Choosing the Right Sailing Jacket: What's best for you?

Choosing the Right Sailing Jacket: What’s best for you?

Choosing the Right Sailing Jacket: What's best for you?

Sailing is a thrilling adventure that allows you to connect with the elements, but it also demands proper gear to ensure safety and comfort. A sailing jacket is a pivotal component of this gear, acting as a shield against the unpredictable weather at sea.

This article delves deeper into the aspects of selecting the perfect sailing jacket, emphasizing waterproofing, breathability, material, weight, and the importance of SOLAS approved reflective materials.

1. Waterproofing: The First Line of Defense

Waterproofing is paramount in a sailing jacket. It is the jacket’s ability to withstand water penetration, crucial for protection against rain and sea splashes. Opt for jackets with a waterproof rating of at least 10,000mm, and ensure that the seams are sealed or taped to prevent water from seeping through the stitches. The presence of storm flaps over zippers also enhances waterproofing by blocking the path of water ingress.

2. Breathability: Balancing Dryness and Comfort

A jacket that is waterproof but not breathable can lead to condensation buildup inside, resulting in discomfort. Breathability, measured in g/m²/day, indicates the amount of moisture vapor that can pass through the fabric. A rating above 5,000g/m²/day is recommended for optimal comfort, allowing perspiration to escape and preventing dampness and chill.

3. Material: The Fabric of Protection

The choice of material determines the jacket’s durability, comfort, and level of protection. High-quality materials like Gore-Tex and eVent are renowned for their waterproof, breathable, and lightweight properties. A Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating is a valuable addition, causing water to bead and roll off the fabric, thereby enhancing water resistance and prolonging the life of the jacket.

4. Weight: Striking the Right Balance

The weight of the jacket is crucial, especially for extended sailing expeditions. Lightweight jackets, weighing between 500g to 800g, are preferable as they do not impede mobility. However, sailing in colder climates may necessitate heavier jackets with added insulation to ward off the cold.

5. Fit and Design: Tailoring Comfort and Functionality

A jacket that fits well is not only comfortable but also allows unrestricted movement. Adjustable features such as cuffs, hems, and hoods enable customization of fit. High collars and storm flaps offer additional protection against the elements, while well-placed pockets provide convenient storage for essentials.

6. SOLAS Approved Reflective Materials: Enhancing Visibility

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) approved reflective materials are crucial for visibility at sea, especially during night-time or in low-light conditions. These reflective patches or strips bounce back light, making the wearer visible to other vessels, thereby reducing the risk of accidents. When selecting a sailing jacket, ensure it has SOLAS approved reflective elements on both the front and back for optimum visibility.

7. Additional Features: Elevating the Sailing Experience

Some jackets come with extra features like fleece-lined collars for added comfort and articulated sleeves for increased range of motion. While not mandatory, these features can significantly enhance your comfort and sailing experience.

8. Price: Navigating the Cost

While it might be tempting to opt for high-end jackets, there are numerous affordable options that do not compromise on quality. It is essential to compare different brands and models and assess their features against their price to find a jacket that aligns with your needs and budget.


Selecting the right sailing jacket is a meticulous process that involves considering various factors to find the perfect balance between comfort, protection, and price. Emphasizing waterproofing and breathability is crucial, and the incorporation of high-quality materials, SOLAS approved reflective elements, and a well-balanced weight can significantly elevate your sailing experience. Whether you are a weekend sailor or an experienced seafarer, investing in the right sailing jacket is a step towards safer and more enjoyable journeys on the water.

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