What to Wear for Kayaking: A Guide to Picking the Right Outfit

Kayaking is an exciting outdoor activity that involves navigating through water bodies using a small watercraft, such as a kayak. Although kayaking can be fun, it requires proper preparation to ensure a safe and comfortable experience. One crucial aspect of kayaking preparation is selecting the right outfit. This article will guide you on how to choose the appropriate attire for kayaking to ensure your safety, comfort, and protection from the elements.

Understanding the Importance of Proper Kayaking Attire

Kayaking attire is essential because it protects you from the elements, such as wind, sun, and water. Additionally, kayaking attire can help to prevent accidents or injuries by minimizing the risks of hypothermia, overheating, sunburns, or cuts from sharp objects.

Safety Considerations

Safety is the top priority when kayaking. As such, you should wear clothing that can help keep you safe while on the water. For instance, you should invest in a personal flotation device (PFD) or a life jacket. PFDs are available in different sizes and shapes, and you should select one that fits you properly and is US Coast Guard-approved.

Aside from the PFD, you should also consider wearing a wetsuit or drysuit, depending on the weather and water conditions. A wetsuit can provide insulation, warmth, and buoyancy in cold water, while a drysuit can keep you dry and warm in severe cold or wet conditions.

Comfort and Mobility

Aside from safety, your kayaking attire should prioritize comfort and mobility to enable you to paddle with ease and maintain your balance. You should wear clothes that are neither too tight nor too loose and provide enough room for movement. Additionally, opt for clothes that are lightweight, non-restrictive, and stretchable. Avoid wearing cotton clothes as they retain moisture and can make you feel cold and uncomfortable.

Weather and Water Conditions

The weather and water conditions will determine what to wear for kayaking. Therefore, it is advisable to check the weather forecast and water temperature before embarking on a kayaking trip. If the water temperature is cold, you should wear a wetsuit, drysuit, or waterproof layer. In contrast, in warm conditions, you may opt for quick-drying clothes or sportswear fabrics designed for moisture-wicking.

Layering for Different Weather Conditions

Layering is an effective way to regulate your body temperature and protect you from the elements. You can dress in multiple layers for kayaking to cater to various weather conditions.

Warm Weather Kayaking

If you plan to kayak in warm weather, you need to consider clothes that can wick away sweat and moisture. Lightweight and breathable clothes like rash guards, tank tops, or shorts are an excellent choice for kayaking in hot weather. Don’t forget to wear a hat or sunglasses to protect your eyes and head from the sun.

Cold Weather Kayaking

Cold weather kayaking requires proper insulation to keep you warm. You can wear a waterproof layer over a thermal base layer and mid-layer to keep you dry and warm in cold water. Avoid wearing cotton clothes that can dampen and lead to hypothermia. A hat, gloves, and a scarf can also help keep you warm.

Rainy or Windy Conditions

In rainy or windy weather, wear a waterproof or windproof layer to protect you from direct exposure to rain and wind. We suggest wearing a rain jacket, waterproof pants, and waterproof boots to keep you dry and warm in rainy conditions.

Choosing the Right Materials

Kayaking is an exciting and adventurous activity that requires proper gear and equipment to ensure a safe and comfortable experience. One of the essential aspects of kayaking gear is choosing the right materials for your clothing. The right materials can make a significant difference in your comfort level and overall enjoyment of the activity. Here are some materials to consider when choosing kayaking clothing:

Quick-Drying Fabrics

Quick-drying fabrics like polyester, nylon, or spandex are excellent choices for kayaking. These fabrics are not only lightweight and breathable, but they are also moisture-wicking, making them ideal for kayaking in hot and humid conditions. Quick-drying fabrics also dry quickly, reducing discomfort caused by wet clothes. Additionally, they are durable and can withstand the wear and tear of kayaking adventures.

When kayaking in hot and humid conditions, you want to wear clothing that will keep you cool and comfortable. Quick-drying fabrics are designed to do just that. They allow air to circulate, preventing sweat from building up and keeping you cool. They are also lightweight, so you won’t feel weighed down or restricted in your movements.

Insulating Materials

Kayaking in cold water conditions requires proper insulation to prevent hypothermia. Insulating materials such as neoprene, fleece, and wool are suitable for kayaking in cold water conditions. These materials provide warmth and insulation, helping to prevent hypothermia. They are also lightweight and breathable, which reduces bulkiness and improves mobility.

Neoprene is a popular choice for kayaking in cold water conditions. It is a synthetic rubber material that is waterproof and provides excellent insulation. It is also stretchy, allowing for a comfortable fit and ease of movement. Fleece and wool are also great options for insulation. They are soft, comfortable, and provide excellent warmth.

Breathable and Waterproof Options

Kayaking in wet conditions requires clothing that is both breathable and waterproof. Breathable and waterproof materials like Gore-Tex are perfect for kayaking in wet conditions. These materials are waterproof yet breathable, allowing sweat and moisture to escape while keeping you dry. Breathable and waterproof materials also prevent overheating and help maintain your body temperature.

Gore-Tex is a popular choice for kayaking in wet conditions. It is a breathable and waterproof material that is designed to keep you dry and comfortable. It is also lightweight and durable, making it ideal for kayaking adventures. Other breathable and waterproof materials to consider include eVent and H2No.

Overall, choosing the right materials for your kayaking clothing is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience. Consider the weather conditions and your personal preferences when selecting your clothing. With the right gear, you can enjoy the beauty of nature while staying comfortable and protected.

Essential Kayaking Clothing Items

Kayaking is a thrilling water sport that requires proper attire to ensure comfort, safety, and enjoyment. The right clothing can make all the difference in your kayaking experience. Here are some essential kayaking clothing items that you should consider:

Base Layers

Base layers are the first layer of clothing you wear when kayaking. They are designed to wick away moisture from your skin and keep you dry. They should be lightweight, breathable, and close-fitting to prevent chafing and irritation. Base layers should also be comfortable, non-restrictive, and able to stretch without losing their shape. You can wear a long-sleeved top and tights or shorts depending on the weather conditions. Some kayakers prefer to wear synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon, while others prefer natural fibers such as wool or silk.

Mid Layers

Mid-layers provide insulation and warmth to the body. They are designed to trap air and keep you warm while still maintaining breathability. Fleece jackets or wool sweaters are common mid-layers used for kayaking. They are lightweight, warm, and dry quickly. You can also wear a vest or a light jacket over your base layer for added warmth.

Outer Layers

The outer layer protects you from wind, rain, and cold water. Outer layers should be waterproof yet breathable, providing ample protection from the elements. Kayakers wear rain jackets, windbreakers, drysuits, or wetsuits for this purpose. A drysuit is ideal for kayaking in cold water as it provides full-body coverage and insulation. A wetsuit, on the other hand, is suitable for kayaking in warmer water as it provides insulation and protection from the sun’s rays.


Footwear is essential for kayaking as it provides traction and protection for your feet. Footwear should be comfortable, non-slip, and waterproof. Open-toed shoes or flip-flops are not suitable for kayaking as they can easily slip off your feet. Water shoes, neoprene boots, or wetsuit booties are the best options for kayaking footwear. They provide excellent traction and protection from rocks, shells, and other debris in the water.

Headwear and Accessories

Headwear and accessories help to protect some of the most vulnerable body parts, such as the head, eyes, and ears. A hat or a cap provides shade and protection from the sun’s rays, while sunglasses protect your eyes from the glare of the sun and wind. Earplugs can help prevent ear infections caused by exposure to cold water. Gloves are also a great accessory to consider as they provide protection and warmth for your hands.

By wearing the right kayaking clothing, you can enjoy your kayaking experience to the fullest. Remember to dress for the weather conditions and always prioritize safety and comfort.


Choosing the right kayaking attire is essential for your safety, comfort, and protection from the elements. You should wear clothes that are lightweight, breathable, and waterproof. Opt for quick-drying fabrics for hot weather and insulating materials for cold water. Layering is an effective way to regulate your body temperature. Don’t forget to wear a personal flotation device, a hat, sunglasses, and waterproof footwear to complete your kayaking outfit.

Katie Sophia

Hey there! I'm Katie Sophia - your go-to gal for all things style at WhatKatieWore.com. With a love for fashion and a knack for picking the perfect outfit, I'm here to make dressing for any event a breeze. I believe in looking fabulous without the fuss. Join me as we conquer the fashion world one outfit at a time!

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