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 men’s sailing pants
You can sail with just about any old tog, but clothing designed specifically for boating makes life on the water safer and more enjoyable.
When it comes to sailing apparel, like any other outdoor apparel, it’s all about fabric, craftsmanship and resistance to the elements.
Here are some features to look for in the best pants for sailors from leading manufacturers in the industry.
The Best Sailing Pants Have These Features
The best sailing pants are first and foremost water resistant and quick drying. They don’t need to be completely waterproof, like PVC fouites, but a good sailing breeches will wick water away either through the fabric itself or through a water-resistant coating, often identified by the abbreviation DWR (Durable Water Repellent).
Nylon and polyester, or a combination of the two, are widely used in this category. Softshell fabrics, which encompass a range of synthetics, are a good mix of water-resistant and quick-drying properties. They are ideal for active sports like sailing.
For sailing in fair weather, the 2- or 4-way stretch fabrics make for a great all-around pant that can be worn on its own or as a mid-layer.
If the pants have pockets and are meant for inclement weather, look for drainage holes in the pockets to let water out.
A basic pair of rain pants usually only have an elasticated waistband, but belt loops are a better bet for customizing the fit and accommodating accessories, such as a knife or multi-tool.
The more aggressive the conditions, the more important the tailoring becomes. Runners and offshore pass makers will want articulated knees for mobility and ankle closures to prevent splashing.
Half-zip closures on the outer cuff make it easy to pull on weather-resistant pants over boots and shoes.
Here are some of the best pants specifically designed for sailors.
6 of the best sailing pants on the market
Tribord 100, Sailing Waterproof Overtrousers
Best Budget Sailing Pants
You don’t have to break the bank to own good sailing pants. Tribord is the brand dedicated to sailing from the French sporting goods distributor Decathlon.
Their lightweight overtrousers are perfect for inclement weather or anytime you might catch spray in choppy waters.
An elastic waistband and Velcro ankle closures keep you dry in adverse conditions. The pants are windproof, water resistant and breathable, yet compact enough to pack into their own pocket.
While these might not be suitable for extreme offshore cruising or scrambles in hot summer weather, at just $25 (£20) you won’t go wrong keeping a pair tucked away on board for the unexpected squalls or temperature drops.
- Very attractive price.
- Lightweight construction.
- Breathable but waterproof.
- Compact enough to fit in your pocket.
- Not as durable as more expensive products.
- A single pocket for storage.
- No ventilation zippers on the front or sides.
Note: We may earn a commission when you purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. This does not affect our editorial independence.
Helly Hansen Men’s Cargo Pants
Best All-Round Sailing Pants
When you need more functionality than rain pants but still want weather protection, check out the Quick Dry Cargo Pants from Helly Hansen. Two spacious, pleated side pockets provide all the capacity you need to carry personal effects, tools or the other odds and ends that 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 hardwearing outerwear.
These well-fitting pants are made from a quick-drying, high-stretch softshell material. They’re comfortable enough to wear all day and look just as stylish in the cockpit as they do over cocktails.
The Helly cargo pants are made according to a textile industry criterion called Bluesign. This means the production process is tracked from source to sale to ensure the final garment meets the highest standards of sustainability and environmental impact.
- Comfortable enough to wear all day.
- Quick-dry stretch fabric.
- This is a Bluesign product.
- Available in several colors.
- The long inseam may not work for shorter sailors.
- Some reviewers report quality control issues.
Buy from West Marine
Gill Mens Pilot Pants
Best Sailing Pants for Versatility
Versatile sailing pants should have a wide thermal range. That’s what Gill had in mind when developing his Men’s Pilot Trouser.
These pants are comfortable enough to wear on their own in hot weather, 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 waistband with drawstring and Velcro ankle closures will keep you warm and dry when the weather turns up.
The pockets aren’t as roomy as cargo pants, but they’re vented with drainage holes in case you leave one open during a storm.
- Machine washable.
- Waterproof and windproof.
- Relaxed fit for all body types.
- More expensive than comparable products.
- Available in one color (graphite).
Buy from West Marine
Mustang Survival Catalyst Flotation Overalls
Best Extreme Weather Sailing Pants
For expedition wear, you’ll want more than a standard overtrouser. That means a bib designed for the toughest 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 enjoys a relatively high rating for what is known in the clothing industry as a clo value, which measures insulating ability. With a clo value of 0.17, this bib and matching jacket are designed to dramatically increase the wearer’s survivability in hypothermic conditions.
On a daily basis, offshore sailors will appreciate the fleece-lined pockets, reinforced knees and articulated cut for a good range of movement.
- Robust kit for sailing in all weathers.
- Adjustable straps.
- Waterproof, warm and buoyant.
- Considerably more expensive than standard shell pants.
- Bulkier than rain pants.
Buy from West Marine
Helly Hansen Soft Shell Sailing Pants
Best Midweight Sailing Pants
When it’s too hot for bibs but too cold for lightweight pants, consider softshell fabrics with a DWR finish.
These woven blends of nylon and polyester offer the trifecta of water resistance, wind blocking and warmth. Softshells are ubiquitous in outdoor clothing and natural for sailing.
On cool, clear days, the UPF 50+ pants provide another layer of protection against harmful UV rays.
Four-way stretch material is the standard for action wear in the sportswear industry. This means that the fabric stretches in length and width. These are billed as being two-way only (side-to-side), but they will still move smoothly with you on every tack and jibe.
- Adjusted comfort in an all-purpose fabric.
- Clean cut with flat pockets.
- Available in two colors (ebony and navy).
- Belt loops rather than an elasticated 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 built for racing. The streamlined, aerodynamic fit features smooth, waterproof fabric with articulated knees and hips for mobility. Straight legs eliminate excess weight and fabric.
They are available in gray or black with staggered colors at the knees and seat. Three flat pockets provide ample space for personal effects, documents or other personal items.
The waist features Velcro tabs for a precise fit, as well as belt loops. The cuffs also have a Velcro closure to keep water from splashing and on high top sailing boots.
This makes them a perfect transition pant between summer shorts and end of season strides.
- Waterproof and breathable.
- Comfortable enough to wear without a base layer.
- The elegant stitching is available in two colors.
- Athletic cut.
- Pretty expensive.
- Sizes can be large, but reviewers report a good return policy.