Kayak OOTD: What To Wear Kayaking

By Last Updated: January 6th, 2023Categories: Kayak

Kayaking is a great activity you can do if you want to discover the great outdoors. And just like any outdoor activity, you also need to make sure that you have the proper attire.

Having the right outfit and kayaking will ensure your comfort and safety. So if you have plans to go on a kayaking trip but know what essential things to wear, don’t worry. Here is a guide that will help you choose what to wear kayaking, check it out!

Important Things to Remember

We all have different tastes in clothing but in kayaking, there are certain things that you should remember. These things will help be safe during your adventure and ensure your ultimate comfort.

Here are some important things you should remember.

Safety First

Kayaking is indeed enjoyable, but you should remember that it can be dangerous too. The water and weather are unpredictable and what you wear can help you be safe in unforeseen circumstances.

Aside from that, you also need to secure flotation devices and other safety gears that are made for kayaking. This will provide maximum safety and comfort.

Kayak Safety Gears

I know that wearing safety gear may not look good fashion-wise. But would you rather be fashionable or dead? Your choice.

Your Clothes should let you Move Freely

When choosing clothes for kayaking you should also remember your comfort. your clothes should not restrict your movement and they should protect you from cold or extreme heat.

Choose the ones that fit you perfectly, and see if you can move your arms and legs. Stretchable clothes are famous for kayaking enthusiasts, why not give them a try?

Wear Layers of Clothes

When it comes to outdoor activities, layering your clothes is a must. Thin layers allow you to get used to changing weather conditions and are best for insulation to keep you warm. And make sure that your clothes are loose enough to let you move freely.

Avoid Clothes Made Out of Cotton

Cotton clothes are a big no when it comes to water activities. It’s not lightweight and it absorbs water. Make sure to use wicking fabric next to your skin, such as quick-drying nylon or polyester.

Use Sun Protection

In kayaking, water is not the only thing you should expect, the sun is there too. It can be your pal or enemy.

Use Sun Protection

On your kayaking trip make sure to have enough sun protection. Apply sunscreen or wear a hat that can cover your head and face. You can also use hiking hats and fishing hats. These two will provide enough protection for your head and face.

Make sure to remember all those things when shopping for clothes on your kayak trip. And upon planning your trip make sure to do a weather check, this will help you know what type of clothes you should be wearing.

What to Wear Kayaking in Mild Conditions

If you’re kayaking in mild conditions, here are some tips on what you should wear, check it out.

What to Wear Kayaking in Mild Conditions

Top Clothing

For your upper wear, rashguards made of polyester or nylon blended with Lycra spandex are highly recommended. They are quick-drying, stretchy, and proven to protect the skin from UV rays.

Underwear and Bottoms

Your underwear should be the first layer of your kayaking outfit. And again, don’t use cotton-based undergarments. It should be made out of quick-to-dry fabric.

Mid-layer and Outer-layer Clothes

For the mid-layer, if you think the weather doesn’t require a wetsuit or dry suit, you can bring a fleece jacket instead.

For the outer layer, if you think it’s going to be windy or rainy, you may wear a waterproof jacket and rain pants. These are good because they have gaskets at the wrists and necks to ensure the water stays out.


When choosing footwear for kayaking, choose the ones that are lightweight. Paddling boots are recommended, they are lightweight and waterproof. Although any footwear will work, your feet will most likely catch gravel and get wet, it will be better if you have something that will cover them.

Hats and Gloves

Paddling for a long time will eventually cause blisters on your hand. A good way to avoid that is to wear gloves. But make sure that the gloves fit your hand and that you’re comfortable wearing them.

Hats will protect your head from heat. On your kayaking trip, use hats with wide brims, capes, or a cap leash. They are reliable and can secure your hat in windy conditions.

What to Wear Kayaking in Cool or Cold Water

I personally like to go kayaking when it’s cold. The cold water and wind just add a bit of a challenge. If your next kayaking trip will be cold and freezing, you may want to check out these clothing tips.

What to Wear Kayaking in Cool or Cold Water
  • Wetsuit – It is made with thick neoprene, and it insulates you by holding a thin layer of water next to your skin to keep you warm. If there’s hot air but cold water, a wetsuit is still needed. It will keep you warm while paddling but still comfortable for swimming.
  • Dry suit – These suits are completely waterproof, but not designed for warmth if used alone it should be worn with another layer of clothing. Drysuits keep all water out completely.

How to Wear a Dry Suit and a Wetsuit?

You can’t just wear one suit while kayaking in cold weather, you’ll freeze! You still need to add layers of clothes to stay warm and avoid becoming a popsicle.

How to Layer a Dry Suit?

If you decide to wear a dry suit you will need three layers of clothing.

On the base layer, you will need non-cotton long underwear or some suit liners to protect your skin from the fabric. After that, add a thick fleece layer. And that will be it! This will make your suit windproof and waterproof, it should be enough to keep you warm and protected.

How to Layer a Wetsuit?

A wetsuit has two types, a long sleeve, and a short sleeve. Here’s a guide on how you can properly layer them.

For a long sleeve wet suit, you will need to wear underwear as a base layer. Next, wear your wetsuit. Depending on how cold the weather is you may add another windproof layer.

For a short sleeve wetsuit, you will need a quick-dry top underneath your wetsuit to cover exposed areas of your arms. On the next layer, a light fleece jacket, a rain jacket or a paddling jacket is a must to protect yourself against wind chill if the weather becomes colder.

What to Wear Kayaking in Warm/Hot Weather

Most people like to go out on adventures when the sun is out and shining. But going out on hot days could be dangerous too. So here are some tips on what to wear when kayaking if the weather is hot.

What to Wear Kayaking in Cool or Cold Water

Top Clothing

Expect your trip to be hot, so you really have to wear a cooling shirt to get some air. Also, a rashguard can is recommended for this kind of condition too.

Bottom Wear

Swimming trunks and a pair of quick dry shorts will do if you’re kayaking during hot weather. It should be comfortable enough and at the same time provide protection.


You don’t want to hurt your feet while kayaking so shoes and socks are a must. You can also skip the socks if you want to.

Hats and Sunglasses

These are not just for looking cool, sunglasses and hats can help you protect yourself against the harmful rays of the sun or heat stroke during kayaking. Make sure to secure these two.

Additional Tips

Here are other tips you should know before kayaking.

  • Prepare your Equipment Ahead of Time – There’s an 80% chance that you will forget something when you’re going out. It will be better if you prepare everything ahead of time and put them in one place. It is also better to bring a laundry bag to secure your wet clothes after the trip.
  • Secure your Gadgets – Water and gadgets doest really work well together. But there are waterproof bags where you can put them.
  • Prepare a First Aid Kit – Knock on wood, but there might be a chance that you or your companion might get hurt during the trip. So you better be prepared by bringing a basic first aid kit.


Before having fun outdoors, it will be best if you prepare your things first, especially what you are going to wear. This will save you lots of time and you won’t stress a lot.


Follow these tips to help you prepare your body for a kayak trip.

  • Build endurance in shoulder and arm muscles.
  • Improve your balance so you have a more stable base.
  • Don’t forget your cardio.

These rules will make your trip worth it, efficient, and safe. So be sure to follow them.

  • You need to use the power of torso rotation for all your strokes.
  • You need to choose an appropriate paddling location.
  • You need to have a plan in case you capsize.