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What To Wear

Kayaking In Florida?

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Published May 31, 2022

Florida can be a great place to go kayaking. It’s warm, and there are plenty of good places to go kayaking. But the question remains: what to wear kayaking in Florida? To some, this may seem like a stupid question, but there are actually several variables you need to consider before deciding on the right clothing.

So, here is a complete guide on what you should wear and what to avoid while kayaking in Florida. I have been kayaking in Florida for several years, and I have created this guide based on my personal experiences.

Let’s get started with the guide.

What to Wear Kayaking in Florida: Summary

What to Wear Kayaking in Florida?

Here is a general guide to wearing clothing items while kayaking in Florida. Whether you are in a sea kayak or a sit-on-top, this will help keep you comfortable and make sure you are wearing enough clothes to stay safe.

This is meant for kayakers of all levels, from beginner paddlers to experts.

Hat or Cap:

Hats or caps are essential to protect you from the sun. They also provide some insulation from the wind. In addition, they can keep your head warm in cold weather.

Wear a hat with a brim that shields your face and neck from the sun. A wide-brimmed hat will shield more of your body from UV rays than a narrow-brimmed one. A baseball cap is not recommended because it does not provide adequate protection for your face and neck.


While kayaking in Florida, it is important to make sure that you wear sunscreen. The sun is extremely strong in Florida, and while you may not think of it as a hot weather state, there are still elements of heat that can affect your skin.

It’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. These rays can cause damage and even skin cancer. But it’s not just about protecting yourself from the sun; you also need to protect your skin from the water. If you get too much sun and then go into the ocean, your skin could burn more quickly than normal because of the salt.

Your skin can become dried out and cracked if you do not wear sunscreen while on your kayak trip. Make sure to apply at least 10 minutes before you leave on your trip so that it has time to absorb into your skin and become effective.


The sun in Florida is strong and unrelenting, even when you’re just out for a leisurely kayak. That is why The best thing to do is wear sunglasses.

It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy or sunny, or if you are just hanging out on the lake for fun or doing some rigorous exercise, you should always wear sunglasses when you are outside in Florida. Even if it’s overcast, the sun can still be very intense and damaging to your eyes. The UV rays from the sun are strong enough to cause cataracts and macular degeneration, leading to blindness later in life.

Not wearing sunglasses while kayaking in Florida can damage your vision, so it’s important to protect yourself with a good pair of shades that block 99% of UV-A and UV-B rays.

Sleeveless Shirts (Bright Colored)

When choosing tops for kayaking in Florida, you want to look for something that will keep you cool and protected from the sun. There is no shortage of sunny days in Florida, so your shirt needs to be something you can wear while out on the water.

For women, it’s best to stick with sleeveless shirts or tank tops. This will allow your skin to breathe and not get too hot when exposed to the sun. You’ll also want a shirt covering your shoulders and upper arms because they tend to get quite a bit of exposure while paddling around.

For men, choose long-sleeved shirts or short-sleeved shirts made from light material such as cotton or linen. These will allow airflow but still provide some protection from the sun’s rays during a long day on the water.

Swimming Trunks

You should wear comfortable and durable clothes because you’ll be paddling in the water for long periods. You can wear shorts or pants, but make sure they’re made out of a quick-drying material like Cotton, Polyester, Nylon, etc.

If you are going out in the early morning or late afternoon, you’ll want to wear shorts and a t-shirt. The sun will be less intense then, and the air will still be warm enough for shorts, but not so warm that you risk overheating.

Similarly, if you plan on being out during the day, bring along sunscreen and a hat. You’ll also want some water with you in case dehydration becomes an issue while kayaking.

On the other hand, if it’s raining or cold out, bring along a waterproof jacket or poncho and gloves or mittens if necessary. If there are any insects around (like mosquitoes), consider wearing a bug repellent and long pants or leggings instead of shorts due to their ability to protect against bites from these pests.

Water Shoes

While kayaking in Florida, you will have to wear shoes that allow your feet to move freely and support your body. You will need comfortable shoes, but not so comfortable that they allow your foot to slip off the pedal.

Try to wear water shoes in order to keep your feet dry from water that may come into your kayak, these shoes can dry easily and are meant for water activities. Also look for water shoes that have good traction (which many typically do). Your feet must have a firm grip on the boat when paddling through the water so that you don’t slip off and endanger yourself.

Clothes to Avoid While Kayaking in Florida

There are some types of clothes and shoes that you shouldn’t wear or avoid wearing while kayaking in Florida. Here are they:

Polo T-Shirts

You might think that a polo shirt or a full sleeve top would be a great choice for kayaking in Florida, but you’d be wrong. These tops are likely to get wet and stay wet for a long time, which means that once they are wet, your skin will have to work extra hard to stay cool.

Instead, try wearing a thin layer of polyester or other synthetic fibers. These materials will dry quickly and help keep you cool while paddling around.


First and foremost, don’t wear jeans. They won’t dry quickly, and they’ll chafe your legs as they get wet and then dry again. Instead, opt for cotton or polyester pants that will stretch with your body and dry faster than denim.

Also, avoid shorts that are too long or too baggy; these can easily get caught in the paddle or boat rigging. You want something that’s fitted but not too tight, so it doesn’t bunch up when you’re paddling through rapids or waves.

Flip Flops

You don’t want to be wearing heels or flip-flops while kayaking in Florida; they are not just a safety hazard, but they will make your feet feel like they are on fire. Instead, wear a pair of water shoes that can withstand the water and the heat.

Besides that, shoes that are too big or too small can cause blisters, which are painful and can make kayaking more difficult. Shoes should also be closed-toed to avoid getting injured by rocks or other sharp objects in the water.

Tips while Kayaking in Florida

Here are some tips that can make your kayaking experience better in Florida.

Protect your Skin:

When you are kayaking, you will be in the water for long periods. So, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun and wind by wearing a full-body rash guard or wetsuit. This will keep your body temperature regulated and prevent you from getting sunburned.

Sunburns are no fun, but they’re even worse when you’re out on the water. That is why sunscreen is a must if you are kayaking in Florida

You should also bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect your face from the sun and saltwater spray.

Respect the Environment:

Florida is a beautiful place, and we want to keep it that way. That is why I encourage you to respect the environment while kayaking in Florida.

In Florida, you will come across many different kinds of water. There are rivers and lakes and swamps, bays, and ocean waters. Each of these kinds of water has its own rules and regulations. So, respect the environment and make sure you have a safe time kayaking in Florida.

Don't Forget to Hydrate:

It’s easy to get distracted by all the beautiful sights. But make sure you stay hydrated when you are kayaking in Florida. It’s not just about the water; if you are out on a long paddle, it can be easy to forget to eat or drink anything.

But if you don’t take care of yourself, that can lead to dehydration, making you feel weak and tired and even sick. So don’t forget: water is your friend.

Wear your Life Jacket:

The most important thing to remember while kayaking in Florida is that you need to wear your life jacket. It’s easy to get distracted by the beauty of the waters around you and forget about safety, but it’s crucial that you don’t forget this key piece of equipment.

Kayaking is a fun way to spend time with friends or family, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t take proper precautions. Make sure everyone in your group has their own life jacket and check them frequently throughout the day.

Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke:

When you are out in the sun too long, your body can get overheated, called hyperthermia. You can tell if you are starting to get overheated by checking your body temperature and looking for symptoms like dizziness, headache, nausea, and fatigue. If you start to feel any of these symptoms, it’s important to immediately get out of the heat and cool down.

You may be able to prevent heat exhaustion by drinking plenty of water before you go outside, staying hydrated throughout the day, and making sure that you have sunscreen on before you head outside for a long period of time.

Have a Good Map and Compass, and Know How to Use Them:

Before you leave the house for kayaking, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a map and compass with you. If you are planning on kayaking in Florida, this is especially important.

You should also know how to use them. I recommend taking a class from your local outdoor store if you don’t already know how to use these tools.

Tell Someone Where You are Going and When they Should Expect you Back:

When you are going to be kayaking anywhere, it’s important to let someone know where you are going and when they should expect you back. That way, if something goes wrong and you don’t show up when expected, they can call the police or send out a search party.

Always be on the Lookout for Adverse Weather Conditions and Get off the Water if Necessary:

One of the most important things you can do when kayaking is constantly on the lookout for adverse weather conditions. If it looks like a storm is coming, get off the water and seek shelter immediately.

If you’re staying on your own kayak, make sure you have a way to contact someone if there’s an emergency or if you need help getting back to shore safely.

Make sure they have plenty of first aid kits available so that you can treat any injuries that might occur while kayaking in Florida.


So, now you know what to wear kayaking in Florida. The weather in Florida can be harsh sometimes, and you will have to be prepared for that. That is why following this guide will be very beneficial for you if you want to be safe while enjoying the beautiful scenes of Florida’s lakes, rivers, beaches, etc.

Jay Schwartz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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