What to Wear While Kayaking: Complete Guide


Kayaking is a water sport that involves using a kayak, a low–to–water, canoe-like boat used for moving across water. Kayaking is also known as paddling. The  International Canoe Federation defines a kayak as a boat where the paddler focuses forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle.

What to wear while kayaking

what to wear while kayaking
what to wear while kayaking

As kayaking is a part exercise, part meditation and part sightseeing, the most important concern related to this sport is what to wear while kayaking? The choice of outfit depends totally on safety and comfort when it comes to choosing a kayaking outfit.

Your plan may or may not include ending up in the water, but you should always plan for the possibility of ending up in the water as you better know “Precaution is better than cure”. So you should always make sure you prepare yourself best before kayaking. You can go for different outfits for kayaking, depending upon the place and weather. Some of the tips for choosing a kayaking outfit are as follows –

Wear Personal flotation device

When it comes to kayaking you wish to enjoy your time in water.For this purpose,you should  first ensure your safety. So you should always wear your personal flotation device (PFD).or  lifejackets while you are kayaking.Some people may find lifejackets restrictive while  paddling, so they can go for kayaking special lifejackets which are particularly designed for  kayaking . Drowning accidents rarely happen to paddlers wearing a PFD.

Go for Synthetic layers 

kayaking clothes

Materials that seem to be warm enough on land may or may not be warm enough in the water. In that case, you may find yourself getting too hot from the exertion of paddling a kayak on a  sunny day. So it would help if you always went for thin layers of synthetic fibres. This will keep you warm and dry. You can also go for paddling pants and jackets, which are specially designed for this purpose. 

Avoid wearing cotton fabric 

The cotton fabric soaks more water than other fabrics because it takes more time to dry. This can lead to irritation in the skin and also cause rashes. You can, however, opt for a cotton t-shirt or tank top on a warm day, but only if you choose not to end up in the water. So you can always go for a wicking fabric next to your skin, such as quick-drying nylon or polyester.

Wear accessories such as Sunglasses, hat and gloves while kayaking

The glare of the sun can cause sunburn and visibility even on cold days. So no matter what the weather is, you should always carry your sunglasses, hats and gloves when you go kayaking. It is important to protect your eyes when you are riding the waves or kayaking across rivers.

So you should better carry your sunglasses while going kayaking. Apart from this hat and gloves also helps you protect your skin cells from getting damaged by harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Sunscreen is also a must. Wearing UPF-rated fabrics is also a  smart choice.

Wear a wetsuit or drysuit while kayaking

In summer, the most comfortable cloth can be shorts and a t-shirt, but you can wear a wetsuit or drysuit while going kayaking in cold weather. Wet suits and drysuit are safe choices for kayaking.

If you are kayaking on vacation, you can use the kayak rental or tour company as a resource. As they are experts in local weather and water temperature, they can provide you with the best information and guidance. 

Waterproof your valuables 

You can expect your valuables to at least be splashed, even on calm days. So it is worth investing in waterproof cases for your valuables such as watches, phones, etc.

What shoes to wear while kayaking 

kayaking shoes

There are a variety of options available for you when you go for choosing perfect kayaking footwear. The footwear to be used while kayaking should always be lightweight, water-resistant and protect your feet. Always go for footwear that has back straps so that it may not come out easily. Some of the footwear you can choose for kayaking are

Specific water shoes 

These shoes are specially designed for being in and around water. There is an ample range of such shoes available on different shopping websites. 


Sandals are a good choice for kayaking in warm weather. They are available in a wide range of materials, including neoprene. Two important qualities to look for while choosing kayaking footwear are grippy sole which can avoid you from slipping rocks, and design which can easily drain the water so that your feet may remain dry.

Neoprene Boots

Neoprene boots are a better option while kayaking in cold weather. They act like wetsuit as they protect your feet and ankles from cold waters and wind for a longer period of time.

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