Thinking, 'what do you wear kayaking' may not be the first question on your mind when you get ready to go out for a fun day on the water. But keeping it in mind during your preparation could prove to be essential for your comfort or even save your life.
We've put together some things to remember when choosing your outfit for some time well spent kayaking. Though the most important piece of advice will always be: be safe and have fun!
- What Do You Wear Kayaking?
- Environmental Factors to Consider
- Wetsuit Layers
- Breaking Down Each Clothing Element
- Final Clothing Considerations
What Do You Wear Kayaking?
The answer to this will have a lot to do with what kind of conditions you're going to be kayaking in. What will the temperature of the water be? And what will the air temperature be as you glide across the water?
Also, are you in a region of the world where the sun shines intensely all day? These are all questions to consider when pondering, what do you wear kayaking? The most important consideration will be how you incorporate your personal floatation device into your outfit. The good news is that you can still maintain your safety and look great at the same time.
There are also several ways to dress depending on the activity level of the water around you. Are you sloshing through some rapids, or are you tracing a path through a lake that's as still as glass?
Making sure that you are equipped for getting wet in both of these circumstances is essential. In addition, incorporating things like gloves if repeated paddling will stress your hands is a good idea.
As we proceed, you'll learn the different steps you can take when assembling the perfect set of clothes for your unique kayaking situation. Then thinking 'what do you wear kayaking' becomes an enjoyable thought exercise.
Environmental Factors to Consider
Knowing the basics of where you're going to be kayaking is the first order of business when you begin to plan. Then thinking about what do you wear kayaking becomes infinitely easier. It may seem pretty straightforward.
Just getting in the water and shoving off, paddle in hand, right? It turns out that what you wear can make the difference between having an incredible experience and an incredibly painful one.
Keep the Water Temperature in Mind
Even if the temperature is pretty manageable on the surface, you should be prepared for if you capsize. So dress according to the water's temperature.
This means if the water is any colder than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you should be wearing a wetsuit or dry suit in all cases.
This changes slightly if the air is extra warm. But if the water temperature is cold in addition to a cold air temperature, then it will be important to layer up in addition to wearing your wetsuit.
If the water is warmer than 60 degrees, and the air temperature is pleasant, then wearing quick drying, Ultraviolet Protection fabric (or UPF) is in order.
The Sun Factor
Make sure that you have sunscreen for any areas of exposed skin, or you have those areas covered if you're going to be kayaking for any extended period of time.
The worst thing that can happen is for you to have planned your response to 'what do you wear kayaking,' and forgotten the power of the sun. Also, and this may go without saying, but it's extremely dangerous to kayak at night without the proper equipment.
There are three layers to consider if using a wetsuit. The base layer involves wearing a swimsuit, making quick changes a breeze. The mid-layer involves warmer water that's insulating.
If it's extra cold, consider a thicker wetsuit. The outer layer may or may not be necessary depending on if your suit is long sleeved or not.
Dry Suit Layers
In this case your base layer will include long underwear and fleece-lined rain gear. This will provide a last line of defence against the wetness.
If it's going to be colder, include a thicker fleece for your mid-layer. Finally, there's generally no need for an outer layer because your outfit is essentially both wind proof and water proof.
Layering Without a Wet or Dry Suit
If a wet or dry suit is not necessary, then simply make sure to bring rain gear and a warm fleece. The key here is to be sure your layering holds up as you constantly shift in your kayak. So leave the very thin fabrics and yoga pants at home.
You don't want to wear materials that chafe excessively. As with any layering, bring a layer more than you think you'll need. This way you'll always be warm enough in case a shift in temperature occurs.
It will also be a big plus if you have layers that are breathable/'wick-able.' This way you'll still have ventilation in case you sweat.
Breaking Down Each Clothing Element
From head to toe, you'll want to make sure that you're prepared for every part of your excursion.
Though we can't give you every possible scenario to think about when answering the question 'what to wear kayaking,' we'll give you some examples of types of material, clothing items, and ways of finding both the functional and fashionable.
The Fabric You Use
Here you'll be looking for clothing that will dry quickly in case it gets wet. You'll also want to make sure to avoid cotton, as cotton retains water. Also, how flexible is the fabric? Will you still be comfortable after sitting with it for a long time?
You'll want to make sure you're wearing clothing that allows you to move easily. Kayaking is a physical task. Also when you're pondering, 'what do you wear kayaking,' you'll want to make sure your chosen fabric is rugged and not easily roughed up or torn.
The last thing you want is to have your clothing fall apart while you're on the water.
Including important components like hats, gloves and water shoes will be essential to your process. Having shoes that are closed toed and waterproof (with a back strap) is essential.
Insulating socks will also help keep you warm. As far as hats are concerned, find one that can dry easily after getting wet and has a wide enough brim to protect you from the sun. Also, if it's cold, make sure the hat provides insulation for your head.
A chin strap will keep it on securely. With the gloves you pick, make sure that they both fit well and keep you warm enough while still being flexible. You'll be protected from the elements and blisters.
Tops and Shells
This will be your most exposed extremity. You'll want to go with things like long sleeved fisherman's shirts that you can easily roll up. Also, as mentioned earlier, a windbreaker or fleece shell might be in order if the temperature could go either way.
Though these shirts may not be the most stylish, they'll let you maximize your comfort when thinking 'what do you wear kayaking.'
Shorts Versus Pants
Again, depending on the temperature, you may decide that either shorts or pants will be in order. Though if you're on the fence, be sure to go with the longer option that covers your legs down to your ankles.
Also, if your legs will be exposed (depending on the type of kayak you use) you'll want to make sure your pants are both sun and wind resistant.
Final Clothing Considerations
In addition to everything we've mentioned above, make sure you're fully aware of kayaking safety before you even think about making plans of getting out on the water. This should be familiar to you before you even start to think 'what do you wear kayaking.'
Also make sure any items that you're taking with you are secured. This is both for the safety of the items themselves as well as the integrity of the surrounding environment. If you lose something, you're also polluting the area around you.
Taking Care of Your PIF
Never take off your personal floatation device while on the water. If you do need to take it off for any reason, try to get out of the water first. If this option is impossible, attach yourself to a friend's kayak and then do what you've got to do.
Minding the Metals
Take care to make sure the fasteners and zippers on your outerwear are corrosion resistant. This is doubly true if you're kayaking in salt water.
Saving the Shades
Having sunglasses that attach to you is best. Always be sure to pack a spare retainer just in case. Also, most importantly, make sure your retainer floats. This way if your glasses or shades somehow end up in the water, they'll float.
Ultimately what you wear will be your decision. Though it's all well and good to look stylish on the water. Make sure you're opting for safety first. Once you remember this, all that's left is to remember to have fun! Happy kayaking.
Featured Image via Pixabay