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What To Wear When Kayaking

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Do you change clothes often while kayaking? Not fun right? What you wear before getting on the boat that matters. And the tactics is the same even if it’s your first or hundredth voyage. Always prepare and dress for submersion. So choosing what to wear kayaking, begin with these tips:

  • Dress in layers
  • Dress for the water temperature
  • Wear sun protection.
  • Cotton retains water so avoid it
  • Wear comfortable clothes

So what can you wear for whitewater kayaking? Let’s find out.

Rivers that contain parts of whitewater are fed by heavy rain, snow melt, or a dam. What this means is, the water is normally cold. Also, you may get hypothermia from cold water. So wear something that’ll keep you dry always.

Dry Suits

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A dry suit provides waterproof protection. Get a one-piece suit with breathable, waterproof fabric, and rubber gaskets at the neck and wrists. Also, it should come with integrated socks, with a strong waterproof zipper regulates your temperature and keeps water out.

Dry Tops

Dry tops will help keep you warm and dry in cold water. They’re designed to be dry, and they have rubber gaskets at the wrists and neck too.


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When choosing footwear, it is crucial to pick something with a solid sole and excellent grip on slimy, wet river rocks.

Paddling Gloves

Paddling gloves help keep you warm as you paddle in cold climates. You can pick a Paddling Gloves that suits your needs as there are different thicknesses of paddling gloves on the market.

That’s for whitewater kayaking; let’s now talk about kayak fishing and different seasons or temperature.

Warm weather – summer

During summer, the sun’s rays can affect the skin (sunburn and wrinkling) and eyes (cataracts). Most fishing Kayakers can wear shorts, bathing suits, and short sleeve shirts to prevent the heat during these weather conditions.

While these look great, they aren’t the ideal clothing for kayak fishing. You can put on long pants and long sleeve dress sleeve shirts to minimize sun exposure.

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In addition to pants and shirts, you can get sunglasses, hats, buffs, and sun gloves. You can apply lip balm and sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Make sure you reapply these products periodically if you use them often.

For shoes, there are many designs of shoes for use in the water. They include Crocs, sandals, water shoes, or old sneakers.

Cool weather

As water and air temperatures cool off, you can add several layers of protection. At some temperature, you can switch from water shoes or sneakers to neoprene boots or waterproof socks. Having cool water trickling on your legs may not feel comfortable as it does during summer.

So you can switch to lightweight dry suits to keep your legs, butts, and feet dry. Further, wearing several layers provides a more flexible solution. A lightweight waterproof shell on a sweatshirt will work just fine. Also, you can use a wicking base layer to prevent extreme sweating.

Cold weather

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The best garment for cold water kayak fishing is a full dry suit. This offers an endless layer of waterproof material to keep warm. These suits have rubber gaskets and snug latex or around any openings.

Another common option is using a separate dry top and dry pants so you can take off and put on easily. Another option is the chest waders with a dry top, which protects your feet and chest while kayak fishing.

Regardless of what you choose to wear, make sure you wear a glove, hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses too. Sunscreen and Sunglasses are vital in cold weather months too. It may not feel like it, but you can get sun burnt even on the coldest sunny days.

What’s more, you should always carry a PFD (personal flotation device) with you. The device won’t protect you unless you put it on. So if you want to go on a kayak, always carry one with you.