What To Wear Kayaking? How To Dress To Kayak?

What to wear kayaking?

Are you considering a kayaking adventure? You’ve made a wise decision. One of the finest ways to explore the great outdoors, spend time on the water, and be in awe of nature is to go kayaking. However, what to wear kayaking? We’ve created a quick-and-dirty guide about what to wear kayaking as a result. Continue reading, heed the suggestions, and, most importantly, enjoy yourself!

What To Wear Kayaking?

Wearing several layers is a good general tip to wear when choosing what to wear. This way, if you start to become too warm, you can easily take off and save a layer for when it gets cooler. Dressing for the water temperature rather than the ambient temperature is another need for a pleasant kayaking experience.

The best clothing for kayaking is made of quick-drying materials like nylon and polyester, as well as waterproof apparel, to prevent becoming chilly and wet. To protect yourself from UV rays, try to wear appropriate UPF-rated clothes and use plenty of sunscreens. You should also take into account garments made of materials that are waterproof and non-permeable.

Wearing tough, resilient materials that will keep their integrity while shielding you from the elements is an important consideration when kayaking. Avoid wearing clothes that have metal zippers or accessories since they can rust when exposed to seawater. Wearing flexible gear that enables movement and offers a high degree of comfort while kayaking is another item you should consider.

When kayaking, you must always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) – this means that any attire you choose to wear will need to accommodate the PFD. Before getting into the kayak, it’s advised that you wear on your PFD; you should take it off after you’ve reached the shore.


If you want to be comfortable and dry quickly, choose synthetic clothing that dries quickly and won’t retain moisture. Avoid wearing materials like cotton, wool, or linen since they will absorb water and leave you feeling chilly and wet. For kayaking shirts, there are many different choices.


As you will be sitting for a long time when kayaking, it is best to wear comfortable, quick-drying clothing. You want the material to last and shield you from the weather. Swim trunks are a wonderful alternative for summer kayaking since they dry fast and are often comfortable. A pair of waterproof trousers will keep you warm and dry throughout the winter.

Waterproof clothing

When kayaking in colder areas with very cold water, waterproof leggings are a wonderful alternative. The main advantage of wearing waterproof trousers when kayaking is that they keep you dry and provide paddling protection.

Swimming trunks

Swim trunks are the best option for hot, summer weather since they are very comfortable, keep you cool, and dry rapidly.

Water-resistant jackets

The finest waterproof jackets for kayaking allow complete mobility, are flexible, and are completely waterproof so that arm movement is not restricted when on the water. Many waterproof coats contain gaskets at crucial locations like the neck and wrists in order to keep water out. Pay close attention to whether or not they are made of neoprene and if they have cuffs to prevent wear.

Kayak Shoes

When kayaking, shoes are important as they provide you with security and stability and prevent bruises and scratches on your feet. They lessen the discomfort of beach entry and provide warmth in colder conditions, enabling kayakers to paddle for longer lengths of time.


On kayaking outings, it’s wise to have a hat along. You should carry a hat to protect your face and head from the sun. Wide brim hats are ideal for warm weather, but you may want to think about getting one with a chin strap. You will need a beanie in the winter to stay warm, and a waterproof jacket with a hood to keep you dry.

Kayak Gloves

A good pair of kayak gloves are essential for keeping your hands protected from the demands of the sport of kayaking. The added layer will keep kayaking experiences more enjoyable while avoiding calluses and blisters. When the paddle is wet, they provide a stronger grip for holding onto it – especially when paddling in rough water.

Kayak Life Jackets

Kayak life jackets are crucial because they boost buoyancy and lessen the likelihood that you may drown in the event of an accident. They also serve the purpose of keeping you warm by preserving your body’s core temperature. You may also want to carry a dry bag to put all of your valuables in so they can stay dry and safe.


While kayaking, wetsuits are the best way to avoid overheating. Wetsuits aid in heat retention and UV protection by preventing you from being exposed to chilly water all the time. Depending on the weather, you may want to go for a drysuit as it entirely keeps you dry.

Dry suits

Kayak enthusiasts can tolerate colder weather thanks to dry suits that keep them warm and dry. The ideal dry suit will be breathable, waterproof, and water-resistant. For continuous wear without the latex tightness around the neck and wrists, some persons choose semi-dry suits. These outfits are excellent for longer, more leisurely paddling excursions.

Embarking on the voyage of selecting the best drysuit for kayaking, it becomes apparent that mastering the technique of layering is of paramount importance. A premium-grade drysuit stands as an initial defense against water intrusion, yet the true prowess lies in the art of layering, elevating its efficiency to ensure warmth and contentment across diverse circumstances.

The subtleties of midlayers and external layers come into play, necessitating synchronization with prevailing weather and water temperatures to establish impeccable insulation. This phenomenon holds particularly compelling in frigid settings, where the drysuit’s capabilities flourish harmoniously when accompanied by precisely curated layers. Our journey now takes us through the intricacies of layering, unveiling the blueprint to craft an impeccable assemblage for your kayaking escapades.

Dry Suit Layering

When kayaking, dry suits are fantastic since they serve as a waterproof layer. Although we suggest wearing a couple more layers for enhanced comfort, its watertight seams and water resistant fabric make them a fantastic component to keep you dry when kayaking.

Layers of support

If a drysuit doesn’t have a fleece lining—which some don’t—a soft base layer will aid with warmth and comfort. If you don’t want to purchase drysuit-specific base layers, we suggest wearing thin, non-cotton long underwear.


The outer layer must be simple to remove so that you can do it quickly if the sun starts to shine. A nice fleece over your base layer can keep you warmer for longer if you are going outside in very chilly temperatures.

Outside layers

If you are going to be kayaking in rough seas or rough water, your drysuit should be windproof, waterproof, and breathable. For safety, we advise donning a kayak life jacket. Your drysuit will be the outermost layer. No outer layer should be required as it is the most breathable, windproof and lightweight.

What Should I Wear Kayaking in Warm Weather?

What to wear for kayaking in warm weather is all about what you wear – and how you wear it.

Shoes and socks

You should wear on water shoes for your feet. Instead of wearing socks at all, simply accept your pruney feet. Water shoes are intended to help you transition from the water to the land. We strongly advise you to get a pair unless you want to be friendly with your orthodontist on a first-name basis.


A rashguard with UPF-rated sun protection, quick-drying materials, and cooling technologies can quickly take care of both. You’ll be thankful for it while you’re taking that selfie by the waterfall since it will make you feel and look wonderful.

At the Base

Men should wear swim trunks or quick-dry shorts if the water is warm enough for swimming, and women should wear their bikinis with active shorts. Nobody wants to be bug bait, so choosing a pair of quick-drying trousers is also a smart idea.

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

A personal flotation device (PFD) is unquestionably necessary if you’re going into the water, whether it’s for yourself or a member of your family. If you’re travelling with friends or family, make sure they are all wearing PFDs – and this also applies to any pets you may have in your household.

Sunglasses and Hat

Bring your polarized sunglasses and a sunglass strap so you won’t lose them in the water since the brightness from the sun may be dazzling. Have you ever seen a pricey pair of sunglasses slowly disappear into the abyss, just out of reach? a complete downer, yet it is entirely avoidable.

What to Wear When Kayaking in Cold Weather

Knowing what to wear for kayaking might be a bit trickier as the weather becomes chilly. The water may be very cold, even in the pleasant autumn months. And don’t even think of sticking a toe in the lake during the winter. Here are some possible clothing items you can require as you get ready for a kayaking excursion.

Splash Skirt

A splash skirt, also known as a spray skirt, keeps you dry by preventing water from entering the kayak’s cockpit. Although it’s something your kayak wears and not you, we’ve included it on our list since it’s crucial for paddling in cold weather.

Shoes and Socks

Your chances of keeping your feet warm and dry increase if you have a splash skirt, or waterproof boots with reflective bottoms.


Drysuits are meant to be worn over numerous layers of clothes in order to keep you dry. If you find yourself unintentionally falling into icy water, a drysuit could just save your life. Unlike a wetsuit, this kind of suit isn’t designed to protect you from the elements.


In warm weather, layering up with base layers that wick away sweat. When kayaking in the cold, you’ll keep warm and dry thanks to performance materials and quick-dry technologies. Check out our women’s cable knit sports quarter zip pullover for a fantastic moisture-wicking base layer.

Depending on the kayaking activity, what to wear when kayaking?

Whitewater Kayaking

Wearing a dry suit and life jacket when kayaking in whitewater is important, especially if you’re learning how to roll a kayak. Unlike lakes or the sea, whitewaters are unpredictable and often much cooler. If the weather is warm, a wetsuit is not necessary. It’s usually necessary to get wet when starting out in mild or moderate conditions.

A dry suit can be preferable for travelling through moderate rapids. A semi-dry suit is perhaps a good option if a kayak roll, sometimes referred to as a “eskimo roll” in politically incorrect quarters, is not to be performed. Neoprene gaskets at the neck and wrists are far more comfortable than latex seals.

Kayaking for recreation

There is a considerable risk of capsizing while kayak surfing, so it’s important to take this into account when selecting a wetsuit. A life jacket is also a good idea to keep you safe and provide an additional layer of warmth. A dry suit or semi-dry suit is another option to think about depending on the temperature and length of the session.

The majority of the advice in this article will be directed towards recreational kayakers since this guide is specifically focused on that kayaking. We suggest packing plenty of layers to prevent becoming chilly, as well as a sturdy hat and sunscreen if it’s going to be sunny. The waters are likely to be steady than whitewater and surfing kayaking, and there will be less movement.

A life jacket is absolutely advised, particularly if you are a novice, but for obvious reasons, don’t even consider an inflatable PFD that activates while underwater. We advise taking into account loose, stretchy clothing that is ideal for mobility while kayaking recreationally. Your wardrobe choices will also be more influenced by the ambient temps.

A general Guide for What to Wear for Kayaking

Wear clothing that is appropriate for the water’s temperature, not the air’s; this may include donning a wetsuit or dry suit. No matter where you are on the water, always wear a personal flotation device (PFD). Find a spot to remove your top layers if you need to alter them.

Layer your clothing, particularly the top. Put on sun protection clothing. A day spent on the water is a day spent in the sun, cloud or no cloud. So it makes sense to wear garments made of UPF-rated materials (plus sunscreen for reflected UV radiation).

Cotton absorbs water and retains it, so avoid using it in any layering and go for quick-drying materials. Wool is also a good option since it dries more slowly yet is still warm when wet. Wear on clothing that will be comfy for extended periods of time and allow you to move freely. Look for textiles with higher abrasion wear that will withstand the abuse that sand, water, and other harsh materials may cause to your kayak.

Metal parts in equipment designed specifically for paddling are likely corrosion resistant, so you can probably trust that they won’t corrode. Avoid using “rustable” zippers, fasteners, and hardware because water, especially sea water, corrodes many metals.

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How Should I Layer When Wearing a Wetsuit or Dry Suit?

A wicking base layer is not necessary because of the warm water inside your wetsuit. However, it is convenient to have swimwear beneath it so that you may take off your suit afterwards without having to go for a private changing room. Consider heavier wetsuits for colder weather. If you’re wearing a long sleeve wetsuit, you often don’t need an outer layer since it’s windproof and waterproof.

Wet and windy conditions mean you might find it difficult to see your arms, so think about wearing a quick-dry shirt over your wetsuit. For warmth and sun protection, wear a rashguard top or base layer with long sleeves. Choosing a heavier item is advised if the air is chilly. Bring a light fleece jacket, a paddle jacket, and raincoat so you can cover your arms if it’s chilly and rainy.

A dry suit is essentially rainwear with waterproof seals, so you must wear long underwear made of a material other than cotton. Some dry suits have a fleece inside, and dry suit liners are also available. Over your dry suit, you may put a thick fleece layer for chilly weather.

How Should I Dress for Kayaking in Cold Weather?

Don’t count on trying to put on a wetsuit after you capsize, since it will be too late and very impossible. Capsizing in cold water carries a variety of risks, including acute lung and heart shocks, drowning, and gradual hypothermia. What you put on before getting in the boat is what matters.

A Neoprene suit or dry suit is advised for all but the mildest conditions. You’d be prudent to wear one any time the water temperature is 15° or below. This is true even if you’re paddling in sheltered, close-in waters. If the combined temperature of the water and air is less than 48°, you should continue wearing your wetsuit or drysuit.

For warmer water, wear a wetsuit – a thin layer of water that has been heated by your body close to your skin and is often composed of thick neoprene. Long underwear or another insulating layer worn below allows you to modify the level of warmth. A dry suit (and air) is made of water-resistant material, and the holes have water-tight gaskets to keep you entirely dry.

Kayaking Clothing For Summer?

When kayaking in the summer, you must ensure that you are well covered since strong UV rays might damage your skin. Adventure sandals are intended to cushion your feet when you set them on the kayak’s plastic. They may be useful when you have to walk over rough terrain. Any little investment in kayak booties or adventure sandals is worthwhile.

Long-Sleeve Polyester Fishing Shirt: During the summer, your body is exposed to direct sunlight when running on water. By wearing a long-sleeve polyester shirt on your upper body, you should protect your body from scorching. Adventure Sandals: Teva and Chaco may be the most popular, while Zero shoes and Luna Sandals are popular choices among many. Hiking Pants with Zip-Off Legs: Hiking pants with zip-off legs are a popular option among kayakers.

The majority of reported kayaking accidents were caused by victims not wearing PFDs. A PFD with the right rating may save lives, therefore make sure you obtain one on your next journey. Investing in clothing with a high SPF rating can enable you to apply less sunscreen. Polyesters are more breathable and dry more quickly than cotton.

What To Wear Kayaking In Spring?

In case your kayak tips over, make sure you’re prepared to stay dry and cool in the water. During the spring, the sun will be out, so wear sunscreen, an outdoor trucker hat, or both to protect your face, scalp, and other exposed body parts. A spray skirt can prevent water from getting into the cockpit and eventually your legs, keeping you toasty the whole time.

Neoprene or fleece, with thin layers, perform effectively to get you dry quickly. When it’s hot or warm outside, you may go without wearing socks, but if it’s chilly, you should cover your feet. You can purchase a dry suit to stay warm and dry while the water is still cold if you live in an area where the water will likely remain cold until June.

What To Wear Kayaking In Florida?

Layers are a good choice to enable you to move freely while also keeping you warm and removing sweat. Water booties and paddling shoes assist you retain your balance on rocks, keep you warm, and keep your feet firmly planted. To assist wick away any moisture that could seep into your boots in this chilly weather, use woolen socks.

Long sleeve shirts with breathability provide sun protection. Paddling gloves made of polypropylene may keep your hands warm while safeguarding them from abrasion. The Personal Floatation Device is perhaps the most crucial item of wear you should pack for your vacation. In the event that you trip and fall into the water, it might assist you in staying afloat.

What Shoes Should I Wear Kayaking?

Choosing sturdy footwear that will keep you stable on your feet is a wise choice when going on a kayaking trip. Water booties really exist. In addition to keeping pebbles out, they also keep your feet toasty. You must think about your shoes before getting dressed in your kayaking gear and getting ready to board the boat.

Always make sure that your shoes prevent water from entering your boots and getting on your legs. Consider choosing footwear with hydrophobic properties and footwear that will stay on your feet. Flip-flops, which are sometimes slick and easy to take off, are not recommended for use when kayaking.

Kayaking La Jolla: What to Wear?

Always wear clothes that can get wet, whatever makes you most comfortable. Due to the year-round sunlight in San Diego, wear UV-protective apparel. If you like getting wet from the knees down, a Lululemon shirt and shorts would work, as would athletic leggings.

You won’t likely fall into the sea at La Jolla due to the mild breeze and outstanding personnel. Wearing a wetsuit is the ideal option if you want to go kayaking in chilly weather. Apply sunscreen to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays being reflected off of the water.

What To Wear Kayaking In Alaska?

The weather in Alaska often deviates from what was first predicted. The weather may be chilly when you enter the water and become hotter over time. When this happens, layering your clothing keeps you cool and comfy. It’s possible that your perception of Alaska as a chilly region prevented you from considering the need for sun protection.

Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in the world to run and kayak, but you need to prepare for the weather by dressing formally. Make sure to wear sunscreen and UV-rated clothing as well as a hat on your head and sunglasses on your eyes. When wet, they take a long time to dry, which might result in hypothermia, so keep all cotton apparel at home at all times.

Wear For Kayaking Date

How much time should you spend kayaking with your significant other? It is advised that you wear in clothing that can manage moisture and dries quickly for your kayaking date. Avoid wearing jeans; they take a long to dry, and are difficult to keep dry after a long day on the water.

If you’re a man, you may look great with a pair of sports shorts and a sports bra in a bold color with a sheer crop top over it. A pair of shorts, a light t-shirt, a hat, sunscreen, and two PFDs—one for you and one for your date are some possibilities for a guy’s outfit. You don’t have to wear trendy sandals since they have a lot of drawbacks. Better possibilities are adventure sandals.

Whitewater Kayaking: What To Wear?

You must bring a personal flotation device (PFD), weather-appropriate clothing, protective footwear like sandals, sunscreen, and hats and sunglasses. No matter how long you want to remain after your excursion, it is wise to have all required gear along with a change of clothing.

What To Wear Kayaking In Winter – Winter Kayak Clothes?

It’s freezing outside, so it’s important to keep warm by preventing water from getting inside your kayak. One essential piece of wear for a kayak to keep water out is a spray skirt. Dry suits might be pricey but they are ultimately worth every cent. Don’t forget to bring your damp shoes, too. Never kayak in the cold while barefoot.

Always wear a head cover in the winter since your head is just as vital as the rest of your body. In chilly weather, neoprene sandals or shoes are a wonderful choice for warmth and dryness. Spray decks are a useful feature as well. You can prevent water from entering your body by donning a high-quality, waterproof cag that extends to your hands and neck.

What should I wear kayaking in the fall?

It is crucial to keep in mind that air temperature often lowers quicker than water temperature as the summer heat eventually fade. Always dress for the water’s temperature rather than the surrounding environment. Fall may be a challenging season to dress for due to the sudden changes in weather.

As the weather cools, we advise packing layers and wearing a fleece in case it becomes cooler than anticipated. While kayaking, wear comfort in mind and layer a pair of thin, non-cotton underwear beneath your top layer. Most essential, wear safe and put on a kayak life jacket; this additional layer will also provide a little more warmth.


Knowing what to wear when kayaking is essential to making your journey safe and enjoyable, whether you’re paddling through tranquil rivers or wild ocean seas. Remember to look at the weather forecast and consider the water temperature before you head to your kayaking launch site. You’ll be prepared for your next paddling expedition if you dress for the water and apply plenty of sunscreen.

Read more: Wetsuit vs Drysuit

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