Travel Tips

What To Wear Kayaking [2023 Guide]

Kayaking could be your favorite sport until and unless you don’t feel uncomfortable while you drive around the Kayak in that beautiful lake.

Kayaking requires you to take pretty conscious decisions when it comes to dressing and paraphernalia. You can’t just go kayaking with that routine dress.

Most of our enthusiasts must be pondering over what to wear kayaking? Now as you have decided to go for kayaking, make some space in your closet for all the kayaking clothing.

We are here to suggest you the best clothing you should wear for kayaking. Let’s see what to wear kayaking?

What to wear kayaking?

Here are certain best clothing tips that would keep you comfy all throughout the Kayaking.

Clothing for upper body 

It is very important to take care of your upper body clothing. Take care of our head, skin, and body.

Protect your head you can always put on a hat to protect yourself from sun. When it’s a kayaking day, it is even a full day under sun. You can put on that hat with a string to hold on or wear a cap with an adjustment strap. You can even make a deal on surfing helmets.  It is your wish; we just want you to surf safe. 

Just an Add on– protect your eyes with the splashing water and extreme sunrays with kayaking sunglasses or surf sunglasses. You can get them at any sports shop.

Shielding your body– we strongly suggest you to dress in layers on your top. You can put on a swim suit that is comfortable. Ladies can put on their sports bra if the temperature is moderate enough.

All you need to check is your comfort.Avoid cotton on any layer as it gets wet and doesn’t dry up quickly. You can go for quick-drying nylon top or polyester (or another synthetic fabric) T-shirts or any non-cotton casuals.

Such fabrics don’t retain water for long time. Adorn a good paddle jacket which is waterproof that keeps you dry and warm.

If the temperature is moderate you can go for Rash guards. The kayak rash guards commonly come for upper body and can be worn inside or outside your synthetic top.

You can even buy rash guards that are used for surfing. These are made of materials like spandex, polyester, or nylon. So if you have any allergies to salt water or sun allergy, put on a rash guard. It will guard you against rashes or abrasions.  

One of the most suggested put-ons is a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).  Even if the water is stable and the temperature is just perfect, PFDs will help you avoid any mishaps or deal a huge wave. Wearing them over your dry suit or the rash guard could be a safer option.

PFDs come in variety and you can choose them for your personal purpose. Few best Kayak PFDs are Stohlquist DRIFTer, Stohlquist Rocker, Astral Ronny, Stohlquist Edge, NRS Ion and etc. check them out at a sport store near you. 

Dry suits and wet suits can also be an option. More details about them are given below. Read to know more.

Clothing for lower body

As said above, go for comfort and a synthetic pants. Guys can put on their board shorts or half pants which won’t fold or give any rashes. Avoid putting those yoga synthetic pants; they won’t give you a better feel.

So, if you are a newcomer and wonder over what to wear when kayaking for the first time, here are the answers to it. Don’t forget to carry a towel or dry cloth to wipe you up after kayaking.

Bring along a pair of comfortable clothes so you can wear them and reach home dry. The answer to what to wear for kayaking is still incomplete until and unless you know what shoes to wear for kayaking!

What shoes to wear for kayaking?

Oh wait! Are you considering your flip-flops for kayaking? We strongly suggest you not to! Even if you go for casual kayaking on a lake near you, flip flops could be a bad option. Go for durable, lightweight and waterproof. Buy water boots or waterproof shoes for kayaking.

They won’t flip from your feet, would stay dry and hold your grip on those rocky terrains during your kayaking. These shoes are mostly made up of Neoprene material and synthetic.

Neoprene insulates the shoes against water. Some are even breathable. Find such shoes which fit in your feet perfectly. You can choose between low cut, ankle cut, and knee cut heights. 

To remember– When you look for shoes, keep in mind the size, durability, height and weight, the season, the material of the shoes and the fit of the shoes.

Water sandals are also a good option if you are kayaking for leisure. You can even opt for water booties. Kayak water shoes are the best for any form of kayaking. They are comfortable, durable, and can be worn casually as well.

If you are thinking about what shoes to wear for kayaking in summer, go for low cut water shoes or kayaking shoes. You can even wear ankle-height shoes that are comfortable. Find out a thin layered neoprene shoe along with breathability. This will help you sustain summer heat.

What to wear for sea kayaking? 

Sea kayaking is another level of adventure. Sea kayaking can have a lot of trails and twists of waters. Hence you need to keep up with the waves. To all the kayaking enthusiasts, here are some suggestions on clothes and other stuff you would want to wear while kayaking in the sea. 

Put on the water helmets or the caps and sunglasses to help you see through the glares of water.

Choose those tops that are synthetic and quick to dry and grab on a jacket that is Ultraviolet Protection Factor or Sun Protection Factor (SPF/UPF rated). These jackets help you from direct sun rays and rashes.

Go along with those comfy shoes, ankle cut kayaking shoes are best for every adventure. Make sure they have perfect grip.

Just to add on– apply sunscreen on your skin or carry it along with you. Protect your skin from the UV rays. Keep a water bottle as well to retain the hydration levels of your body. Never forget to bring another set of clothes and shoes.

What to wear under a dry-suit for kayaking?

As we have seen above, while going for kayaking you have dress in layers. Dry suits act as waterproof shield to your clothes. But you need to wear clothes under it.

So the task of dry suit is to protect your clothes.

Once your clothes remain dry, you remain dry and warm. Dry suits are best option to wear during cold weathers.  The more layers you put on inside the warmer you would feel.

What to wear kayaking under a dry-suit?

Here is the list of clothes you can wear under a dry suit

  1. A synthetic top (anything but not cotton)
  2. Clothes made of polypropylene.
  3.  Pile fleece clothes could also do.
  4. Woolen clothes would be good if weather conditions are extremely cold.
  5. A rash guard above your synthetic top.

Drysuits come in a variety. Check their comfort and durability along with the thickness of Neoprene as per the weather. Too thick dry suits could be uncomfortable for paddling during summer or in certain regions. Get the perfect thickness dry suit for yourself. You can always consult the storekeeper regarding the thickness. 

Generally, drysuits come along ankle height gaskets. You can even go for waterproof socks and water boots. Don’t forget to wear your helmet on and PFD on your dry suits for more protection.

When to wear a wet-suit for kayaking?

Wet suits are as per the name, wet! They retain water in them and don’t let it flow inside your body. Wet suit retains a little amount of water and heats it as per your body temperature.

It usually keeps you warm rather than dry. It is made up of waterproof, closed-cell, foam-rubber (neoprene) which insulates even when wet.

While buying a wet suit keep in mind the thickness of the neoprene and the snugness of the wet suit. Don’t buy too tight-fitting or too loose fitting wet suits. Tight fitters will give you rashes and loose fitters would let in the water.

Also Read: Buyer’s Guide For The Best Surfing Helmets

Generally, they come in long sleeves style as well as short/ sleeveless style. If you are wearing full sleeves wet suit, you generally can avoid wearing layers below it. You can just wear the basics inside or a swimsuit if needed.

If you are wearing short/ sleeveless wetsuit, then go for synthetic underpants and a rash guard to protect you from the sun. When in cold conditions, you can just put on your paddling jacket over it. Always remember wet suits won’t make you dry but would keep you warmer. 

What to wear kayaking in summer?

What to wear kayaking in summer

Summer brings in warm greetings and vacation time. Now you are about to either learn kayaking or spend your most vacation in kayaking, here is the question you would have what to wear for kayaking in warm weather? 

Here is a concept of UPF rated clothes which are specially designed to wear in hot summer. These clothes protect you from UV rays. Your clothes stores may have these as well. You can protect your skin and if you have allergies or the tendency of getting rashes, we highly recommend you buy UPF rated clothes.

As a basic, you can opt for a swimsuit or sports bra for ladies (non-cotton) and underwear for gents (synthetic). You can wear short sleeve tops as well.

This will keep you cool during hot flushes. If you are kayaking in hot air but the water temperature is cool, then opt for sleeveless wetsuit.

Always remember to put on a sunscreen and paddling gloves which provide protection against burning and blisters. 

Always choose lightweight dress and non-cotton and non-wool cloths in summer. You can choose ankle fit or low cut water shoes/boots along with light fabric socks. Be prepared and your kayaking experience would be awesome.

What to wear kayaking in the fall?

What to wear kayaking in fall

What’s a beautiful season for kayaking? It is the cool weather that we always love and the fall is the most beautiful one. We can get the most enriching experience of kayaking in the fall season. So, what to wear for kayaking in cool weather?

Well, a Beanie or slouchy beanie cannot just look good while you go out but it can be very useful while kayaking…keeping you warm. 

Basics-The The cool breeze cannot stop you if you wear woolen or a thermal top. You can even opt in for simple synthetic top or waterproof fabric to avoid wetting. If it’s not too cold, you can go for swim suits as well.

Second layer– Opt in for Rash guards and paddling jacket to warm you up. Try to avoid short sleeve or sleeveless wet suit. 

Third layer- Dry suit with proper layered dressing is perfect for winter and fall. Consider a thick dry suit and then the PFD.

So what more do you need? Maybe pogies (gloves), full length pants (non-cotton), thick and warm socks, and knee high shoes, winter gel, use a spray skirt in your kayak, and body lotions. Don’t forget a set of warm clothes with you. 

Some of you might ponder over what to wear for kayaking in winter? You can style yourself this way even in winters. In extremely cold weather take more precautions. Now you get whole points of what to wear kayaking. Go comfy, go kayaking! 

What to wear kayaking in spring?

What to wear for kayaking in spring

Well, it starts getting warmer as the spring sets in. But there could be a possibility that the water below is still chilled and cool. Spring is always a difficult season to understand.

Considering the water below, get a dry suit but not a thick one. Dress in layers; again don’t use much thick inners.

This will keep balanced body temperature. You can use a spray skirt for your kayak so that the water doesn’t enter your kayak and you are throughout dry.

Read More: How to transport a kayak without a rack

Don’t forget the sunscreen and sunglasses to avoid sun glares. Get a breathable set of shoes and socks. Now you almost get the whole information regarding What to wear kayaking.

Considering the weather around you and the temperature of the water, go for proper clothing. Don’t make decisions in haste. Haste makes waste and we don’t want to waste our kayaking experience.


Personally, kayaking is my favourite sport and I do take care of my clothing. Here I have tried to provide you with certain tips and steps on what to wear kayaking.

I hope you have got all the answers regarding what to wear Kayaking? I have even done my best to suggest you what clothing would be perfect for which seasons.

Be it be summer or winter, kayaking lovers would always visit that beach nearby or the lake just behind the house. The mantra is go comfy, go kayaking. Do take necessary precautions and reach out to me if you have any doubts. Stay tuned for more updates.

Hi, I'm Bhavesh Bhati thanks for visiting my blog! I've been traveling and exploring epic locations around the world for the last four years. I'm always looking for real adventures like treks, waterfalls, and Offroading!

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