Even with a budget of £350, there are some remarkably good sets of oilskins on the market. Different brands have focused on different kinds of waterproofs at this price point: Musto and Zhik have gone more lightweight; Henri Lloyd sit in the middle with heavier construction but minimalist design; Gill, Tribord, Helly Hansen and Gull have gone for pareddown versions of their offshore kit. It’s up to you to pick what’s important to you, although for inshore and coastal sailing, we liked the suits that had at least some cargo pockets and some handwarmer pockets. On this score, the Helly Hansen, Gill, Gul and Tribord did very well.
All the suits used ownbrand fabric, all made to be waterproof and breathable, and all use fully taped seams. Have a look at the fabrics waterproof rating – this will have an impact on how prolonged a soaking you can endure before you feel damp.
The big surprise from our test was how well Decathlon did with its Tribord 500 jacket. If the brands were not marked on the clothes, it would be very difficult to tell that this one is half the price of the others. We think this brand will be making waves in the sector if it’s longevity is up to scratch.
We liked the Musto a lot and it would be a great set of waterproofs for the summer, but for our money, Helly Hansen ticked the most boxes: lightweight and stylish, robust waterproofing, excellent protection, plenty of pockets and performed well in the water test. Its only weak spot was the rather basic salopettes.
Finally, it was a close call for the runner-up position. The Gill, Gul, Henri Lloyd and Zhik suits were all in strong contention. In the end, the super comfy Zhik Kiama narrowly pipped the Gill OS3 Coastals to the post. Surprisingly effective seals and a few nice details made them a pleasure to wear. Gill were solid and had a good level of features that put it just ahead of Henri Lloyd.
need a shower? our hosedown test looked for any waterproofing weak spots
our waterproofs testing platform was a hanse 388
see YM dec 2017 for our full test of the hanse 388