Ever wonder what the differences are between the Zhik Orspan Top or the Avlare Top or even the Microfleece top? Yeah, you're not alone. While they do look similar and can be used in a variety of layering scenarios, each piece has its purpose.
The Fogh guru's are here to help break down some key pieces of gear from Zhik that every dinghy sailors should own. With Olympic sailors like Robert Scheidt, Tom Burton, Peter Burling and Nathan Outteridge wearing it and consistently performing in these pieces, can you really go wrong?
Let's review the basics real quick first:
Base Layer | This is your versatility layer. You want it to be breathable so moisture can wick through your other layers. It can be an outer layer in the right condition (think Summer heat).
Mid Layer | This is your warming layer.
Outer Layer | This is your shield; it's meant to provide good protection from wind and water. Partners well with mid and base layers.
Wetsuits | Generally used for warmth, especially when you expect to be going for a swim. This is why you see a lot of skiff and catamaran sailors wearing them. They're appropriate for all dinghies as well
To learn more about layering, check out our layering guide.
ORSPAN | Breathable Shield
Designed for high activity on the water, Orspan® provides flexibility and comfort with its 4-way stretch and breathable membrane. This breathable shield features 1mm neoprene for warmth and protection in knee and butt area.
The Orspan® differs from other performance tops from Zhik, such as the Hydrophobic top (below), in that Orspan® is windproof and waterproof with more flexibility whereas something like the Hydrophobic top is more of a warming base layer should be layered with another layer. The Orspan® is a mid layer that can stand alone due to it waterproof and windproof ability.
- Inner Fleece Lining
- High Activity
In cooler conditions, layer on top with a breathable base such as the Zhik Spandex Top and for the bottoms, try out the matching Orspan® pants.
HYDROPHOBIC | Thermal Fleece
The Hydrophobic line from Zhik consists of tops, for both men and women, and pants. The top is a great base layer for both Fall and Summer sailing. Why? Because it's thin fleece lining keeps you warm on those cooler days while keeping you dry with it's water repellent material.
- Soft Thermal Fleece Inner
- Water Repellent Material
- Spandex-Like Feel
Layer with the Orspan® top and/or Aroshell Smock for added protection from the elements. Also pairs well with the Zhik Microfleece Pants or Zhik Microfleece Skiff Suit (available in Men's or Women's).
AVLARE | Water Shield
Zhik changed the game with performance tops with their release of the Avlare®. The Avlare® is a "revolutionary fabric technology" that is highly water repellent. Literally, the water beads off of it. Don't believe us? Watch this.
It differs from the Hydrophobic Top and the Orspan top in it's weight and water resiliency. The Avlare® is 1/4 the weight of wet Spandex and it does not absorb water, instead repelling it completely (think of how water beads off an umbrella - same thing).
Available in men's and women's*
- Light Weight
- Windproof - Cuts the chill
- Multipurpose - Cold + Hot Protection
- High Stretch
- Repels Water
*Special order for women's.
MICROFLEECE | All Around Versatility
Here's why we all love the Microfleece™ pants from Zhik - they're great for all around conditions. The versatility provided by the Microfleece pants allows you to layer throughout your sailing season and a variety of conditions. If it's cold, the fleece lining will keep you warm and toasty while the nylon outer layer will repel water. If it's warm out, the 1mm Super stretch neoprene layer combined with the water repellent Nylon outer layer will help keep you cool.
Also amazing about these pants? The ZiBand™ silicone leg seals that help prevent the pants from riding up and gushes of water from going inside the pants. The reinforce knee and seat provide high durability for whatever your day brings you out on the water.
- Superstretch & Fast Drying Inner
- Superior Zhiktex II Abrasion Resistance
- 3D Body Mapped Fit
- Higher Stretch Flatlock
- ZiBand Silicone Leg Seals
- Easy Access Waterproof Loo Rip
Love these but want more support for hiking? Throw the Power Pads II from Zhik underneath these for that extra support while hiking,
The Microfleece series also includes a Skiff Suit, which is another popular item and very versatile. Just like the pants, the Skiff Suit features 1mm Neoprene which means it's not too hot in the Summer and inner fleece lining that keeps you warm in early and late in the season.
- Superstretch 1mm neoprene
- Fast drying microfleece lining
- Zhiktex™ II reinforced knee and seat
- 3-Dimensional computer modelled pattern
- Flatlock stitching
- Improved watertight Loo Rip
- ZiBand™ leg seals
Layer the Skiff Suit with the Zhik Spandex Top for all around UV Protection during those warmer conditions or with the Zhik Hydrophobic Zipper Top or Zhik Orspan® Top for those cooler days in the season.