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Kayak Clothing: What to Wear When You Go Exploring

Kayaking is a great outdoor activity where you can have an amazing experience. Like any other activity, the experience can sour if rules are not followed.

Everyone who has heard of kayaking and the entertainment it brings will want to explore the activity. But that depends first of all on whether you are a water lover.

If positive, then we can get you to the next most important thing to know about kayaking, which is clothing choices and overall dressing. Before you ever venture into kayaking, be sure to have the right clothing.

It would help if you were sure to have the right underwear, tops, middle layer, bottoms, out layer, footwear, accessories, and life jacket. Settle down while we get you through the details of the various levels of dressing.

Read on as we expose you to all you need to know concerning this topic.

What are the basics of kayaking?

The most common advice you will get from anyone concerning what to wear kayaking is “dress for the water, not for the weather”.

This is because, no matter the weather, some guidelines remain unchanged. But before we get into what to wear, let us study the basics that will guide us into what to choose for kayaking.


No one wants to go out there to get hurt or lose any property. The outing is top on the list for whatever reason is always safety.

So when going kayaking, you should make the dressing choice with safety in mind. Therefore, make provision for any lifesaving equipment such as a personal floatation device (PFD) or a lifejacket.

 However, if you find any of these uncomfortable, settle for a lifejacket specifically tailored for this purpose. The lifejacket might not look cool on you, but you will have to take it that way; you are dressing to be safe and not cool.

Freedom to move. 

Remember that you are going out to the water. Your dressing style should permit you to move every part of your body very freely.

Your dressing should not restrict your movement while you paddle and make other kayak gestures. 

Check the water temperature.

This is very essential. Some people are allergic to colds. It might be cold outside when you get dressed, but it might be so cold for your liking after encountering water.

Therefore, verify the water temperature to adjust your dressing before you head out. Ponder about putting on a dry suit or a wetsuit.

With these basics in mind, this leads us into the next section, where we discuss what you need to wear kayaking. 

What should you wear when you go kayaking?

We will treat what you need to wear from top to bottom and from underwear to outerwear for simplicity and better organization.

The top wears:

You will not enjoy kayaking and water running all over your face or the sun burning. Therefore, our top choice should be something that dries out fast and can protect us from ultraviolet rays.

Your choice for the top should also be tightfitting to prevent it from flying off while you kayak.

Middle wear:

 Keep in mind that you are going out to play in the water. If the water temperature is cold, put on something that keeps you warm even if you happen to capsize- a short-sleeve wetsuit will do the magic.

However, a synthetic mid-layer or fleece will be helpful if conditions don’t require you to put on a wet or dry suit.

Bottom wear:

 There are a lot of frequent movements done as you paddle; avoid pants that are too thin, like yoga pants. Go in for comfortable shorts and can easily get dry as well. 


Footwear is to be chosen knowing that you are going to a sand environment. Pick something lightweight with lace that will enable you to tighten them firmly.

Moreover, they should be quick to dry, water-resistant, and should be able to protect your feet. Did you hear us mention socks here?

No, we didn’t. so keep socks out of the scene.


Get some extra wear as a backup. Also, get a pair of glasses. The glasses should have provision to be attached to your kayak, and they should be light weight-they can easily sink to the bottom of the water if they fall off.


Anyone with hands that quickly develop blisters should not forget this item. The choice of your gloves should permit your fingers to move freely. They should be water-resistant and lightweight as well.

What to wear from in to out.

You have to dress ready for changing weather. Therefore, dressing in layers is a good idea; when the weather gets warm, you can adjust by taking off some dresses, and when it gets cold, you can easily add a layer of dresses. So what do you wear for:


Swimsuits are always preferred as first layers when going out for a short outing in warm conditions. The material should not be made of cotton, and try to choose something as active as possible.


The key here is to pick something that permits you to breathe well. If you suspect rains will fall, getting a good quality waterproof rain jacket will be helpful. Your outer clothing should have a neck fastening provision that helps keep water from your body.

One major piece of advice we will want to dish out here is; to get an extra pack of clothing before you step out. That is to say, what you have on your body, have also in your backup back.

The weather controls our style of dressing, not the other way round. While you may set out on a day that looks like warm weather, you may end up in very cold or mild weather conditions.


Cotton material should be avoided as much as possible for all forms of dressing, from top to bottom and from underwear to outerwear.

We have advised above that your choice of clothing should be water-resistant and quick to dry, but cotton doesn’t have any of these characteristics, so you should not pick cotton material for kayaking.

Heavy clothing, especially without a life jacket, will quickly take you to the bottom of the sea in the case of a capsize. You can try out other clothing that works for you but keep in mind that top on your list should be safety, and enjoying the activity comes second.