Kayaking is a fun and exciting way to explore the great outdoors, but it’s important to know what to wear for kayaking. Whether you’re going on a leisurely paddle or tackling some rough whitewater, the right clothing and gear can make all the difference in your kayaking experience. In this guide, we’ll go over the types of kayaking, what to wear for kayaking, and some tips for staying comfortable and safe on the water.
Types of Kayaking
There are a few different types of kayaking, each with its own set of gear and clothing requirements. It’s important to know the type of kayaking you’ll be doing and the conditions you’ll be kayaking in, as this will determine what type of clothing and gear you’ll need.
Recreational kayaking typically involves a casual paddle on a calm lake or river. For this type of kayaking, you’ll need moisture-wicking, quick-drying clothing that will keep you warm and dry on the water.
Look for clothes made of synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon, as these fabrics will wick moisture away from your skin and dry quickly. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry. Y
ou can also wear clothes that are specifically designed for water sports, such as kayaking, as they will provide extra features like UV protection, ventilation, and durability.
Whitewater kayaking involves tackling rapids and rough water. For whitewater kayaking, you’ll need a wetsuit or drysuit to keep you warm and protected in case of a capsize. Wetsuits are made of neoprene and provide insulation by trapping a thin layer of water against your skin, which your body heats up.
Drysuits, on the other hand, are completely waterproof and breathable, they keep you dry but can be quite expensive. You can also consider wearing a paddling jacket or pants, which are made of waterproof and breathable fabrics, they will provide extra protection against wind and water.
Touring kayaking involves taking a multi-day trip, often with camping gear. For touring kayaking, you’ll need a variety of clothing and gear to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable throughout the trip.
In addition to the clothing and gear listed above for recreational and whitewater kayaking, you’ll also need clothing and gear for camping, such as a sleeping bag, a tent, and a camping stove.
Make sure to check the forecasted temperature, weather conditions, and the duration of your trip to ensure you have the right gear.
What to Wear for Kayaking
When it comes to clothing, layering is key. Layering allows you to easily add or remove layers as the temperature and weather conditions change.
The base layer is the layer closest to your skin. It’s purpose is to wick moisture away from your skin and keep you dry. Look for clothes made of synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon, as these fabrics will wick moisture away from your skin and dry quickly.
The mid-layer is the insulation layer. It’s purpose is to keep you warm. Look for clothes made of fleece or synthetic insulation materials.
The outer layer is the layer that protects you from the wind and water. Look for clothes made of waterproof and breathable fabrics, such as Gore-Tex or similar.
Wetsuit or Drysuit (for whitewater or cold water kayaking)
A wetsuit or drysuit can provide additional insulation and protection in cold water. Wetsuits are made of neoprene and provide insulation by trapping a thin layer of water against your skin, which your body heats up.
Drysuits, on the other hand, are completely waterproof and breathable, they keep you dry but can be quite expensive. It’s important to choose the right size and fit for your wetsuit or drysuit to ensure maximum comfort and flexibility on the water.
Proper footwear is also essential for kayaking. You’ll want to wear waterproof, closed-toe shoes or boots that will provide traction and support on the kayak. Look for shoes or boots that have good grip and a snug fit, and consider neoprene water shoes or kayaking boots for added warmth and protection. Kayaking specific footwear can provide features such as reinforced toes and heels, and improved grip on the boat’s surface.
In addition to clothing and footwear, don’t forget about sun protection. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen will help protect you from the sun’s rays and prevent sunburn. Other accessories that can be handy include a waterproof camera, a water bottle, and a personal flotation device. It’s also a good idea to bring a first aid kit and a means of communication such as a mobile phone or a VHF radio.
Can I wear regular clothes while kayaking?
While you can wear regular clothes while kayaking, it’s not recommended. Kayaking clothing and gear are specifically designed to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable on the water
Is it necessary to wear a wetsuit or drysuit for kayaking?
It depends on the type of kayaking you’ll be doing and the water temperature. For recreational kayaking on calm water, a wetsuit or drysuit may not be necessary. However, for whitewater kayaking or in cold water conditions, a wetsuit or drysuit is highly recommended for added warmth and protection.
Can I wear sandals while kayaking?
It’s not recommended to wear sandals while kayaking as they do not provide enough protection or support for your feet. Closed-toe shoes or boots are the best option for kayaking.
Now that you know what to wear for kayaking, you’ll be able to tackle any type of kayaking and make the most of your time on the water. Happy paddling!
Note: Always check the weather forecast and water temperature before heading out for kayaking. This will help you to decide what to wear for kayaking and also be aware of any potential risks.
For more information, check out these useful resources:
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Water Temperature
- Outdoor Research – How to Layer for Cold Weather
- REI – How to Choose Kayaking Footwear
- American Canoe Association – Personal Flotation Devices
As always, be sure to follow the guidelines and recommendations of local authorities, and make sure you’re aware of the risks and hazards of the activity you’re undertaking.