What To Wear When Kayaking

What should a beginner wear kayaking?

Breathable shirt

For kayaking, you should wear a wicking shirt. This is a breathable, quick-drying material that will keep you cool and dry. Some synthetic shirts are thin and won’t last more than a few trips out on the water. If you’re looking for something to last through the season, opt for a slightly heavier weight shirt made of polyester or nylon. These shirts come in short and long sleeves and are perfect for men or women. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun with your arms out, it’s important to consider UV protection when choosing your top. A long sleeve lightweight wicking shirt will protect your skin from harmful rays so you can stay safe while enjoying being on the water.

Breathable pants

You do not need a wet suit: You should wear breathable, quick-drying synthetic materials, like polyester or nylon. We’ve seen people wearing jeans on the river and lake; don’t be those people. Drenched jeans are heavy, cold, and uncomfortable. A good choice for kayaking is a pair of water shorts that dry quickly and look good enough to wear out for lunch afterward.

We recommend avoiding cotton at all costs. Cotton will absorb sweat, leaving you damp and clammy, and then it takes forever to dry out.


Protect your eyes from the sun and glare

Polarized sunglasses are a must when it comes to kayaking. They’ll protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, as well as reduce glare on the water so you can see clearly. A clear view of your surroundings is important when navigating through rocks, other boats, and low-hanging branches. Polarized lenses also protect against wind, rain, and spray while helping to increase contrast in various conditions.

Consider purchasing a pair with a head strap so you can keep them on at all times without worrying about dropping them in the water if they get knocked off your face by a wave or stick.


The SPF of your sunscreen is important. If you’re heading out for a long day, you’ll want to use sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. This will give you the protection you need to stay out on the water all day without worrying about getting burned.

If you’re only going to be kayaking for a short time, consider using sunscreen with 50+ SPF. The higher SPF usually doesn’t make that much of a difference, but if it’s just going to be a quick trip, it might not be worth the expense.

Reapply your sunscreen every two to three hours so that it remains effective throughout your trip. Even if your skin feels dry and doesn’t look sunburned, reapply anyway and let it soak in before putting on more clothes or going back into the water.

It’s also important to use waterproof sunscreens so that they don’t wear off when you get wet. Make sure that whatever kind of sunscreen you choose says “waterproof” or “sweatproof” somewhere on the bottle before putting it in your bag!

Life jacket

As you might have gathered, there are a lot of things to consider before heading out on the water. But even if you’ve been kayaking for years, it’s still important to double-check your safety equipment and clothing. The most important piece of safety equipment is a personal flotation device (PFD), which is essentially a fancy way of saying life jacket. Life jackets come in many different shapes and sizes for all types of activities and should be worn at all times when kayaking. If you plan on kayaking during the winter months or in cold water temperatures, it is recommended you wear a dry suit instead of just a wetsuit, as this increases your chances of surviving in case you capsize, and become unconscious, or suffer from hypothermia.

Water shoes

When choosing the best footwear for kayaking, you should consider that water shoes will be the most comfortable option. Water shoes should be breathable and grip the ground well, so it’s a good idea to look for quick-drying mesh uppers and a sticky rubber sole. It’s also helpful if your water shoes are easy to pack away for storage or travel.

As an added bonus, water shoes are suitable for all types of kayaking. Whether you’re white-water rafting or paddling through calm waters, they’ll keep you comfortable and make sure you have the footing you need to maneuver your boat.

Water bottle

A reusable water bottle is a great item to bring along on an excursion. It’s easy to remember, and the benefits are clear: you’ll stay hydrated, and you won’t have to spend money on plastic bottles.

If your trip is going to be longer than two hours, it may be wise to store your water in an insulated container so it stays chilled throughout the day. Of course, if the weather is particularly cold, packing ice cubes will help keep your drinks nice and frosty (though this will make your water volume more limited). If you’re going on a multi-day trip with no access to refrigerators or stores for resupply, plan for at least three liters of water per person per day (but add more if necessary depending on where you’re paddling).

What can I wear kayaking?

You want to be as comfortable as possible so you can focus on the kayaking.

Wear clothing that fits this criterion:

  • It will keep you warm and dry while not overheating your body
  • Will wick moisture away from your body and into the next layer of clothing or into the air (dry-fit fabric is great for this, wool is another good option)
  • Do not restrict movement (avoid baggy clothes, wear clothes that fit well)

Are jeans good for kayaking?

No. Jeans will get wet, heavy, and cold, which is not pleasant kayaking weather. They will also be difficult to dry out afterward. While jeans can work for short spurts of time in warm weather, they are not recommended for serious trips or longer paddles.

What are the best shoes to wear while kayaking?

Many people choose to wear water shoes, which are sandal-like footwear that is a good option for those who want the feeling of being barefoot but still want some protection. Water shoes typically have rubber or neoprene soles, which offer traction and keep you from slipping and falling on rocks in the river. Most water shoes also have a breathable upper made from nylon or another lightweight material, which gives your foot plenty of air circulation; this is an important feature for keeping feet cool, as feet can get overheated and sweaty when kayaking.

Water shoes are easy to slip on and off because they usually just have a single strap that goes over the top of your foot. This makes them ideal when kayaking in warm weather. However, if the weather is cold or you’ll be spending all day on the water, you may find yourself wishing you had more coverage than just a single strap provides.

Can I wear sneakers kayaking?

You should not wear sneakers to the kayak. The best footwear for the sport is sandals, or better yet, water shoes. Sneakers soak up a lot of water and, as they get wetter, they get heavier. That means they’re going to drag you down in your kayak. Also, if your ankles are covered by socks, you might get a blister or two unless you choose to go completely sockless—which gets rid of the advantage of wearing shoes in the first place.

You should also avoid flip-flops and sandals that don’t have a heel strap at all costs because they can easily fall off when you’re shoving off into your boat.

Can I wear slippers to the kayak?

No, slippers are not appropriate kayaking attire.

You may be thinking, “My feet are just fine in my slippers at home! And besides, I’ll be sitting down the whole time!” But you will inevitably accidentally get your feet wet during your kayak experience, and when that happens your slippers could slip off. Then what? You will be without foot protection. You may even injure your foot if it hits something sharp or hard while you’re paddling around.

Also, what if you drop one of your slippers overboard? It’s not likely that you’ll be able to fish it out of the water, and then how are you going to get back into the kayak when you can’t use both hands because one is holding onto a slippery paddle? Your other option for getting back in is to take both hands off of the paddle—which means letting go of it—and risk losing it!

If these risks sound too high for a few minutes of warm-footed paddling pleasure, we don’t blame you. Better to keep cozy with some good socks and tennis shoes than risk an hour (or more) of chilliness as well as all other potential annoyances listed above.

What should you not wear while kayaking?

Your kayaking experience can sometimes turn into a workout, and sometimes it actually feels like you’re going to fall off a waterfall. It’s important to wear clothes that both provide warmth and don’t constrict your movement. Think layer upon layer of thermal underwear with an outer coat or sweater that covers your hips and thighs. Loose-fitting clothing will keep the air flowing through the suit, and anything tight will constrict your movement. Finding the right balance is difficult, but wearing something too hot too fast can be dangerous in cold water as well as warm water. If you have any doubts about getting wet wearing certain clothing, don’t go out in it—you’ll find it much easier to take a raincheck for tomorrow instead of trying to deal with hypothermia on Christmas Eve.

What do you wear when kayaking in cold water?

If you haven’t already, you should consider investing in a wetsuit. Wetsuits are typically made from neoprene and keep your body warm by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the suit. Your body heat then warms this layer of water, which keeps your core temperature at a more comfortable level. The thickness of the material will determine how warm you will be in the water; generally speaking, the thicker the suit is, the warmer it will keep you.

Wetsuits range in thickness from 1 mm to 5 mm (or even more). The 5 mm suits can be pretty cumbersome and are generally used for very cold water or wintertime paddling. Drysuits are another option for keeping warm on colder days. These suits feature latex neck seals and wrist gaskets that drysuit wearers can use to seal out all moisture from their bodies when fully suited up—hence their name! Drysuits come in various weights too; lightweight drysuits have no insulation and work by trapping a layer of air against your skin, whereas heavier drysuits include an insulating layer to help keep you warm.

Do you get wet kayaking?

The answer is yes and no. Wearing a dry suit or wetsuit will keep you warm in the water. However, they are not 100% waterproof. They can leak or get water inside them, so you may still get wet through your clothes. Most people who kayak decide to wear a dry suit or a wet suit when out on the water.

Which one should you choose? If you’re kayaking in cold weather, then it’s best to wear a wet suit because it keeps the water out of your suit and keeps you warm while wet suits do not keep the water out of your suit, but they do keep you warm.

Should you wear a wetsuit when kayaking?

Should you wear a wetsuit when kayaking? The answer is more complicated than you might expect. It’s true that wind chill and water temperature will affect your decision, but there are other things to consider as well. Let’s start by examining the pros and cons of wearing a wetsuit while kayaking in the winter.

Wetsuits can be great for keeping you warm while kayaking in cold weather, but they’re not ideal for summer kayaking. While they protect you from wind chill, they make it difficult to stay cool when temperatures rise above 60°F. Wearing a wetsuit also makes it harder to swim if you fall into cold water (which will increase your heart rate). This can be dangerous if hypothermia sets in quickly.

For this reason, we recommend wearing drysuits over wet suits when paddling in colder climates or near open ocean currents where swells might cause capsize events which could lead to immersion in icy waters! They’ll keep the body dry without compromising freedom of movement–a necessity for performing athletic maneuvers on board like rolls & rescues.”

How do you pack for kayaking?

You’ll spend time in the water

It sounds obvious, but you have to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Your kayaking tour will probably include times when you’re just sitting in your boat, enjoying the scenery. But it can also include some rapids, or a spin-off into a quieter creek where you can go exploring. You might want to bring a waterproof camera to capture all these moments! But be sure that anything you bring is actually waterproof. I remember one kayaking trip ended with two friends’ cellphones getting wet and unusable afterward (and that was even with LifeProof cases!).

Do not wear cotton clothing

Cotton is notorious for trapping moisture and staying soaked once wet—not something you want while navigating rough waters. Reach for quick-drying polyester or nylon blends instead. You should also pack an extra set of clothes in a dry bag or waterproof container; if you get wet it’s nice to have something warm and dry to change into after your trip!

What do you wear kayaking in the rain?

Why not see what the beautiful Northwest has to offer? Kayaking is incredibly popular in the summer months, and it only gets better as the weather cools. Even with a few precautions, you’ll be able to enjoy everything about the waterways: There’s no shortage of wildlife (even if it doesn’t look like much). The water is clear and clean. You can go from sea level to hundreds of feet in just minutes. And when it gets too cold for swimming, there are more than enough places where you can get out of your kayak, move some paddles around (if needed) and make yourself a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Do you need a drysuit to kayak?

Do you need a drysuit to kayak in the lake, summer, or winter?

If you’re paddling in cold water, you should always wear a wetsuit. A wetsuit will provide insulation and keep you warm. Likewise, if it’s rainy or windy outside and the air temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), then you should also wear a wetsuit. However, if the air temperature is above 50 (but still below 70) degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 21 Celsius), then you can just wear clothing that dries quickly (such as polyester).

What do you wear to a sit-on-top kayak?

As for the wetsuit, a lot of people think it’s uncomfortable to wear, but that’s only if you get the wrong one. I personally like my wetsuit because I don’t have to worry about whether or not it will fit when I go out on the water. Rather than try on multiple ones and look like a fool while trying them on with no results, I can just pop into my local sporting goods store and walk out with what will work. For many kayakers, they wouldn’t be able to go out on the water without a wetsuit as they would suffer from hypothermia otherwise.

Now regarding rash guards, I was also once told that they are uncomfortable, but that is only if you use the wrong kind of rashguard. They are actually very comfortable and stretchy if you take your time putting them on and make sure it fits properly (keep in mind how important this part is). The main thing is making sure it has enough material so that it doesn’t leave any marks all over your body as some brands do which is annoying as you are wearing something for protection in dangerous waters where other boats run into each other due to wake turbulence.

As for dry-tops (this refers to regular t-shirts), some people complain about how sweaty their top gets after just going outside and getting wet from being in a boat or kayak so they say those tops aren’t worth wearing since they’ll get too hot and gross after just going outside to stand around at the dock or whatever. But by now we all know what happens when we stay inside all day; our clothes become too warm! Well unless we are wearing thermal underwear then our clothes won’t heat up at all which is great so what should we do? Wear dry-tops! It’s another easy way to stay cool during the summertime. In fact, one of my friends calls her dry-top her “cool shirt”.

As far as jewelry goes, some people can be afraid of getting it lost in the water.

What pants do you wear kayaking?

Your pants should be comfortable, easy to move in, and quick-drying. For warm weather paddling, you may want to wear shorts instead of pants. If you are going to be getting wet, it’s important not to wear clothing that will get heavy when wet. In cold weather, you’ll need a spray skirt that fits over your waist and your boat’s cockpit rim to keep water from running down into the boat from the surface of the water.

If the water is very cold when you’re kayaking, a wetsuit will be necessary for warmth and comfort. In very hot weather, a t-shirt and bathing suit is appropriate attire for paddling.

Your choice of footwear depends on whether or not you intend to paddle with your shoes on or off. If you’re wearing shoes while paddling they should have good treads to prevent slips while getting in or out of your kayak.

Can you swim in a dry suit?

While it is possible to swim in a drysuit, it is not recommended. The drysuit is designed to keep you warm and dry, but this makes it extremely awkward because there is little flexibility while swimming. If you can avoid it, you should probably stay out of the water while kayaking.

What is a kayaking drysuit?

A drysuit is a one-piece suit that will keep you dry and warm, even if you end up getting wet. A kayaking drysuit has watertight seals at the wrists, neck, and ankles, which means it will keep your body isolated from the water. It’s also made of waterproof fabric that allows trapped air to escape quickly so you don’t have to worry about being weighed down or uncomfortable during your outing.

All kayaking drysuits are not created equal — some are designed for warmer weather while others are ideal for the coldest conditions imaginable. If you want to be sure that your gear is suited for all of the elements you might encounter on a given day, opt for styles with more layers or choose ones with thermal insulation to keep you warm.

What to wear when kayaking in Florida

When you’re kayaking in Florida, the weather can be quite pleasant—but it’s always a good idea to be prepared for rain just in case. And while tropical downpours will most likely have stopped by the time you’re on your way back to shore, there’s still a chance they’ll be occurring while you’re out at sea. It’s important to dress appropriately so that staying dry won’t become an issue.

Wear quick-drying shorts and sun shirts made with fabrics like Coolmax or Supplex that wick moisture away from your skin. If you want additional UV protection, consider wearing pants instead of long pants for added warmth without compromising comfort or mobility when paddling around rocky edges or standing up in strong currents (which isn’t recommended).

What to wear when kayaking in Alaska

If you are kayaking in Alaska, a drysuit will probably be your best option. When choosing a drysuit, make sure it has a relief zipper (this might seem obvious, but we have known plenty of people who have bought a drysuit that doesn’t have one). A hood is also important so you can layer properly and not lose all of your body heat through your head. You will want to choose a suit with taped seams for the area where you will be paddling. Taped seams mean that all of the seams are waterproofed and won’t let water in when submerged. Your last consideration should be pockets. Make sure you get a suit with pockets where you can store items you will need frequently, like snacks or extra gloves.

What to wear when sea kayaking

Kayaking is about being one with the water. The last thing you want is to be hindered by a bulky, uncomfortable suit. To ensure that your kayaking experience is as enjoyable as possible, it’s important to make sure that you are wearing the correct clothing for your level of activity and environment. Depending on how warm or cool it is outside, your outfit may vary greatly.

  • Begin by selecting a swimsuit or pair of shorts and a t-shirt (depending on its warmth).

Next, select a long-sleeved polypropylene top and bottom. These are thin thermal layers that protect against wind chill and sun exposure. They should also be fast drying to help keep you warm when they get wet while also wicking away moisture from sweat.

  • Add a neoprene top to your outfit if you’re in colder temperatures than normal swimming weather (60 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler). Neoprene tops can provide an “extra” layer of heat that polypro does not offer; the most common thickness for kayaking is between 2mm and 3mm for this reason.
  • A dry suit may be necessary if conditions are extremely cold or windy since it will keep any spray from soaking through—however, this type of “wetsuit” is not needed for most kayaking situations so far as outerwear goes!

What to wear kayaking in spring

Spring is the season of unpredictable weather, and that’s a recipe for cold, went kayaking. It may be sunny when you head out on the water, but a fast-moving storm can put an abrupt end to your plans. To stay warm and dry on springtime paddling trips, you need gear that can adapt to changing weather conditions and keep you comfortable in windy, wet conditions. Here are some essential pieces of clothing for spring kayaking.

  • Hat
  • Rain jacket
  • Fleece jacket
  • Drysuit/semi-dry top/wetsuit
  • Spray skirt/dry pants
  • Water shoes/boots

The nature of kayaking makes it impossible to avoid getting wet while on the water. But if you choose your clothes carefully, you can stay relatively dry and comfortable even when rain or splash starts flying through the air.

What to wear when kayaking at night

The last thing you want to happen when you’re exploring the great outdoors is for other people to mistake you for a gator in the dark and shoot at you. Wear bright yellow, green, red, neon orange, or any other color that will make sure people know you’re human. Also, if you have a kayak light or headlamp wear it around your neck so everyone can clearly see your upper body. If an accident happens and somebody needs to find you in the dark they also need to be able to see your hands and arms (in case of hand signals) so wear reflective gear on these parts of your body as well. Wear another whistle around your neck in case something goes wrong and someone needs help finding you.

What to wear kayaking in Arizona

  • Layers are essential.
  • Wear layers that include long sleeves and long pants, as well as a hat and sunglasses. The sun is relentless here in the summer, even on the water. You’ll be glad you brought them when you’re out on the lake.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen! While kayaking, your skin will be unprotected from harmful UV rays due to the lack of shade.
  • Wear appropriate footwear that won’t fall off easily like water shoes or sandals with a heel strap. Better yet, wear shoes that can double as water shoes like Tevas or Chacos to prevent lugging around extra pairs of footwear.
  • A reusable water bottle is always useful but especially important when it comes to kayaking in Arizona during the summer months. Water will keep you hydrated so bring more than you think you need!
  • A life jacket is also essential for safety reasons (you’ll get one from renting equipment). Wearing a life jacket may not be convenient but it could save your life or someone else’s if needed!

What to wear kayaking in Austin

Let’s be honest. Even the most dedicated outdoorsfolk have some doubts about kayaking in the heat. It’s not always easy, or safe, to take on water and wind in high temperatures, even when you’re a skillful paddler. But it’s hard to say no to such a unique activity. Imagine floating down your favorite creek at dusk with your lover as the sun sets over the hills and you get a little romantic—then imagine having that same feeling but without a partner! That is pure bliss.

If you want to skip all those concerns and simply enjoy yourself, there are some things you should consider before setting out for an afternoon in the water:

  • It’s hot out! When temperatures hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Austin (such as back in early June), go out with long sleeves and shorts along with a hat or visor if possible so that you can protect your face from the sun’s rays. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
  • Kayaks don’t allow for much air circulation; if you’re going out at especially high altitudes where it’s muggy, consider bringing something like an umbrella or parasol—you would have thought of this one sooner if you had already been kayaking around town! The reason why many people sleep under these devices is that they don’t provide much protection against inclement weather while they’re paddling through broad stretches of water.
  • It might seem like fun to paddle around so close to people (who aren’t holding onto anything while they wait on others) but it can be dangerous just sitting still and chatting up with friends right after getting off of the land. Take care that no one moves into your path when boating through narrow creeks or rivers where people may not be used to seeing kayakers go by; besides, most of them are happy just watching from shore anyway…
  • While this article emphasizes recreational activities on lakes and rivers, usually recommended by locals who know what they’re talking about due to their experience

What to wear sea kayaking in Alaska

However, when sea kayaking in Alaska, you’re going to need protective layers that keep you safe from the elements. You’ll be paddling close to glaciers, where icebergs and ice chunks may fall or calve into the water without warning. You’ll also be battling chilly winds and unpredictable weather.

This is why we brought waterproof dry bags for everything on our person, plus gloves and a hat (that floats) for me. We also wore sunscreen and polarized sunglasses to prevent sunburn and eye strain from the glare off of the water.

Our guides recommended wearing a wetsuit or drysuit with thermal long johns underneath so that if the waves started to splash over the top of our boats, we wouldn’t get too cold sitting in wet clothes all day. Signing up for an Alaskan kayak trip? Then remember these words of wisdom: “There is no such thing as bad weather – just bad clothing choices!

What to wear kayaking when cold

“I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no fashionista. Maybe it’s because of my size, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been wearing the same pair of shorts and T-shirt set for years on end. Whatever the reason, I don’t see myself as an expert when it comes to dressing well. Even still, there’s something about cold water that makes me want to throw on a bathing suit and nothing else.”

“But after this past winter, there are few things in life that make me feel better than wearing breezy layers. And when you’re traipsing through a cold river in Alaska—or even just standing at your kayak launch point—a good outfit is key.”

What to wear on a kayaking date

“As long as you’re going to be in the water, why not go for all that you want? If you’re just kayaking around on a nice day, wear clothes that can get wet. When things get rough, wear a life jacket. Even if it’s cloudy out, wear sunglasses. It could still get hot even if the sun isn’t shining on your face directly!

“When you go out to have fun by yourself or with friends, wear board shorts under your dry bag so that they don’t get wet and make noise while you’re paddling. Wear board shorts and drybag because they’ll make your butt look great!

“Wear rash guard shirts because they can protect both sides of your body from the sun at once and also provide insulation against water splashes.”

Be safe and comfortable on the water.

You’re prepared to have fun and enjoy the day paddling. But, you’ll also need to be safe and comfortable on the water.

Start with these few items that you should bring with you if you’ll be kayaking:

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and water bottle
  • Wicking shirt, shorts, shoes, life jacket
  • Dress appropriately for the weather, water temperature, and conditions – Make sure your clothes are made from synthetic fabrics or wool (not cotton). Bring a change of clothing that is dry and warm. A towel too! Leave jewelry at home as it can get caught on things in your boat or capsize. And leave cotton behind – it can make you cold when wet.

Other posts you might enjoy next:

What to wear kayaking in winter

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