Originally Posted by sneuman
Sometimes you can find good foulies in regular camping supply stores - the cost is usually less because yachties are perceived as "rich," while campers are not.
If it's for yachts and it has a name embossed on the chest, you can guarantee that it will be designated for the "fashion-conscious yachtsman" - and that is Gucci territory for marketing folks. You'll get the yacht markup (at least 40%) plus the designer apparrel markup (another 40%).
A few years ago, I bought a locally made heavy rain jacket at a camp store here in Thailand for about US$30. In design and construction, it appeared very much like the high-end FW gear I'd seen in magazines priced at 4-5x as much. To test it, I put on a T-shirt, zipped, pulled and tabbed everything up, hopped in the shower with the hand-held nozzle and tried my best to force water ingress. Not a drop.
That jacket subsequently kept me dry sailing through a typhoon in the South China Sea!
Just goes to show you.
Even the heaviest non-marine foul weather gear is generally lacking features that make the marine gear so much more livable.
1) Most heavy foul weather gear has ventilation problems, well-designed, marine-specific foul weather gear generally does not, as it is designed for use in a very wet environment.
2) For really bad weather, being out on a sailiboat, features like double sleeve cuffs, high storm collars, face protection, fleece-lined hand warmer pockets, waterproof pockets, PFD/harness integration, and retroreflective safety reflector patches are a necessity.
3) Truly waterproof zipper openings, with interior and exterior storm flaps.
4) Large zippers with large teeth that do not jam easily, which can be opened and closed with gloves on, and have double slides, so they can be opened up from the bottom or down from the top.
5) An adjustable hood, so that it isn't falling down over your eyes, yet is covering as much of your head as possible. The hoods on most non-marine foulweather gear don't have any way to adjust the length of the hood, or the scope of its coverage. With the hood on my Musto adjusted, I can have a slit for me to look out, with the storm collar and hood protecting all of my face except the slit for my eyes. Add glasses or goggles to that, and I'm pretty much completely protected.
6) Colors—much of the terrestrial foul weather gear comes in the colors blue, green, and black. These colors are horrible choices for marine use, as they are very difficult to see against the ocean, should you fall overboard. My Musto gear is a bright yellow. My Henri Lloyd drysuit is bright red.
The gear that most reminds me of marine foul weather gear, in terms of durability and features, is high-end alpine ski gear. My Columbia ski jacket has a lot of the same features as my Musto jacket, and both were designed for use in extremely harsh environments. BTW, my Columbia Whirlibird is at least 10 years old...and still going strong.