What to wear when you’re kayaking?
That is a question we often get from our clients. We asked our Danish guide, Benji, what to wear and this is what he says: Remember that everyone is different and wherefore each person got special needs. It really depends on the weather condition (rain and wind) but the “3-layer principle” are some good guidelines:
The inner layer must keep the person dry and make sure to transport moisture and sweat away from the body. It could be a thin woolen underwear (wool will still keep you warm if it gets wet) or a sports shirt from Nike or so. Cotton is generally a bad idea as it sucks water quite well. When you are kayaking, you will get wet (it is just a question about how much), so cotton can not be recommended. Cotton also dries slowly and does not heat very well when wet.
The second layer is primarily about isolating and keeping the heat of the body. Here you can also use wool or perhaps a fleece.
The third and last layer can often be avoided if there is no prospect of rain or strong winds.
It is about keeping the water and wind away from the body. By wearing a wind- or waterproof jacket, you will keep the heated air close to the body. Often rain jackets have a barely breathable membrane, so it can be difficult for sweat to get away from the body and therefore condensation may occur and you may feel a little damp.
A woolen hat and gloves are not considered necessary when it is +7 degrees (44 fahrenheit) or if it does not rain. If it is sunny, a cap and especially sunglasses can be a good idea.
Here you see Benji kayaking on a sunny day in Ålesund with about 7 m/s (15,5 mph) wind, wearing a long merino wool shirt, a cap, sunglasses and of cause a life vest.