Personal Equipment Guide - Outer Layers

Outer Layers!

So we’ve talked about the all important base layer, providing warmth and heat retention next to your skin … and wicking away the water when you get wet. But what about the outer layers?

When most people think about clothing for sailing, they think about a big jacket, pants and boots – the outer layer. But with so many choices and brands, how do you choose what’s right for you? In this short article, we’ll do our best to help you out.

Step 1: Usage

Decide the worst conditions you are going to ask your gear to protect you from – I say worst, because no one ever comes to us and says, “Jeff, that jacket was just too good for the conditions I sail in”. Be realistic, but don’t answer this question with, “Bay sailing on sunny days” and then take it with you on your trip to Tassie.

So try to put your intended use into one of the following:

  • 1.Dockside: You want something to keep out the wind and a bit of ‘rain’ while looking good on the dock … we are not addressing this usage situation in this article I’m afraid.
  • 2.Sub-tropical sailing: you are lucky enough to be sailing where the temperature rarely drops below 20C
  • 3.Temperate Coastal Sailing: You sail where the air temperature gets into the low teens, and with additional wind chill drops a few degrees more. You still sail when it’s raining, but are back in the bar within a couple of hours.
  • 4.Offshore Sailing: You sail for extended periods where the weather is unpredictable and you expect to get wet. You expect your gear to work to protect you though day and night.
  • 5.Southern offshore and ocean sailing. You are exposed to the extreme of conditions, and need durable gear that keeps you dry in all conditions and you expect to be wearing it for extended periods.

Step 2: Crew Position

I bring this up really to make two comments. Crew on the bow often get very wet and often select a usage category one higher than some of the other crew. Secondly, if you are ocean racing and spend time on the rail – you too might like to step up a level – it is very sad to be sitting on the rail wishing you’d spent the extra $200 bucks on the gear that would be keeping you warm.

Step 3: Select the Product – Budget, Brand and Features

Let me start by saying, at Adventure Safety, we don’t stock any low quality items, and personal preference regarding the style, features and brand come into play here.

My suggestion is that you select the product type you are interested in from the table below, if you are brand conscious, exclude the brands you don’t like, if you have a budget threshold exclude those that exceed your budget. On this basis you will be left with 2-4 options that meet your need … and then you can take a closer look at the features and price.

Sub Tropical Temperate Offshore Ocean
Burke Burke Spray Jacket
Test Score: 6
Banks Jacket

Burke KA Spray (smock) Jacket

Test Score: 6

Burke Spray Jacket

Test Score: 6

Burke Pacific Range: Pacific Jacket and Pacific Trousers

Burke Bass Jacket

Test Score: 8.0

Burke Southerly Offshore Range: Southerly Offshore Jacket and

Southerly Offshore Trousers

Test Score: 7.5

Gill Softshell Jackets:

Gil Inshore Sports Jacket

Test Score: 6

Gill softshell Jacket

Test Score: 6.5

Inshore Range:

Gil Inshore Sports Jacket

Waterproof sailing trouser

Test Score: 6.5

Coast Range: Coast Jacket

and

Coast Trousers

Gill Ocean Series:

Smock

Jacket

Racing Trouser

Test Score: 9.0

HenriLloyd HL Cyclone Softshell Jackets

Test Score: 6.5

Phoenix Jackets and Smock.

Phoenix Jacket

Phoenix Smock

Test Score: 6.5

Osprey Inshore Jacket

Osprey Inshore Trouser

Test Score: 7.0   

Offshore Elite and the Ocean Pro range:

Ocean Pro Hi Fit Trouser,

Ocean Pro Jacket

Test Score: 9.0

Offshore Elite Jacket.

Offshore Elite Hi Fit Trouser

Test Score: 9.0

Ocean Pro Hi Fit Trouser,

Ocean Pro Jacket

Test Score: 8.0

HellyHansen Crew Vest,

WH2 Flow Jacket

Crew Racing Jacket Ocean Trouser,

Ocean Jacket

Ocean Jacket
Zhik Aeroshell

Test Score: 7.0

Aeroshell

Test Score: 6

Isotak

Test Score: 8.5

Isotak

Test Score: 7.5

Musto Sardinia Jackets and Evolution Range of shorts, soft shell jackets BR1 Range:

BR1 Jacket

BR1 Channel Jacket

BR1 Trousers (womens)

BR2 Offshore Range:

BR2 Offshore Jacket

BR2 Trousers

Musto HPX range

HPX Pro Series Trouser

HPX Pro Series Jacket


Test Score: 8.5

Test Score: AdventureSafety has been running tests of many of the items in the table above, where available, the test score is provided. The score is comprised the following assessment dimensions, weighted equally and reduced to a score out of 10 and assessed against the intended use category:

  • Durability
  • Water Proof
  • Comfort