What to Wear for Kayaking as a Woman or a Man

What to Wear for Kayaking Women and Men – For All Seasons

Spread the love

If you love kayaking, you know how important it is to wear the right clothing for the occasion. Kayaking can be a thrilling and relaxing way to explore nature, but it can also expose you to various elements, such as water, wind, sun, and cold. That’s why you need to dress appropriately for kayaking, depending on your gender, the season, and the type of kayaking you do.

In this article, I will give you some practical and helpful tips on what to wear for kayaking as a woman or a man. I will also cover what to wear for kayaking in different seasons, from spring to winter, and for different kinds of kayaking, from recreational to whitewater. And if you are a big guy who loves paddling, I will also share some advice on what to wear for kayaking that suits your size and shape.

By reading this article, you will learn how to choose the best clothing and accessories for kayaking that will keep you comfortable, safe, and happy on the water. So, let’s dive in and discover what to wear for kayaking!

Related Article: Best Kayaks for Women and Plus Size Women

HOW TO DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR KAYAKING

HOW TO DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR KAYAKING
HOW TO DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR KAYAKING

To dress appropriately for kayaking, you should follow these tips:

  • AVOID CHAFING WHILE KAYAKING
  • Wear layers of quick-drying fabrics
  • WATER TEMPERATURE OVER AIR TEMPERATURE
  • Protect yourself from the sun with UPF clothing, hats, and sunscreen
  • Wear a life jacket and a wetsuit or dry suit if the water is cold

1. AVOID CHAFING WHILE KAYAKING

Skin irritation, known as chafing, is typically a result of friction from clothing or saltwater.

  • Wear neoprene or synthetic fabrics to prevent chafing, avoid cotton, and apply lubricants or topical solutions to ease friction.
  • If chafing occurs, clean the area with mild soap and water, apply petroleum jelly or soothing lotion, and leave it uncovered to heal.

2. Wearing layers of quick-drying fabrics 

Wearing layers of quick-drying fabrics is a smart choice for outdoor enthusiasts who want to stay comfortable and dry in any weather. Quick-drying fabrics are made of synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, or spandex, which wick moisture away from your skin and evaporate quickly.

Unlike natural fibers such as cotton or wool, which absorb and retain water, quick-drying fabrics keep you cool in the heat and warm in the cold. They also prevent chafing, odor, and bacteria growth, making them ideal for hiking, running, or traveling.

3. WATER TEMPERATURE OVER AIR TEMPERATURE

Water temperature and air temperature are not always the same. Sometimes, water can be warmer or colder than the air around it. This can affect how we feel when we swim, fish, or boat in the water. For example, if the water is colder than the air, we might feel a chill when we enter the water.

WATER TEMPERATURE OVER AIR TEMPERATURE
WATER TEMPERATURE OVER AIR TEMPERATURE

If the water is warmer than the air, we might feel a pleasant warmth when we dive in. Water temperature can also influence the weather, wildlife, and environment. Therefore, it is important to know the relationship between water and air temperatures and how they change over time and space.

4. Protect yourself from the sun with UPF clothing, hats, and sunscreen

The sun is a wonderful source of warmth and light, but it can also be a dangerous enemy to your skin. Too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer.

That’s why it’s important to protect yourself from the sun with UPF clothing, hats, and sunscreen. UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor, and it indicates how much of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through the fabric. The higher the UPF rating, the better the protection. UPF clothing is specially designed to block or absorb UV rays while also being comfortable and stylish.

A hat can shield your face, ears, and neck from the sun, and sunscreen can provide extra protection for any exposed skin. By wearing UPF clothing, a hat, and sunscreen, you can enjoy the outdoors without worrying about the sun’s harmful effects on your skin. You can feel confident, healthy, and happy in the sun.

5. Wear a life jacket and a wetsuit or dry suit if the water is cold

Water sports are thrilling and exhilarating, but they also require safety precautions. One of the most important things to do is to wear a life jacket and a wetsuit or dry suit if the water is cold. A life jacket can save your life if you fall into the water, lose consciousness, or get injured.

A wetsuit or dry suit can protect you from hypothermia, which can impair your judgment and coordination. Wearing these items can make your water sports experience more enjoyable and comfortable, as well as safer.

GENERAL KAYAKING WARDROBE ITEMS

GENERAL KAYAKING WARDROBE ITEMS
GENERAL KAYAKING WARDROBE ITEMS

Here are some of the clothing items that you may need to wear for kayaking, depending on the weather and water conditions:

  • Rashguards: These are tops made of synthetic fabrics that are quick-drying, stretchy, and offer sun protection. They can be long-sleeved or short-sleeved, and they fit snugly to prevent chafing and layering issues.
  • Boardshorts/swimsuits: These are suitable for warm days when you don’t mind getting wet. They are usually made of nylon or polyester, which dry quickly and resist fading.
  • Waterproof pants: These are pants that are designed to keep you dry and warm in cold or wet conditions. They are usually made of breathable fabrics that have a water-repellent coating or a waterproof membrane.
  • Waterproof jackets: These are jackets that are similar to waterproof pants but for your upper body. They can have features like neoprene cuffs, hoods, pockets, and vents to enhance your comfort and performance.
  • Kayak life vest: we don’t need to explain the importance of PFDs
  • Kayak shoes: These are shoes that are specially made for kayaking and other water sports. They can be either neoprene boots that provide warmth and insulation or open sandals that allow ventilation and drainage.
  • Hat or helmet: These accessories protect your head from the sun, wind, or impact. A hat can also shield your eyes from glare, while a helmet can prevent head injuries in rough waters on rocky shores.
  • Gloves: These are gloves that protect your hands from blisters, cold, or sunburn. They can also improve your grip on the paddle and reduce fatigue.
  • Wetsuits And Drysuits

What to wear for kayaking in all four seasons

Depending on the season and the climate, you have to adjust your clothing choices for kayaking. You should have different outfits for different situations, whether it’s hot or cold.

Note: Keep in mind that these suggestions are for typical seasons in North America and the northern hemisphere. You may need to modify them depending on where you live.

1. What to wear when kayaking in the summer season:

What to wear kayaking in the summer season
What to wear kayaking in the summer season

Recreational kayaking comes into its own during the hot and steamy summer months. It is a fun and refreshing way to explore the water, enjoy the scenery, and get some exercise. But what should you wear when you go kayaking in the summer? How can you stay comfortable, cool, and protected from the sun and water? In this guide, we will give you some tips and suggestions on what to wear kayaking in summer, based on the type of water, the weather, and your preference.

What to wear in Summer to kayak?

MenWomen
Swim shorts or board shorts with UPF protectionSwimsuit or sport-style swim shorts with UPF protection
Rashguard or water shirt with long sleeves and UPF protectionRashguard or water shirt with long sleeves and UPF protection
Water shoes or sandals with good grip and drainageWater shoes or sandals with good grip and drainage
Sun hat with a wide brim and chin strapSun hat with a wide brim and chin strap
Sunglasses with polarized lenses and strapsSunglasses with polarized lenses and straps
Personal flotation device (PFD) that fits well and has pocketsPersonal flotation device (PFD) that fits well and has pockets

2. What to Wear for kayaking in the Winter season

What to wear for kayaking in Winter
What to wear for kayaking in Winter

Kayaking in winter can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it also requires careful preparation and proper clothing.

The water temperature can be freezing, and the wind chill can make it even colder. Hypothermia is a real risk for paddlers who are not adequately dressed for the conditions. Therefore, it is essential to know what to wear when kayaking in the winter to stay warm, dry, and safe. We will provide some tips and recommendations for choosing the right kayaking clothing for winter.

What to wear in winter to kayak?

MenWomen
Headwear & Helmet: A helmet is mandatory for safety, and a neoprene skull cap or hood can provide extra warmth and comfort under the helmet.Headwear & Helmet: Same as men, plus a headband or ear warmer to protect the ears from the cold wind.
Drysuit: A drysuit is the best option for kayaking in winter, as it prevents water from reaching your skin and allows you to wear insulating layers underneath. A dry suit should have latex seals at the wrists, ankles, and neck and a waterproof zipper.Drysuit: Same as men, but choose a dry suit that fits your body shape and size. A dry suit should not be too tight or too loose, as it can affect your mobility and comfort.
Thermal Layers: Under the drysuit, you should wear thermal layers made of synthetic or wool fabrics that wick moisture and retain heat. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs water and stays wet. You can wear a thermal top and bottom or a one-piece fleece suit.Thermal Layers: Same as men, but you may need more layers depending on your personal preference and tolerance to cold. You can also wear a sports bra and underwear made of non-cotton materials.
Footwear: Your feet are likely to get wet while kayaking, so you need footwear that can keep them warm and protected. You can wear neoprene boots or socks, or waterproof shoes with wool socks. Make sure your footwear fits well and does not restrict your blood circulation.Footwear: Same as men, but you may want to choose footwear that matches your drysuit color or style. You can also wear toe warmers or heated insoles for extra warmth.
Gloves: Your hands are also exposed to cold water and wind while paddling, so you need gloves that can keep them warm and functional. You can wear neoprene gloves or mittens, or waterproof gloves with liners. Make sure your gloves allow you to grip the paddle securely and comfortably.Gloves: Same as men, but you may want to choose gloves that have touchscreen compatibility or a fingerless design for convenience. You can also wear hand warmers or heated gloves for extra warmth.

3. What to Wear for kayaking in the Fall season

What to wear for kayaking in fall season
What to wear for kayaking in fall season

Fall is a tricky season to dress for as the weather changes. You need to be prepared for cold and wet conditions while also being comfortable and flexible while paddling. Here are some general guidelines on how to dress for kayaking in the fall:

  1. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. This means you should wear a wetsuit or a dry suit if the water is cold, even if the air is warm. You want to avoid hypothermia and cold shock in case you fall into the water.
  2. Dress in layers. You can add or remove layers depending on the temperature and your activity level. Start with a base layer of synthetic or wool fabric that wicks moisture and dries quickly. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs water and stays wet. Then add a midlayer of fleece or wool for insulation and an outer layer of waterproof or water-resistant material for protection from wind and rain.
  3. Dress for sun protection. You can still get a sunburn from the UV rays reflected by the water even if it is cloudy. Wear clothing with UPF-rated fabrics, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  4. Wear closed-toe shoes. You want to protect your feet from rocks, debris, and cold water. Choose shoes that are comfortable, quick-drying, and have good grip.

What to wear for kayaking in the fall for men and women:

MenWomen
Wetsuit or dry suitWetsuit or dry suit
Rashguard or synthetic base layerRashguard or synthetic base layer
Fleece or wool mid-layerFleece or wool mid-layer
Waterproof or water-resistant outer layerWaterproof or water-resistant outer layer
Closed-toe shoesClosed-toe shoes
Hat, sunglasses, sunscreenHat, sunglasses, sunscreen

4. What to Wear for kayaking in the Spring season

What to wear for kayaking in spring for men and women
What to wear for kayaking in spring for men and women

Spring is possibly the most difficult season to dress for kayaking. The weather can be unpredictable, and the water temperature can be much colder than the air temperature. You need to be prepared for both rain and sun and for getting wet and staying warm.

Here are some general guidelines on what to wear for kayaking in the spring:

  1. Wear layers that you can adjust as the weather changes. Avoid cotton and choose quick-drying fabrics like nylon, polyester, or wool.
  2. Protect yourself from the sun with long sleeves, a hat, and sunscreen. Look for clothing with UPF-rated fabrics to block UV rays.
  3. Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) and never take it off while on the water. If you need to change your top layers, find a place to take them out or raft up with a kayak buddy.
  4. Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. That might mean wearing a wetsuit or a dry suit, depending on how cold the water is.
  5. Wear shoes that won’t slip or hold water, such as water shoes, sandals, or neoprene booties. Avoid flip-flops or bare feet.
  6. Consider wearing gloves to protect your hands from blisters and colds.

What to wear for kayaking in spring for men and women:

MenWomen
Rashguard or wicking base layerRashguard or wicking base layer
Paddle top or waterproof jacketPaddle top or waterproof jacket
Wetsuit or dry suit (optional)Wetsuit or dry suit (optional)
Board shorts or quick-dry pantsBoard shorts or quick-dry pants
Water shoes or neoprene bootiesWater shoes or neoprene booties
Hats and sunglassesHats and sunglasses
Gloves (optional)Gloves (optional)

WHAT TO WEAR FOR NIGHTTIME KAYAKIN

What to wear for kayaking in fall season
What to wear for kayaking in fall season

Nighttime kayaking can be a thrilling and magical experience, but it also comes with some challenges and risks. You need to dress appropriately for the weather, the water temperature, and the visibility.

Here are some things to consider when choosing your outfit for a night paddle.

  1. Layer up. The temperature can drop significantly at night, so you need to wear layers of clothing that can keep you warm and dry. A base layer of synthetic or wool material, a mid-layer of fleece or wool, and an outer layer of waterproof and breathable material are recommended. Avoid cotton, as it can make you colder if it gets wet.
  2. Wear bright colors. You want to be visible to other boaters and paddlers at night, so choose clothing that has bright or reflective colors. You can also wear a reflective vest or tape on your jacket or PFD. Avoid dark colors that can blend in with the water or the sky.
  3. Protect your head and hands. Your head and hands are the most exposed parts of your body when kayaking, so you need to keep them warm and protected. A hat, a hood, or a balaclava can help you retain heat and prevent hypothermia. Gloves or pogies can protect your hands from colds and blisters.
  4. Nighttime paddling also requires lights for safety purposes. Consider getting a head torch or a handheld flashlight that can show a white light in all directions. This will help you see where you are going and avoid collisions with other vessels.

Here is a table that summarizes what to wear for nighttime kayaking:

MenWomen
Synthetic or wool base layerSynthetic or wool base layer
Fleece or wool mid-layerFleece or wool mid-layer
Waterproof and breathable outer layerWaterproof and breathable outer layer
Bright or reflective clothingBright or reflective clothing
Reflective vest or tapeReflective vest or tape
Hat, hood, or balaclavaHat, hood, or balaclava
Gloves or pogiesGloves or pogies
Head torch or flashlightHead torch or flashlight

Wetsuits VS Drysuits for Kayaking

Both wetsuits and dry suits are often used for kayaking. The water temperature you are paddling in determines which one to choose. Wetsuits and drysuits have different designs and functions that affect your comfort and safety on the water.

Wetsuits are made of neoprene, a material that traps a thin layer of water next to your skin and keeps it warm. Wetsuits are snug-fitting and flexible, allowing you to move and paddle easily. They are suitable for waters between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drysuits are made of waterproof and breathable fabrics, such as Gore-Tex, that keep you completely dry inside. Drysuits are loose-fitting and durable, providing better protection from the elements. They require wearing layers of insulation underneath to keep you warm. They are suitable for waters below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, when do you wear a wetsuit, and at what point do you level up to a drysuit? Here is a table that compares the main features of wetsuits and drysuits for kayaking:

SuitWhen to useProsCons
WetsuitWater between 45 and 70°F-Comfortable and flexible
-Cheaper and easier to maintain
-Better for long-term immersion
-Wet and cold when not in water
-Less protection from wind and rain
-Snug fit may restrict blood flow
DrysuitWaters below 45°F-Dry and warm when not in water
-More protection from wind and rain
-Loose fit allows better circulation
-Less comfortable and flexible-
More expensive and harder to maintain
-Worse for long-term immersion

HOW TO LAYER WITH A WETSUIT OR DRYSUIT

HOW TO LAYER WITH A WETSUIT OR DRYSUIT
HOW TO LAYER WITH A WETSUIT OR DRYSUIT

To keep yourself warm while kayaking, you need to wear layers of clothing. You can choose between a wetsuit or a dry suit, but both can be improved by adding more layers.

A wetsuit is not very flexible for layering. You can only wear a lycra rash guard under the neoprene. This will give you some extra warmth, but not much. If you want to be warmer in a wetsuit, you might want to switch to a dry suit instead.

A dry suit is the best option for layering in cold weather. A dry suit by itself is not enough; you need to wear something under it. The best layers to wear are

  1. Thermal base layers (long sleeve top and long pants) 
  2. Jogging pants or yoga pants
  3.  Fleece sweaters 
  4. Quick-drying tops
  5. Waterproof socks

Besides these layers, you can also wear a life jacket and a waterproof jacket over your suit. These will help you stay safe and shield you from the wind and spray, especially when kayaking in whitewater or rough conditions.

While kayaking, you must wear a life jacket.

Whether you are kayaking in cold or warm water, choosing the right layers to wear under your wetsuit or drysuit is essential for your comfort and safety.

While kayaking you must wear a life jacket
While kayaking, you must wear a life jacket

Wetsuits are made of neoprene and fit snugly on your body, trapping a thin layer of water that warms up from your body heat. They provide insulation and buoyancy but also allow some water to enter and exit.

Drysuits are made of waterproof materials and have seals around the neck, wrists, and ankles, keeping you completely dry inside. They require an insulating layer underneath, such as fleece or cotton, to keep you warm. Both types of suits protect you from hypothermia, chafing, sunburn, and abrasion.

  • Ergonomic design: You want a suit that allows you to move your arms freely and comfortably while paddling without restricting your range of motion or causing discomfort.
  • Breathable materials: You don’t want to overheat or sweat too much in your suit, especially in warm weather. Look for fabrics that wick away moisture and allow air circulation.
  • Lightweight: A heavy suit can make you feel tired and sluggish in the water. Look for materials that are durable but not bulky, and avoid unnecessary zippers, fasteners, and hardware that can add weight.
  • Buoyant: A suit that helps you float can save your energy and make it easier to swim or get back in your kayak if you capsize. Most wetsuits and drysuits are naturally buoyant, but you can also look for features like air pockets or inflatable valves that enhance flotation.

What to Wear for Kayaking Plus Size Paddlers

What to Wear for Kayaking Plus Size Paddlers
What to Wear for Kayaking Plus Size Paddlers

People of all shapes and sizes can enjoy kayaking because it is a fun and adventurous activity. However, finding the right clothing for kayaking can be challenging for plus-size paddlers, especially if they want to stay comfortable and safe on the water. We will give you some tips on what to wear for kayaking as a plus-size paddler, whether you are a woman or a man.

AspectPlus-Size MenPlus-Size Women
FitChoose well-fitting clothing to avoid movement restrictions, chafing, or entanglement.Emphasize fit, comfort, and functionality, especially for the chest and lower body.
FabricOpt for stretchy, breathable, and quick-drying materials like synthetic fabrics or wool.Prefer similar materials, and consider support and coverage.
LayeringAdapt clothing to weather and water conditions. Consider wetsuits or dry suits for cold conditions and rash guards or sunshirts for warm conditions.Layering is essential for both men and women to adjust to different conditions.
Additional ProtectionWear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection.Include sun protection measures like hats and sunscreen.
Stylish ConsiderationsFocus on functionality, but add style with skirts or dresses. Ensure that skirts or dresses do not hinder paddling.Balance style with practicality; skirts or dresses can enhance the outfit if not too long or loose.

Overall, kayaking is a great way to enjoy nature and have fun with friends and family. As a plus-size paddler, you don’t have to let your size stop you from joining the adventure. With the right clothing choices, you can kayak with confidence and comfort.

CLOTHING TO AVOID FOR KAYAKING

  • Cotton clothing: Cotton absorbs water and takes a long time to dry, which can make you feel cold and uncomfortable.
  • Denim clothing: Denim is heavy and stiff, which can limit your mobility and cause chafing.
  • Leather clothing: Leather is not breathable and is susceptible to salt and water damage.
  • Jewelry and accessories: Jewelry and accessories can get lost, snagged, or tangled in your kayak or paddle.
  • Stay away from clothing that has metal parts that can corrode. Water and weather can damage zippers, buckles, fasteners, and other metal items on your clothes. Look for clothing that has metals that resist corrosion, such as a rain jacket or a life jacket, to make them last longer.
  • Skip the yoga pants. They may feel cozy, but they are not made for kayaking, and they can cause friction on your skin. You may also wear them out by sitting on them too much in your kayak.
  • Flip-flops or sandals: Flip-flops or sandals can slip off your feet or get stuck in your kayak. They also do not protect your feet from rocks, shells, or debris.

FAQs

What should I wear the first time kayaking?

Kayaking is a fun and exciting activity for beginners. You can enjoy the water and the scenery with just some waterproof clothing. If you don’t have your own kayak, you can rent one or join a tour. They will give you everything you need, like drysuits or wetsuits, to keep you warm and comfortable. The best part of kayaking is that you can get wet and have a splash. Just make sure you dress for the water temperatures and have a great time.

What should women wear when kayaking?

Women’s kayaking clothing is versatile and adaptable, as it can be used for women’s paddle boarding as well as for men’s kayaking. Depending on the air and water temperatures, you can choose between a dry suit or a wetsuit to suit your needs.

For cold weather kayaking, women can enjoy the warmth and coziness of wearing multiple layers of clothing under a dry suit. Fleece lining base layers are the best choice and will make you feel snug and comfortable.

Do you get wet kayaking?

Kayaking is a fun and exciting activity that lets you enjoy the water. You are close to nature, and some kayaks even let you feel the water around you. Unlike stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking gives you the thrill of getting wet while paddling.

What footwear do you wear for kayaking? / Can you kayak barefoot?

If you love kayaking, you will enjoy wearing neoprene booties or water shoes. They keep your feet cozy and safe from the cold water. You can paddle for hours without feeling chilly.

Sneakers are fine for kayaking, but they might not be the best choice. They can get soggy and heavy with water. You don’t want to be distracted by your shoes when you are having fun on the water.

Going barefoot is another option for kayaking in warm weather and water. This is a great way to feel the sun and the sea on your skin. You can relax and enjoy the beauty of nature on a peaceful beach kayaking trip.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *