Kayak Clothing: Introduction

“It's better to be hot and bothered than cold and emotional”  -  You can always cool down, but you can't always warm up!

Clothing is a large part of our introductory course, as it is vital to your comfort and safety when on and off the water.

Firstly you must interpret the weather forecast and understand your environment to understand what clothing is necessary, and always carry spare appropriate clothing and shuttle clothes in a 10-20L dry bag. You never know when you will have to thumb a ride or catch a taxi...

Clothing is one of the key considerations when going paddling - you must get this right in order to enjoy kayak safely and make the most of your day paddle.

The clothing Golden Rules - your clothing should:

  1. Have NO COTTON - when it gets wet, it does not dry and remains cold and heavy! “Cold Cotton Kills!” NOT EVEN JOCKS or socks!
  2. When wet it must stay warm AND dry quickly!
  3. Blocks wind, sun, rain and sea spray!
  4. Protect from the unforgiving marine environment, such as rocks, barnacles and oysters,  plus sand flies and mosquitoes that are found in the most beautiful kayak locations!  
  5. Be high visibility and reflective - you want to be seen by other water users day and night!

That all sounds a little intimidating… Hmmm, well it is. You have to get this right!

In subsequent blogs we will list all the clothing we use: mix and match what is ideal for Sea kayaking, Kayak fishing, Ocean skis, kayak surfing. These clothing strategies are formulated for short and long day kayaking trips, including a short swim occasionally (NOT prolonged immersion!), and for both Sit in and Sit on top kayaks! It assumes that you are able to self-rescue or are paddling with friends and can undertake assisted rescue -  get out of the water quickly and start the drying and warming process! It is about mixing and matching the clothing to best suit you and your craft, the weather forecast and the environment.

Kayak Clothing that we use and recommend (follow the links for more information):

  • SunSmart gear for on and off the water. Protect yourself from sun all year round.
  • Thermal base layers for warmth when wet and dry quickly 
  • Paddling Jacket / Cag and Dry Pants to keep the wind off and warmth in
  • Use a helmet in surf and around rocks 
  • Hand protection from the cold, from blistering and from the sun
  • Feet - shoes/booties or sandals are a must to protect your feet. Keep them warm in thermal/neoprene socks.
  • Protection from insects - when you get off the water and around camp (and some times even on the water!)
Bathurst Harbour - contemplating the campsite after a day's paddle in the cool and damp SW Tasmanian Wilderness (a nice Tassie Summer's day!) - December 2013. Click here for a YouTube of this expedition!

Bathurst Harbour - contemplating the campsite after a day's paddle in the cool and damp SW Tasmanian Wilderness (a nice Tassie Summer's day!) - December 2013. Click here for a YouTube of this expedition!