Choosing the Right Kayak Clothing


Kayaking is a great way to spend a day. It is an excellent for anyone wanting to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. There are many reasons why each person chooses to go kayaking.

However, because of the fact that you are outdoors, on the water, during all times of the year, there are things that you also have to consider before going out. One of the biggest issues that a kayaker deals with is the temperature. No one wants to get wet during the winter months, sunburned in the summer, or be uncomfortable while kayaking at any time of the year. Therefore, to make it easier for you to decide what type of clothing you should have on your next adventure, we are providing a guide to the right kayak clothing for all situations.


Why the Right Kayak Clothing Matters

When you venture out onto the water in a kayak, you already know that you will most likely end up getting wet. It could be because of a rollover or just because the spray skirt cannot keep all of the water off you. During the summer months, it may not be such a bad thing to get a little wet, but during the winter months, it could make a great day kayaking, miserable. Sunburns are also a common issue for kayakers and you can get a sunburn even during the coldest winter months.

Therefore, if you plan to venture out, you will need to take steps to ensure you do not end up with a major sunburn. Since sunblock is not waterproof over an extended period of time, you either have to keep reapplying it or wear clothes that will cover your body to block UV rays. The problem is, no one wants to wear clothing that is heavy when it is hot outside or light clothing when it is cold. There is a right type of clothing for every season when you are kayaking. You simply have to know your options and explore which clothes will keep you warm in winter, cool in summer, and comfortable all year long.


Summer Kayaking Wardrobe

Sun exposure is a major concern during the summer months. You may feel more comfortable wearing t shirts and shorts, but when you get out onto the water and you have the sun blazing down from overhead, then reflecting back at you from the water’s surface; disaster can come your way in the form of a sunburn. Sunburns increase your risk of skin cancer and it causes most people to feel a lot of pain. Therefore, before you venture out, keep in mind that less is not always best. Instead of going out with shorts and tank tops, you may want to consider clothing that is made of a light material. It should also be lighter in color. If you have very pale skin naturally or you know that you burn easily, you may even want to consider clothing that has a UV protection rating on it.

With all of that being said, you will want to wear clothes that are comfortably loose, but not loose enough that you will have to worry about your ability to swim well while wearing it. You want the clothing to be breathable and easy to dry, but you may also want for it to repel water. Other things for you to consider include:

  • When it comes time to choose summer kayaking shoes, you need to consider what happens when you end up in the water. If you cannot swim in them easily, you may want to reconsider your shoes. Mesh beach shoes are perfect, but some people prefer tennis shoes or sandals that they can kick off if they have to take a swim.


  • Kayaking gloves are always a great idea when paddling. However, you may want to stick with padded palm and mesh hand gloves during the summer months. They will ensure your hands are comfortable and you do not end up with blisters, but your hands will also be cooler than they would be with a full glove.
  • Hats are a great way to keep the sun’s glare off your face. Choose a hat that has a wide brim if you want to ensure you do not have raccoon eyes because of your sunglasses. If you do not want a wide brim, baseball caps work as well, but you may want to make sure it has a neck flap.
  • Pants are great for long trips out on the kayak because it ensures you do not have to use a lot of sunscreen. Shorter trips out, you may be okay wearing shorts. Either way, you should still cover all exposed skin. Pay close attention to ankles and wrists, where your long pants and sleeves may ride up to expose skin.
  • Beyond that, you should always remember to wear your personal flotation device (PFD). Choosing one that is lightweight and fits you comfortably will help you stay cool, even if they are a little warm. Avoid any flotation device that feels bulky or uncomfortable to deal with because it will make you miserable anytime you wear it, especially in the summer months.


Wintertime Kayaking Clothes

During the winter, your two top priorities should be blocking the sun and staying warm. Therefore, you will still want the wide brim hat in some cases. Others may prefer a warmer neoprene hood and fleece cap. Other things for you to consider include:

  • On your feet, you will want neoprene boots that are ankle high or at the very least high top boots with warm socks. One of the worst feelings out on the water is when you cannot feel your toes.
  • Gloves should be full fingered paddling gloves. They should also be made of a warm material.
  • You should also continue to wear sunglasses. Sunblock will always be a requirement if you are going to be out in the sun. Beyond that, your personal preferences are the only thing that you need to ensure you wear when out kayaking.
  • Your shirt should also be warm enough to keep you comfortable, but you must keep in mind that it should not be thick enough to lessen the benefits of your PFD that you are going to wear. The same rules apply regarding the bulkiness of it. You do not want something that restricts your movements when you are paddling. You could go with a long sleeve crew rash guard or something like under armour.


Mild Temperatures Ahead

There are seasons between summer and winter. Mild spring and fall weather also means you need to wear certain articles of clothing to ensure you are comfortable in your kayak. The best thing that you can do for yourself is dress in layers so that on chilly mornings you are warm, but as the day warms or you build up body heat by paddling, you can take off the warmer stuff and have on something cooler on without becoming indecent.

If you choose to wear layers, remember that you will need to put sunscreen on the exposed areas. Ideally, you will apply it before you put on the thicker, warmer layers and then reapply as the extra clothes come off. The best clothing you can choose when it is warm outside, but you still have a cool water temperature is a wetsuit. It will protect you from the chill of water splash better than anything else you could put on. This makes it perfect for an inner layer of clothes.