Foul Weather Gear
All boating enthusiasts emphasize the importance of having the right foul weather clothing that typically includes a windproof and waterproof jacket, pants, and boots. In fact, proper clothing can not only keep the boater safe but help in emergencies.
Despite the fact that foul weather clothing and gear is of primary importance for sailors, power boaters also need the gear that matches the climate and expected weather conditions. Now modern technologies offer a variety of quality breathable and durable gear that ensures a comfortable fit. In extreme weather such clothing made of breathable fabrics keeps the body dry and warm. This effect is achieved by moving perspiration and condensation outward, so the person who wears it doesn't feel cold or hot. It should be noted that most foul weather clothing is designed to keep you dry, rather than warm. To stay warm consider dressing in layers and opt for special clothing that use innovative fabrics perfect for sailing.
The primary protection against nasty weather is outer gear that includes jackets and pants. A sailor or boater will feel comfortable wearing a waterproof jacket and pants that fit well. In addition, such gear must be quite roomy so you could put on several under layers if necessary.
As a rule, jackets and pants are made of the following materials that differ in waterproofing, breathability, and durability:
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE) or Gore-Tex is a popular material mostly used for making waterproof fabric membrane with good breathability properties. Such fabric is used for making jackets and pants. The price of boating gear made of this material can range from moderate to costly.
Polyvinyl-chloride (PVC) is a special coating that is waterproof, abrasion-resistant, durable, lightweight, and rather cheap. Its main disadvantage is the ability to collect condensation and perspiration between the skin and the clothing so wearing it can be very uncomfortable. .
Polyurethane is a rubber polymer coating which is better than PVC in terms of weight, flexibility and breathability. However, polyurethane is less durable and is not good at repelling water. Also it can delaminate with the time.
Neoprene is the most expensive coating, flexible, durable and very heavy. It is widely used in the northern climates.
Additionally, foul weather gear includes rain suits. Made of PVC they are lightweight and quite affordable. Rain suits protect against rain and wind but will not keep you warm. They also are not good at venting perspiration and condensation.
Choosing a Foul Weather Jacket:
When purchasing a foul weather jacket make sure you pay attention to the following features:
wrist and ankle closures must fit properly to keep water out;
big pockets should have flaps, Velcro closures, and drain holes;
an easy-to-grip front zipper that resists rust and corrosion;
under arm ventilation holes;
a hood in a zippered collar pocket;
a hood of red or yellow color with a reflective tape on it and the jacket.
Pants with suspenders, or bibs, ensure the highest level of protection against water. With Velcro closures at the cuffs pants typically come with reinforced patches at the knees and seat. The most comfortable are pants with crossed shoulder straps that ensure the straps are on the shoulder and the pants are up. Some pants may feature built-in elastic strips for greater flexibility. Plus, Velcro closures on pant leg bottoms protect boots and feet from water. When choosing your perfect pair of pants make sure the chest pockets are cargo-type, with flaps and Velcro closures.
Sea boots not only keep the feet dry and warm but also prevent slips and falls on board the vessel. The peculiar feature of sea boots is soft soles and heels that make it impossible to damage the deck. In cold weather sailors wear full-length insulated boots and wicking socks. Power boaters typically opt for short boots made of rubber.
Layering for Boating
Adoption to different weather conditions during a cruise can be achieved through layering. Preparing for a voyage think what outfit and gear will suit you most and work best. The weather at sea is notoriously fickle so sailors should be able to quickly take off or put on clothing layers to stay protected from rain and rough winds. The base layer wicks away moisture, so the body could maintain its temperature. Then an insulating layer is put over the base layer. It functions as a buffer between warm skin and cold air, helps keep warm air around the body and considerably decreases heat loss.
Today there are so many layered clothing brands that it is easy to get confused in terminology. We will focus on technical garments, a new term that denotes the innovative clothing worn by sailors beneath outer gear. This clothing made of cutting-edge waterproof materials exceeds cotton in breathability and moisture wicking. The main flaw of cotton garments is their ability to quickly absorb moisture so wearing them can be very uncomfortable. Among widely used breathable fabrics are micro-porous laminates and fabrics with hydrophilic coatings. In addition, garments made of such fabric help maintain a comfortable body temperature.
Gloves and Foot Warmers
When sailing in the northern climates and in winter sailors and boaters need additional gear that will help keep them warm. These include insulated sailing gloves and hand and foot warmers, along with an insulated stocking cap that will prevent heat loss from the head.
How to Care for Foul Weather Gear
A quality foul weather gear is expensive, but with proper care, such gear will serve you for many years. You will need a waterproof sea bag large enough to accommodate jacket, pants, boots, and other necessary gear that should be carried on board. Make sure you closely follow manufacturer care instructions to make your gear last long. It is also important to clean the gear after each outing.
Consider visiting boat shows and trying on foul weather gear and technical garments offered by various marine retailers to learn about different types of gear that exist. You may also search the web to find out more about the price and features of foul weather gear.
Whether you are a beginner at boating or a professional sailor, having the quality foul weather gear will help make sailing a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Designed to keep boaters dry and comfortable such gear will enable the outdoor enthusiasts and seamen to concentrate on navigation and safety better.