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How to Choose Offshore and Rubber Sailing Boots

Offshore and Rubber sailing boots provide three main performance features for your comfort and safety: Dryness Warmth Grip When choosing offshore or rubber boots, start by identifying the type of sailing you are doing.  Are you day sailing in fair weather and cooler temperatures where you need dry and warm feet.  Is your sailing taking place poor weather, in cool to cold conditions, sailing overnight and up to long passage making where you need the most from a boots performance features?  […]

Offshore and Rubber sailing boots provide three main performance features for your comfort and safety:

offshore sailing boots

  1. Dryness
  2. Warmth
  3. Grip

When choosing offshore or rubber boots, start by identifying the type of sailing you are doing.  Are you day sailing in fair weather and cooler temperatures where you need dry and warm feet.  Is your sailing taking place poor weather, in cool to cold conditions, sailing overnight and up to long passage making where you need the most from a boots performance features?  What does the majority of your sailing consist of?

The following scenarios broadly categorize boots by their intended uses:

  • Casual rain boot on the boat and on land: Short rubber boots
  • Day sailing in warm to cool temperatures and fair to poor weather: Tall rubber boots
  • Day sailing to offshore passage making, in cool to cold temperatures, and fair to bad weather: Breathable offshore boots
  • Day sailing to offshore passage making, in cold temperatures, and poor to bad weather: Neoprene offshore boots

The explanation of offshore and sailing boot features in this article will give you a more detailed understanding of the options and how they can be chosen to best fit your sailing needs.

Materials

Rubber

Rubber boots are made of either natural rubber (distilled from the sap of rubber trees in the tropics) or PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and are 100% waterproof, but not breathable.  Natural rubber boots will wear longer, be more flexible, provide better grip to the deck, and not stiffen appreciably in cold weather; but come with a higher price tag than PVC on average.  PVC is a less expensive material, keeping the price of a boot down while giving up just a bit of comfort, durability, and performance.  Some boots are made with a compound consisting of a blend of PVC and rubber which lends them the performance advantages of natural rubber with the cost savings of PVC.

Foam PU

A few boots available in Europe use a Foam PU (Polyurethane) material which is waterproof, flexible and comfortable, but will sometimes deteriorate rapidly when exposed to certain chemicals and/or stored in too warm of conditions.  When rinsed after use and stored in a cool, dry place, this is a well-performing boot material.  Unlike rubber and PVC boots, Foam PU have a bit of inherent insulation similar to wetsuit material (neoprene).

Leather

Both Nubuck and Full Grain Leather are used in sailing boots.  Nubuck (made from Top-Grain leather) is sanded or buffed on the grain side or outside to achieve a suede-like finish.  It offers excellent resistance to wear and has an increased strength, thickness and softness as opposed to traditional top-grain leather.  Full Grain Leather is made from the strongest and most durable part of the hide of an animal, and will have a smooth finish, and retains less moisture from prolonged exposure than do all other natural leathers.  Both are ideal choices for sailing boots as they are robust, resistant to wear, and breathable.  The leather in offshore sailing boots will be bonded to a microporous membrane like Gore-Tex making them waterproof and breathable.

Neoprene

Neoprene is used in the upper of boots and generally lines the inside of a rubber boot foot.  While the material is waterproof, warm, soft, flexible, and provides padding; it is like boots made of rubber in that neoprene boots are not breathable and moisture can build up inside the boot.

Synthetic

Polyester and nylon materials are fast-drying, breathable, and abrasion resistant; and are used in the upper boot construction and incorporate a waterproof and breathable membrane like Gore-Tex.  They are incorporated into rubber and/or leather boots to provide additional performance and comfort.  Synthetics are the materials of choice for boot gaiters too.

Grip

offshore sailing boot grip

The soles of offshore and rubber sailing boots are made of many different kinds of natural and synthetic rubber compounds but focus less on the materials and more on the actual grip.  Generally speaking, the softer the material in the sole the more it will grip.  Conversely, the softer the rubber and faster they may wear out.  Also, the more channels in the sole the more water that moves out from under the sole, providing better contact with the deck.  Soles with a medium softness offer a balance of good grip and durability.

Insulation

Just like foul weather gear, offshore and rubber sailing boots primarily keep the water out, and do not necessarily keep you warm.  Many boots do offer inherent insulation, but all boots require you to choose the right socks for the conditions.  This is particularly critical in cold weather.  It also allows your boots to function well across a range of temperatures by varying the thickness of socks you wear underneath.

Typically, if you’re wearing sailing boots in poor weather it’s cool to cold out.  Even in the tropics, sailing in the rain on a sunless day can thoroughly chill you.  The cooler the temperatures and the longer the duration of your sailing, the more insulation you will need.  Determine what the majority of your sailing conditions will be and choose accordingly.  Sailing boots are either uninsulated, lightly insulated or heavily insulated.

Rubber Boots

Rubber or PVC boots are uninsulated and add no warmth.  Warmth will be a factor of what socks you wear and their thickness.  These types of boots will require more and thicker socks to keep your feet warm as compared to breathable and neoprene boots.

Neoprene Constructed Boots

Boots made with neoprene can offer the most inherent insulation of any boot – from medium to heavily insulated.  Boots made with neoprene use between 5 – 10mm thick.  The thicker the neoprene, the more insulation factor.  Thick insulated socks and boots made with neoprene can keep you warm in some very frigid conditions.

Breathable Boots

Breathable boots often have light insulation from a synthetic lining.  With these, both the boot and your choice of socks are contributing to keeping your feet warm.  Although not as inherently warm as a neoprene boot, breathable boots can obtain high insulation factor with proper socks, and less in warmer conditions.

Breathability

breathable offshore boots

 

Boots made with microporous waterproof and breathable membranes like Gore-Tex allow the moisture (sweat) in the boot to travel from inside the boot, through the membrane as a water vapor and finally to the outside of the boot.  The expelling of moisture is driven by the relative difference in temperature and moisture on the inside of the boot as compared to the environment outside the boot.  Warm moisture migrates to the cooler outside of the boot.  On dry days, moisture additionally migrates from the moist inside of the boot to the outside due to the relatively lower moisture environment on the exterior of the boot.

 

Breathable boots, as long as you are wearing wicking socks, will continuously allow moisture to escape through the material of the boot.  When wearing boots for extended periods, or day after day, your feet will be noticeably drier and warmer.

Non-breathable boots (rubber, PVC, and neoprene) are waterproof but have no way to get the moisture out.  If you are exerting yourself and your feet perspire that moisture will stay stuck in the boot until you can take them off and dry them, and change socks.

Fit

Your feet, ankles, and legs are constantly straining on a pitching and heeling boat.  Ensuring you have well-fitting boots goes a long way to preventing cold and achy feet.  When trying on boots make sure you do so with the socks you intend to wear onboard – this may be a thin, medium or thick pair or any combination thereof.

Is there sufficient room in the toe-box or are your toes cramped?  Make sure your toes are free to wiggle and there is not forward or side pressure.  Is the footbed comfortably supporting your foot and arch?  Most boots do not provide significant arch support, so if you require more support you may need to replace the existing footbed with an orthotic insert of your choosing.  If this is the case try them on with your insert.  Next, does the heel cup allow some up and down heel movement, but at the same time support your heel without too much side-to-side foot movement?  Lastly, is the boots upper wide enough for your leg/calf to comfortably fit, or also not being too wide and difficult to get your foul weather gear trousers over?

Overall, you do not want the boot to fit tight in any area, as this can restrict blood flow and lead to cold and cramped feet.  If you will be wearing your boots primarily in cold conditions you may need to go up a size to accommodate your thicker socks and prevent a tight fit.

Socks

Socks provide abrasion resistance, wick moisture away from your skin (and out of the boot if your boots are breathable), and help keep your feet warm.  Never wear cotton socks as they absorb water and lead to damp and cold feet.  Synthetic socks do a good job of wicking moisture and providing insulation, but they do not deal well with a buildup of moisture in the boot.  Even breathable boots only expel moisture at a certain rate.

When feet perspire, moisture builds up in the boot and leaves feet wet until the moisture is expelled.  Merino wool is the best solution.  First, Merino wool is so fine that it does not itch.  It not only wicks moisture, and provides excellent insulation, but it also has the ability to temporarily absorb moisture when it is nowhere else for the moisture to go.  So when extreme moisture builds up in your boots, Merino will do the best job of maintaining warm and dry feet.

In extreme weather, seas and cold you may opt to wear a very thin sock liner designed to primarily wick moisture away from your foot, then a medium or thick sock over top for warmth (and continued moisture wicking).  The key to warm feet is to keep moisture away from the surface of your skin.

Height

For limited protection reduced weight and bulk, a shorter boot is best for casual use.  Typically, a tall boot will always provide the best protection.  This is achieved by maximizing the overlap between your foul weather gear trousers (worn over and cinch down around the boot) and the length of the boot.  Water may rush or migrate up the inside of your trousers a bit in poor weather and sea conditions, but if your boot is high enough water won’t make it up and into your boots.

Gaiters

offshore sailing boot with gaiter

Zhik Seaboot With Gaiter

Consider boots with gaiters if you are doing extensive offshore passage making.  When sailing in severe weather and seas, having a gaiter can be the best way to keep water out of your boots. Gaiters provide yet another barrier for keeping sea water from making its way up the inside of your foul weather gear trousers and into your boots.  They act as an initial barrier to rushing water on deck or temporarily standing water in the cockpit.  Gaiters divert upward rushing water from asserting water pressure directly on your cinched trouser cuffs.  Any water that does enters the gaiter will run down and exit through drains belt into the bottom.

To use them put on your foulie trousers, then your boots (with built-in gaiter).  Roll the gaiter down the boot and out of the way.  Next, put your trouser leg down and cinch it closed around the bottom of the boot’s upper.  Now pull the gaiter fully up and other the bottom of your trousers and cinch is securely at its top.

When you do not need the extra protection of the gaiter, you can simply wear them pulled up on your boots with your foulie trouser legs over the top of them.

Drying Boots

It is very difficult to dry out wet boots while onboard during inclement weather.  If they do get wet and you need to continue wearing them, change your socks as often as possible. If your boots are breathable, the more you wear them the more moisture will escape from the boot (which is driven in part by the heat from your feet).  When you are not wearing your sodden boots remove the foot liner to aid drying.  Stuffing a bone-dry cotton rag/towel (newspaper is good too) it will transfer much of the moisture out of the boot.

Maintenance

The life of your offshore or rubber sailing boots depends on proper care. Periodically rinse leather boots with fresh water, clean and condition them.  Ensure they completely dry inside and out, and store in a cool and dry place.

Rubber boots only require a fresh water rinse, time to dry, and a cool and dry place for storage.

Shop our Breathable Offshore Boots or Rubber Boots for Sailing.

How to Choose Sailing Shorts | Expert Advice

Sailing requires shorts that are specifically designed to properly deal with a wet environment, abrasive deck surfaces, and the bumps and bruises that can occur while moving about the boat.  They need to have reinforced seats, made of fabrics that are fast drying and offer optional seat and leg padding.  We will review with you the features to consider when choosing a new pair of sailing shorts and some practical suggestions on undergarments and care. Materials Fast Drying – Sailing […]

Sailing requires shorts that are specifically designed to properly deal with a wet environment, abrasive deck surfaces, and the bumps and bruises that can occur while moving about the boat.  They need to have reinforced seats, made of fabrics that are fast drying and offer optional seat and leg padding.  We will review with you the features to consider when choosing a new pair of sailing shorts and some practical suggestions on undergarments and care.

how to choose sailing shorts

Materials

Fast Drying – Sailing shorts will be made of materials which are fast drying, light weight, durable, and soft (cotton like feel).  Nylon is by far the most common material, with some shorts being made with Supplex Nylon which is 26-36% softer than standard nylon.  A few shorts are made with Polyester which is more durable and dries faster but is not as soft and comfortable as nylon.

Stretch Materials – The majority of sailing shorts are made of 100% nylon fabric for maximum durability (and comfort).  Blending in a bit of elastic material into the fabric provides some stretch, but also just a bit of durability loss.  Stretch fabrics will have about 5% elastane (Spandex or Lycra) woven into the nylon to give the fabric some give as you move about.  As much as 10% elastane can be found in fabrics with even more stretch.  Let personal preference be your guide here.  All of these will wear well over time.

UPF Factor – Some manufacturers publish UPF ratings for the fabrics they use.  A UPF rating of 40 is typical.  Even if the UPF factor is not known, any clothing coverage to protect you from the sun is MUCH better than bare skin.

Seat Protection

Reinforced Seat – The nonskid deck of a boat puts a lot of wear and tear on the seat of shorts.  If you are racing on a boat that has an ‘aggressive’ nonskid added, it’s can be like sitting on 60 grit sand paper.  The seat of the shorts should be reinforced.  Cordura (a heavy duty type of Nylon) is the most popular fabric used and performs well.  Some hybrid materials will have an Aramid fiber (think Kevlar, Technora, Vectran) blended in the fabric for additional abrasion resistance.  The reinforced area should cover the entire rear of your buttocks and run down the full length of the back of the shorts (back of your legs).  Non reinforced seat shorts are better suited to boats that do not have nonskid on them.

Seat Pads – Shorts are available unpadded, with removable pads, or permanently padded (sewn in).  One way to greatly increase your sailing comfort is to wear padded shorts.  They help prevent bruising and allow you to sit more comfortably on uneven areas (or even deck hardware).  These pads are made of closed cell foam, and occasionally neoprene.  They are typically two separate pads (left and right side), with each covering the full length down one side, from buttocks through the back of your leg.

Padded shorts with removable pads give you the option of wearing them without pads on shore or when relaxing at anchor.  Then for times when you need them (rough weather, working on the boat, racing), you can simply add them. Permanently installed pads can be a bit bothersome when they are not needed, and the paddings do not breathe so shorts may take longer to dry out.

Note:

To insert the pads you will want to take the shorts off, open the Velcro envelope pocket, insert the pads, Velcro shut.  This makes it easy, as it is nearly impossible to do this while wearing them.  Note that removable pads are almost always sold separately.

Pockets

Deep Side Pockets – Make sure the pockets are deep so their contents are not tipped out when moving around the boat or sitting.  They should be voluminous for putting items in them as you sail or work on your boat.  Small, short pockets will not serve you well.

Cargo Pocket – This is the most secure way to store things in your shorts.  Look for a structured pocket that can hold a few items – not a flat pocket.  Full and ample Velcro is a must to keep the pocket shut.  Not all shorts have cargo pockets, so know if this is a practical need of yours before you invest in a new pair of shorts.

Style and Construction

Longer Length – The longer the shorts, the more of the back of your thigh is protected.  Generally, performance sailing shorts will be intentionally longer and cut just above the knee for greater leg coverage.  Some women’s shorts are cut short, while others are full length.  Know what amount of protection you are looking for before you invest in new shorts.

Belts and Waist Adjustments – Most shorts will have belt loops for wearing a belt optionally.  Some people find wearing a belt while sailing is binding and uncomfortable.  If this is the case, be sure, and most do, the shorts you choose have in-line waist adjustments.  These are usually a Velcro adjuster on either side of the waist, while some have more discreet hidden internal adjusters.  Check that the adjusters stay put under strain and are not positioned to get caught and undone.

Button Waist Closure –  If you are not wearing a belt at all times with your new sailing shorts, ensure they won’t open up unexpectedly when moving around or straining against something.  Many shorts have largely reinforced button closures which are by far the most secure and preferred.  Snap closures can really let you down.

Cut for Ease – Active sailors should choose sailing shorts that are full cut through out allowing you unbinding ease of movement.  Shorts with pleats give you even more freedom of movement and make side pockets easier to fill and empty.  Loose fitting around your thighs is the desired fit.  Slightly more room in and around the crotch for less binding.

Waterproof Shorts

Waterproof Shorts – Waterproof shorts might sound like a silly idea since they aren’t keeping very much of you dry, but they can be a terrific option for certain conditions.  They are great when the deck is getting quite wet, but you usually are not until you sit down.  Nothing is worse than an otherwise pleasant day of sailing with a wet butt, so waterproof shorts are a comfortable solution to this common problem.  Waterproof shorts are not so great if the weather is really hot – they are heavier than and not nearly as breathable as regular shorts, so look elsewhere if you are going to be sweating all day.

Shop All Sailing Shorts

Don’t Forget…

Under Garments

When wearing shorts made with fast drying materials it is essential to wear wicking and fast drying base layers or underwear.  These synthetic garments will wick moisture away from your skin so that it can evaporate and keep you more comfortable.  Also, if you do get drenched by rain or waves, you, your base layer and shorts can dry out over time.  If you wear cotton base layers, you will remain wet until you change.  Cotton absorbs and hold moisture, and should be avoided at all times.  For racing and high action sailing, wearing a form fitting stretch Lycra or Spandex base layer (short or long legs) under your shorts will provide better chafe protection while maintaining good moisture wicking and fast drying properties.

Care & Washing

Wash as you would other tech laundry with cold water on a relatively gentle cycle, making sure the pads have been removed first.  Low heat dry or hang wet to dry.  If the pads are not removable, do not tumble dry.

If you are washing on board in salt water, be sure to rinse with fresh water at the end.  As with all clothing, salt that has not been rinsed away will hold moisture and reduce the material’s ability to fully dry and can lead to mildew if stored damp onboard.

How to Choose Light Inshore Sailing Foul Weather Gear

What is Light Inshore Sailing? Light Inshore sailing occurs in more protected waters like lakes, rivers, and bays and is generally considered day sailing. The jackets and pants in this category are waterproof and breathable, and are good for the rain and spray you may encounter while near-shore sailing.  These jackets feature short height collars and some with storable hoods. What’s the difference between Inshore & Light Inshore Foul Weather Gear? Ultimately these share many similarities, but the main differences […]

What is Light Inshore Sailing?

Light Inshore sailing occurs in more protected waters like lakes, rivers, and bays and is generally considered day sailing. The jackets and pants in this category are waterproof and breathable, and are good for the rain and spray you may encounter while near-shore sailing.  These jackets feature short height collars and some with storable hoods.

What’s the difference between Inshore & Light Inshore Foul Weather Gear?

Ultimately these share many similarities, but the main differences are that light inshore jackets are shorter and usually have more in common with a rain jacket than an offshore sailing jacket.  Regular Inshore jackets lean the other way and are built to be tougher.  Light Inshore bottoms are only available in pants (no suspenders) if there are any bottoms at all.  Light inshore jackets are the perfect choice to reach for when you want something in your bag just in case there is an afternoon thunderstorm or the conditions are a little wetter than you expected.  They’re also perfect for use on land as a rain jacket or windbreaker.

Light Inshore Sailing Weather Conditions:

Light Inshore gear will keep you dry all day long in light weather, but is not designed to protect against extended poor weather, and never heavy or extreme weather conditions.  This foul weather gear is also great for onshore wear on rainy and blustery days.

  • Rain: light and occasional medium
  • Seas: Light and occasional medium
  • Wind: light and occasional moderate
  • Duration: Hours up to a full day

Features of Light Inshore Foul Weather Gear:

The two pieces of foul weather gear for light inshore sailing you will want to invest in are a jacket and a pair of trousers. These items should be fully waterproof and breathable. In sailing, your comfort depends on your gear’s ability to keep you dry by keeping water out and transporting moisture (sweat) out. Light inshore gear is made with a light weight, two layer laminate, waterproof, breathable material. The other material, a microporous three-layer, like a GORE-TEX product, is not used in light inshore gear.

light inshore sailing foul weather gear

There are key features you will want to look for in your gear.

  • Hoods: Not all jackets have hoods.  Those with are simple and non-fluorescent.  Hood adjustments are generally few and simple.
  • Collars: Low height collars (below your ears), and some with Velcro front zipper storm flap.
  • Cut/Fit: Some extra room in the cut to allow for ease of movement, but a more of a shore jacket cut than fuller cut coastal jacket.
  • Fabrics: Fully waterproof and breathable.  2 layer coated fabric with a hanging inner lining of mesh or nylon.
  • Closures: Most with exterior storm wrist cuffs, 1-way front jacket entry zipper, and some with Velcro storm flap over top
  • Trousers: Waist high pants.  Elastic waist band.  Some may have reinforced seat and knees, and also pockets.  Most will have adjustments at the ankle

How to Choose

In choosing a light inshore jacket, it’s first important to know what the majority of your sailing is so that you can make a choice between features. The scenarios are: A. Someone who’s doing near shore where they may choose to keep sailing to their destination in light and occasionally medium weather conditions rather than heading in to the nearest port immediately. or B. Someone who needs a jacket to keep them comfortable while heading back to port when poor weather approaches and also needs a good ‘rain jacket’ for many other shore based activities. Styles within the light inshore sailing foul weather gear category will lend themselves to either of these needs.

Inshore sailors who keep sailing through in poor weather will want a hood, a storm flap over the front entry zipper, and below the waist jacket length.

Those who encounter poor weather while sailing and will make way for port directly (exposed to the weather for a short period of time) might prefer jackets without a hood or storm flap, and a shorter length cut jacket.  These work well for occasional weather protection while sailing, and an excellent around town jacket in inclement weather.

Musto Light Inshore Sailing Jacket - BR1 Sardinia

Don’t forget…

Base and Mid Layers:

With proper layering under your foul weather gear, you will be comfortable throughout a day of sailing in less than ideal weather.  Wicking under layers will be your attire in poor weather.  Use base and mid layers to maintain a comfortable body temperature by adding or removing layers.  The key to all day comfort will be the under layer’s ability to transport (wick) moisture (sweat) from the surface of your skin to your foul weather gear where it can be moved out through the waterproof/breathable fabric.

Avoid wearing any cotton clothes; they hold moisture like a sponge and chill you.  Even unworn cotton clothes can become ‘damp’ when exposed to sea air.

Gloves & Boots for Inshore Sailing:

Be sure to match your gloves and boots to the type of inshore sailing you may be doing.  For day sailing in poor weather, tall rubber, non-breathable boots will suffice – keep the water out.  No cotton socks.  Merino wool ensures sustained warmth and moisture-wicking.  Plus Merino wool can also absorb moisture (sweat) away from your skin when wearing non-breathable boots – synthetic and cotton socks can’t do this.  If it’s cold out don’t forget insulated waterproof gloves.  ‘Cold hands are weak hands.’

Read the Full Guide to Foul Weather Gear to learn more.

Shop Men’s and Women’s Light Inshore foul weather gear at APS.

 

 

Choosing Dinghy Sailing Foul Weather Gear and Apparel

What is Dinghy Sailing Gear? Dinghy gear is designed to keep you from getting cold, maximizing comfort and ease of movement in gear that is either wet or dry. It is expected to perform for hours up to a whole day on the water.  The range of gear is wide and varied to allow you the flexibility of combining different pieces for various types of dinghy sailing types and weather conditions.  For hot days Uninsulated Wet Wear is made for […]

What is Dinghy Sailing Gear?

Dinghy gear is designed to keep you from getting cold, maximizing comfort and ease of movement in gear that is either wet or dry. It is expected to perform for hours up to a whole day on the water.  The range of gear is wide and varied to allow you the flexibility of combining different pieces for various types of dinghy sailing types and weather conditions.  For hot days Uninsulated Wet Wear is made for hot weather sailing.  Its light weight, stretches, easy to move in on board or in the water, and offers good UV protection.  Most popular of all categories is dinghy spray gear (foul weather gear) for warm to cool conditions.  Insulated Wet Gear for cool weather sailing has just enough insulation to keep the chill away without periods of overheating when exerting yourself.  Wet suits of varied thicknesses for cool to cold conditions are form fitting and effective.  For cold sailing conditions the versatility of dry suits make them the most comfortable for all-around winter sailing.

dinghy-sailing-gear

Uninsulated Wet Wear

The intention of this gear is to contribute to keeping you cool in hot weather, provide UV protection and the added benefit of abrasion protection.  These pieces of gear will be a mix of light weight tops and bottoms that stretch – short and long cut in the legs and arms (long is generally best).  They are comfortable to wear in and out of the water, and easy to move in – a ‘second skin’ fit.  Think stretchy rash guards, but more.  These are made with ‘quick drying’ materials like Spandex and Lycra.  Occasionally jumping in the water and wetting them when the heat is extreme can kind-of cool you for a period, because as the water evaporates from the materiel, the evaporation process will pull heat from you body, thus keeping you cooler (assuming there is a breeze).  Remember that lighter colors are always cooler in the sun.

Shop Wet Wear

Spray and Foul Weather Gear

Dinghy foul weather gear uses waterproof and breathable material to keep rain and spray out. Adjustable seals at the neck, wrists, waist and ankles create a custom fit to keep rain and spray out. This waterproof gear has an form-fit with room for layering underneath, and fits comfortably under a life jacket.  Many smocks and bibs in this category are also suitable for wearing on small racing keelboats.

dinghy foul weather gear

Dinghy smock and bibs

Smocks and Spray Tops

Dinghy smocks are generally the first and primary piece of gear for most small boat sailors.  They keep you dry, shed water (outer surface does not retain water or ‘wet out’), and breath to allow moisture (sweat) to escape.  They are versatile in that they can be worn over a moisture wicking tech shirt on warmer days, on cooler days with warmer base and mid layers or over a wetsuit on colder days.  When wearing neoprene hiking pants, a smock is a natural addition.  Some smocks have nonadjustable drysuit style neoprene or latex seals that keep all water out, but most find them too hot at times as you cannot open the seals and vent excess heat when needed.

There is a hybrid material used dinghy spray tops meant for cooler weather sailing.  It is referred to by different proprietary names, but is it basically a waterproof laminated micro fleece like a waterproof softshell.  These materials are waterproof, but minimally breathable.  This type of material adds a layer of insulation for warmth.  Wrists and waistbands have adjustable points like a normal dinghy smock however the necks will typically have an elastic cord to cinch them closed around your neck.  This style of smock works well as a secondary top on those colder, blustery days on the water.

Trousers and Bibs

Dinghy Trousers offer your lower half the same waterproof and breathable protection as the smock top, and pair well with quick drying shorts, thin wicking base layer leggings on cool days or warmer wicking mid layers on colder days.  Generally, they would not be worn over wetsuit bottoms. Designed in a ‘bib’ style, dinghy trousers have a high overall cut. This design helps keep water from entering anywhere around your waist. Closures at the ankle ensure a streamlined fit and keep water from going up the pant.

The combination of a dinghy smock and trousers offer good protection and comfort for most sailors from mid spring, through summer, until mid-fall for rain and spray protection, but not for immersion.

Shop Dinghy Foul Weather Gear

Lightly Insulated Wet Wear

For cool weather sailing when you intend to be wet in or out of the water, these lightly insulated pieces will keep the chill off.  They incorporate either micro fleece faced stretch materials or 0.5mm – 1.5mm neoprene panels for insulation – just enough for cool days on the water.  You will find them easy and comfortable to move in on the boat or in the water.  They are a stretchy ‘second-skin’ fit and offer good UV and abrasion protection.  They consist of separate tops and bottom that are generally long are and leg lengths.  Adding a smock top to a set of this gear gives you an even broader comfort range.

Shop Wet Wear

dinghy sailing wetwear gear

Wetsuits

Wetsuits are made with closed cell neoprene foam to insulate the wearer from cool to cold weather.  The thicker the neoprene, the more insulation and warmth the gear will provide.  Generally sailing wetsuits are made with neoprene that is 3mm to 5mm thick. Wetsuits made of 3mm are most common and versatile, while 5mm suits are dedicated to cold weather use.  Some light weight tops and bottoms are made with 1 or 2mm thick neoprene for chilly, but not cold days on the water.  Styles vary from steamers with full length legs and arms to ‘shorty’ style that are sleeveless and hit above the knee. One potential down side with neoprene gear is that it does not breathe and holds in moisture.  Wetsuits are referred to as wet gear as they insulate in and out of the water – wet or dry.  If you may be in and out of the water, wetsuits are advantages over spray gear.

For cooler days (not cold) combining a spray top and base top layer with a sleeveless (sometime called a ‘farmer John’ cut) wetsuit can provide the best spray protection for your upper body, with the insulation of a wetsuit for your core and legs.

Also the soft neoprene means wetsuits provide a bit of padding and protection from bumps and hiking.  They can also at times add a bit of additional fatigue as each movement you make throughout the day requires stretching the neoprene.  Lastly, wet suits are made of non breathable neoprene and do not breath, so as you perspire, the moisture will not leave the suit – they are in wet wear category.

A note about wetsuits…

While a 5mm wetsuit will keep you warm enough and out of the water it has two disadvantages: 1) The neoprene will always provide the same amount of insulation, which could be too much or little.  2) If you do go in the water, there is the shock of cold water seeping in initially (this will eventually stabilize and warm from your body heat).  The advantage to a cold weather wetsuit is that they don’t have the baggy bulk of a dry suit which may be advantages for highly athletic and agile sailing.

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wetsuit vs drysuit dinghy sailing gear

Dry Suit VS. Wet Suit

Dry Suits

For cold weather sailing comfort and safety, dry suits are the standard in North America.  These suits have waterproof entry zippers and waterproof wrist, neck and feet.  If you go into the water they are completely waterproof and the material breaths allowing internal moisture (sweat) to escape.

A dry suit is a waterproof and breathable shell.  Warmth is determined by how you layer underneath.  Never wear cotton which absorbs moisture and can become sodden with sweat and lead to getting cold.  Choose insulating and wicking base and mid layers appropriate for the temperature conditions. These wicking layers will move moisture from your skin to the dry suit where it can be transported out.

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Read the Full Guide to Foul Weather Gear to learn more.

sailing life jacket

Guide to Choosing a Foam Filled Sailing Life Jacket

What is a sailing life jacket? A sailing life jacket is one you will wear when actively sailing.  Forget about the big orange offshore vests and the cheap ones sold by the half dozen in a plastic zipper storage bag.  Neither of these are designed to be worn consistently each time you go out sailing.  What we are talking about is a foam filled vest that is comfortable and happily worn every time you go sailing.  In these vests you […]

What is a sailing life jacket?

A sailing life jacket is one you will wear when actively sailing.  Forget about the big orange offshore vests and the cheap ones sold by the half dozen in a plastic zipper storage bag.  Neither of these are designed to be worn consistently each time you go out sailing.  What we are talking about is a foam filled vest that is comfortable and happily worn every time you go sailing.  In these vests you can swim easily in the water with again and again, unlike inflatable vests that would need constant rearming.

Average adults require about 11 pounds of flotation to keep them above the surface of the water.  For our purposes, sailing life jackets are USCG approved Type III and provide at least 15.5 pounds of flotation.  This type of life jacket or PFD (Personal Flotation Device), is designed to aid a conscious swimmer in the water either swim to shore, self-rescue or wait for nearby assistance.

Advantages of a sailing life jacket:

  • Various straps and adjustments for improved custom fit
  • Form fitting thicknesses and shaped foam that better conforms to your chest and back
  • Designed to maximize freedom of movement of the arms and at the waist
  • Easy entry with front or side zippers
  • Use of stretch panels made of soft neoprene
  • Nonrestrictive when swimming
  • Contoured shapes making reentering a boat easier, or less obstructed.

foam sailing life-jackets

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Sizing

For adults, chest size, not your weight, will determine your life jacket size.  For children, body weight is the determining factor.  Refer to the vendor’s sizing chart when choosing a size.

Fit

A sailing life jacket should fit snug and hug your body.   The more straps and adjustments it has the better fit you can achieve.  The cuts of foam, and their placement around the vest need to be comfortable too.  Some life vests distribute thinner foam more evenly around your entire chest and back, while others concentrate thicker foam more towards the bottom to free the upper chest.

Flotation Materials

There are two types of ‘inherently buoyant materials’ used in life jackets.  The most popular is closed cell foam and in its many forms can be stiff in less expensive life jackets to softer and more flexible foams used in higher quality PFDs.  For comfort and ease of movement, always chose a life vest with softer foam.  Kapok (a natural material from tropical trees that is also used in mattresses and insulation) is the other material, it is very soft and flexible (think down pillow) and makes your life jacket more comfortable and flexible.  Kapok is only found in a few higher end life jackets.

Women’s Life Jackets

Ladies should consider vests that are women-specific over unisex vests.  These are more form fitting, contoured  for larger bust lines, and designed and styled for longer torsos.

Checking the Fit

Once you have selected your size, you will want to check that is fits properly (preferably with your sailing gear on).

  • Loosen all of the straps on the PFD, put the vest on, and zip it up
  • Starting at the waist and moving up, tighten all of the straps. If it has shoulder straps adjust them last.  You want to achieve a snug fit throughout, but with no discomfort.
  • With your arms above your head, have someone stand behind you and pull the life vest up from the shoulders. If it slides up and pushes your chin up, readjust it.  If this continues to happen, it is either too big, or not a good design for your body type (try another life jacket type).
  • Go through the motions of sailing including sitting and bending forward. You do not want the vest pushing up into your chin when bending forward, and your arms should not be restricted when reach up, forward or across your chest.
  • Lastly, try your life jacket out in calm water (a pool is best) and see how if it rides up to far and also how it floats you. Are you comfortable swimming and maneuvering in it?  Do you need to readjust the straps for a better fit?  Would you be able to swim to another boat, right your capsized dinghy or make your way to a near shore in it?

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Care and Storage

Rinse your PFD with fresh water after use.  This helps remove any salt (crystals) which retains moisture and abrades materials over time.  It also servers to help remove any chemicals that could have been floating on the surface of the water and where picked up when you were sprayed or while swimming.  Store your vest out of the sun in a dry place to prevent sun damage and mold growth.  Life jackets loose foam density over time and do not last indefinitely.  They should always be replaced if the outside becomes faded by the sun (material strength compromised), are moldy, or if you find that they have diminished flotation and no longer float you high enough.

 

What is a Sailing Buoyancy Aid

What is a sailing buoyancy aid and is it right for you? Sailing buoyancy aids are becoming increasingly popular in the United States for three simple reasons: They are smaller and more compact than traditional life jackets. They contain less foam and are cut to afford more freedom of movement making them comfortable and easy to move around a boat in (especially when racing). Minimalist designs have limited pockets, straps, buckles and attachments giving them a ‘clean’ exterior that is less likely to […]

What is a sailing buoyancy aid and is it right for you?

Sailing buoyancy aids are becoming increasingly popular in the United States for three simple reasons:

  1. They are smaller and more compact than traditional life jackets. They contain less foam and are cut to afford more freedom of movement making them comfortable and easy to move around a boat in (especially when racing).
  2. Minimalist designs have limited pockets, straps, buckles and attachments giving them a ‘clean’ exterior that is less likely to catch on rigging.
  3. Their design makes it easy to swim in the water, right a boat in the case of a capsized dinghy, and reenter or board a boat from the water.
buoyancy aid

Buoyancy Aids have a sleek, close to body fit.

What are buoyancy aids intended for?

A buoyancy aid is just that, an aid to buoyancy, and provides just a bit of flotation.  It assumes the wearer is a competent swimmer and can, to a degree, help themselves to either swim back to the shore or swim back to their boat. It assumes that help is close by, and that the conscious wearer can swim or is comfortable enough in the water to wait for assistance or self-rescue.  They should be worn sheltered waters, as they do not provide enough flotation to always keep your head above the water in rough sea conditions.

Who and what are buoyancy aids are not intended for?

Not recommended for:

  • Young children, juniors and infants
  • All poor or non-swimmers
  • Long duration in the water
  • Rough sea conditions
  • Replacement for a USCG approved life jacket

Buoyancy aids have integral foam buoyancy to help you float in the water, but they do not have as much flotation as a life jacket and should not replace a required USCG approved life jacket.  They are not designed to turn a person the right way up, so they cannot support an unconscious person in the water properly.

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buoyancy aid vs life jacket

Buoyancy Aid versus Life Jacket Flotation

Buoyancy Aids provide 11 pounds (50 newtons) of flotation and are not recognized nor approved by the USCG.  15.5 pounds (70 newtons) of flotation is the minimum in order to considered for US Coast Guard approval.

In Europe, life jackets are approved and conform to either the CE (European Commission) or IOS (International Organization of Standards) standards.  These standards have a category for Buoyancy Aids with 50 newtons of flotation that does not exist in the US.   European approved buoyancy aids will clearly state either CE or ISO compliant and the flotation as 50 newtons.

This table will show you where buoyancy aids rate as compared to USCG approved life jackets.

Application Type Buoyancy (pounds) Buoyancy (newtons)
Offshore, extreme conditions, wearing heavy clothing or accessories Life Jacket

Exceeds USCG Type I buoyancy requirement

61 lbs 275 N
Offshore & extreme conditions Life Jacket

USCG Type I

33 lbs 150 N
Near shore Life Jacket

USCG Type II

22 lbs 100 N
Near shore Life Jacket

USCG Type III

15.5 lbs 70 N
Only for swimmers, sheltered water, close to rescue Buoyancy Aid
Not USCG Approved
11 lbs 50 N

 

Using a Buoyancy Aid when Racing

US Sailing prescribes that every boat shall carry life-saving equipment conforming to government regulations that apply in the racing area.

US Sailing provides the following language for use by race event organizers and their sailing instructions:

Suggested Language for Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions

Organizing authorities may find the following language helpful when writing the Notice of Race or Sailing Instructions. (But be advised, this is suggested language. OAs are advised to check with their own legal counsel if they have questions about this matter.)

“Competitors shall wear a personal flotation device (PFD) approved by the US Coast Guard (or for international competitors, the equivalent authority of their home country)…”

Basically this means that you need to have on board a USCG approved life jacket.  On some sport boats this equates to the crew sometimes wearing buoyancy aids while racing, and also storing USCG approved life jackets below for everyone on board.  On dinghies, having both a buoyancy aid and a USCG approved life jacket is not usually practical, so by the letter of the law (and maybe your event’s Sailing Instructions) you would be required to wear at minimum a Type III USCG approved life jacket.

There have been growing numbers of sailors who solely wear and carry a buoyancy aid.  While this will not suffice if pulled over for inspection by the USCG, it has become more common.  If you are sailing in a regatta, check the event’s sailing instructions to prevent a visit to the protest room.

The exception is foreign sailors racing in US waters.  They may wear buoyancy aids if the aid is legal in their home country.  Unfortunately this puts US sailors at little bit of a disadvantage regarding personal gear.

College and High School Sailing

Simply stated, if you are participating in college or high school sailing you are required to wear a USCG approved life jacket.  The two governing bodies make this clear in their procedural rules below.

From the: PROCEDURAL RULES FOR INTER-COLLEGIATE SAILING COMPETITION 2013 – 2016

13, C: Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) – Inherently buoyant personal flotation devices (USCG Certified Non-Inflatable Type III or Type V) shall be worn by all student-athletes while on the water. PFDs shall be worn outside all clothing and foul weather gear, except that a thin shirt or team uniform (See PR 13(e)) may be worn over the PFD. PFDs are not required when ashore or on objects attached to shore. PR 13(c) shall be enforced at all times, in all ICSA regattas. (PR 13(c) changes RRS 40 and the Part 4 preamble.)

From the: OFFICIAL PROCEDURAL RULES For Interscholastic Sailing Competition 2013 – 2016

2.2 PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES Inherently buoyant personal flotation devices meeting U.S. Coast Guard regulations for Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) Type III or V, shall be worn, properly secured, by all competitors while on the water, except briefly while changing or adjusting clothing. PFDs shall be worn outside of all clothing and foul weather gear, except for a thin Tshirt or team pinnie, which may be worn over a life jacket to prevent snagging of lines or equipment. Inflatable type PFDs are not permitted. (Changes the preamble to RRS Part 4 and RRS 40)

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how to choose sailing gloves

Guide to Choosing Sailing Gloves | Expert Advice

What are Sailing Gloves & Why Should You Wear Them Sailing gloves help protect your hands from abrasion and blisters that often occur when handling lines. Different gloves offer various levels of additional grip, padding, and protection. When choosing gloves, like any sailing gear, it’s important to consider the type of sailing you do and your position on the boat. There are two standard glove styles: ‘fingerless’ or ‘short fingered’ and ‘three-fingered’ or ‘long-fingered.’ The more popular of the two, […]

What are Sailing Gloves & Why Should You Wear Them

Sailing gloves help protect your hands from abrasion and blisters that often occur when handling lines. Different gloves offer various levels of additional grip, padding, and protection. When choosing gloves, like any sailing gear, it’s important to consider the type of sailing you do and your position on the boat.

There are two standard glove styles: ‘fingerless’ or ‘short fingered’ and ‘three-fingered’ or ‘long-fingered.’ The more popular of the two, fingerless gloves, expose the fingertips allowing for more dexterity and ease of movement. Finding the perfect fit is easier with fingerless styles as you do not have to consider finger length. Three-finger gloves will afford you more protection, and full fingers do not slide or roll down like fingerless tend to do.

Sailing gloves are built from a combination of fabrics. Common fabrics include synthetic leathers like Amara or heavy duty Proton, as well as polyester and sticky palm materials or coatings.

Figuring out glove size is easy. To fit your hand and measure to know your glove size, check out our glove size chart.

How to Choose

Each style, material and construction has its strengths. With so many choices, how are you to decide?  We will review products by grading them with 1-5 stars (5 being the best) on 4 attributes:

  • Sizing accuracy/fit- Does it match the size chart expectations, how well they fit/form to hand
  • Dexterity- Ability to easily flex hand and maneuver
  • Grip- The gloves ability to add friction to lines and reduce hand fatigue
  • Durability – Life of glove, how well it holds up over time

To see more details and product videos on individual gloves, click the glove images to view the product page.

Click here to browse all sailing gloves at APS.

gill deckhand sailing glove

Gill’s Deckhand gloves, redesigned in 2017, are great for any intro level sailor. A soft water resistant Amara palm provides an adequate level of protection from chafe and ropes, although it does not provide a lot of additional grip. The no seam-fingertips, wrap around construction and pre-shaped fit make for a very well fitting, comfortable glove. These sailing gloves are well made, and depending on your position on the boat will easily last a full season and beyond.

gill championship sailing gloves

A step up in Gill’s range are the Championship Gloves. Similar in construction to the Deckhand with no-seam fingertips & wrap-around construction, but these offer extra reinforcements to extend durability and life. Grip is improved by ‘Dura-Grip,’ a slightly textured material covering the palm and fingers. The additional reinforcement materials do contribute to a slight loss of dexterity, yet the construction ensures a comfortable, well-fitting glove.

 

gill pro sailing glove

For a seriously tough glove, Gill offers their Pro Gloves. Redesigned in 2017, these offer supreme durability and stand up to extended wear and abrasion. Proton-Ultra XD synthetic leather provides the palm and finger with hard wearing strength and some friction for additional grip. These sailing gloves can tend to feel a little bulky, but a 4 way stretch material on the back paired with a pre-shaped construction helps with dexterity, fit, and comfort.

ronstan sticky sailing gloves

The Ronstan Sticky glove is a classic. Fairly unchanged from its original design, the stand out feature is the ‘sticky’ Amara palm. This stickiness creates a great grip surface and makes line handling less fatiguing. The glove is fairly lightweight with a stretch mesh top construction so it still conforms around the fingers nicely. The also come in sizes all the way down to XXS, great for kids. The neoprene wristband is low-cut and scalloped, designed for your watch or timer to sit comfortably on your wrist when wearing. All around, a strong performer offering grip, durability, and dexterity.

harken black magic sailing gloves

Harken’s entry level glove, the Black Magic has a comfortable design combining soft Amara fingers, a mesh panel back, as well as a reinforced Black Magic palm for extra reinforcement and abrasion resistance. The palm provides that somewhat ‘sticky’ feel that really makes a difference when it comes to grip. We’ve found the fingers in the long finger gloves can run a little long, but otherwise the fit is good. A fairly basic design in terms of fit and Velcro wrist adjustment.

harken reflex sailing gloves

Harken’s next level of sailing glove, are the Reflex Performance Gloves. These are a step up in durability and protection. The palm and fingers feature the sticky Black Magic reinforced palm with a protective palm pad for extra hand protection. A low profile wrist keeps the glove close to skin and out of the way of your watch. Double stitching and reinforced material makes for a durable, hard wearing glove.

 

atlas nitrile sailing gloves

The lightweight Atlas Nitrile Gloves give a second skin-like feel with their elastic knit and thinly dipped palm coating.  While minimalist in design, these gloves offer the most line grip of any glove. The dipped rubber leaves a sticky, yet smooth coating. The thin knit back is breathable and comfortable. The biggest downside to these gloves is that they will wear out fairly quickly due to the thin materials, but they are inexpensive. Getting a few days of racing or more out of these sailing gloves is the average life expectancy.  Atlas gloves only come in a full closed finger style. Some sailors opt to snip the fingertips off to add extra dexterity.

atlas grip sailing gloves

The Atlas Grip Gloves are made from a thicker, fuzzier, elasticated knit body than the Atlas Nitrile Gloves. A dipped rubber palm offers not just stickiness, but texture to the grip as well. Often people will size down in the Atlas gloves from their normal size so the gloves will fit a little tighter. The thicker dipped rubber does make this glove lose points for dexterity, and similar to the Nitriles they will not have the longest life. Active sailors can expect to get about half a season out of one pair. Some sailors opt to snip the fingertips off for extra dexterity.

atlas fit sailing gloves

The Atlas Fit Gloves are the ‘heavy duty’ version of the Atlas Grip Gloves. The same great sticky, textured rubber is a little thicker and is paired with a heavier duty elasticated knit body. Extra thickness takes away from dexterity a little, and although stronger than other Atlas gloves, these can still wear out a single sailing season.

 

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 Glove Sizing Information

Measure all the way around (circumference) your hand (palm) at its fullest point.

Glove Size Hand Circumference
Inches Centimeters
Child/ XX-Small 5 12.7
Junior/ X-Small 6 15.3
SMALL 7 17.8
MEDIUM 8 20.3
LARGE 9 22.9
X-LARGE  10  25.4
2X-LARGE 11  28.0

 

*This is a general guide and some gloves may run larger or smaller than the published sizing.

choosing-winter-sailing-gloves

Guide to Choosing Cold Weather Sailing Gloves | Expert Advice

Why Wear Cold Weather Sailing Gloves Cold weather sailing gloves have a rather unique mission — keep your hands warm while protecting them and gripping line like a regular sailing glove. And while each glove has strengths, none is perfect — creating a glove that is waterproof, warm, durable AND thin enough to retain dexterity is quite a feat. When choosing your cold weather sailing glove, it’s important to consider the type of boat you’ll be sailing, your position on […]

Why Wear Cold Weather Sailing Gloves

Cold weather sailing gloves have a rather unique mission — keep your hands warm while protecting them and gripping line like a regular sailing glove. And while each glove has strengths, none is perfect — creating a glove that is waterproof, warm, durable AND thin enough to retain dexterity is quite a feat. When choosing your cold weather sailing glove, it’s important to consider the type of boat you’ll be sailing, your position on the boat and the weather conditions.

Figuring out glove size is easy. To fit your hand and measure to know your glove size, check out our glove size chart.

How to Choose

Each style, material and construction has its strengths. With so many choices, how are you to decide?  We will review products by grading them with 1-5 stars (5 being the best) on 4 attributes:

  • Sizing accuracy/fit- Does it match the size chart expectations, how well they fit/form to hand
  • Dexterity- Ability to easily flex hand and maneuver
  • Grip- The gloves ability to add friction to lines and reduce hand fatigue
  • Durability – Life of glove, how well it holds up over time

To see more details and product videos on individual gloves, click the glove images to head to the product page.

Click here to browse all sailing gloves at APS.

  • Cost: $6.95
  • Waterproof: No
  • Breathable: Yes
  • Insulation Material: Knit Polyester
  • Product video/SHOP

Overview:

The Atlas Thermal Fit gloves are certainly not the warmest on the list, but they do offer a knit polyester blend full finger construction. The polyester, while fairly quick drying, is not waterproof so be prepared to get a little wet (and potentially cold) when wearing these. A great feature is the rubber palm-the super sticky coating offers great grip even when wet. The knit polyester has a bit of elasticated stretch to it, ensuring a comfortable form hugging and true to size fit. The rubber fingertips, however, do take away some dexterity. It is popular among sailors to cut the tips off of the thumb and first finger of these gloves. The simple design and materials mean that this is not the strongest, most durable glove on the market but luckily, at such a great price, you can afford to stock up on a few pairs for the season.

Overview:

The Gill Three Season Gloves are a comfortable and versatile glove to take you through spring to fall. A thin flexible Neoprene offers insulation as well as a close fit. However, there is potential for your hands to get cold if these gloves get drenched. Warmth can be added with use of a glove liner. The Amara palm and Dura-grip reinforcements combined with the neoprene offer great grip and pretty strong glove overall. These gloves have a thin enough construction and a snug enough fit that you’re left with fairly good dexterity for a full fingered glove.

  • Waterproof: Yes / water resistant
  • Breathable: No
  • Insulation Material: 3mm Neoprene
  • Product Video / SHOP

Overview:

A frostbite crowd pleaser, the Neoprene Winter Glove from Gill is well thought out and built — made from 3mm Neoprene with an extended cuff that integrates into dry/wetsuit tops. The construction, in relation to durability, is pretty good: the only downside being that there’s no protection for the neoprene. The glove does lose one point for dexterity due to the neoprene thickness, but it does fit and form very well to the hand. Pre-articulated, naturally curved fingers keep you from fighting the glove too much when gripping. The palm is grippy and hard wearing and we’d recommend it for use anywhere on the boat and especially for use in dinghies. Gill calls the Winter Glove ‘water resistant’ but with the taped seams and thicker neoprene we are comfortable calling it basically waterproof. Extra warmth can be added with use of a glove liner. The fitted cuff also effectively helps keep water out.

Overview:

Gill’s Helmsman Glove has the look & feel of a ski glove, but there are a number of sailing approved refinements that help set it apart. Made for waterproof warmth, the Helmsman features a waterproof membrane as well as soft Fiberfill insulation. Although warm & dry, the glove does lose points for dexterity. These gloves are a solid choice for drivers and would probably work well for a main or jib trimmer dealing with larger lines. A layered construction makes a hard wearing glove. The palm is reinforced with heavy duty Dura-Grip while the fingers are wrapped with Proton Ultra-XD.

Overview:

The Hanz Waterproof Glove offers a synthetic knit nylon outer, a soft interior, and a waterproof membrane sandwiched between the two. While the waterproof quality will help to keep you warm if they get wet, they are fairly thin and not very warm on their own.  The thinness does help improve dexterity, but also detracts from durability. These are ideal for positions on the boat where you won’t have lines running through them — like the helmsmen or bowmen. They have gripper dots on the palm that are sticky, but repeated wear by line would eat through these gloves easily. These gloves tend to run a little large as the fingers are not very tapered or form fitting.

Overview:

The concept behind Hanz ChillBlocker Waterproof Gloves is pretty smart. They have a stretchy Nylon/Lycra outer layer with a waterproof membrane and Polartec fleece on the inside. Unfortunately, it’s not pulled off particularly well. First off, these gloves are at least one to two sizes bigger than expected. Also, there’s a good bit of extra material in the palm when you go to grip something. It seems that the design is too 2D and not enough 3D. The inner fleece combined with the waterproofing does offer a pretty warm glove, however the waterproof membrane is delicate and will deteriorate with too much ringing or stress. The same goes for the outer nylon. Not the first choice for anyone doing heavy sheet work. Recommended for a helmsman or other applications where handling line won’t be the main concern of the wearer.

Overview:

The Atlas Temres Breathable Warm gloves offer a warm, waterproof, breathable cold weather solution. The durable, but thin Polyurethane coating offers a lot of flexibility, yet the overall size of the finger tips still detracts from overall dexterity. One downside to these is the open cuff, if water happens to get inside they will not dry out very quickly- tucking into a jacket cuff helps this. These are not offered in a wide range of sizes and they can fit a little on the baggier side. Sticky and durable enough for sheet work, these are a great glove for any position on the boat.

Overview:

The Atlas Hot Tamales Warm gloves are a crowd favorite. This glove has a super durable PVC shell on the exterior that is completely waterproof and a rough grip on the palm for handling anything. The interior has a soft lining that is really, really warm — truly ideal for the coldest day on the race course. The non-exact sizing and wider cuff issue remain here and dexterity is limited, but as far as waterproof warmth, you can’t go wrong.  The Hot Tamales are a favorite for dinghy and college racers as well as keelboat sailors.

Overview:

Similar to the Hot Tamales, but with an innovative twist, these Atlas gloves come with a removable Acrylic liner making them ideal for longer passages or overnight sailing. If your liners get wet they can easily be swapped for a dry pair. Extra liners are sold separately. The outside is PVC coated and totally waterproof and textured for grip. Dexterity is slightly more hindered than the original by the bulk of the glove/liner combo.

Overview:

The APS Dry Gloves offer full waterproof protection right down the the cuffs. These are made of 100% latex to create a watertight seal around the wrist. The tight wrist seals are easily adjusted by trimming a few centimeters away for a perfect fit. While they will keep you dry, these gloves provide no warmth. On a colder day it would be wise to wear a glove liner underneath. A textured palm offers a bit of grip to the typically smooth latex. Although thick and stretchy, durability can be compromised if you catch a snag or sharp bit of wire.

 

 Glove Sizing Information

Measure all the way around (circumference) your hand (palm) at its fullest point.

Glove Size Hand Circumference
Inches Centimeters
Child/ XX-Small 5 12.7
Junior/ X-Small 6 15.3
SMALL 7 17.8
MEDIUM 8 20.3
LARGE 9 22.9
X-LARGE  10  25.4
2X-LARGE 11  28.0

*This is a general guide and some gloves may run larger or smaller than the published sizing.