Kayaking in the Rain – What to Wear and Safety Gear for 2023

Do you love kayaking but are not sure if it is safe to go kayaking in the rain? 

Then this post on kayaking in the rain will be helpful for you to figure it out. Kayaking is a super fun activity for those who want to feel closer to nature. 

The best part about kayaking is that you can travel and sightsee areas only accessible through kayaking. 

However, have you ever felt that every time you are preparing to go kayaking?

 A massive storm comes in and destroys all your plans, or while you are kayaking, and suddenly it rains so heavily and you panic!!

Kayaking in the rain can be fun and super challenging if you have not planned accordingly. So let’s prepare ourselves for kayaking in the rain.

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Is It Dangerous To Go Kayaking In The Rain or Thunderstorm?

Is kayaking in the rain dangerous? My answer would be yes unless you have adequately planned and prepared for the rain!

One unpredictable thing when you are planning to go kayaking is the weather. It could be a nice sunny day one minute and heavy rainfall the next. You can never say that it’s the perfect day for kayaking. 

However, if you ask me if it’s okay to go kayaking in the rain, my answer would be YES! Why not? I assure you, kayaking in the rain would be an experience that you would not want to miss but again, only if you are well prepared for it.

So the question arises – what are the dangers of kayaking in the thunderstorm or kayaking in the rain? Here are some things that you should be aware of.

1. Lightning or Thunderstorms

There is a risk of getting hit by lightning or thunder, although it is an infrequent occurrence. If you hear thunder, make sure to take shelter and stay out of the water.

2. Waves, Tides, and Current

If it’s been raining for a while, then it’s best to check the water levels before you go kayaking. The tides and currents can change very fast when the weather changes. 

You might also get exhausted kayaking against the strong current. Always check the weather conditions for kayaking if it’s safe or not.

3. Risk of Capsizing and Drowning

Of course, kayaking comes with the risk of capsizing and drowning but again, with proper precautions, this can also be avoided.

4. Hypothermia

In case of heavy rainfall, there is a risk of hypothermia. However, with proper clothing, this too could be avoided.

5. Hitting The Rocks

With heavy rainfall and blurred vision, there might be a few rocks that you might miss, and there is a risk of capsizing. 

However, it all comes down to the same thing again. Proper planning, research, and equipment can minimize all those risks. 

What To Prepare Before Going For Kayaking?

1. Prepare The Route.

It’s essential to plan the route before kayaking, especially if you are kayaking in the rain. It’s imperative to check the water level at the area that you have planned for kayaking before you leave the house.

If it’s a sunny day, you wouldn’t have to worry much, although there is a risk of going lost. If it’s raining, then you should be well aware of the route, especially to avoid getting hit by objects along the way.

2. Informing Family Members Or Friends.

Do inform your family member or friends about the route you plan to take and make sure to take note of the shelter area in case of emergency. This is just to make sure they know where you will be and could find you in case you are missing. 

Make sure to keep them updated on who you are going with, the color of your clothes, and your kayak. 

Do leave them a note on the route that you would be taking as well. You can never be too well prepared.

3. Prepare Yourself

If you are a beginner, then you should avoid kayaking in the rain till you have gained enough experience. Gain your skills on proper kayaking techniques before you go kayaking.

You should find more information on how to prepare yourself and things you should know as a beginner in kayaking.

If you are experienced enough, do not overestimate yourself. You can never predict how the weather might change or what obstacles might come along your way. 

Always prepare yourself with proper equipment such as appropriate clothing, a personal floatation device, a dry bag, bilge pumps, and some snacks.  

4. Make Yourself Visible

When the rain hits, you might not be very visible to the other kayakers. Wear bright clothes and make sure your kayak is equipped with boat lights. Don’t forget to bring along your flashlight.

It is important to stay visible to avoid collision with other nearby kayaks and for others to easily spot you in case your kayak has capsized. 

What To Wear When Kayaking In The Rain

What you wear before kayaking is essential, especially if you are preparing for kayaking in rain. Wear clothes that will help you if the weather turns out to be nasty or your kayak decides to capsize. 

1. Wetsuit or Drysuit.

I’m sure you have heard about kayak suits very often but have you ever thought about the difference between a wetsuit and a drysuit?

MaterialNeoprene(Synthetic rubber)1) Membrane drysuits – tri-laminate: Gore-Tex, Cordura2)Vulcanized rubber3)Laminated nylon
Thermal Insulation Allows a little water between your body and the suit. The water is kept warm by our body temperature, which creates an insulation layer.Doesn’t provide insulation. Must be combined with thermal clothing to ensure the kayaker is kept warm
FitShould be tight-fitting but not too tight as it will reduce the blood flow.Baggy and loose to allow enough room for a layer underneath.
ProsFlexible and easy to move.Keeps the kayaker dry and can be used in extremely low temperatures when paired with the layers underneath.
ConsNot suitable for ice-cold waterMore expensive than a wetsuit, and you will need to invest in further base layers of clothes.

Best wetsuit for kayaking :

kayaking in the rain slemorecn sizes mens wetsuits jumpsuit neoprene
kayaking in the rain hevto wetsuits men neoprene
kayaking in the rain xuker women men wetsuit
kayaking in the rain seaskin wetsuit men women neoprene full body

2. Helmets

To protect your head from the rain and prevent head injuries in case of any collision.

Best helmet for kayaking:

kayaking in the rain ipoob adult kayaking canoe whitewater helmet
kayaking in the rain vihir adult water sports helmet with ears
kayaking in the rain wrsi current kayak helmet

3. Thermal clothing

Microfibre fabric is worn underneath a dry suit. They are also called thermal base and mid-layers, which will help you keep warm underneath the drysuit.

Best thermal clothing for kayaking:

kayaking in the rain mens thermal underwear set sport long johns base layer
kayaking in the rain carhartt mens base force classic thermal base layer union suit
kayaking in the rain therajane womens ultra soft thermal underwear
kayaking in the rain thermal underwear women ultra soft

4. Rash Guard

This is worn under the wetsuit and helps you to wear and take off your wetsuit easily. They are quick-drying, stretchable, and protect against UV rays.

Best rash guard for kayaking: 

kayaking in the rain lafroi mens long sleeve upf 50
kayaking in the rain oneill mens basic skins long sleeve rash guard
kayaking in the rain huge sports men rash guard long sleeves

5. Pogies and gloves

Pogies are attached directly to your paddles. Pogies are suitable for kayakers who want direct contact with their paddles and to keep their hands warm.

Pogies give easy access to your fingers and make it easier for you to move them. Pogies will be suitable when you are kayaking in rough waters.

Best pogies for kayaking: 

Neoprene Kayak Pogies Gloves Paddling Gloves

kayaking in the rain neoprene kayak pogies gloves paddling gloves

Gloves can easily tear if you use them very frequently. Gloves are more suitable to be worn during summer. It’s easier to handle the paddles while wearing gloves, as most of the gloves are fingerless types. If you plan to kayak while fishing in the rain, it’s more suitable to use gloves rather than pogies.

Best gloves for kayaking: 

kayaking in ther rain palmyth uv fishing gloves sun protection fingerless kayaking glove
kayaking in the rain kayak fishing glvoes for men women kids
kayaking in the rain drasry uv fishing gloves fingerless

6. Life Jacket

Never forget your life jacket when you are going kayaking. It doesn’t matter if it rains or shines; a life jacket is necessary. Make sure to wear the proper size and a bright-colored life jacket. 

Best life jacket for kayaking:

kayaking in the rain jksports safety life jacket for swimming sailing boating kayak floating
kayaking in the rain onyx kayak fishing life jacket
kayaking in the rain astral v eight fisher life jacket

7. Footwear

Of course, my suggestion would be neoprene boots! Neoprene materials are lightweight and dry fast. They can help keep your feet warm. Wear a bigger size to fit with your socks. 

Avoid wearing regular sneakers, slippers, or flip-flops, as you risk injuring your feet.

Best footwear for kayaking:

kayaking in the rain cressi neoprene adult anti slip sole boots
kayaking in the rain nrs atb neoprene kayak shoes
kayaking in the rain bps neoprene dive boots

8. Waterproof Socks

When kayaking in the rain, wear extra layers to ensure you don’t get exposed to extreme temperatures. Pairing your neoprene boots with thermal socks or waterproof socks would be good to ensure you are kept warm in case of emergencies.  

Best waterproof socks for kayaking :

kayaking in the rain randy sun waterproof socks
kayaking in the rain tanzant waterproof socks
kayaking in the rain leakdry waterproof socks

9. Kayak rain gear

kayaking in the rain

Rain gears for kayaking are necessary as they are waterproof and help keep you dry and warm. Choose kayak rain gears that are light weighted and water repellant. Different types of kayak rain gear serve various purposes.

i) Poncho – A waterproof, hooded, and light jacket. It helps protect against wind and rain. It could be a hassle to remove and put on if the rain is light and lasts a short while.

However, ponchos are less expensive than the two-piece rain suit. Ponchos might be dangerous if they are worn when you are going kayaking on whitewater. It’s more suitable to be worn for flatwater routes.

Best ponchos for kayaking: 

kayaking in the rain pteromy hooded rain poncho jacket
kayaking in the rain emergency rain poncho hybrid survival gear
kayaking in the rain frogg toggs mens ultra lite waterproof breathable poncho

ii) Two-piece rain suit – Suitable to be used during kayaking in moving water. It is waterproof and protects the legs as well. Waterproof jackets are beneficial during kayaking.  They help to keep your underwear dry. 

Best two-piece rain suit for kayaking: 

kayaking in the rain alpha cycle gear rain suit
kayaking in the rain frogg toggs mens classic all sport waterproof breathable rain suit
kayaking in the rain acme projects rain suit

10. Kayak pants

Wear kayak pants that cover the whole leg if you plan to go kayak in the rain. Kayak pants help prevent hypothermia in case your kayak capsizes in cold water. 

Choose kayak pants that are water-repellent, breathable, and flexible such as neoprene, quick-drying nylon, or polyester. Make sure it’s not too tight. It will be difficult for you to move in the kayak.

Best kayak pants for kayaking:

kayaking in the rain mens wetsuit pants neoprene long pants
kayaking in the rain little donkey andy womens lightweight quick dry
kayaking in the rain hisea breathable stockingfoot insulated waist waders
kayaking in the rain postropaky mens hiking quick dry lightweigh waterproof

How To Prevent Water From Getting In When Kayaking In    The Rain?

Want to kayak in the rain but are afraid that water will enter your kayak? Although it is unavoidable, there are a few ways that you can still do to prevent the water from getting in.

1. Sprayskirt

Sprayskirt is a waterproof fabric that fits around a kayaker and extends over the opening of a kayak.

Spray skirts consist of : 

  • Tunnel is worn around the torso. 
  • The deck is the skirt portion that radiates out from the tunnel and covers the boat’s cockpit. The deck part helps to prevent water from entering the kayak.
  • Rand is the edge of the spray skirt that holds the deck taut by fastening over the lip of the cockpit.

Make sure to get the right size to obtain a watertight seal.

Best spray skirt for kayaking: 

kayaking in the rain seals sneak zippered kayak spray skirt
kayaking in the rain wilderness systems truefit spray skirt
kayaking in the rain perception truefit spray skirt

2. Drip Rings

Drip rings are cupped rubber ringers fixed on both ends of the paddle.

 Drip rings prevent the dripping of the water to your arm, body, or into the cockpit. Some people find it useful, while some feel that it doesn’t make any difference.

Tips: Measure one or two hand widths from the blade to set the drip rings.

Different kayaking styles might also affect the effectiveness of the drip ring. If you are an aggressive kayaker, then it might be difficult to keep water away from the kayak.

Best drip rings for kayaking: 

kayaking in the rain canalhout uniersal kayak canoe raft paddle oar drip rings
kayaking in the rain seattle sports glow in the dark seawall drip rings for kayak paddles
kayaking in the rain zelerdo pack kayak paddle drip rings

3. Purchase A Kayak According To Your Body

The interior of the cockpit should be able to accommodate your body size and not too big for you. 

The extra space in your cockpit can cause water to enter your kayak. Your kayak should be able to support your weight and accommodate your body.

Learn how to choose the right kayak and the different types of kayaks that are available.

4. Use A Longer Paddle

When you use a shorter paddle, your angle during kayaking would be higher, which can cause more water to enter your kayak. 

To prevent this, it’s better to use a kayak with a longer paddle. Choose the paddle that you would be most comfortable using.

What to Bring When Kayaking In The Rain?

Here are my suggestions on cold weather paddling gear that you should bring when kayaking in the rain.

1. Bilge pump

A bilge pump helps to pump water out of your kayak. It should be kept in a way that is easily accessible to you while you are in your kayak.

There are different types of bilge systems like: 

  • Bailing Sponges
  • Manual Bilge Pumps
  • Electronic (Hands-free) Bilge Systems

Of course, when you need to keep kayaking, the electronic bilge pump comes to the rescue as it can be left to pump out the water while you can start finding the leak and fix it.

However, if the electronic bilge pump submerges in seawater, it could cause a short circuit. In this scenario, a manual pump will be helpful to reduce the water.

Therefore it’s advisable to keep one manual bilge pump and one electronic bilge pump when kayaking.

Best bilge sponge for kayaking:

kayaking in the rain skywoosh bilge sponge
kayaing in the rain perception kayak sponge

Best manual bilge pump for kayaking: 

kayaking in the rain amarine made bilge pump
kayaking in the rain marine manual bilge pump for kayaks

Best Electronic (Hands-free) Bilge Systems for kayaking: 

kayaking in the rain bilge pump new electric water pump
kayaking in the rain maxzone automatic submersible boat bilge water pump

2. Whistle

When you are lost or not visible, a whistle comes in handy as the sound of the whistle can help attract the rescuers.

kayaing in the rain whistle

3. Headlamp/ Torchlight With Extra Batteries

In case you are lost and it’s dark, a torchlight or headlamp will be very useful.

Best headlamp for kayaking:

kayaking in the rain liteband flex wide beam led headlamp
kayaking in the rain headlamp rechargeable

4. Other Important Things You Will Need

What To Avoid While Kayaking?

There is always a risk with kayaking or any other recreation activities. Here are a few things that you should avoid while kayaking.

1. If you are a beginner, try to go in a group of 2 or 3. Kayaking in a group can help you learn new skills and techniques. You can also gain experience before your solo trip.

2. Always follow the rules that are given in that area.

3. Avoid kayaking in the dark as it would be difficult to see the obstacles along the way.

4. Always wear your life jacket. An emergency can happen anytime and if your kayak capsizes then at least you will still stay afloat.

5. Avoid mixing alcohol or drugs before or during kayaking.

6. Avoid kayaking if the wind is too strong or the water current or tide is at a dangerous level.

7. Always look out for possible hazards such as overhanging or submerged tree branches.

Will A Kayak Sink In The Rain?

Kayaking in the rain does come with the risk of sinking. However, sinking a kayak would be difficult, depending on the type of your kayak

Sit-on-top has a lesser chance of sinking due to its design. It is completely sealed. It is easy for you to flip it back up and get back into it if the kayak flips or capsizes. If the hatch is good, then there is less chance for a sit-on-top kayak to get filled with water.

The chances of a kayak sinking in rainy weather are higher as water can enter into the kayak. Using a spray skirt can prevent this. 

When it’s raining heavily, a sudden wash could crash onto your kayak, which could cause a sudden fill-in of water into the cockpit. This could increase the weight of your kayak, which eventually can cause your kayak to sink.

How To Kayak And Stay Dry In The Rain?

1. Choose water-resistant clothes

2. Bring a dry bag to keep your essential items in it.

3. Use a paddle ring to prevent water from trickling down your paddle

4. Use a spray skirt

5. Paddle at a lower angle or use a longer paddle. Gentle paddling strokes get to prevent the splashes.

Of course, if you are keen to stay completely dry, then you should check the weather before going kayaking and avoid kayaking in the rain!


Last but not least, enjoy kayaking. It is one of the most adventurous and fun recreational activities. Practice by yourself on a good weather day before you go kayaking in the rain.  Plan your day.

Kayaking in the rain can be a hassle, but don’t let small things spoil the mood. When you are planning to go kayaking in the rain, always watch out for lightning or thunderstorms.

Always be prepared for the danger ahead. Never let your guard down, and always be alert to your surroundings. The change in the water level could be dangerous. Hope that my post here was helpful for you, especially for beginners!

Now that we have prepared ourselves, what are you waiting for? Grab those bags, start packing those clothes and let’s go kayaking in the rain!

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