Boy kayaking in yak summer kit

What To Wear Kayaking In The Summer

If you’re wondering what to wear kayaking this summer, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together this ultimate checklist, so you know exactly what you need before heading out kayaking this summer.

What you’re going to wear out kayaking really depends on what the weather is that day. If you’re somewhere hot like the Mediterranean on a summer’s day with no clouds, you’ll probably want to be wearing little more than a bikini to stay cool. Whilst kayaking in a swimsuit is tempting, it’s important to bear in mind the essential safety equipment to keep you safe and other clothing accessories to keep you comfortable.

So, you’ve got your kayak, and now you need the right kayak clothing. Follow our ultimate summer clothing checklist, so you don’t forget a thing:


A cag is a lightweight jacket worn as a top layer that is designed to keep your top half dry when kayaking. Now the main reason for keeping dry when kayaking is to stay warm for longer, however, if the sun is blazing, you may not mind a bit of splash to cool you down and therefore may opt-out of wearing a cag or jacket.  However, these tops will provide UV protection which will be useful for protecting against harmful rays in the summer.


Trousers, like cags, are designed to keep you dry and therefore warm. In summer, if the weather is hot, you might want to opt for a pair of lightweight, quick-dry boardshorts. However, if it’s a bit cooler then a pair of kayak trousers or salopettes will keep you dryer and warmer. They also offer more UV protection than shorts.


In the summer, wetsuits are an ideal piece of clothing, especially for beginners. That is because when you’re learning to kayak, you’ll find yourself getting wetter than when you’re more advanced. Wetsuits will keep you warm and comfortable for longer. For kayaking, you may want to opt for a long john wetsuit, which is a long-legged sleeveless wetsuit. This is because your bottom half will be getting wetter than your top half and you’ll also have more movement on your top half.

Buoyancy aids

Probably the most essential piece of kit you need when kayaking is a buoyancy aid. This will keep you safe in case you end up in the water. The amount of flotation offered is measured in Newtons (N) with a larger number equalling more support. The minimum number to look out for is 50N. Kayaking buoyancy aids are designed to give you enough space for full movement but with a secure fit around the ribs. They also usually feature chest pockets to keep your possessions safe.


Helmets are especially important if you’re going whitewater kayaking as waters can be very unpredictable. You won’t regret being safe rather than sorry.


Choosing a pair of kayak shoes that are comfortable and durable is a very important way of improving your day out on the water. These will be useful for protecting your feet against stoney beaches or riverbanks when trekking around on the foreshore to get your kayak launched. For summer, a water shoe will do the job to keep your feet protected and comfortable and are easy to slip on and off. However, when the weather gets cooler, thermal lined boots will keep your toes toasty.


Wearing a hat kayaking in the summer can have many great benefits. Firstly, the right kayak hat can mean the difference between having a fantastic kayaking trip or coming home very sunburnt. A cap will also reduce glare and massively improve your visibility out on the water. Some caps come with a built-in retainer, or you can buy one separately to make sure your hat stays put.


Like a hat, sunglasses will do a good job of improving visibility by reducing glare out on the water. If you’re worried about losing your sunglasses in the water, check out Gill’s range of floating sunglasses or you could buy a retainer to keep them in place.

Change robe

Not advised to wear on the water (as it could be a safety hazard) but a change robe is a handy piece of kit to help you get changed whilst staying decent before and after kayaking. A towel poncho keeps you dry whilst changing outside and is designed to give you enough room to change inside.


Now that you’ve got everything you need, nothing is stopping you from having the best time out on the water.


Written by Lucy Harris.

Published on 3rd August 2021 in Guides

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