If you’re an outdoor enthusiast like me, you’d know that Kayaking offers a lot of fun experiences.
It’s the perfect choice for when you are looking for the peace and serenity that comes from traveling through tranquil sights and sceneries along a lake or the exhilaration of racing through swift-moving waters.
Kayaking offers you a good time away from the noise, traffic, and pollution in urban cities. But to have a fun and memorable time kayaking, you’d have to dress for it. Here’s a list of 10 must-haves clothes to squeeze into your bag next time you’re going Kayaking, whether in warm, cold, or mild weather conditions.
What to Wear Kayaking:
1. A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or Life Jacket
Life jackets are essential in every water sport. Like car seat belts, life jackets help you stay safe. It is illegal in most parts of the world to go Kayaking without a life vest. Falling into the water can be exhilarating but dangerous without a life vest. Kayaking represents freedom, so don’t just go with any life jackets because some of them are restrictive. The US Coast Guard approved type III jacket is a life jacket explicitly designed for Kayaking. It is unrestrictive and will give you room to move as freely as you want for long periods.
2. Water Shoes
Not just any shoe will cut it when it comes to Kayaking. Your shoes can be the difference between a fun and frustrating experience. While flip-flops may look cool, they are also not loyal and will float away, leaving you behind. Your shoes should be lightweight, flexible, and elastic with anti-slip soles. They should also be quick-drying and soft to keep your feet warm and comfortable. Lastly, they should be sturdy enough to protect your feet from rocks, gravel, and hard ground.
3. A Dry Bag
We will emphasize the functionality of dry bags over other types of waterproof bags. Waterproof bags will keep your belongings safe and dry quite alright. But, a dry bag goes the extra step to protect your belongings on thorny and rocky trails by preventing tears. You can typically secure your belongings in a dry bag by clipping the buckles together. Unlike the zipper in waterproof bags that are prone to rust, the fasteners in a dry bag do not snag, gum up, or blow out.
4. A Swimsuit
Kayaking has a golden rule: “kayakers dress for the water and not the weather.” The first thing you want to do before setting out is to check the water temperature you are going into and dress accordingly. Warm waters are mild; therefore, a swimsuit is an excellent choice. You will want to avoid wearing a bikini or anything that needs a rope. You may fall into the water and spend time frantically trying to get the bikini back on.
5. A Wet Suit or Dry Suit
The fun thing about Kayaking is that it gets you wet, but getting wet risks hypothermia in cold waters. As a result, you will need clothes made with water-resistant and quick-drying materials to keep water out and maintain body heat. For waters below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a wet suit does an excellent job of keeping you warm. It would be best if you had something that seals the moisture from coming into contact with your body for colder, freezing waters. A dry suit is the best option.
6. Quick-drying Under Wear
When buying clothing, look for quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and insulating materials. We usually look out for nylon, neoprene, polyester, or polypropylene fabric because they have these properties. That said, as a kayaker, cotton is your enemy. Not to be dramatic, but cotton kills. It absorbs a lot of water and takes forever to dry, making it difficult to swim. It does not have any insulating properties, which means you get to lose body heat faster.
7. Wear Extra Layers of Clothing
Though getting wet in warm water isn’t such a bad idea, sometimes the water temperature changes. When this happens, extra layers of clothing such as shorts and long-sleeved tops will provide the necessary heat your body needs alongside the added benefit of sun protection. Coldwater is a different ball game entirely, and you don’t want to get wet. You can layer your damp or drysuit with paddling jackets, winter jackets, long-sleeved tops, and paddling pants.
Prepare for immersion because there’s a slim chance your boat will capsize. A hat will protect your skin from sunburn, but a helmet will protect your brain/skull. When you topple, the impact from hitting the water and the effect of your boat hitting you may cause considerable damage if you are not wearing a helmet. The water could also be rocky and turbulent, and wearing a helmet will protect you when you go for a dive. Most kayaking shops have the coolest helmets, so you don’t have to worry about looking uncool.
9. Paddling Gloves
The satisfaction you get from Kayaking comes from traveling through miles and miles of water uninterrupted. But we don’t want your hands to get cuts and blisters from paddling that long, so we recommend getting paddling gloves. Paddling gloves provide a lot of functionality, such as protecting your hands from the elements in the case of strong winds. They also keep your hands warm and dry, prevent chafing, and improve grip.
10. Spray Skirt
We can consider a spray skirt in warm waters as a dramatic gesture. But, in colder and choppy waters, it offers a lot of functionality. Remember, the goal when kayaking on cold waters is to avoid getting wet, and a spray skirt helps you achieve just that. It will keep out rain and wave splashes from swamping your boat, thereby providing a warm and comfortable environment inside the kayak. They come in several sizing charts; you wouldn’t have to measure your cockpit manually. All you have to do is know your kayak’s brand name and model.
There you have it, the essential wear you will need for Kayaking. There are so many Kayaking wear out there that you may get lost trying to figure out what’s for you. But we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. These options described in this article will offer you safety, functionality, and style as you hit the waters.