Hello again, adventurers!

We hope that March is treating you well. We have an exciting topic this week for the blog and one that covers a very common question from first time kayakers: What do I wear kayaking and how do I stay comfortable?

So dressing for kayaking, as with most outdoor activities, is largely dependent on the weather in the place you will be adventuring and the season that adventure is taking place in. With kayaking though, there is an added layer of consideration: the water temperature. As you may know, the outside temperature does not always reflect the water temperature (California anyone?). This is why it is very important to do your research when you are planning a trip.

Check the average temperatures of the place you will be kayaking and also look into the average water temperature of any bodies of water you are planning to explore. As your trip gets closer, take a look at the weather to see if you need to plan for any rain, snow, or wind.

So here we go!

Warm Weather/Warm Water

Otherwise known as the dream conditions. Warm weather coupled with warm waters makes dressing for your kayaking trip easy.

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The most important things to remember for a trip like this: a hat, sunscreen, water, and a long sleeved shirt. Staying on top of sun exposure is of paramount importance here, so if you want to wear a bathing suit, go ahead! But make sure to lather on the sunscreen and wear a hat. Also consider the long sleeved shirt because the sun’s reflection off the water can give you a nasty burn. Another essential to remember, sunglasses. It can get really bright out on the water in the sunshine!

Cold Weather/Cold Water

These conditions require a little more planning. Cold weather and cold water means that you have a real threat of hypothermia so dress warmly! Light layers are a must. The more layers, the better the protection. Wear a paddling top and bottom made out of a waterproof material like neoprene. Make sure to wear some

Kokatat Idol Drysuit, 2-Piece Gore-Tex River Kayaking Dry Suit, $1099.

waterproof booties as well to keep your feet dry and warm. If you are kayaking in these conditions frequently, it may be a good idea to invest in a dry suit. They can exponentially help you stay drier and warmer on your adventurers. Hats and gloves are also a good idea. Above all, staying dry is the most important aspect of these conditions.

Warm Weather/Cold Water
Vibes of California anyone? This is where the wetsuits come into play. The hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are still important here to help with sun exposure, but the cold water is usually what causes the most problems for kayakers in these conditions. Wetsuits will not only protect you from sunburn, they will also keep you warm in the cold water.

Windy Conditions

This is something that many kayakers forget about: wind. Wind can cause a lot of issues when it comes to a pleasant kayaking experience. It can blow water up onto you while you are paddling and create waves that get into your kayak. If there is going to be wind, prepare for the water temperature. If it’s warmer water, a light waterproof jacket or splashguard may be all you need. But if the water is cold, prepare for it with wetsuits or the methods recommended in the Cold weather/Cold water section.

GORE-TEX, The North Face Alpine Project Jacket, $380


Being adequately prepared clothing-wise can make or break a kayaking trip. It is essential to make sure you are packing for the conditions. If you think there is a chance it is going to be cold, prepare like it is going to be freezing. Better to be a little too warm than get hypothermia. If you know is is going to be sunny, pack a hat and sunglasses. Finally, if you think there is any chance of rain/sleet/snow/wind, pack waterproof gear. There is nothing less fun than sitting in a kayak getting drenched when you don’t have to.

We hope this guide helped you plan your next trip. Now get out there and explore!