, ideal for warmer days.

This jacket is great for yachting in general. Whether you’re grabbing a coffee at the marina or heading into town, its classic marine aesthetic ensures you’re doing so in style. And for those who love a personal touch, the embellishment zip is a thoughtful addition, allowing you to add your own logo or branding.

For women looking for a reliable, stylish, comfortable to wear day sailing coat, this is a solid choice. Drawing from my stellar experience with its male counterpart, I can confidently say that this jacket won’t let you down. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or just starting out, it’s a worthy addition to your wardrobe. 

So, why wait? Dive in and experience the blend of Scandinavian design and technical prowess that is the Helly-Hansen Women’s Crew Sailing Jacket.

Best Coastal Sailing Jackets For Men 

Gill Men’s Coastal Jacket

Gill Mens Coastal Sailing Jacket
Gill Men’s OS3 Coastal Jacket

Pros:

  • Waterproof and breathable 2-layer fabric keeps you dry and comfortable.
  • Fabric technology offers unmatched water repellency, stain resistance, and odor control, enhancing the overall sailing experience.

Cons:

  • Initial sizing might run a bit small, especially around the shoulders. You may need to size up for a better fit. Make sure you use the sizing chart.
  • As with this type of sailing coat, the collar can feel a bit too high and stiff at first for some.

Let me share a bit about my trusty companion on many coastal sails: the Gill Men’s OS3 Coastal Jacket. Whenever I’m out on short-distance passages, this sailing jacket has proven its worth time and again. The 2-layer fabric is a marvel, ensuring I remain dry even when the sea decides to throw a tantrum. And the XPEL® technology on the fabric? It’s like having an invisible shield against water, stains, and even those pesky odors.

Now, I must admit, the first size I tried felt a tad snug around the shoulders. But after sizing up, it was smooth sailing (pun intended). The jacket fits like a dream, and while the collar took some getting used to due to its initial stiffness, it’s a very minor thing in an otherwise stellar sailing coat.

For those who frequent the coast, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned sailor, this jacket is a gem. It’s not just one of the best sailing jackets I’ve had the pleasure of wearing, but it’s also a testament to Gill’s commitment to quality and innovation. 

My recommendation for new sailors: If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of sailing, a coastal jacket is a solid choice for your initial wet weather gear. And as you venture further out and get a better understanding of your needs and preferences, only then, consider upgrading to a specialized offshore jacket (see our reviews below).

If you’re in the market for a reliable mens sailing jacket, give the Gill Men’s OS3 Coastal model a whirl. You won’t be disappointed. It’s been a trusted companion for me, and I bet it will be for you too!

Helly-Hansen Men’s Pier Coastal Sailing Jacket

Helly Hansen Men's Pier Coastal Sailing Jacket.
Helly-Hansen Men’s Pier Coastal Jacket

Pros:

  • The outer layer ensures a waterproof, windproof, and breathable experience, keeping sailors dry and comfortable.
  • Reflectives and a high protective collar enhance safety during sailing.

Cons:

  • As with this type of sailing coat, the collar can feel a bit too high and stiff at first for some.

While I personally swear by my Gill Coastal Jacket and the Helly-Hansen Skagen Offshore Jacket, I’ve got to tip my hat to another impressive contender in the sailing jacket realm: the Helly-Hansen Men’s Pier Coastal. Some of my crew members have been sporting this coat, and their feedback? Stellar.

The HELLY TECH® Performance outer layer membrane is fantactic. It’s like having an invisible barrier against the unpredictable sea, and odd squall, ensuring you remain dry and comfy. And having experienced the quality of Helly-Hansen’s Skagen Offshore Jacket, I can vouch for the brand’s commitment to top-tier performance. The Pier Coastal’s SOLAS-approved reflectives and high collar are thoughtful touches, enhancing safety during those challenging sails.

Now, while the coat is a solid performer, a couple of my crew did mention the collar took a bit of getting used to. But hey, that’s a small trade-off for the protection it offers. But all in all, for those looking for a reliable men’s sailing jacket, the Helly-Hansen Men’s Pier Coastal is a worthy pick.

Considering a new sailing jacket? Give the Helly-Hansen Men’s Pier Coastal a shot. It’s got my crew’s seal of approval, and coming from a seasoned sailor, that says a lot!

Best Coastal Sailing Jackets For Women

Gill Women’s Coastal Jacket 

Gill Women's OS3 Coastal Sailing Jacket
Gill Women’s OS3 Coastal Sailing Jacket

Pros:

  • Innovative fabric technology that provides a unique combination of waterproofing, breathability, stain resistance, and odor control.
  • Comprehensive protection: Fully lined hi-vis hood, high-cut thermal collar, and adjustable cuffs with PU inner seals ensure you’re warm and dry in all conditions.

Cons:

  • Price might be on the higher side for beginners.


While I personally haven’t donned the Gill Women’s Coastal Jacket (for obvious reasons), I’ve seen it in action. Some of my female crew members love it, and I can see why (I love Gill’s male version of this jacket, see my review above). This sailing coat is a favorite among coastal female sailors, and it’s not just about the aesthetics.

The XPLORE® 2-layer fabric construction is a game-changer. It’s not just about keeping the water out; it’s about letting your skin breathe. And for those who’ve faced the wrath of unexpected spills or the occasional seagull ‘gift’, the XPEL® stain repellent technology is a blessing. No more unsightly stains or lingering odors after a long day on the deck.

But what truly stands out for me is the attention to detail. The hi-vis hood isn’t just about visibility; it’s about ensuring you’re seen even in the murkiest of conditions. The high-cut thermal collar, the adjustable cuffs with PU inner seals, and the design with a long waist and sleeves — They’re not just design elements; they’re your shield against the unpredictable sea sprays and gusts, ensuring full coverage and protection.

In the specialized world of sailing, Gill has carved a niche. So, if you’re in the market for a coastal jacket that’s as functional as it is stylish, give the Gill Women’s Coastal Jacket a whirl. Whether you’re a newbie finding your sea legs or a seasoned boater charting unknown waters, this jacket promises to be a steadfast cruise companion.

Best Offshore Sailing Jackets For Men 

Helly-Hansen Men’s Skagen Offshore Sailing Jacket

Helly Hansen Men's Skagen Offshore Sailing Jacket
Helly-Hansen Men’s Skagen Offshore Sailing Jacket

Pros:

  • Top-notch waterproofing, breathability, and windproof protection.
  • Collar lined with high fleece and equipped with a storm flap.
  • Made with a minimum of 50% recycled material, including Ocean Bound Recycled Material, making it eco-friendly without compromising on durability.

Cons:

  • High price compared to regular jackets, but well worth the investment.

Let me share a bit about my experience with the Helly-Hansen Men’s Skagen Offshore Sailing Jacket. Now, I’ve worn my fair share of sailing coats over the years, but this one? It’s a real game-changer. Setting sail offshore, I was met with unpredictable weather, but this jacket had my back. The Helly Tech® Performance ensured I remained dry and comfortable, even when the winds were howling and the waves were relentless.

The jacket’s eco-reinforcement, built with recycled polyester, is a testament to the jacket’s durability. And speaking of eco-friendly, I was impressed to learn (after I had used it for a while) that the jacket is made with over 50% recycled material. It’s not just one of the best sailing jackets I’ve tried, but it’s also a nod to sustainability.

Now, for those new to the sailing world, I’d recommend starting with a coastal sailing jacket for your wet weather gear. It’s a smart move. As you gain more experience and feel the pull of offshore sailing, that’s when investing in a technical jacket like this one becomes a no-brainer. 

It’s designed for those ready to tackle the challenges of the open sea. The price might be a tad higher than your regular coats, but trust me, it’s an investment you won’t regret.

Considering a new offshore sailing jacket? Dive in and check out the Skagen Offshore. It’s a favorite for a reason, and you’ll soon see why!

Best Offshore Sailing Jackets For Women

Gill Women’s Offshore Sailing Jacket 

Gill Women's Offshore Sailing Jacket
Gill Women’s Offshore Sailing Jacket

Pros:

  • Made from an impressive 98% recycled content, showcasing a commitment to sustainability without compromising on quality.
  • XPLORE® and XPEL® technologies ensure superior waterproofing, breathability, and stain resistance, making it a reliable companion for sailors.

Cons:

  • Might be a bit pricey for some, although the quality justifies the cost.
  • The abundance of features might be overwhelming for beginners.

Over the years, I’ve seen and heard about a myriad of sailing coats. The Gill Women’s OS2 Offshore Sailing Jacket, however, has been making waves among offshore female sailors. It’s not just one of the best sailing jackets out there, but it’s also a testament to how far sailing jacket brands have come in terms of sustainability. A jacket that’s made from materials almost entirely reclaimed from plastic bottles and recycled fibers? That’s innovation!

Now, while I’ve not worn it personally, I’ve seen many swear by the likes of Helly Hansen sailing jackets. But the buzz around the OS2, with its XPLORE® 2-layer fabric, is hard to ignore. It’s touted as a shield against the elements. The high-cut thermal collar and hand warmer pockets are features that many sailors rave about. And the watertight seals on the pockets? A godsend for those unexpected splashes.

Ladies, if you’re scouting for offshore sailing jackets, the OS2 is worth a closer look.

How to Choose the Best Jackets: Buyer’s Guide

sailing coats waterproofing

Navigating the vast sea of sailing jackets can be as challenging as steering through a stormy night. But fear not! Just as every sailor needs a trusty compass, this guide is here to point you in the right direction. Before we dive into the specifics of what to look for, let’s first understand the primary categories of sailing jackets and where each one shines.

What is the difference between inshore, coastal, and offshore sailing jackets?

Sailing jackets are your shield against the unpredictable temperament of the sea. But, just like every sailor has their unique journey, not all coats cater to the same needs. Let’s break down the differences:

Inshore Jackets: Light Protection for Calm Waters 

  • Design: Think of it as your stylish rain jacket with a nautical twist. 
  • Protection: It offers fundamental protection, often featuring a cozy fleece-lined collar. 
  • Best For: Those leisurely cruise days when you’re transitioning from boat rides to beachside cafes.

Coastal Jackets: Intermediate Protection for Nearer Shores 

  • Design: These come with a higher collar, ready to fend off that unexpected spray, and usually, a neatly tucked-away hood.
  • Protection: They’re equipped with spacious pockets for your essentials, safety-enhancing reflective trims, and some even have back reinforcements for added durability. Plus, a slightly extended hem ensures you’re covered, quite literally. 
  • Best For: When you’re sailing not too far from the shore but anticipate some rough patches.

Offshore Jackets: Maximum Protection for Open Waters 

  • Design: These are the titans of sailing jackets. Picture a collar so high, it’s like a protective cocoon up to your ears. 
  • Protection: Elite waterproofing, combining fully taped seams and double storm flaps to keep you dry. These designs typically include chest pockets and cargo pockets, enhanced with velcro for secure storage. Face guards and reflective detailing, including fluorescent hoods ensure safety against water sprays and low visibility, while the reinforced cuffs and hem provide robust protection. A quality offshore jacket is made to withstand the fiercest storms. 
  • Best For: Serious sailing voyages and ocean racing, where you’re up against the full might of the elements.

Tip: If you are just starting out in the world of sailing, a coastal sailing jacket might be your best bet as your primary wet-weather companion. And as you venture further out and get a better understanding of your needs and preferences, only then, consider upgrading to a specialized ocean jacket.

What to look for in a Sailing Jacket

When it comes to choosing the perfect sailing jacket, it’s not just about the aesthetics or the brand name stitched on the chest. It’s about the intricate dance between functionality, comfort, and durability. 

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or just starting to feel the sea’s call, understanding the key features of a sailing jacket can make all the difference between a pleasant voyage and a soggy ordeal. Here are some important features to look for:

Material and Waterproofing

The sea is unpredictable. One moment it’s calm, and the next, you’re drenched by an unexpected wave. The primary role of a sailing jacket is to ensure you remain dry, and that boils down to the material and its waterproofing capabilities. Different jackets use various materials, each with its own set of pros and cons. Some might be more lightweight, while others offer a sturdier shield against the elements. Always check the jacket’s waterproof rating and ensure it aligns with your sailing needs.

Breathability

While keeping water out is crucial, so is letting air in. No one wants to feel like they’re wrapped in a plastic bag, sweating profusely. A good sailing jacket will strike a balance, ensuring you’re dry from external splashes and internal perspiration. Look for features that promote breathability, such as vented panels or specific fabric technologies.

Durability and Construction

The sea can be rough, not just in terms of waves but also on your gear. The constant exposure to saltwater, sun, and movement demands a jacket that can withstand the test of time. Pay attention to the jacket’s construction quality, reinforced areas, and the robustness of zippers and seams.

Fit and Comfort

A jacket might tick all the technical boxes, but if it feels like a straightjacket, it’s a no-go. Make sure you can move freely and comfortably. Look for features that enhance comfort, such as adjustable cuffs, ergonomic designs, and flexible materials. Remember, the jacket should complement your sailing, not hinder it.

Additional Features

Beyond the basics, some jackets come loaded with features that, while not essential, can significantly enhance your sailing experience. Reflective detailing can be a lifesaver in low-light conditions. Adjustable cuffs prevent those chilly water splashes up your arm. And reinforcements in high-wear areas ensure your jacket stands up to frequent use.

Price vs. Value

While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest option, remember that in the world of sailing jackets, you often get what you pay for. Investing a bit more can mean a jacket that not only lasts longer but also provides better protection and comfort.

Tip: Quality sailing jackets, especially from renowned brands like Helly-Hansen, Gill, Musto, and Zhik, can often be found second-hand. Check out local sailing clubs or online groups dedicated to sailing gear. These jackets are built to last, so even a pre-loved one can offer you great value and protection.

Brand Reputation and Warranty

Navigating the sea of jackets, you’ll come across various sailing brands, from well-established names like Helly-Hansen and Gill to newer entrants. While a brand name isn’t everything, there’s a reason some have stood the test of time. They consistently deliver quality. When choosing a jacket, consider the brand’s reputation. A solid warranty is also a good indicator. It shows the manufacturer’s confidence in their product, and it can be a lifesaver if you run into any issues down the line.

Layering and Insulation

The sea’s temperament can change in a heartbeat, and so can its temperature. This is where the concept of layering comes into play. Some jackets come with built-in insulation, perfect for colder voyages. Others are designed with layering in mind, allowing you to adjust based on conditions. Think about where and when you’ll be at sea, and carefully choose the right jacket that not only offers the flexibility you need but also helps to keep you warm and dry.

Care and Maintenance

Like any prized possession, your jacket deserves care. Different materials have different care requirements, especially when it comes to maintaining waterproofing and breathability features. Always follow the care instructions. A well-maintained jacket will not only last longer but also perform better.

Environmental Considerations

The sea is our playground, and it’s our responsibility to protect it. Many brands are now focusing on sustainable materials and practices. Look for jackets that use eco-friendly features, like PFC-free DWR treatments. Choosing environmentally conscious products is a small step towards preserving the oceans we love.

User Reviews and Feedback

While expert opinions are valuable, there’s nothing like hearing from fellow sailors. User reviews provide real-world feedback on how a jacket performs in various conditions. Look for common praises or recurring issues. These insights can be invaluable in making an informed decision. I hope this guide is helping you on this front.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

Choosing the perfect jacket for sailing is a journey, not a destination. As you get more experience and understand your needs better, your preferences might evolve. 

Whether you’re looking for a budget option or the ultimate ocean jacket, always prioritize safety and comfort. 

And remember, the sea has a way of surprising us, so it’s always best to be over-prepared than under.

Happy journey, and may your new jacket be your loyal companion through many adventures!

FAQ

What are some of the best brand names for sailing jackets?

Several brands have established a reputation for producing high-quality sailing jackets. Some of the top names include Helly-Hansen, Gill, Musto, and Zhik. These brands are known for their durability, functionality, and design tailored specifically for sailing conditions.

What sailing jacket is best for rough waters?

For rough waters, you’ll want a sailing jacket that offers maximum protection against the elements. An offshore sailing jacket is specifically designed for such conditions. These jackets come with features like an extremely high collar to shield against heavy spray and waves, top-notch waterproof ratings, spume guards to deflect water from the face, extensive reflective detailing for safety, and robust reinforcements.

Do you need a sailing jacket?

While you might not need a sailing jacket for a quick trip in calm waters on a sunny day, it’s highly recommended for longer journeys, unpredictable weather, or colder climates. A sailing jacket provides protection from wind, water, and cold, ensuring safety and comfort.

Can I wear my regular outdoor or snow jacket on a boat?

While snow and outdoor jackets provide warmth, they might not offer the waterproofing and breathability needed for sailing. Sailing jackets are designed to handle sea spray, wind, and other maritime conditions. If you are serious about sailing, it’s best to invest in a dedicated sailing jacket for optimal protection.

Which jacket is the right size and style for me?

The right jacket should allow freedom of movement, especially in the arms and shoulders, and should fit comfortably with layers underneath. Consider the type of sailing you’ll be doing (inshore, coastal, offshore) to determine the style. Trying on jackets and checking the manufacturer’s size charts can help you find the perfect fit.

Where can I get a used jacket?

Used sailing jackets can be found at local marine consignment shops, online marketplaces like eBay, or specialized sailing forums and Facebook groups. When buying used, inspect the jacket for wear and tear and ensure that its waterproofing and other features are still intact.

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AUTHOR

Hi I am Peter, I absolutely love being out on the water and I have a deep passion for all things nautical. Sailing has been a huge part of my life and I plan to continue doing it for as long as I can. When I'm not out sailing, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading a good book, and listening to music.