Sailing Gear Review: Helly Hansen Head to Toe

As fans of Helly Hansen’s mix of comfort, function and style, we were pleased to review this collection of gear for almost any sailing condition.

helly hansen crew coastal jacket

The Helly Hansen Crew Coastal Jacket 2’s sleek design and ability to tame San Francisco’s weather won over Kira Maixner. It’s kept her dry and warm during her active sailing schedule, which includes lots of wet days both racing and cruising here.

There is much to like in this stylish ¾ length sailing jacket. It’s waterproof and windproof, with quick dry fabric/fleece and articulated arms and elbows that make it easy to move.

kira maixner at the helm in helly hansen's crew coastal jacket

Kira at the helm in the Helly Hansen Crew Coastal Jacket, photo: Krystina Maixner

Kira loves the double, adjustable cuffs, the rubber working well to keep the water out. She also likes the large, easy to grasp zipper pulls and large cargo pockets though wishes they weren’t quite so deep.

kira sailing in the helly hansen coastal crew jacket

Kira wearing the Helly Hansen Crew Coastal Jacket, photo: Krystina Maixner

All-in-all it’s quickly become a favorite piece of sailing gear. “I love the simple and elegant design. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on the Crew Coastal Jacket 2, but it’s perfect for a day on the bay – recently 30 knots of wind, 4-5’ waves and a pretty constant spray,” Kira said.

kira in helly hansen costal crew jacket and trousers

Kira in Helly Hansen Crew Coastal Jacket and Trousers, photo: Lillian Weiss Schmid

The Helly Hansen Crew Coastal Trouser offers all the protection you would expect, the two-ply fabric is waterproof, windproof, breathable, etc., the news is more the level of comfort and great fit. Articulated seat and knees and reinforced knees and seat and quick dry lining add up to comfort and durability. The elastic waist helps with the fit and also shoes a bit of the curve of a women’s body.

helly hansen women's crew coastal trouser

Helly Hansen Women’s Crew Coastal Trouser, photo: Helly Hansen

While no foulies are particularly flattering, Helly does up the style quotient with a diagonal zipper and zipper pulls in contrasting color on their Women’s Crew Coastal Trouser. The reinforced knees and seat have held up well with lots of use. They fit a women’s body well.

Too often we hear female sailors complain about the fit of foul weather bottoms, these are a good option.

helly hansen regulate midlayer jacket

Helly Hansen’s new Regulate Midlayer Jacket has a ventilation system that allows you to adjust the insulation level, photo: Helly Hansen

The new Regulate Midlayer Jacket builds on the award-winning H2 Flow Jacket, which we reviewed last year. The H2 Flow ventilation system allows you to adjust the insulation level – with your own body heat providing an extra layer of insulation.

Designed to be both a stand alone jacket or insulating midlayer, the Regulate has Polartec brushed fleece in the main body with clever air pocket perforations in the back. The Poly shell of outer fabric is what locks heat inside the air pockets.

helly hansen regulate midlayer jacket

The Helly Hansen Regulate Jacket in white, photo: Helly Hansen

“It’s been a great match for San Francisco’s uncharacteristically warm Summer (which is usually fairly chilly) and especially good when working up a sweat. The ventilation system can’t be beat, the air pocket circles in the back really work,” Kara Hugglestone said.

Versatile and lightweight, it’s become her go to jacket on warm days. “It’s so light and comfortable, it’s almost like not wearing a jacket at all,” she said. It’s done double duty for her as she’s worn it bicycle riding too.

helly hansen dry suit 2

For those really challenging conditions, there is the Helly Hansen Dry Suit 2, photo: Helly Hansen

San Francisco’s sailing conditions can be challenging, especially for the foredeck guy. Fortunately for those seriously wet days there is the Helly Hansen Dry Suit 2. Mathew Hernandez, who sails on big and small boats, enjoyed testing it in various situations.

mathew helly hansen dry suit

Mathew in the Helly Hansen Dry Suit 2

“The front zipper and rubber closures at the arms and neck and sealed booties are great at keeping the water out, Mathew said. “The neck closure is a bit disconcertingly tight until the rubber warms up – but works so well, very waterproof! I know as I usually get to break the spray coming from the bow for everyone behind me.” Mathew added that it’s been warm but not stifling with the warm California weather this year and it has not been necessary to wear a intermediate layer.

He hasn’t tested the flotation function yet, but says he’s sure something will happen sooner or later with San Francisco Bay winds when launching the spinnaker or jib.

helly hansen hydropower 4 sailing shoe

The Helly Hansen Hydropower 4 is one of the best selling sailing shoes in the world

Kara and Mathew think the Helly Hansen Hydropower 4 is a good all-around sailing shoe. As well it should be, it’s one of the best selling sailing shoes in the world.

Hydropower 4 has an open-mesh construction that makes them breathable and flexible and removable midsole with a quick-dry antibacterial surface. The outer sole grips the deck well.

It’s lightweight, quick drying and comfortable, although it does feel a bit wide. Indeed, Kara particularly felt there was a lot of extra room in the toe box. If you are the kind of sailor who would prefer to sail barefoot these may be a good option for you. is a San Francisco-based online magazine covering sailing, fashion, food & wine and travel. We welcome review requests, which are carefully selected and provide a wonderful resource for our readers.

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