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:
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:
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.
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.