What To Wear Kayaking In Hot Weather?

Last Updated on September 21, 2023

You should always dress for submersion when kayaking, whether in the hot summer or the cooler fall and winter months. You should constantly dress for the possibility of ending up in the water. That implies two things. Dress for the temperature of the water, not the air, and wear clothing that can get wet and that you can swim in if necessary.

Protection from the sun is very vital when kayaking in the summer. That could mean putting on sunscreen or wearing a long-sleeved rash guard and cap. But whatever you wear, make sure it’s comfortable and allows you to move freely.

Summer Kayaking Outfit Guide

Here’s a quick guide to things to look for when deciding what to wear kayaking this summer.

Fabrics that dry quickly

If you get wet, you’ll want to wear something that will dry rapidly. Synthetic polyesters and quick-dry nylons, such as rash guards, are ideal. Merino wool is also beneficial since it wicks away moisture and dries rapidly. Cotton is something you should avoid. It may keep you cool and wick away sweat, but it takes forever to dry since it retains water.

Durable but comfortable

You’ll need something lightweight and comfortable but not too thin. Kayaking necessitates constant seat moving; therefore, ultra-thin materials, such as yoga trousers, do not hold up. Jeans, on the other hand, are overly constricting and chafing. Choose something in the middle.

Protection from the sun

In addition to sunscreen, you can protect yourself from the sun by wearing clothing. Long-sleeved rash guards and other apparel made of UPF-rated fabric will provide the necessary protection for a long day on the water.

Footwear In terms of footwear, you just want something that will protect your toes and the bottoms of your feet. Many individuals swim in old tennis shoes, which can be good but stink and are difficult to swim in. If you don’t have or don’t want to invest in neoprene paddling booties, I propose something similar to a hiking sandal with a back strap. These also dry fast, making it less likely that your feet will become sore. If you fall, flip-flops will be too difficult to keep on.

How to Choose What to Wear When Kayaking in the Summer?

Regardless of the season, you should always dress for the water temperature rather than the weather when kayaking. As the water warms up in the summer, you can remove some of the layers you wore in the spring. Sun protection and breathability should be your top priorities when picking what to wear kayaking in hot weather. As a result, we still advocate layering, but you can wear thinner, cooler apparel. Wearing a thin synthetic long-sleeve top with UV protection over a swim or wet suit, for example, will keep your shoulders from burning. If you become wet, it will dry quickly but will not overheat you.


You might not need these depending on the temperature of the water, but if you’re paddling in a glacier-fed river, you should acquire a pair of neoprene paddling gloves. Your hands will have the most contact with the water, and gloves will keep them from freezing and blistering.


A wide-brimmed hat can provide considerably more sun protection. Just ensure it’s securely secured to your head so it doesn’t fly away.



The sun can have a powerful reflection on the water, and those UV rays can harm your eyes. On a sunny day, a good pair of sunglasses is a smart choice, and a retainer strap ensures they don’t get misplaced if you fall overboard.

Suit for the water

Is it necessary to wear a wet suit even in the summer? When kayaking in the summer, your spray skirt will keep you warm for the most part. However, if the water temperature is much lower than the air temperature, you may want to consider wearing a wet suit.

A decent rule of thumb is to put the water and air temperatures together, and if it’s less than 100 degrees, you should dress appropriately in case you wind yourself in the water. They manufacture 2mm-thick shorties that reach the knees and elbows – enough to shield you from a splash but not so much that you overheat while not being splashed.

The Life Jacket

Life Jacket

Wear a PFD no matter how hot, calm, or long you intend to be in the water, how much experience you have, or how cool you believe you are.


Now that you know how to dress for kayaking this summer, ensure you’re correctly storing your kayak to keep it in good condition all summer. Our lovely, hand-carved cedar log storage racks will keep your kayak safe and ready for use, allowing you to spend more time kayaking and less time caring for and transporting it.

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