Making the choice on what clothes to wear when kayaking is a key factor in determining whether you enjoy your trip or not. It is essential to wear the right thing as imagine you have your whole kayaking trip in soaked clothes and being uncomfortable the whole time, it would ruin your experience.  You may be asking your self, What shoes to wear when kayaking? Can I wear flip flops when kayaking? All these will be answered and rest assured all you questions will be answered.

In this guide we will explain how to prepare for the temperature and then advice on what clothing to wear.

Clothing Tips

In regards to clothes for kayaking it is more or less the same for any outdoor activity. You will be will be looking for comfort, durability and adaptability. you will need to especially want to prepare for wet condition.

  1. Anti Grazing-resistant fabrics: You will want more durable fabrics which will stand strong against the harshness of the watery environment. you will likely be knocking strong waves and various other things and your clothes need to withstand this
  2. Sun protection: No matter how much clouds there are on the day you kayak, you will be exposed to the sun and for that reason you will need clothing with UPF plus suncreen.
  3. Quick drying fabrics : First and foremost avoid all cotton layers as it absorbs water when wet and will leave you very uncomfortable as you will definitely come in contact with water! we suggest fast drying nylon or polyester.

Warm Air & Warm Water

If you reside in a hot country with warm water it will be a simple as dressing for a sunny day at the beach, the only problem will be to stay cool! That can be addressed by staying well hydrated, wearing sun cream and having some good eye wear or a hat. 

Cold Air & Cold Water

To dress for cold temperatures is very different and there are a few factors you will need to consider.

Falling in to extremely cold water will have risks from:

  • Hyperthermia
  • heart shock
  • drowning
  • immediate lung shocks

To avoid this there the concept of layering  is commonly used when dressing for cold weather. This not only gives you the option to remove clothes if the temperature changes its gives you protection from different factors.

Wetsuit for kayaking – Layering Technique

wetsuits for women

  • Bottom  layer: Wearing swimwear is enough for this layer in addition to your base compression wear.
  • Middle layer: The warm water inside coupled together with the thickness of the wetsuit, insulates you. For extreme cold conditions it would be advisable to wear thicker a wetsuit.
  • Outer layer: The westsuit is windproof and watertight therefore, no outer layer is needed if you have a long sleeved suit.

In the picture to the right we found a very good WETSUIT FOR WOMEN which cover everything that you will need in a wetsuit.


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Layering technique with Short-sleeve/Shorts Westsuit or Sleeveless

  • Consider a quick drying top under the suit to cover the  areas of your arms that are exposed. A long-sleeve base layer or an anti-rashguard top offers protection from heat and sun. Go with something heavier if the air is cold.
  • Make sure you have a lightweight fleece  jacket with a rain jacket or a protective jacket in order to cover your arms if conditions get colder and more humid.

Layering technique with a Dry Suit

  • Bottom layer : a dry suit is essentially waterwaer with tight seals. You will need a wicking long underwer.  You can also buy covers for dry suits and some dry suits with fleece lining.
  • Middle layer: For colder conditions, a thick layer of fleece fabric can be added.
  • Outer layer:  The dry suit is  waterproof and windproof,  Meaning no additional outer layer is not required.


Clothing to wear when kayaking


Now to answer the question earlier can you wear flip flops when kayaking?

No! you should not wear flip flops when kayaking, they come off your feet far to easily, and would not be comfortable on the boat.

What shoes to wear when kayaking ? Rather then wearing your regular comfortable trainers,  neoprene shoes would be best bet as they are puncture resistant, offer thermal protection and foot support! This is the best all rounder that a shoe can offer when in your kayak.



If you are going to kayak on a very hot day then it is advisable to bring a hat with you. A simple  wide brim hat with a leash too to secure your hat is what you can bring along with you. 



Paddling Gloves are nice because they protect against both blisters and blustery days. “Pogies” are another cool-day option: They fasten to the paddle and you slip your hands inside them to grip the shaft. Some people prefer them because pogies let their hands directly grip the paddle while also being shielded from theelements.