What To Wear When Kayaking? (Everything you must know!)

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What To Wear When Kayaking
Family Rowing On a Kayak

For any sport or outdoor activity, there is often a dress code. While the dress code is not always official, you can find plenty of value in wearing the right clothing. When it comes to kayaking, the rules are no different, and you must consider wearing the right gear to ensure that your kayaking journey is fruitful.

What to wear when kayaking? One of the main things about kayaking is that you will be in the water, and chances are that you might end up under the water. Wearing clothing that can assist you in staying afloat, like a life jacket, is one of the most important items. You can wear most life jackets over almost any clothing item.

Regarding kayaking, some people prefer to wear as little clothing as possible, and others would want to take safety measures to the next level.

You must try to strike a delicate balance between the two to ensure that you know what to wear. This article aims to help ensure you are dressed for success when kayaking.

You might also enjoy reading: 6 Reasons Why Is Cave Diving Dangerous (And how to lower your risks)

What To Wear When Kayaking: Most Essential Considerations

As mentioned, there are no rules set in stone when it comes to your kayaking clothing. However, if you can muster up the right kayak clothing, you should be able to have some additional fun and confidence.

The following clothing items are by no means mandatory. However, we would recommend that you consider wearing the following:

1- Personal Floatation Device (PFD)

One of the most important clothing items you can wear is the PFD. In case the kayak does capsize, the use of a PFD would ensure that you stay afloat. While you might think you are an excellent swimmer, it is better to wear the right clothing to help you stay safe in the water.

The Stohlquist Fit Adult PFD Life Vest is by far one of the best options currently on the market today, and if you can get your hands on one of these life jackets, you should be golden.

Keep in mind that you want to buy a reputable life jacket you can trust when the water gets out of hand and starts throwing you around.

2- Consider The Temperature Outside

When we look at kayaking photos on the internet, we always see the sun in the background and the people enjoying themselves without shirts or short sleeves. However, this is not always the case; some kayaking adventures will happen in cold temperatures.

You should consider whether you need a wetsuit or a dry suit to ensure that you have the right gear at hand. The Seaskin Men’s 3mm Shorty Wetsuit is one of the best currently on the market today.

If you are dealing with excruciating cold weather, the O’Neill Men’s Boost 300g Drysuit is one of your better options.

3- Sun Protection

If the day comes when the sun is belting down, and you are kayaking, the sun could become one of your enemies. Aside from sunburn, it could even lead to heatstroke, which is why many people would consider clothing with adequate sun protection. Ideally, you also want to have some sunscreen for additional protection.

Wearing a hat is another clothing item that many people would often forget about or neglect to wear. However, you can sustain a massive sunburn when you are not wearing the right clothing, and you should consider layering up to help you resist the sun. You might also want to look at fabrics that offer UPF protection.

4- Your Clothing Should Not Hinder Movement

When it comes to choosing the right clothing, you should be comfortable moving around in the clothing items. This means that you should consider wearing clothes that would not hinder your movement and allow you to flow.

Kayaking requires plenty of movement on the kayak; if you capsize, you need something to swim with.

While we recommend avoiding cotton because it would make you heavier and make it harder for you to move around, you should have clothing items that encourage you to move around freely and not pose any hindrance.

5- Abrasions Can Be A Factor

The abrasion factor is one of the most frustrating things that can happen when you are kayaking. If you are continuously dealing with abrasions, you will often find that it could be painful when you are moving around. 

You should consider comfortable clothing, which would help you deal with abrasions more comfortably and help you resist some of these possible issues. By constantly dealing with abrasions, you will often feel like you don’t want to continue.

How Should You Dress For Kayaking?

Once you understand how clothing works, you should consider what kayakers often wear when they go out.

To help you understand some of the basics, we will look at the most important clothing items that a kayaker would often consider.

1- Under Garments

Undergarments are one of the first clothing items you will need to put on. This can often be found in the form of a wetsuit and possibly a dry suit.

You will often want to wear this type of clothing underneath all your other clothing to ensure that you have adequate protection from all the elements and when your clothes get wet.

2- Tops

Clothing made from nylon or polyester, or even a good blend of the two, would often be a great option for those that need to wear a top. While some would consider going without a top, you can layer your top to ensure that you have adequate protection from the elements.

As we have already mentioned, you are better off avoiding any wool clothing as these would often absorb some of the water.

If you do wear wool, it could lead to frustrating rashes, which would often also drag you down. Wearing something made from nylon or polyester would be a great option.

3- Bottoms

Bottoms can be tricky to choose, and you should choose something you feel comfortable wearing. If the bottoms are not comfortable, it could lead to possible chaffing and other frustrating things that would hinder your performance.

Additionally, we would recommend wearing clothing that would also dry out rapidly to ensure that you can remain dry on the kayak.

4- Jackets

Jackets can be broken up into two aspects. Either you have the mid-jacket, which means that you will have something that could keep you warm and dry in cold conditions.

However, you might also want to look at an outer layer jacket designed to help you keep the weather at bay. These jackets would often allow you to stay warmer and remain dry in virtually all weather conditions.

5- Footwear

Finally, footwear is another important clothing item that you should consider wearing. Without the right footwear, you will find yourself struggling for grip in the kayak.

Neoprene paddling booties are some of the best options, and these shoes can resist water while also giving you adequate grip on the kayak.

The Cressi Neoprene Adult Anti-Slip Sole Boots are some of the best boots that you can potentially hope for. These boots feature a non-slip outer sole and are from a reliable brand.

I have tested these shoes and found that they are extremely comfortable if you buy the right size. Additionally, they can be versatile as well.

6- Gloves

While some people might look down on gloves and think that kayaking gloves are a total waste of time, it is one of the most fundamental clothing items you can wear.

Kayaking gloves are designed to not only be water resistant but they should also provide you with the additional grip you need to hold onto the paddles. 

The KastKing Sol Armis Sun Gloves are some of the best gloves on the market today. They offer you a fingerless design that would not only keep you comfortable but also offer you the functionality of being waterproof. These gloves will ensure that you have all the grip you need to steer your kayak in all conditions efficiently.

7- Hats

Another important clothing item, which often runs with sunscreen, would be to wear a solid hat.

You want to make sure that your hat is comfortable, but it should have a wide brim, which would enable the sun to be kept at bay efficiently.

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Final Thoughts

Kayaking can be plenty of fun when you are kitted and ready to take on these adventures. Once you understand the fundamentals of kayaking, you will be eager to eventually get to the water and ensure that you can test your kayaking skills.

Let us know in the comment section whether you enjoy kayaking or if you will be going.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am VERY excited you are here! I am the guy behind sportsario.com. I am passionate about reading, sports, and everything that allows me to enjoy the outdoors. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting sportsario.com.

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