Best Sailing Shorts

Whether you are after sailing shorts or sailing pants, both are an essential part of the wardrobe for any sailor.

They are designed to be comfortable and durable. The durability requirement stems from fact that they have to stand up to the harshest of elements, and well as extreme wear and tear when out sailing. You’ll be out on the water all day, so it’s a no-brainer that they also have to be comfortable.

They need to be perfect for use by recreational and professional sailors and are typically made from water resistant, quick drying fabrics. Some have additional padding for extra comfort. These highly specialized shorts come in a variety of styles for both men and women.

Not all in the list below are specifically for Laser sailing, but for sailing in general, and for back in the club when bragging about your day out on the water.

Here are our picks of the top 6 best sailing shorts:

Now that you know what you need sailing shorts for let’s look at some of our top picks for comfort, style, and affordability.

Our brands of choice are Gill, Harken, and Helly Hansen. They have designed shorts that are contemporary in their look yet contain all the key elements you would expect from top brands like these.

1. Gill Performance Padded Shorts

Gill Performance Padded Shorts

Our top pick is the Gill Performance Padded Shorts. Made from a durable nylon fabric and designed with a reinforced seat panel that you can add extra pads to make this a multi-functional pair of shorts you’ll want to wear on the beach as well as during a long session on the water.

The water repellent outer layer means you won’t be soaked if you get hit by a wave and they take up little space if you decide to pack light for your next outing on the water.

Get the best price on Gill Men’s Performance Sailing Shorts here.

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2. Gill Race Sailing Shorts

Gill Race Sailing Shorts

Next on our list is the Gill Race Sailing Shorts. Aside from being made from a durable and abrasion-resistant fabric, these sailing shorts have the added bonus of a zippered thigh pocket. It’s a handy plus giving you a place to keep race notes, a knife or handheld device.

Reviews of these shorts also point to the perfect sizing and are very comfortable. The deep side pockets and secure thigh pocket are also well-liked. They offer 50+ UV protection. These features are rated high by owners of this product.

Check out the Gill Race Unisex Shorts here.

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3. Helly Hansen Women’s Crewline Shorts

Helly Hansen Women's Crewline Shorts

These Helly Hansen Crewline Shorts for Women are a 94/6% blend of Polyamide and Elastine. This means a number of things…

First, they are stretchy enough to move when you move with a soft and comfortable brushed interior that prevents skin irritation. Second, these sailing shorts are durable and third, the fabric is designed to wick away moisture. Additional features include deep pockets with zip closing.

They provide UPF 40 plus UV protection so they are perfect for wear in the sun and are also comfortable enough to help you through a full day of sailing without spoiling any of the fun.

Click here for a closer look at the Helly Hansen Women’s Crewline Shorts.

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4. Helly Hansen Men’s Jotun QD Cargo Shorts

Helly Hansen Men’s Jotun QD Cargo Shorts

Helly Hansen has a Men’s cargo shorts which is made of a 94/6 blend of Polyamide & Elastane.

As with Helly Hansen products in general, they are great quality and are designed to be durable, as well as quick drying.

A nice feature is the mesh-lined pockets, allowing them to dry ultra-quickly. The cargo pockets give you extra handy storage.

Have a look at the Helly Hansen Men’s Jotun Shorts… click here.

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5. O’Neil Men’s Skins UPF 50+ Rash Shorts

O'Neill Men's UPF 50+ Rash Shorts

The next selection on our list is O’Neil Rash Shorts. These are a great choice to wear in a number of ways…

You can just wear them as they are on a hot day or add them under a wetsuit. The reason why you may want to do that is that these sailing shorts are about as high tech as shorts can get.

Made from a lightweight six-ounce, four-way stretch fabric these shorts spell comfort. They contain flatlock seams so there will be no skin irritation and an elastic waistband. Rated with a 50+ UPF they will provide maximum UV protection without skimping on fit.

Check out these O’Neil sailing shorts here.

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6. Gill Speedskin Trousers

Gill Speedskin Sailing Trousers

The last of the best sailing pants and shorts are the Gill Speedskin Trousers.

Using what Gill likes to call their “X4 Flex Technology” means there’s a whole lot of stretch built into the 90% neoprene and 10% nylon construction. This also means you can expect comfort along with the freedom of movement the design and fabric allows.

There’s also extra padding in the seat, knees, and shins providing day-long comfort.

Click here for more details on the Gill Speedskin Trousers, and make sure that you have a quick look at the short video below which outlines some of the cool design features of the Gill Hiking outfit.

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Our Last Word on Shorts For Sailing…

The right kind of sailing pants or shorts can make sailing much more enjoyable and there are many choices available designed to meet the demands of every kind of sailor. Designed for comfort, with the added bonus of water-resistant or quick-drying materials and sun protection, sailing in a pair of shorts all day just got a whole lot more practical and comfortable with these in the list above.

However, a good pair of shorts is only the beginning. So make sure that you check out our other posts on some of the best gear on the market… check out our write-ups on:

Not all shorts are created equally, so make sure you check out the features offered before buying. Don’t forget to order the proper size, and enjoy your next adventure out on the water with a great pair of sailing shorts.


  1. Mike Smith on April 14, 2020 at 2:37 am

    Gill seriously overrated.
    Quality has seriously dropped as they’ve de-speccced their products whilst increasing prices. Last pair of Gill shorts I bought only lasted the one season before they went through on the seat.
    My recommendation is to buy some ex-military pants/shorts and attach an extra layer on the seat for durability. Fraction of the price and will last you much longer.

    • Admin on April 14, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Mike.
      Personally, I haven’t noticed a degradation in Gill shorts quality, but I do wear a wetsuit most of the time.
      That being said, my sailing shorts tend to wear through on the backside before other parts, so they could probably do with a bit more durability in that area.

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