If you could only stay warm, maybe you’d boat a little more this time of year. We tested the following garments using cold evenings, high-pressure showers and full bathtubs, not to see how they work but to feel how they work early in the boating season.
Mustang Integrity Flotation Coat and HX Bib Pant
In A Nutshell: This is the definitive suit for the hardiest coastal boaters. The jacket and bib have closed cell flotation (known as Airsoft foam) and reflective stripes — serious enough for a Deadliest Catch episode.
Our Experience: A gale can’t penetrate this outfit. The Airsoft foam makes it as thick and protective as a hockey goalie’s gear. Hard spray just bounces off like pucks. With only a flannel shirt underneath, we were sweating on a 49-degree evening. The suit floated us in a bathtub test, but we found that every seal (ankles, wrists, neck, jacket waist) needs to be cinched really tight to keep the suit from taking on water — do not use it in place of a life jacket. We wish the hood were standard.
Bottom Line: $349+ (jacket), $374 (bib pant), westmarine.com