Dressing for an Amazing Summer Kayaking Experience

Picture this: a sunny day, a calm river, and the cool touch of water as you navigate through breathtaking landscapes. Kayaking in the summer is an exhilarating adventure that requires the perfect attire. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or just starting out, knowing what to wear is crucial for comfort, safety, and making the most of your time on the water.

Dress for Submersion, Not Just for the Weather

When kayaking, it’s essential to dress as if you might end up in the water. Regardless of the season, you must prepare for potential submersion. This means choosing clothing that can get wet and allows for easy swimming. Remember, dress for the temperature of the water, not the air.

A Guide to Summer Kayaking Clothes

Here’s a handy guide to help you choose the ideal attire for your summer kayaking adventure:

Quick-Drying Fabrics

Opt for clothing made from quick-drying materials like synthetic polyesters or quick-dry nylons. Rash guards made of these fabrics are excellent choices. Merino wool is another option as it not only dries quickly but also wicks away moisture. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs water and takes a long time to dry.

Tough yet Comfortable

Select lightweight and comfortable clothing that strikes a balance between durability and flexibility. While super-thin materials like yoga pants may not hold up, jeans can be too binding and cause chafing. Find something in between that allows for ease of movement and withstands the rigors of kayaking.

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Sun Protection

Protecting yourself from the sun’s rays is crucial, especially during summer. Besides using sunscreen, wear clothing that provides UV protection. Consider long-sleeved rash guards and other garments made from UPF rated fabric. These will ensure you stay safe during those long days out on the water.


Choose footwear that offers protection for your toes and the soles of your feet. While some prefer old tennis shoes, they tend to retain odor and aren’t ideal for swimming. Neoprene paddling booties are a great option, but if you prefer something lighter, try hiking sandals with a secure back strap. These dry quickly and minimize irritation. Avoid flip flops as they are difficult to keep on if you end up in the water.


Depending on the water temperature, you may need neoprene paddling gloves to protect your hands from freezing and blisters. Glacier-fed rivers, for example, warrant the use of gloves due to their icy waters. Consider investing in a pair to ensure your hands stay comfortable and safe throughout your kayaking adventure.


Wearing a wide-brimmed hat offers additional protection from the sun. Opt for a hat that attaches securely to your head to prevent it from blowing away in the wind.


The reflection of the sun off the water can be intense, potentially harming your eyes with UV rays. Wearing a good pair of sunglasses on sunny days is crucial. Keep them secure with a retainer strap to prevent loss if you accidentally fall overboard.

Wet Suit

While a wet suit may not be necessary for summer kayaking, there are instances when it can be a smart addition. If the water temperature is significantly cooler than the air temperature, it’s advisable to wear a wet suit for extra insulation. A 2mm-thick shorty suit that extends to the knees and elbows provides enough protection without causing overheating.

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Life Jacket

Regardless of your expertise, the temperature, or the duration of your kayaking trip, always wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). It’s an essential safety precaution that can save lives.

Summer Kayak Storage

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of how to dress for summer kayaking, it’s essential to properly store your kayak for maximum convenience and durability. Our beautiful, hand-carved cedar log storage racks offer a secure and convenient solution. Designed to keep your kayak safely stored and easily accessible, our wall-mounted and free-standing racks are perfect for kayaks, canoes, and other small boats. Explore our standard kayak storage racks here or contact us for a custom storage solution.

Remember, as you embark on your summer kayaking adventure, prioritize comfort, protection, and safety. Dress appropriately, choose the right gear, and enjoy the wonders that nature has to offer. Happy kayaking!