What to Wear

While out on the water it is important to stay safe and warm by wearing the right clothing and safety gear. We have written this short guide if you’re new to give a general outline on what to wear while Kayaking or Canoeing. You can also ask any of our coaches for advice and suggestions.

The Basics

Dress for the Water

As a rough rule of thumb you want to dress for the water temperature not the air temperature so you may want an extra layer unless it’s exceptionally warm.

…And The Weather

However you should use a bit of common sense with this. If it is a hot summers day you don’t want to be wearing multiple layers of fleece or you’ll boil. If it’s spring and the water is about 4°C you’ll want more than a t-shirt and shorts. If you’re in doubt bring extra layers and ask our coaches for advice.

Remember layering a number of thin garments together can help trap air and keep you warmer while also being versatile enough that if you get too hot you can take a layer or two off.

Choose Suitable Fabrics

Wool, merino wool, & polyester are suitable for kayaking. Most Kayaking and Canoeing shops will sell base layers and fleeces suitable for paddlesports if you are in any doubt. Many other fabrics do not provide insulation when wet and can put you at risk of hypothermia.


  • Cotton
  • Flannel
  • Denim
  • Corduroy
  • Cellulose Fabrics like Bamboo

If you have a wetsuit we’d recommend bringing it along as it’ll keep you nice and warm in most conditions.


If you are just starting out a pair of old trainers will be fine. There are also many different makes of wet shoes you can purchase that are suitable for paddlesports. When choosing be aware that you will want something that will protect your feet from sharp rocks on the bank as well as being suitable for water sports.


Not necessary but they can be great for protecting your hands from wind chill while paddling. Woollen gloves will do in a pinch and our coaches can give more advice if you’re considering something more suitable like neoprene gloves.

What Else Will I Need?

When paddling you will need:

  • Buoyancy aid
  • Spray deck
  • Cag/Waterproof layer
  • Helmet

The club has some spares available to borrow, please call John Blaike and they’ll be offered on a first come first served basis.

More Information

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy some stuff we’d highly recommend it. The club’s kit is quite basic as almost all paddlers buy and use their own kit. Whilst you can spend a lot of money good starting points are :-

  • A wetsuit
  • Footwear suitable for watersports
  • A helmet
  • A buoyancy aid

Feel free to ask for further advice or recommendations from other paddlers in the group. Or try asking at your local Kayaking / Canoe shop.