Kayaking is a popular water activity that offers a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, explore new places, and get some exercise. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or just starting out, it’s important to dress appropriately for kayaking to ensure that you’re comfortable, safe, and protected from the elements.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what to wear kayaking, including the factors to consider when choosing to clothe, the essential clothing for kayaking, additional clothing options, tips for dressing for kayaking, and more.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Clothing for Kayaking
Before we dive into the essential clothing for kayaking, it’s important to consider the factors that can affect what you wear on the water. These factors include:
The weather can play a significant role in determining what to wear kayaking. If you’re kayaking in warm, sunny weather, you’ll want to wear lightweight, breathable clothing that provides sun protection. On the other hand, if you’re kayaking in cooler weather, you’ll want to layer up with clothing that provides insulation and protects you from the wind.
The temperature of the water you’ll be kayaking in can also impact what you wear. If you’re kayaking in cold water, you’ll want to wear clothing that provides insulation and keeps you warm. If you’re kayaking in warmer water, you’ll want to wear clothing that dries quickly and allows for ventilation.
When kayaking, you’ll be exposed to the sun for extended periods, which can cause sunburn and other skin damage. To protect yourself, you’ll want to wear clothing that provides adequate sun protection, such as clothing with UPF ratings, hats with brims, and sunglasses with UV protection.
Comfort and Mobility
Kayaking involves a lot of movement, so you’ll want to wear clothing that allows for ease of movement and is comfortable to wear for extended periods. This means choosing clothing that is not too tight or restrictive, and that allows you to move freely.
Material of Clothing
The material of the clothing you wear kayaking can also affect your comfort and safety. You’ll want to choose clothing that is made from quick-drying, moisture-wicking materials that will keep you dry and comfortable, such as polyester or nylon.
Essential Clothing for Kayaking
Now that you know the factors to consider when choosing clothes for kayaking, let’s take a look at the essential clothing you’ll need for your kayaking trip.
- Life Jacket or Personal Floatation Device (PFD) A life jacket or PFD is an essential piece of safety equipment when kayaking. It’s important to choose a PFD that fits properly and is designed for kayaking, with features like pockets for storing gear and adjustable straps for a secure fit.
- Wetsuit or Drysuit If you’re kayaking in cold water, a wetsuit or drysuit is essential to keep you warm and comfortable. A wetsuit is made from neoprene and traps a layer of water between your skin and the suit, which is warmed by your body heat. A dry suit, on the other hand, is designed to keep you completely dry and is made from waterproof materials.
- Quick-drying, Moisture-wicking Shirt A quick-drying, moisture-wicking shirt is essential for staying comfortable on the water. Look for shirts made from materials like polyester or nylon, which will wick moisture away from your skin and dry quickly.
Water Shoes or Sandals with Good Traction Water shoes or sandals with good traction are important for keeping your footing secure on wet and slippery surfaces, as well as protecting your feet from sharp rocks or debris in the water. Look for shoes with a non-slip sole made from quick-drying materials.
- Sunglasses with UV Protection Sunglasses with UV protection are essential for protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Look for sunglasses with a wrap-around design to protect the sides of your eyes, and with lenses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
- Hat with Brim for Sun Protection A hat with a brim is another essential piece of sun protection gear for kayaking. Look for hats made from quick-drying materials and with a brim wide enough to provide shade for your face and neck.
Additional Clothing Options for Kayaking
In addition to the essential clothing for kayaking, there are some additional clothing options you may want to consider, depending on the conditions you’ll be kayaking in.
A rash guard is a tight-fitting, quick-drying shirt designed to protect your skin from irritation and chafing caused by repetitive movements. They also provide additional sun protection and can be worn alone or under a wetsuit or dry suit.
Neoprene booties are a great option for kayaking in colder water, providing insulation and keeping your feet warm. They also protect your feet from rocks and other debris in the water.
A waterproof jacket is essential for kayaking in rainy or wet conditions, providing protection from rain and wind. Look for jackets made from waterproof and breathable materials to keep you dry and comfortable.
Paddling gloves can be useful for providing additional grip on your paddle, as well as protecting your hands from blisters or chafing. Look for gloves made from quick-drying materials that allow for dexterity and flexibility.
Tips for Dressing for Kayaking
Now that you know the essential and additional clothing options for kayaking, here are some tips for dressing for kayaking:
- Layering is key to staying comfortable in a variety of weather conditions. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating layer, and finish with a waterproof and breathable outer layer.
- Avoid Cotton Cotton clothing that absorbs water and takes a long time to dry, which can leave you feeling cold and uncomfortable on the water. Instead, choose synthetic materials that dry quickly and wick moisture away from your skin.
- Test Your Gear Beforehand It’s important to test your gear before you hit the water to ensure that everything fits properly and works as expected. This will give you time to make any adjustments or replacements if necessary.
- Dress for the Water, Not the Air Remember that the temperature on the water can be colder than on land, so it’s important to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.
- Pack Extra Clothing It’s always a good idea to pack extra clothing in case you get wet or need to layer up. This will ensure that you’re prepared for any changes in weather or conditions.
When it comes to kayaking, dressing appropriately is key to staying safe, comfortable, and protected from the elements.
By considering the factors that can impact what you wear, choosing the essential and additional clothing options, and following these tips for dressing for kayaking, you’ll be well-prepared for your next kayaking adventure. Remember to test your gear, pack extra clothing, and always prioritize safety on the water.