Don’t know what to wear when kayaking in summer?
Sometimes, summer is an obstacle for kayakers because they will be exposed to the heat.
But if you wear proper attire for kayaking, you get to enjoy kayaking and at the same time protect yourself from sun damage and heat exhaustion.
This article will share with you what to wear when kayaking for women and men. Keep on reading to find out what are the best products for kayaking in summer and winter.
This article may contain some affiliate links which means I may earn some commission when you click on it, but at no additional cost to you. Hope you will find this article helpful.
At a glance, some of the things that we will taking a deep dive into in this article include:
- What To Wear When Kayaking In Summer?
- What Do I Wear First Time Kayaking?
- Are Sneakers OK For Kayaking?
- What To Wear When Kayaking In Winter & Cold Weather?
- What Should I Wear If I Don’t Have A Wetsuit?
- What Should I Bring Kayaking?
- Is Kayaking Safe For Non-Swimmers?
- Kayaking For Beginners -All You Need To Know
- How To Get Water Out Of Kayak In 3 Easy Steps
- Top 20 Best Kayak Fishing Shoes
- The Best Drysuit for Kayaking – An Essential Guide for 2022
What To Wear When Kayaking In Summer?
Did you know that summer is the best time to enjoy kayaking? But have you ever wondered what to wear for kayaking in summer?
Going kayaking without proper preparation is unsafe because you are exposed to the sun all the time. So, you need a good balance of protection and breathability.
Of course, you don’t want to wear anything that retains too much heat but you also don’t want to overexpose your skin to the sun.
Previously, you would have heard people say to wear anything cotton, but it is also important to know that cotton dries super slowly when it gets wet and is also not a breathable material when compared to other materials.
That’s when you may start to wonder – what are the best clothes for kayaking in summer?
What to wear when kayaking in summer?
First things first – avoid cotton as it is the worst choice of clothing material for kayakers.
Look for insulating, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking fabrics.
Some of the examples are nylon, polypyrene, polyester, and neoprene.
If you are looking for natural fabric, I would recommend Merino wool as it is way better than cotton but still cannot perform as well as synthetics when they are wet.
1. Long Sleeve Shirt
Loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts that are made of fast-drying material can prevent you from overheating and at the same time keep you cool. A rash guard is a perfect choice.
The first answer to the question of what to wear kayaking in hot weather is a rash guard.
Best rash guard for women
Kanu Surf Women’s Keri Long-Sleeve UPF 50+ Rashguard
Daci Women Rash Guard Long Sleeve Swimsuits UV UPF 50+ Swim Shirt Bathing Suit with Boyshort Bottom
HISKYWIN Women’s Long Sleeve UV Sun Protection Rash Guard Side Adjustable Wetsuit Swimsuit Top
Best rash guard for men
LAFROI Men’s Long Sleeve UPF 50+ Baselayer Skins Performance Fit Compression Rash Guard-CLYYB
O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Rash Guard
O’Neill Youth Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sun Shirt
2. Quick-drying Pants
Your bottom is going to get wet while you are kayaking. Quick-drying pants are a good choice but the most popular pants choice for kayakers is boardshorts
I prefer hiking or guide pants when trying to figure out what pants to wear to go kayaking in summer as it provides the most versatility.
Do note, however, that boardshorts will slide up a few inches when you sit in your kayak and your legs will be exposed to UV rays.
Best pants for women
Little Donkey Andy Women’s Lightweight Quick Dry Hiking Pants Reinforced Knees UPF 50
Libin Women’s Cargo Joggers Lightweight Quick Dry
BALEAF Women’s Joggers Pants Athletic
Best pants for men
5.11 Tactical Men’s Taclite Pro Lightweight Performance Pants
Wespornow Men’s-Convertible-Hiking-Pants Quick Dry Lightweight Zip Off Breathable Cargo Pants
3. Adventure Sandals
What shoes to wear when kayaking in summer?
Water will accumulate in your kayak and this will eventually make your shoes wet. Wearing a pair of shoes that work well for this activity is important so that your feet will feel comfortable all the time.
You should never think of going barefoot when kayaking because there may be something sharp that can cut your feet.
Best sandals for men
Chaco Men’s MEGA Z Cloud Sport Sandal
KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal Water Shoe
Crocs Men’s Swiftwater River Sandal
Best sandals for women
Teva Women’s Hurricane XLT Sandal
Skechers Women’s On-The-go 600-Brilliancy Sport Sandal
You can also consider ANLUKE Water Shoes if you wish to go barefoot while kayaking because this shoe is like a sock and is also sometimes called water barefoot shoes.
4. Sun Hat
What do you wear when kayaking in the summer? Of course, you need a hat!
To get extra protection from the sun, a sun hat is a must! Bonus points: it also makes you look really good!
Best sun hat for kayaking
Tilley Endurables LTM6 Airflow Hat
Super Wide Brim Sun Hat-UPF50+ Waterproof Bucket Hat
GearTOP UPF 50+ Wide Brim Sun Hat
For ladies with long hair who frequently wear it in a ponytail fashion, you will like this Muryobao Women’s Ponytail sun hat.
5. Paddle Glove
Do you notice that your hands get the most UV exposure while kayaking, especially during summer?
What do you wear when kayaking in hot weather to protect your hands? The answer is paddle gloves.
Paddling for a long time can lead to blisters on your hands from constant friction and your hands will get wet and then dry simultaneously which can lead to cracked skin.
This is why you have to buy a pair of thin gloves to protect your hands.
Best paddle gloves for kayaking
Palmyth UV Protection Fishing Fingerless Gloves UPF50+ Sun Gloves
Palmyth UV Fishing Gloves Sun Protection Fingerless Kayaking Glove
BASSDASH ALTIMATE UPF 50+ Women’s Fishing Gloves UV Sun Protection Fingerless Gloves
6. Basic Kayaking Essentials
a. PFD (Personal Floatation Device)
I think the most important answer to the question of what to wear when kayaking in summer or winter is PFD.
It saves lives but many people don’t like to wear them during the summer months because it will trap more heat and will make you uncomfortable while kayaking.
If you buy a higher quality life jacket, they have a mesh back that keeps you cooler and more comfortable when kayaking.
Best life jacket for kayaking
Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Paddle Sports CGA Life Vest
Stohlquist Women’s Flo Life Jacket/Personal Floatation Device
Most of us are aware of the importance of sunscreen but only some people know exactly which sunscreen to choose that suits the activity they will be doing.
SPF is the indicator of the amount of times an application of sunscreen will protect you. This is how you calculate the duration before you need to reapply for sunscreen.
For example, with SPF 15 sunscreen, you need to multiply 15 by how long you normally start to sunburn. Let’s say 10 minutes (15 x 10 minutes = 150 minutes). This means you will need to reapply your sunscreen in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
This might seem complicated to some people. So, buy sunscreen that has SPF 30+ or higher and reapply after 2 hours.
Best sunscreen for kayaking
Badger – SPF 35 Zinc Oxide Sport Sunscreen Cream
Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen
Burnout Ocean Tested Physical Spf30+ 3.4 OZ
c. Polarized Sunglasses That Float
Do you know what comes to my mind when thinking of what to wear during the kayaking in summer but still makes you look good?
It is polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Best polarized sunglasses for kayaking
Shady Rays Signature Series Polarized Sunglasses
Oakley Men’s Oo9014 Gascan Sunglasses
TOMS Women’s Dalston Wayfarer Sunglasses
Here are some explanations of the short forms that are commonly used in this article to help you understand more.
UV – It is a short form for ultraviolet. UV refers to the type of radiation that comes directly from sunlight which can cause sunburn, fatigue. The worst part is when you are exposed too much to the UV rays, you can trigger the cancer cell which then leads to skin cancer.
PFD – Personal Floatation Device or commonly called life jacket but the proper terminology is PFD.
SPF – You might be familiar with this term but don’t know the meaning of this short form. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. You will find it mostly at the sunscreen’s label to indicate the level of protection it provides.
PPE – This is a short form for Personal Protective Equipment and this term is usually used in healthcare.
What Do I Wear First Time Kayaking?
If you are just getting into kayaking and don’t want to splurge much to avoid wastage, you can wear anything that you have or buy second-hand items.
Wear a quick-drying outfit, any sunscreen that you have, a round hat that can protect you from sunlight, and also wet shoes.
Are Sneakers OK For Kayaking?
The problem with sneakers is that they easily get waterlogged.
The best kayaking shoes are the ones that keep you comfortable and are able to protect your feet from common injuries while kayaking.
Often first-timers would wear sneakers because they don’t have wet shoes and sneakers seem like an easy option.
We all know sneakers are made from water-absorbent fabrics and your feet will be wet throughout the activity.This obviously may not be very comfortable for you.
A better option is to wear casual water shoes as it looks similar to sneakers. You can check out the best water shoes for yourself and see which suits you best.
What To Wear When Kayaking In Winter & Cold Weather?
We’ve already looked at what to wear when kayaking in the summer.
How about when kayaking in winter & cold weather?
You have 2 choices of outfits for kayaking in cold weather which are a wetsuit or drysuit.
Wearing a wetsuit when you go into the water allows for some water to enter the wetsuit and the body will heat the water. This process allows the heat to keep you warm while kayaking in the cold weather.
There are various thickness available for wetsuits which will affect the amount of insulation and the flexibility of the suit.
Thicker wetsuits provide less flexibility for movement but offer better heat retention. The common thickness preferred by kayakers is 2 mm to 3 mm.
However, you need to understand that a wetsuit is a base layer, not outerwear. If you want to layer more clothes, layer them on top of the wetsuit.
You need to know that although a wetsuit will keep you warm in cold air and is relatively inexpensive, its protection range is limited.
Best wetsuit for kayaking
Hevto Wetsuits Men’s 3mm Neoprene
NeoSport Men’s Premium Neoprene 7mm Waterman John Wetsuit
Unlike a wetsuit, a drysuit is outerwear and it is the ultimate protection for kayakers in winter or cold weather.
Like its name, a drysuit is a completely waterproof garment with latex lining at every opening such as the neck, ankles, and wrists to keep out of water.
Since a drysuit is outerwear, you need to wear clothes underneath to work as insulating layers. It is a bit tricky to find the right insulating layers because if you are wearing too much underneath, it is possible to overheat.
The best way is to wear a single lightweight or middleweight base layer and adjust which is most suitable for you.
Even in the coldest temperature, a drysuit is a great choice as it is comfortable and will keep you dry. The downside about drysuits is that they can be quite expensive.
Best drysuit for kayaking
Ocean Rodeo Ignite 2.0 Breathable Drysuit
Kokatat Men’s Hydrus Meridian Drysuit
What Should I Wear If I Don’t Have A Wetsuit?
You can rent a wetsuit.
Usually, most surf spots provide a rental service where you can rent a wetsuit by the hour or for a day. This service is good for someone who is new to kayaking or just wants to try out kayaking.
Let’s say you cannot rent a wetsuit – for women, just wear a practical swimsuit while for men, wear board shorts and rash guards.
You still can kayak without a wetsuit provided that the water temperature is around 65°F (18°C) or above. Despite that, many surfers prefer to wear a wetsuit in warmer water to prevent injuries, kayak for longer periods, and protect their skin from the sun.
What Should I Bring Kayaking?
You must be thinking of what else you should bring along while kayaking.
I’ve got you covered.
- Clothing for kayaking
- Dry bag
- Signaling whistle
- Lip balm (with SPF)
- Bug spray
Have you found out what to wear when kayaking in summer?
To make sure you have a great time kayaking and at the same time protecting yourself, I shortlisted some of the items that I would purchase for myself when I go for kayaking in the future.
Though some of the items are a bit pricey, the quality is worth the price as it able to withstand the hot weather during kayaking.
Remember, safety and comfort are the most important things when you are embarking on your kayaking journey. So whatever you decide to wear kaking in the summer, make those aspects your priority!