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What To Wear

Kayaking In The Summer?

Kayaking Tips For Summer

Published May 14, 2022

What to wear kayaking in summer? This is the most common question that everyone that is looking to kayak during the summertime asks. The heat of summer brings relief from the drudgery of work, but it can make kayaking a little harder without the right dressing and gear. 

An appropriate dressing can protect you from hypothermia and help save you from dangerous sun rays.

If you are going on a kayaking adventure, you must be interested in knowing what to wear kayaking in summer, what kind of clothes you should wear, and what gear you should carry.

In order to help you in this matter, here is a complete guide on how you should go out kayaking in the summer season

What to Wear Kayaking in Summer: Summary

What to Wear Kayaking in Summer?

Kayaking is a great way to get in touch with nature and breathe in the fresh air. However, it can be challenging to kayak in summer due to the heat. It can be dangerous for your health if you don’t know what to wear according to the weather.

So, here is a complete list of wearables that can help you stay away from the sun’s dangerous rays.


If you are going to be out on the water in the middle of summer, you will want something breathable. You don’t want to feel like your clothes are cooking your body. That is why choosing the right top is very important.

A t-shirt or tank top is great for warm weather kayaking. You can also wear a long sleeve shirt, but make sure it’s light enough that you don’t overheat.

You will want something that covers your chest and arms, and it should be fit enough so that insects can’t get in through seams or zippers.

If you are going to be out on a lake or river with waves, make sure your top has at least one pocket to keep important things like keys, phones, wallets, and other valuables safe from getting wet.


You will want shorts or pants that are made specifically for kayaking. These will keep your legs comfortable while paddling and will help prevent chafing if you are sitting in a boat seat for an extended period of time which could happen if you are traveling long distances.

There are lots of shorts available out there that are specifically designed for kayaking. For example, consider buying some nylon shorts if you are looking for something really lightweight and breathable.

These will dry quickly so that if you get splashed with water or start sweating heavily (which is likely), your clothes will still be dry when it’s time to climb out of the boat.


A hat is a must-have when it comes to staying cool and protected while you are out on the water. It’s easy to forget, but wearing a hat will help keep you safe from sun exposure, which can lead to skin cancer.

Plus, it will keep your hair from getting messed up by the wind. You can also use it to protect your face from bugs or other sources of irritation.

You can get any kind of hat that prevent sun rays and provide you with a suitable shadow. It can be a baseball cap or a floppy hat, but make sure you have one. You will need it to keep your head protected from the sun, and you can also use it as a shade for the rest of your body.


If you want to stay protected from the sun’s rays and still look trendy, then sunglasses are a must-have item in your kayaking kit. You can choose between polarized sunglasses that will help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays or regular ones that will simply protect them from glare.

Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from harmful UV rays but also from wind, dust, and sand.


In summer, the sun is strong and can cause a lot of damage to your skin. So you need to take precautions and wear sunscreen when you go kayaking. Sunscreen prevents your skin from getting burnt and helps in preventing the skin from aging too soon.

So it is very important to wear sunscreen before going out kayaking.

Make sure you have sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. You will also want to put it on before you get in your kayak and then reapply it throughout the day if needed.

No matter how much you love the sun, it can seriously damage your skin, so make sure you are wearing sunscreen all the time.

Spare Clothing:

You should always bring an extra set of clothes with you if you are going on any kind of excursions like kayaking or fishing. Because, you never know when something might happen and cause your clothes to get wet or dirty.

Anything can happen; you could fall out of your kayak or get caught in some brush as you’re paddling along. So, make sure to pack extra clothes just in case.

So it’s best to have something else available so that you don’t have to worry about being uncomfortable or having to sit around waiting for something dryer than what you have on right now.

For spare clothing, you can bring along a dry suit with you. It will help you stay dry while paddling through rough waters.


Shoes are a tricky thing when it comes to kayaking. Typically, you want something that’s quick-drying and lightweight but not so light that it will fall off in the water. That said, if your feet get wet while kayaking, and they will, there’s no way around it: your shoes will be wet.

This is where wearing water shoes for kayaking is perfect, but if you don’t feel comfortable in this unique type of shoes then have some good socks on hand, and maybe even a pair of flip flops or sandals if it looks like they are going to get soaked. If your feet are cold at all, try wearing some thin thermal socks underneath your regular ones.

This will help keep them warm without adding bulk or weight.

Life Jacket and Safety Gear:

You will also have to wear a life jacket when kayaking in summer. This is not only for safety but also for comfort. You don’t want to be uncomfortable while paddling around on your boat, so make sure that you have a life jacket that fits well and is easy to adjust.

Your second consideration should be safety gear. If you are going on a long tour or adventure, it’s important to bring along your life jacket, whistle, flashlight, bug spray, and water. If it’s hot out, bring along some extra water for yourself.

It’s also smart to bring along a first aid kit with bandages and antiseptic wipes and keep them in your life jacket.

Now, you may understand what to wear kayaking in summer.

How to Dress while Kayaking: The Basics

As the weather warms up and you start planning your kayaking trips, it’s important to know how to dress for the water according to the weather and water’s condition. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being out on the water, but if you don’t dress appropriately, you could end up with a case of hypothermia.

The most important thing to remember when dressing for kayaking is that the sun is the most brutal enemy, and it can burn you if you are not properly dressed up in the summer.

Before I discuss appropriate dressing ways, let’s discuss the dangers of excessive UV exposure. This would be very helpful for you to completely understand the science behind dressing in summer.

The Dangers of Excessive UV Exposure

UV exposure is a serious threat to your health. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer and cataracts, among other conditions.

But even if you are careful to avoid the sun during peak hours, you can still be affected by UV exposure, especially if you are going on a long kayaking trip and your body is continuously exposed to the sun rays.

Too much UV exposure can cause premature aging and wrinkles, but it also increases your risk of developing skin cancer.

But there’s more than just cancer to worry about when it comes to excessive UV exposure: you may also suffer from eye damage or get cataracts if you spend too much time in the sun without proper dressing or spend too much time around kayaking in the direct sunlight without proper protection.

How to Dress for Kayaking in Hot Summer Conditions?

Here are some tips for dressing for kayaking in hot summer conditions:

  1. Wear light-colored clothing that’s made from natural fabrics, like cotton or linen. These fabrics will help keep you cool and dry when they get wet.
  2. You should wear lightweight, breathable clothing that dries quickly and wicks moisture away from your body so that it doesn’t feel damp or clammy against your skin.
  3. Always wear sun protection, hats, and sunglasses to prevent sunburns on your arms, legs, and face while you are out on the water in hot summer.
  4. Try wearing loose-fitting clothes, so they don’t restrict movement or rub against sensitive areas of your body while paddling. This includes your shoes too.

How to Dress for Kayaking in Warm Water & Cold Water?

The weather and water conditions can change quickly, so you will have to be prepared for different temperatures. Here are some tips on how to dress for kayaking in warm and cold water.

Warm Water:

Warm water is much more forgiving when it comes to dressing than cold water. You will still want to wear layers, but you will be able to take them off if you get too hot. The key is to make sure your clothes are breathable, so you don’t sweat as much.

If possible, wear something made from synthetic fibers that will dry quickly if it gets wet such as cotton. Polyester takes longer to dry, so avoid wearing polyester shirts when kayaking in warm weather. You also don’t want anything too tight or restrictive; your shirt should be slightly loose, so it doesn’t trap heat against your body.

If there’s a chance of rain or humidity, bring an umbrella or waterproof jacket along with you just in case. You may not need either one often, but if there’s any chance of getting caught in the rain or needing to stay dry while paddling around, then having one will at least give us some peace of mind.

Cold Water:

Here are some tips on how to dress for kayaking in cold water:

  1. Wear multiple layers of clothing that are easy to remove or add as needed. You don’t want to be stuck in your kayak with wet clothes when there is no way to change them.
  2. Choose fabrics that are quick-drying, such as wool, or synthetic fabrics like fleece and nylon. These will help keep you warm even if they get wet from splashing around in the water or sweat while you paddle hard against the current.
  3. Try wearing waterproof shoes or boots that are well insulated, so they don’t let in too much cold air or moisture from outside sources like rain or melting snow on land nearby where it’s warmer than where you are standing right now (or maybe even inside your car before heading out for kayaking).
  4. Protect your head with a hat or hooded jacket, so none of that precious body heat escapes through your head where there isn’t much skin covering overtop anyway (most people don’t realize this until they start losing their hair later on down life’s road).
  5. Wear a life jacket at all times while on your kayak because they provide extra flotation if you get into trouble in the water or need help getting back onto land when the tide changes direction unexpectedly due to weather patterns like storms or hurricanes that cause strong waves which make it impossible for boats (and people) to stay afloat anymore without help from others (such as emergency crews or police officers).

Tips to Go Kayaking in Summer

Following are some tips that can make your summer kayaking adventure great.

Study the Condition:

Before embarking on your journey, check the weather forecast. Weather is a crucial factor to consider when going kayaking. Learn how to read the weather and decide whether you can go kayaking or not.

If rain or storm is coming up, consider postponing your trip until it passes. In addition to being safe from lightning strikes, storms can also make the water more turbulent and potentially dangerous for kayaking.

If it’s too windy, you might find yourself fighting against strong currents that could push your kayak around or even flip it over. Even if you are an experienced kayaker, this can be dangerous.

If it’s too sunny, you might get overheated or dehydrated if you don’t have enough shade or access to water while you’re out on your trip.

Dress Properly:

When you know the weather condition, you will be able to dress properly according to the above-given guide. You will also be able to choose suitable clothing for your kayaking trip as well as other necessary items like sunscreen and hydration pack etc.

If you are going to go kayaking on a hot summer day, make sure that you wear light clothing such as shorts or t-shirts instead of jeans or long sleeves shirts which can make you feel uncomfortable while paddling downstream or river.

Similarly, if the weather is not too hot, you can wear a t-shirt or a tank top with a cool hat.

Take Spare Items:

It is very important that you take some spare items with you while going on a kayaking trip, especially in summer. You never know what might happen during your journey, so it is better if you take some extra stuff just in case something goes wrong.

It’s best to always have spare items with you like food and water, clothes, and even an extra paddle if needed just in case something happens, like losing one or breaking one. You can take things like water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, and dry towels with you when you go.

Safety Kit and First Aid Kit:

You should always keep a safety kit and first aid kit on your kayak, but it’s especially important in the summer.

Your safety kit should include:

  • A whistle.
  • A waterproof flashlight.
  • A waterproof first-aid kit.
  • An extra paddle.
  • A PFD (Personal flotation device)

Don’t forget to stock up on sunblock and bug spray as well.

You can also bring an extra life jacket for each person in your kayak. This will help ensure that everyone stays safe if something happens while out on the water.

It’s best to always have spare items with you like food and water, clothes, and even an extra paddle if needed just in case something happens, like losing one or breaking one. You can take things like water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray, and dry towels with you when you go.

Properly Check the Kayak:

It’s important to take precautions when you go kayaking. So, to avoid any accident or injury, you will have to check your kayak before getting it into the water.

Here are the things that you should check:

  • Check your paddles for cracks and leaks. If there are any issues with them, you’ll want to replace them before heading out.
  • Check the hull of your kayak for any damage that might be caused by rocks or other debris in the water. If there is any damage, consider repairing it before going out again, so it doesn’t get worse later on.
  • Make sure all of your gear is secured tightly inside before leaving shore, so nothing falls out during travel! This includes all personal items such as phones and wallets too.

Try to Stay Under Shadows:

Kayaking in summer means that you will be out in the sun for a long time, so it’s important to keep yourself protected from the sun and cool. You can do this by staying under the shade of trees or even just by paddling into a shady spot when you need a break from the heat.

If you are kayaking in a location with no trees, you should make sure that your kayak has a canopy installed. And you should try to stay under the canopy most of the time.

Stay Alert For Floating Debris:

Summer is when most people go kayaking, so you’ll probably be sharing the water with other boaters (and maybe even swimmers). If you see something floating in the water—whether it’s garbage or debris from an overturned boat—try to steer clear of it so that neither you nor anyone else runs into it and gets hurt!

Stay Hydrated:

Water is one of the most important things you can bring with you when you go kayaking. It’s easy to get dehydrated if you are out in the sun all day. But having water with you will help keep you from getting sick or feeling too tired or weak to keep going.

Plus, drinking water helps keep your body temperature down, so it doesn’t get too hot.


When you are out kayaking, your clothing is the only line of defense between yourself and the water, along with the sun and any animals that inhabit the waters you are navigating. The type of clothing you decide to wear depends on your level of comfort, what kind of kayaking you plan on doing, and where.

However, I have given you a few tips that can help you make smart choices when deciding what to wear kayaking in the summertime.

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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