Who doesn’t love the relaxing calm that comes with sailing in open waters, enjoying peace and tranquility as you explore the deep blue? But sailing can come with its own challenges, and any experienced sailor will tell you that you need to be prepared. The sea is unpredictable. One moment you may be enjoying calm waters and a relaxing sunrise, while the next you’re caught in a storm or navigating through dangerous waters. Sailing pants are an important part of any sailor’s kit and they’re what will keep you comfortable, warm, and dry during your outdoor adventure.
But not all sailing trousers are created equal. In fact, the best sailing pants must be versatile, flexible, and equipped with a waterproof coating and membrane that work together to allow moisture to exit the pants while preventing water from entering.
Basically, we only chose pants that received the best positive feedback and the highest rating in each category
The pants we’ve added to our list are perfect for both inshore and offshore sailing and are designed to easily withstand harsh ocean conditions.
You can rest assured, that each pair in our lineup will be a perfect choice, based on where you sail and the types of activities you enjoy at sea, such as ocean angling, racing, or pure recreation.
Searching for the Best Sailing Trousers
If you need a pair of pants to attend a dinner party on a yacht, then you can pretty much pick and choose any type of breathable, cotton or khaki pants. True pants designed for sailing are made of tougher stuff.
Considering there are hundreds of pairs of pants to choose from, finding the top five pairs was no easy feat. We looked at pants from major manufacturers including Musto, O’Neil, and Championship, reviewing their best-selling products to find the five pairs that would make it to our list.
Each pair of pants offers top of the line breathability and a waterproof design. They also scored high in durability, versatility, and overall quality.
While these sailing pants may not be cheap, they are rated to handle offshore conditions, which means you’ll be hard-pressed to find pants that can compete with this type of quality.
However, if the price is a concern, we have also included pants that will work for those of you on a tight budget. We’ve also included pants that are a perfect fit for beginners and pros sailors, so you’ll be sure to find the perfect pair in our top five list.
Introducing the Top-selling Pair of Sailing Pants on the Market
While narrowing it down to just five pairs wasn’t exactly easy, we ended up with the most versatile, durable sailing trousers on the market.
We’ll kick off our top five list with this pair of offshore trousers, the MPX by Gore-Tex. These pants are suited for a wide range of weather and water conditions, but they will truly shine for the seasoned sailor in need of pants that can withstand days or weeks at sea.
Best Sailing Pants-MPX Gore-Tex Pro Offshore Trousers
The MPX Gore-Tex offshore sailing trousers are our top-rated pants for a number of reasons. They’re highly breathable, durable, and the perfect option if you’re looking for pants that can withstand intense weather conditions and rough seas. Of course, these pants are more directed at pro sailors, but they’re also a great choice for newbies in need of a reliable pair of pants that will keep them warm and dry in choppy water conditions.
Top Offshore Pants-BR2 Offshore Trousers
These offshore pants by Musto called the BR2s are incredibly durable, breathable, and comfortable to boot. The waistband, suspenders, and ankle cuffs are adjustable, so you can enjoy a custom fit, and pants that will prevent water from entering. These pants come loaded with waterproof pockets, so you can carry and protect essential personal items such as your wallet and smartphone. The breathable, waterproof design allows sweat to escape the interior while preventing seawater from entering. This innovative design is what makes these offshore pants so durable and popular with the pros.
Most Durable Sailing Pants-ZHIK Men’s Deckbeater Pants
The Deckbeater sailing pants by Zhik are made out of neoprene and spandex, so they’re flexible and can protect you from cold water temperatures. If you’re tired of stiff, uncomfortable sailing trousers, then the Deckbeater pants will be a breath of fresh air. They also come equipped with reinforced knees for ultimate protection that helps to lengthen the lifespan of your pants. These technical sailing pants can offer a higher level of protection from the elements when you’re spending a day on the ocean.
Most Versatile-Championship Hi-Fits Sailing Trousers
These sailing pants by Championship feature Thermolift technology, which makes them suitable for a wide range of weather conditions and water temperatures. They’re also highly adjustable, allowing you to get a comfortable, custom fit.
These pants are waterproof and can handle deck water and sea spray like a champ.
Highly Breathable-Gill Men’s Waterproof Sailing Trousers
These waterproof sailing trousers by Gill are the perfect choice for a fun day at sea. The pants have been coated with a type of water repellent, while the seams of the pants have been taped to prevent water entry. While the pants haven’t been rated for offshore use, they’re solid performers during the summer months. The interior mesh lining help to improve breathability, while the adjustable ankle closures take water protection up a notch while allowing you to enjoy a custom fit.
Sailing Trousers Buyer’s Guide
The best sailing pants will keep you comfortable, dry, and won’t hinder your movement. These pants are made from a wide range of materials including canvas, polyester, Gore-Tex, and different blends. There are several types of sailing pants to choose from, most of which are designed for the casual sailor. However, for sail racing and sailing trips in inclement weather, you can choose from sturdy, durable, breathable pants that will keep your skin dry and the water out.
It can be a little intimidating, buying sailing trousers for the first time. But our guide will teach you how to pick out the appropriate pair of pants based on the type of sailing adventure you’re planning on.
Styles Based on Where You’ll Be Sailing
In terms of style, there are four main categories to choose from based on sailing type:
Inshore: Lightweight, fabric is very breathable and designed for day use.
Coastal: These pants are slightly heavier but more breathable than pants designed for inshore sailing.
Offshore: Offshore pants are highly breathable and reinforced at the knee and seat areas.
Ocean: For this type of sailing, you’ll want pants made out of heavy fabric that’s breathable and made from tough material such as Gore-Tex.
If you’re a beginner, you may want to consult experienced friends and family regarding the appropriate clothing and gear you should wear and bring on a sail. Check out the weather forecast before you head out for the day.
When in doubt, wear layers of clothing that can be removed throughout the day, should the weather heat up.
Wetsuits and Sailing Shoes in Inclement Weather
When you’re sailing, it’s always important to keep warm and dry, which will depend a lot on the weather. If you’re expecting rain, then a wetsuit is needed for complete insulation. To learn more about leading wetsuits on the market, click here to read our wetsuit buyer’s guide.
In terms of sailing shoes and boots, you’ll need something that can get wet and still keep you warm. The shoes or boots should also have good grip and non-marking soles. To learn about the best pairs of sailing shoes on the market, click here to check out our buyer’s guide.
A sailing trip can never be successful without the right clothes, footwear, and other accessories. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned sailor, you have to know what to wear for sailing before embarking on your trip.
The microclimate is the thin layer of air that surrounds the body. It’s basically what keeps you comfortable. Ideally, the microclimate should be around ninety degrees with less than thirty percent humidity. Studies have shown that humans are the most comfortable in these conditions. But what’s good for your shoulders isn’t good for your hands, or for your legs. In colder weather, the legs and arms can be up to forty-five degrees colder than the rest of the body and without any perceived discomfort.
While you can’t control the conditions you’re in, you do have total control over the microclimate that surrounds your body. The pants you wear when sailing will control moisture, heat transfer, and will protect you from the elements. This is how pants can keep you comfortable.
Constant movement plus high muscle mass equals plenty of opportunity for creating heat. Like the rest of the body, the legs must stay dry and comfortably warm. But when you’re sailing, if you’re competing in a competition, it’s not always in your best interest to use the standard layering system most sailors recommend. When speed is your priority, you need pants that allow you to perform at your best and pants that offer effective insulating, wicking, and protection against the elements, and all in a single fabric. But total freedom of movement is equally important.
If you want to be able to handle sailboat racing and extreme weather conditions, you need to wear the right sailing pants.
When you’re shopping around for new pants for sailing, you’re going to run into pants made from a variety of materials. Some pants are designed more for casual wear as opposed to racing or rough sea conditions. These pants are usually made out of a polyester-cotton blend and can be worn both on the boat or on the street.
The following explains the different types of material options you’ll come across and what each type of material has to offer in terms of breathability, durability, comfort, and more.
Some materials are pricier than others. As an example, you can expect to pay more for pants made out of Gore-Tex than you will for pants that are made out of a cotton-polyester blend.
Pants made out of cotton usually aren’t recommended unless you expect to sail in casual, mild conditions. Cotton tends to get wet and stay wet. Wet cotton pants can lead to a miserably cold experience or in extreme cases, hypothermia. Keep in mind that the air is usually colder on the water.
Most sailors recommend Gore-Tex since it’s breathable and designed to prevent water from entering. Others prefer polypropylene. Moisture-wicking fabric is crucial and allows the body’s natural evaporation process to preserve a layer of dry, warm air next to the skin and maintain body temperature.
Playing it Safe
If you’re familiar with how sailboats work and you’re well prepared for hot and cold weather conditions, choppy waters, and even dangerously cold water temperatures, then by now you probably also know that wearing the right outfit when you’re sailing not only ensures you beat the bad weather when you’re at sea, but it can also guarantee a safer sailing experience.
There are different pants, outfits, accessories and gear that you can wear based on the type of boat you’re sailing and the weather. Obviously, if you’re sailing in bad weather and plan to stay on deck, then you’ll need to plan your clothing accordingly.
There are several different styles of pants to choose from, ranging from cruising gear to technical wear. Heavy-duty pants are designed for the pros, ocean cruisers, and racers, but they can be worn by anyone who wants to stay comfortable and dry on the open water.
When you sail a dinghy, you’re exposed to wind and water. Hypothermia is a real possibility if you sail during the winter. Because of this, you need the proper sailing pants during cool weather. Most pros recommend salopettes. You can find salopettes for pretty much any type of sailing from pants designed to handle the toughest ocean race to salopettes that are ergonomic and light, making them perfect for dinghy sailing. These pants are designed with a high-fit back and chest for improved protection from the water and wind. The abrasion-resistant fabric used on the knees and seat will protect the wearer from abrasions. The hem of the pants is designed to prevent the pants from getting caught on anything as you race around on deck.
Yacht Racing Pants
Yacht racing is a sport that includes bigger sailboats and yachts. These races consist of yachts racing around a course that’s stamped by floats or a type of altered navigational gadget. As you can imagine, yacht racing is intense, fast-paced and it requires plenty of skill and know-how. Typically, only seasoned sailors will enter a yachting race, but those new to yachting can also join in on the fun.
Of course, this type of sport isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll need at least some basic sailing skills and the right gear to join the competition. While the type of shoes you wear will play a major role, the type of sailing pants you wear will also be important.
Yacht racing pants are made out of durable, breathable material. The design of the pants themselves are often tapered and equipped with a reinforced seat and knees. Some may even have snaps at the bottom to prevent the legs of your pants from catching on anything. Pants in this specific category are usually on the pricey side.
Racing pants for sailing are essential considering you’ll be wearing them in intense conditions. These pants usually have fully sealed seams and are made out of three-layer laminated fabric that’s abrasion resistant and equipped with a durable water repellent finish and protective inner scrim.
Basic Sailing Pants
Basic trousers specifically designed for sailing are weatherproof and a great option for any occasion. They feature extensive seat and knee abrasion protection, three-layer shell fabric, fleece lined pockets, and are highly breathable and durable.
These sailing pants are designed with comfort in mind. They’re basically the perfect cruising apparel. Incredibly durable and comfortable, they offer a customized fit via batwing waist adjusters. You don’t have to search online for this style of pants. In fact, you’ll often find them at local retailers in their casual wear section.
Technical pants are designed for protection, comfort, and performance. Whether you’re racing or cruising, these pants designed for sailing are a staple in warmer weather. They come in quick-drying fabrics that are water-resistant or waterproof, in a variety of styles. The styles themselves are articulated in order to accommodate range of movement. The seat of the pants is often double reinforced with fabric that’s abrasion resistant and designed to hold up to lounging on non-skid decks.
Technical sailing pants designed for women offer the same features you’ll find on sailing pants for men, but they’re sized and shaped to specifically fit women. They’re available in form fitting, traditional, and waterproof styles. The waterproof pants offer a high waist design and are usually reinforced in the knees and seat, both of which are breathable and waterproof. They’re also made for basic weather protection and range of movement.
Traditional pants for sailing are made out of performance materials that are quick drying and wicking.
Sailing Clothing Tips for the Beginner
- If you’re heading out for your first sailing adventure, then you need to dress according to the weather.
- Make sure you bring along ample sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays during the spring and summer.
- Avoid wearing jewelry that can slip off and fall into the water.
- Expect to get wet and prepare accordingly by bringing extra clothes.
- Pay close attention to the sizing chart and choose pants that offer a snug fit.
- If you’re sailing in intense weather conditions, wear several layers.
- Take into account washing instructions in order to avoid shrinking the pants.
- If the pants you purchase are too tight, exchange them. An uncomfortable fit can hinder your movements. This is especially important if you’re shopping for yacht racing gear.
- Wearing a life jacket is imparative when sailing on a keelboat or on a dinghy, especially in bad weather conditions.
- Pants worn when ocean sailing should be laundered promptly after use, otherwise, the salt can damage the integrity of the material. Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s care instructions before you toss them in your washer. Most styles of pants designed for sailing need to be washed in cold water and air dried.