To improve your shopping experience today and in the future, this site uses cookies.
I Accept Cookies

What to wear to go kayaking? Summer edition!

Words by GoKayakingAdmin on 20/04/2020 15:31:24

One of our most FAQs is ‘What do you wear to go kayaking?’. There is no set answer – as it varies on conditions, what you’re intending to do and how suspectible you are to the cold. But there are some do’s and do not's, regardless of the paddling you’re doing.

1- Get some good base layers and thermals.

Layering is so important to keeping warm, especially in changeable UK conditions. I strongly recommend having 3 or 4 different thicknesses of good quality base layers which you interchange based on the conditions on the day. Freezing cold, stick them all on. Nice and sunny, wear just the base layer! At Go Kayaking we sell all sorts of thermals, for the cheaper options to the higher quality, and i can say from experience that cheap thermals are not worth it. A good set of thermals will make you warm, cosy and a happier paddler!

Next to the skin - NRS Silkweight base layer. Comfortable, wicking & breathable. Perfect next to the skin, and perfect on it’s own on a warm day because it has a SPF 50+! . Deliberate seem placement makes it very nice to wear whilst paddling - cheap thermals will have rough seems right where you don’t want them and they’ll chaff!! I’d always wear one of these, and then layer over it. Comes in mens and womens!

Mid weight - NRS Lightweight Thermal. Thicker and warmer than the silkweight, it works well as just a base layer or on top of the silkweight for extra warmth. Technical fabric retains warmth much better than cheap thermals, as well as offering wicking and advanced sun protection. Again comes in mens & womens!


Seekayaking around Lošinj, Croatia.












Expedition weight - NRS Expedition Weight Thermals. Friction free seems, gasket friendly cuffs make this an essential item of clothing. This is thicker than the lightweight thermal, making it perfect for colder days. Soft next to the skin, or as part of a layering system. Comes in mens and womens!

Keeping your torso warm is key to keeping your hands and feet warm. If you have cold hands, put an extra layer as this warms your core temperature and sends warmer blood to your extremities. If you have cold feet, make sure your legs are covered and for that I'd recommend NRS Expedition weight thermals, also available in mens & womens!

I personally have all 4 of these thermals, as well as an extra one piece thermal for winter paddler. I normally pack all of my thermals, and decide what to wear when I arrive at the car park. I might put them all on, or just 1 or 2. It all depends on the conditions and how susceptible you are to the cold.

2 – Get a good wind breaker/Waterproof

Once you’ve got your base layers sorted, you need something waterproof and windproof over the top. This would depend on what you're paddling, as whitewater kayakers would wear something different to sea paddlers.

Whitewater paddlers - You want something windproof, waterproof, spraydeck compatible but light and breathable. Worth trying on the 2.5L NRS Stratos or the Peak UK Freeride.

Sea Kayakers - Again, windproof and waterproof, with a hood - but not necessarily spray deck compatible. If you have a full neoprene spray deck go for the NRS Riptide jacket (mens, womens). The twin waist acts as a barrier between the neoprene spray deck and your base layers. If you have a nylon waist tube then you don’t need that barrier and i’d go for the Peak UK Adventure Single.

SUP, SOT & Rec paddlers - lightweight, comfortable splash proof paddle sports cag is required and I would recommend the NRS Helium Jacket (mens, womens) for comfort and performance whilst on a budget! Cut for paddle sports, accessible pockets whilst wearing a buoyancy aid, with wrist and neck seals to keep water out - this is more than just a splash cag.

3 – Don’t forget about the legs!

Bottoms - Depends on how susceptible you are to the cold. You can wear a lovely pair of water sports shorts (dewerstone Lifeshorts), or a pair of neoprene bottoms (Peak NeoSkin) or go full on dry trouser (Peak UK Storm Pants) - which isn’t something I'd recommend for summer as you’ll tend to bake!

As ever, we are all paddlers here and our advice comes from experience. We are always here to make sure you get the right kit for the right price, so if you have any questions feel free contact or visit us!




Phone: 01928 710 770


About the Author

Andy Lees has been paddling for over 10 years. Initially starting on whitewater, he then discovered a love for leisurely sea paddling. Often found swimming down grade 4 whitewater rivers in North Wales, or noodling in and out of the sea caves & cliffs of Anglesey.


Subscribe to our mailing list

Sign up to our mailing list and we'll send you special
offers now and then. Don't worry we won't bombard you.

100% free, Unsubscribe any time!