There are a few essentials you should be wearing on kayaking adventures. We want to stay safe while on the water, on land, and from the sun.

Let’s take a look at what should be worn, and why they are important.

What To Wear For Kayaking

Here is a comprehensive list of things you should generally be wearing for kayaking:

  • Life vest: Better known as the personal flotation device (PFD), this piece of equipment is typically worn as a vest to help its wearer stay afloat on water. Even the best of swimmers should wear a flotation device in case of loss of consciousness, fatigue, or be thrown off your kayak (capsized). If you ever find yourself in trouble, your PFD can be the difference between life or death. See our recommended top rated life vests buyer’s guide for a more detailed breakdown on PFD’s.
  • (Circumstantial) Helmet: Depending on where you are kayaking, a helmet might be required. In close quarters to other land-based terrains (for example, river kayaking), kayakers should wear a helmet to protect them in case the boat capsizes or may remotely find themselves kayaking into rocks or other hard objects.
  • Sunscreen: Ultraviolet (UV) rays are harmful to the skin. Overexposure to it for example during long hours of kayaking can increase the risk of skin cancer. Using the right sunscreen for your body and the right sunscreen for your face can help protect you from the sun’s harmful radiation. Be sure to not forget your nose, ears, thighs, and toes. Most sunscreens need to be used 15 minutes before going outdoor to ensure it gets into your skin. Buy high SPF sunscreen, preferably over 50 for safety, that won’t come off from water or sweat and reapply every 2 hours.
  • Sunglasses: Glare should be expected when you are on the open water during daytime. Aside from protecting yourself from UV rays, they can help you see any incoming boats that might be headed your way. Eye gear can also prevent distractions from water splashes, especially during choppy paddling environments. Be sure to use a grip cord for your sunglasses, and consider bringing a spare in case one falls off during a paddling session.
  • Water shoes: Water shoes are great for any water-related activity. They protect our feet from the terrain and are waterproof, unlike our regular day-to-day shoes. They can give you much-needed grip as well for slippery conditions, while help with drying our feet when we are out of the water. You will want a pair of water shoes that are durable, have excellent water drainage, and can breathe very well. Depending on where you might be walking, you may want shoes that have hard soles for stick-filled grounds or when stepping around on the shallow water. You can learn more about water shoes from our buyer’s guide.

Wherever you go kayaking, however long you spend outdoor, staying safe is the #1 priority. Ensuring your life vest works, wearing sunscreen, and having other protective gear can make kayaking fun and enjoyable.