What To Wear When Going Kayaking

August 02, 2022

What To Wear When Going Kayaking

Deciding what to wear kayaking is a delicate operation that involves considering both the water and air temperatures. Generally, it is safest to dress for the water temperature if the chances of you getting continuously wet are high.

At Vaikobi, our Summer and Winter watersports collections are designed to optimize heat regulation no matter what kind of day you face. We’ve also made mixing and matching separate garments easy to best suit your individual needs in the Autumn and Spring months. 

Check out the list below to know what to wear for your next kayak adventure: 

Kayaking Safety Essentials: don’t get stuck without them 

A kayak PFD should be the number one item on your list. As kayaking and paddling are often solo sports, your safety is your responsibility. Choose a comfortable, lightweight, and well-fitted life jacket that keeps you afloat and makes you more visible on the water.

Vaikobi has a vast array of brightly coloured (yet sophisticated) V3 and VXP racing lifejackets available in yellow, orange, cyan, and pink. Reflective detailing on the VXP life jacket is ideal for early morning or late evening paddles when the light is low. 

Top Clothing Layers for Kayaking

As a rule, you should always be able to move freely and comfortably, no matter what kind of gear you’re wearing on the water. As kayaking requires a high amount of mobility around the upper body and arms, always make sure that your top layer has the right stretch in the right areas: the armpits, neck, and wrists. 

Wearing cotton is almost always a no-go because it is heavy, cold, and difficult to swim in if you capsize.  

Cold weather paddling tops: 

Opt for a thicker, fleece-lined wetsuit top in colder weather to keep that layer of heat nice and close to the skin. The VCOLD Hydroflex, flex, and base layer tops will keep you snug for hours. 

Warm weather paddling tops: 

You can get away with a lightweight UV-treated rashie or long sleeve polyester top in hotter weather. Vaikobi rashies are made from quick-dry material, meaning if you get wet, you won’t be uncomfortable for hours after a swim. 


Bottom Layers for Kayaking:

On your bottom half, reinforcement is the number one thing to look for in a garment. Quality kayaking pants will have a reinforced seat for maximum durability and comfort while sitting for long periods. Vaikobi pants have anti-chafe waistbands to stop irritation from rotating while paddling.  

Cold weather paddling pants:

VCOLD Flex paddle pants, wetsuit pants, and long johns are your best bet for cold water paddling. They have seamless airprene seats, meaning they will not only keep you warm but are also highly durable.  

Warm weather paddling pants and shorts:

UV paddle shorts, pants or leggings are thin, breathable, and provide protection for your lower body during the hotter months of the year. 


Water and windproof Layers 

Waterproof clothes for kayaking make a huge difference as soon as there is cold water or wind involved. A spray jacket or spray vest prevents water from compromising the torso area, removing that extra chill factor and discomfort from water entering your base layers. 


Footwear for Kayaking

A good pair of wetsuit booties makes all the difference to comfort when exiting and entering your vessel on the boat ramp, jetty, or beach. This prevents contact with oysters, rocks, and other hidden nasties lurking around launch areas. Thermal socks for cold weather climates also add that extra bit of comfort!


Sun Protection for Kayakers

A pair of polarized sunglasses is a must-have when you’re kayaking. Vaikobi glasses are designed with a wrap-around style to prevent spray from getting into the eyes while giving you the best view of your surroundings with reduced glare. Similarly, always wear sunscreen, a hat, cap, or visor to reduce the impact of harmful UV rays on the skin. 


Kayaking Accessories

Lastly, waterproofing your safety equipment and critical items will leave you worry-free while training. A waterproof case or cover for your mobile phone and keys will secure these items. A calf leash is another excellent safety item that will prevent your craft from getting too far from you in the event you are separated. 


For a larger range of quality clothes to wear for kayaking, check out the Vaikobi paddling garment range.


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XXS   161 167  54 58 76 81 62 66 78 82
XS   165 172  56 63 82 87 66 70 82 89
S   169  176  61 68 88 96 71 76 90 96
M   174 181  66 73 97 104 77 85 97 102
L   178  185  76 85 106 114 86 95 103 108
XL   183  190  86 95 116 122 96 105 109 115
XXL   187  194  96 105 124 132 106 114 116 122


Size HEIGHT (Feet + Inches) WEIGHT (Pounds) CHEST (Inches) WAIST (Inches) HIPS (Inches)
XXS   5'3"  5'6"  119 128 30 32 24.5 26 30.5 32.5
XS   5'5"  5'8"  123 139 32 34.5 26 27.5 32.5 35
S   5'7"  5'9"  135 150 34.5 38 28 30 35.5 38
M   5'9"  5'11"  146 161 38 41 30 33.5 38 40
L 5'10"  6'8"  168 187 41.5 45 34 37.5 40.5 42.5
XL 6'  6'3"  190 209 45.5 48 38 41.5 43 45.5
XXL 6'2"  6'4"  121 232 49 52 41.5 55 45.5 48




Y-S 132 139 30 34 60 65 56 61 68 72
Y-M 140 148  33 39 65 71 61 68 72 78
Y-L 147 155  40 47 70 76 67 73 77 84
Y-XL 152 162 47 54 75 82 72 79 83 89







    HIPS     (IN)
Y-S 4'3" 4'8" 66 75 24 26 24 26 27 28


4'8"  73 86 26 28 26 28 28 31


5'  88 104 28 30 28 30 30 33
Y-XL 5' 5'4" 104 119 30 32 30 32 33 35

Fit Tips

If one of your body measurements is in between two sizes, order the smaller size for a tighter fit or the larger size for a looser fit. If your body measurements for hips and waist correspond to two different suggested sizes, order the one indicated by your hip measurement.

How To Measure

WAIST: Measure around the narrowest part (typically where your body bends side to side), keeping the tape horizontal.
HIPS: Measure around the widest part of your hips, keeping the tape horizontal.
CHEST: Measure the fullest area of your chest. Stand up straight and breath normally.



Vaikobi size guide