Sailing into Innovation: Unveiling the Fabric Technology of Gill Clothing

Boating, Watersports and others

Sailing into Innovation: Unveiling the Fabric Technology of Gill Clothing

In the world of outdoor enthusiasts, sailors stand out as a breed apart. The unpredictable nature of the open sea demands not just skill and courage but also the right gear to navigate its challenges. This is where Gill Clothing steps in, weaving together innovation and technology to create garments that are not just clothing but essential items on the marine journey.

Gill Clothing: A Legacy of Excellence

For decades, Gill has been a stalwart in the sailing and marine community, earning a reputation for crafting high performance clothing. What sets Gill apart is its unwavering commitment to utilising and innovating cutting edge fabric technology, ensuring that sailors are equipped with gear that not only withstands the elements but enhances their performance on the water.

Fabric Technology at its core:

Gill's fabric technology is a testament to their understanding of the unique challenges faced by sailors. Central to their success is 3 main factors – waterproofness, breathability, and durability. When combined, this delivers the ultimate in outdoor apparel.


When you are looking for a new jacket or pants to wear when you head out on the ocean, either for leisure or competitive racing, the first thing you generally look for in a product is how waterproof it is. Essential to their effectiveness of the waterproofing is the integration of hydrophobic fabrics, designed to repel water and keep sailors dry even in the most adverse conditions. The hydrophobic magic lies in the microscopic structures of the fabric, which resist water penetration while allowing moisture to escape.

Generally, the water rating is measured in HH (hydrostatic head), the minimum industry standard is set at 1,500mm HH. This means that a fabric could hold a column of water 1500mm tall without leaking. Gill go above and beyond. Their lowest water rating is 10,000mm HH with the highest being 30000+mm HH. This is to ensure that you have the utmost confidence that their products will protect you against the harshest of conditions. Finally, they spray a durable water repellent (DWR) finish on the surface of the fabrics (we cover this more in depth further down). This is done to ensure water beads off the surface of the fabric and is not absorbed.


Sailing demands clothing that is not just waterproof but also breathable. Gill tackles this challenge head on by integrating breathable membranes into their fabrics. These membranes allow air to circulate, preventing the build up of heat and moisture inside the garment.

There are 3 test methods that can be used to show how many grams of water vapour can pass through a fabric and, depending on the fabric type, Gill use 2 of them. With results of up to 80%+ it’s safe to say, the breathability of these garments is exceptional! This breathability is a game changer for sailors who often find themselves in physically demanding situations, ensuring comfort without compromising on protection.


Gill's commitment to durability is equally impressive. The marine environment is harsh, with saltwater, sun, and wind posing constant threats to fabric integrity. Gill's fabrics are engineered to withstand these challenges, providing sailors with gear that stands the test of time, season after season.

Gill Clothing features explained

Xplore: Xplore is a two-layer fabric which is waterproof, breathable, and durable, providing you with guaranteed protection and comfort. Delivering reliable levels of performance in a wide variety of conditions, where weight and breathability take priority.

Waterproofness and breathability will vary depending on the type of garment you are purchasing.

Xplore+: The elite technology within the Gill range, this offers incredible levels of water protection, breathability, and increased durability where performance in wet conditions must be guaranteed.

Xplore+ is a three-layer fabric with the added benefit of a lightweight mesh providing you additional protection and comfort.

Xpel: As part of their commitment to reduce environmental impacts, Gill embarked to find a less harmful DWR finish free of PFC of environmental concern. This was found in XPEL, not only is if free of harmful PFC’s, it also offers superior levels of water repellency, and prolongs the life of the product.

Xpel allows the water to “bead” and simply roll off the fabric, rather than sitting on the fabric and eventually soaking in. Thus, keeping you dry at all times, even when getting sprayed while travelling at high speeds.

As well as the water repellency, Xpel is also stain resistant and has natural odour control properties. Xpel offers consistent levels of performance for up to 30 washes, with the treatment continuing to be effective for up to 50 washes. Due to stopping any water and moisture from penetrating the product, this reduces the ability for bacteria to grow and populate (the main source of odour)

Innovative Features: Beyond the Basics

Gill doesn't stop at creating garments that meet the basic needs of sailors. They go above and beyond by incorporating innovative features that elevate their clothing to a new level. From waterproof zippers to adjustable hoods and cuffs, every detail is carefully considered to enhance functionality and comfort. Gill's commitment to continuous improvement is reflected in their products, making them a trusted choice for those who demand the best from their gear.

This is why Coastguard NZ is such a big supporter of Gill clothing. Due to the rigorous and at times dangerous situations they put themselves in, they know that their Gill Offshore jackets and pants will not only last well, but protect them when they need it most.

Gill Clothing stands as a beacon of innovation in the world of sailing and marine apparel. Their fabric technology is a harmonious blend of waterproofing, breathability, UV protection, durability, and freedom of movement. Every stitch and seam are a testament to their commitment to providing sailors with gear that not only meets the challenges of the sea but also enhances their performance and enjoyment.

Do you have any questions?

Please, contact our friendly team on 0800 102041 or email: website@burnsco.co.nz

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We provide general information on products, not personal advice.  Always seek the help of a relevant tradesperson if you have a technical query.