Yachting Monthly - - GROUP TEST -

Buy­ing a new set of off­shore oil­skins is cer­tainly a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment for any sailor, and as with all of these things, go­ing into a chan­dlers and try­ing on dif­fer­ent makes and sizes, as well as check­ing the price tag, will have a big im­pact on your fi­nal de­ci­sion.

Com­pared to lower-priced coastal or in­shore waterproofs, go­ing for an off­shore suit will give you a num­ber of fea­tures, which­ever brand you pick: high col­lars with a face guard, fully ad­justable hoods, dou­ble cuffs, prop­erly sealed zips, longer body length and, per­haps most im­por­tantly, top-end fab­rics that will stand up to wet­ter, windier weather for longer than be­fore and that will last for more sea­sons.

The move to­wards lighter weight gar­ments is wel­come. You just need to de­cide if you want a jacket with all the bells and whis­tles, with a lit­tle more bulk, or some­thing more pared back. In the for­mer camp, Henri Lloyd and Musto came out on top, with Gill fol­low­ing very close be­hind. Henri Lloyd was a lighter fab­ric than the other two, but all fea­tured chest and waist hand-warmers, proper cargo pock­ets and hand-warmers on the salopettes.

Zhik and Helly Hansen were more pared back with fewer pock­ets and fea­tures over­all, but both had re­ally nice fea­tures, like clever hood stowage on the Zhik and ex­cel­lent fit and flex­i­bil­ity on the Helly Hansen – these were per­haps the most ‘sporty’ on test. De­cathlon has re­ally sur­prised the team at YM this sea­son with the qual­ity and thor­ough de­sign of its gar­ments. These are no cheap im­i­ta­tions, but time will tell how they per­form over sev­eral sea­sons.

Ul­ti­mately, the Musto MPX suit was our test win­ner. A bomb-proof set of foulies with ev­ery fea­ture you would want, with the ex­cep­tion of drop seat trousers in the women’s ver­sion, and for this, and its ex­cel­lent hood, Henri Lloyd came a close sec­ond.

Will your waterproofs keep out a thor­ough soak­ing?

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