From hats to shoes and everything in between, performance outerwear is a must for serious sailors. Here are some of the best deals we've found on sailing pants for men
You can sail in just about any old togs, but garments designed specifically for boating make life on the water safer and more enjoyable.
When it comes to sailing apparel, as with any other outdoor clothing, it’s all about the fabric, the tailoring, and resistance to the elements.
Here are a few features to look for in the best pants for sailors from the industry’s leading manufacturers.
The best sailing pants have these features
The best sailing pants are first and foremost water-resistant and quick drying. They don’t have to be completely waterproof, like PVC foulies, but a good pair of sailing britches will shed water either by the fabric itself or a water-resistant coating, often identified by the abbreviation DWR (Durable Water Repellent).
Nylon and polyester, or some combination of both, are widely utilized in this category. Soft-shell fabrics, which encompass a range of synthetics, are a nice blend of water-resistance and quick-drying properties. They are ideal for active sports like sailing.
For fair-weather sailing, 2- or 4-way stretch fabrics make a great general-purpose trouser that can be worn alone or as a mid-layer.
If the pants have pockets and are intended for foul weather, look for drain holes in the pockets to shed water.
A basic pair of rain pants usually have just an elasticized waist, but belt loops are a better choice to customize the fit and accommodate accessories, such as a knife or multitool.
The more aggressive the conditions, the more important tailoring becomes. Racers and offshore passage makers will want articulated knees for mobility and closures at the ankles to keep out the spray.
Half zips at the outside cuff make it easier to pull heavy-weather pants over boots and shoes.
Here are some of the best pants that are designed specifically for sailors.
6 of the best sailing pants on the market
Tribord 100, Sailing Waterproof Overpants
Best sailing pants on a budget
You don’t have to break the bank to own a decent pair of sailing pants. Tribord is the sailing-specific brand of the French sporting goods retailer Decathlon.
Their lightweight overpants are perfect for inclement weather or anytime you might take on spray in unsettled waters.
An elastic waistband and Velcro closures at the ankle ensure you will stay dry in adverse conditions. The pants are windproof, water-resistant, and breathable, yet compact enough to store in their own pocket.
While these might not make the grade for extreme offshore sailing or messing about in hot summer weather, at only $25 (£20) you won’t go wrong keeping a pair stashed onboard for unexpected squalls or temperature drops.
- Very attractive price.
- Lightweight construction.
- Breathable yet waterproof.
- Compact enough to store in its pocket.
- Not as durable as more expensive products.
- Only one pocket for storage.
- No front or side ventilation zippers.
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Helly Hansen Men’s Cargo Pants
Best general-utility sailing pants
When you need more functionality than rain pants but still want weather protection, check out Helly Hansen’s Quick-Dry Cargo Pant. Two roomy, pleated side pockets offer all the capacity you need to carry personal effects, tools, or the other bits and bobs sailors tend to collect.
Sturdy belt loops ensure a precise fit and allow you to carry a hip knife or multi-tool. The front fly features a YKK zipper, the industry standard for heavy-duty outdoor apparel.
This well-tailored pant is made from quick-drying soft-shell material that has plenty of stretch. They are comfortable enough to wear all day and as stylish in the cockpit as they are over cocktails.
Helly’s cargo pant is manufactured under a textile industry criterion called Bluesign. That means the production process is tracked from source to sale to ensure that the final garment meets the highest standard of sustainability and environmental impact.
- Comfortable enough for all-day wear.
- Fast-drying stretch fabric.
- This is a Bluesign product.
- Available in multiple colors.
- Long inseam may not work for shorter sailors.
- Some reviewers report quality control problems.
Gill Men’s Pilot Trousers
Best sailing pants for versatility
All-around sailing pants need to have a wide thermal range. That’s what Gill had in mind when developing its Men’s Pilot Trouser.
These pants are comfortable enough to wear alone during warm spells, and they can serve as a waterproof and windproof outer layer in cold weather. The polyester shell with nylon lining is also breathable.
Taped seams, an elastic waist with drawcord, and Velcro ankle closures will keep you warm and dry when the weather stands up.
The pockets are not as roomy as cargo pants, but they are ventilated with drain holes should you happen to leave one open during a storm.
- Machine washable.
- Waterproof and wind-resistant.
- Relaxed fit for all body types.
- More expensive than comparable products.
- Available in only one color (graphite).
Mustang Survival Catalyst Flotation Bib Pant
Best extreme weather sailing pants
For expedition clothing, you’ll want more than a standard overpant. That means a bib designed for the harshest environments and worst-case scenarios.
As the name suggests, the Mustang Catalyst Flotation Bib has built-in buoyancy to support its wearer in an overboard situation.
It also boasts a relatively high rating for what is known in the garment industry as a clo value, which measures insulating ability. With a clo value of .17, this bib and its matching jacket are designed to greatly increase the wearer’s survivability in hypothermic conditions.
In everyday use, offshore sailors will appreciate the fleece-lined pockets, reinforced knees, and articulated tailoring for a good range of motion.
- Heavy-duty kit for all-weather sailing.
- Adjustable suspenders.
- Waterproof, warm, and buoyant.
- Considerably more expensive than standard shell pants.
- More bulk than a rain trouser.
Helly Hansen Soft Shell Sailing Pants
Best mid-weight sailing pants
When it’s too hot for bibs but too cold for lightweight pants, think soft-shell fabrics with a DWR finish.
These woven blends of nylon and polyester hit the trifecta of water resistance, wind blockage, and warmth. Soft shells are ubiquitous in outdoor apparel and a natural for sailing.
On cool, clear days, the pants UPF 50+ rating offers another layer of protection from harmful UV rays.
Four-way stretch material is the standard for action wear in the sporting apparel industry. That means the fabric stretches in length as well as width. These are billed as only 2-way stretch (side to side), but they will still move fluidly with you through every tack and gybe.
- Slim-fitting comfort in a go-anywhere fabric.
- Streamlined fit with flat pockets.
- Available in two colors (ebony and navy).
- Belt loops rather than an elasticized waist.
- Mid-range price.
- Not waterproof, but they are water-resistant.
Helly Hansen Men’s HP Foil Sailing Pants
Best sailing pants for racing
The Helly Hansen HP Foil pants are designed with racing in mind. The streamlined, aerodynamic cut features a slick, waterproof fabric with articulated knees and hips for mobility. Straight-cut legs eliminate excess weight and fabric.
They are available in gray or black with offset colors at the knees and seat. Three flat pockets offer plenty of room for personal effects, documents, or other belongings.
The waist features Velcro tabs for an exact fit, along with belt loops. The cuffs also have a Velcro closure to keep water from splashing up and over high-top sailing boots.
That makes them perfect transitional pants between summer shorts and late-season foulies.
- Waterproof and breathable.
- Comfortable enough to wear without a base layer.
- Stylish tailoring is available in two colors.
- Athletic cut.
- Quite expensive.
- Sizes may run large, but reviewers report a good return policy.