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What to Wear Kayaking in Summer: The Best Clothing for Kayakers

What to Wear Kayaking in Summer: The Best Clothing for Kayakers

Summer is the perfect time to get out on the water and enjoy a kayaking trip. If you’re wondering what to wear kayaking in summer, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

In this blog post, we will discuss the best clothing for kayakers. We’ll provide tips on what to wear when kayaking in hot weather and what to wear when the weather is cooler.

So whether you’re just starting out kayaking or are a seasoned pro, read on for some helpful advice for appropriate clothing on your next camping trip!

Looking for a new kayak? Check out this post on the top kayak for campers!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

What to Wear Kayaking in the Summer

When kayaking in the summer, it’s important to wear the right clothing that will keep you cool and comfortable. Here are a few tips on what to wear during warm weather:

Shorts or pants

Choose shorts or pants made of lightweight, breathable fabric. Avoid clothes that are made of heavy materials, such as denim, as they will make you hot and sweaty.

I like to wear either gym shorts or yoga capri pants. Capri pants are a good option if your legs get burned easily since they provide a little more protection on your legs than shorts do.

T-shirt or tank top

Make sure the fabric is lightweight and breathable, so it will allow your skin to breathe. I prefer to wear t-shirts over tank tops to help protect my shoulders and upper body from getting sunburned. Here are some other ways you can protect yourself from the sun and avoid getting sunburn.

You can also wear a long-sleeve shirt if you want extra sun protection for your arms and shoulders. If it’s hot outside, you’ll probably want to opt for short sleeves instead! If you are worried about sunburn but don’t want to wear long sleeves, a UPF shirt can be a good option.

Water shoes

Water shoes are a great way to protect your feet from sharp rocks and other hazards in the water. They also provide traction on slippery surfaces. I recommend these water shoes. I wear them all the time and they are very comfortable and lightweight. They also have good traction on land and on the kayak so you don’t have to worry about slipping.

If you don’t want to wear water shoes, I recommend wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting wet because they’ll get soaked when kayaking! Shoes like flip-flops or water sandals are a good option as well.

If you are hiking to your kayaking spot, be sure to bring a pair of good hiking shoes. Check out this guide for what to pack for a day hike! If you do decide to wear sneakers on the kayak, wearing waterproof socks would be a good choice!

Bathing Suit

If you plan to go in the water during your next kayaking trip, be sure to wear a bathing suit underneath your clothes. When you are ready to jump in the water, simply take off your outer layer and you’ll be ready for a swim!

I also recommend bringing a quick drying swimsuit cover-up or a sarong to wear when you’re not in the water. This will help protect your clothes from getting wet and sandy until you are dried off a bit. It will also give you more protection from the sun until you are ready to put your clothes back on

.Don’t forget to bring a dry bag to put your wet clothes in for easy clean up! You can even bring an extra change of clothes if you plan to go swimming in case they get too wet.

Clothes to Wear Kayaking when its Cool outside

If you plan to go kayaking on a cold day, such as after the sunset or early in the morning during the summer months, or during the colder months, you’ll need to wear different clothes than what we have covered above. Here are some tips on what to wear kayaking in cold conditions:

Long Sleeve Shirt

If you’re planning to kayak in cooler temperatures, a lightweight long sleeve shirt is a great option. This type of shirt helps keep you warm, and it also protects against bugs like mosquitoes and flies that might bite if you aren’t wearing enough layers of clothing. A long sleeve shirt will also protect your skin from potential scratches as you paddle through branches or plants in the water.

Short-Sleeve Shirt and Hoody

If you are starting your kayaking adventure early in the morning, chances are it might be a bit chilly. But, what happens when the sun rises and it starts to get warm? You won’t want to be wearing a long sleeve shirt.If this is the case, extra layers like a hoody or zip-up over a short sleeve shirt can be a great choice.

This will allow you to easily take off the layer when it gets too warm, without having to remove your whole shirt. You can also bring a warm jacket if the weather is really chilly first thing in the morning. Be sure to choose one made of waterproof material to help keep you dry.


You will definitely want to wear pants when kayaking in cooler temperatures. Pants will help keep you warm and they will also protect your legs from getting scratched by plants in the water. However, I don’t recommend wearing jeans. Jeans are not very breathable and they will make you hot and sweaty when the weather is warmer. Plus, they are difficult to move around in, which can make kayaking more difficult!

Make sure the pants you are wearing are not too tight and have enough room for movement. I recommend wearing pants like these that are stretchy and comfortable.

Shorts or Capris

If you know that the temperatures will rapidly increase while you are out on your kayak, you might not want to wear pants. In this case, shorts or capri pants are a better option.

Just like with your shirt, make sure the shorts or capris you choose are lightweight and comfortable. You don’t want to be uncomfortable while you are out on your adventure!

If you wear shorts and are still chilly in the morning, you can always bring a blanket with you to cover your lower body until the weather warms up a bit.

Dry suit

A dry suit or wet suit is a good idea for kayakers who are looking for extra protection from the elements and wet conditions. A dry suit will keep you warm and dry in cold weather, and it also provides some protection against sunburn during your outdoor activities and other water sports.

If you plan to kayak in the summer, I recommend wearing a wetsuit or drysuit under your clothes so that it’s easy to take off if you get too hot or when you are ready to jump in the water.

Other things to Wear when Kayaking

Besides clothing, you’ll also need to wear a few other things when kayaking:


The sun can be very harmful, especially if you are out on the water for a long time on a sunny day. Make sure to wear sunscreen on all exposed skin, and reapply every few hours. Don’t forget sunscreen on your face!

I LOVE Olay Whips Moisturizer with SPF 25. It is super lightweight, isn’t oily, and you can easily wear makeup on top of it.

For the rest of your body, I recommend Neutrogena dry touch sunscreen. It is also really lightweight, doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy, and has great protection!


A hat is a must when kayaking. If you are out on the water for several hours, by the end of your trip you will have a nasty sunburn on your face.

A wide-brimmed hat with UV protection is what I recommend for kayaking, as it will help shield your face, neck, and ears from the sun.

If that type of hat isn’t your style, you can always opt for a simple baseball cap. I like this one that lets you put your ponytail through it which is very helpful if you have long hair!

If you don’t want to wear a hat, you can also bring a bandanna or scarf to tie around your head to help give you an extra layer of protection from the sun.


Sunglasses are important for kayaking, as they will protect your eyes from the sun’s rays. Make sure to choose a pair of sunglasses that have UV protection. I like these sunglasses because they are cute and have UV protection!

Life Jacket

A life vest is very important to wear kayaking, even if you are experienced. You never know what could happen out on the water and a life jacket will help keep you safe in case something unexpected happens.

It is very easy to rent a life jacket from a kayak rental company, so don’t forget to ask for one before you head out on your trip!

If you plan on kayaking a lot, then I highly recommend buying one for yourself. I like this life jacket because it is comfortable, lightweight, and doesn’t get in the way when I am kayaking. In many states, wearing a life jacket is required by law when kayaking. So, make sure to check what the laws are in your state before you head out on your kayak!

We have had an experience where we didn’t have a life jacket and were told by park rangers to get out of the water, so we always bring them now! Better safe than sorry at least!

Kayaking gloves

If you are paddling a lot and your hands start to get tired or sore, then I recommend using gloves. Gloves can help prevent blisters and keep your hands from getting too cold in the water.I recommend using kayaking gloves made for paddling as they will provide you with a better grip and protection. I like these gloves because they are lightweight, have a good grip, and keep my hands warm in cold weather.


You should always wear a whistle while out kayaking. If something happens and you get separated from your group, the whistle can help signal for help. I like this whistle because it is loud and has a clip so you can attach it to your life jacket. You can also tie or attach a whistle to a lanyard and wear it around your neck if you are wearing a life jacket that doesn’t have a clip on it.

Having a whistle while kayaking is also often a law in many states, so it is important to know what the laws are in your state!

Bug Spray

If you plan to go kayaking during the early morning or after the sun sets, you might run into some bugs. Be sure to wear bug spray, preferably one with DEET, to protect yourself from any bugs that could bite you!

You can also wear these bug nets that go around your head to help protect your face and neck from bugs. We wear these when we go fishing after the sun goes down and they really help keep mosquitos and other bugs from attacking your face.

Thank you for reading!

Kayaking in the summer is always a fun activity to try, given that you are wearing the proper clothing! Before your next kayaking trip, be sure to consult this list so you are prepared for whatever comes your way!

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