What To Wear Kayaking in Seattle

women paddling in a kayak

Several lakes and bodies of water surround Seattle, and doing water activities, such as kayaking, is a pretty popular weekend activity for people who visit or live there. Note, however, that temperatures there can range from 35°F to 80°F (1.67°C to 26.67°C), depending on the season.

Here are 9 things to wear while kayaking in Seattle:

  1. Rash guard
  2. Wetsuit
  3. Personal flotation device (PFD)
  4. Board shorts or swim leggings
  5. Water shoes
  6. Hat
  7. Whistle necklace
  8. Kayaking gloves
  9. Waterproof phone case

Wearing the right kinds of clothes guarantees comfort and safety from the heat, the cold, or in case you fall off the kayak. As you read through this article, you’ll find more information on appropriate clothing and accessories for kayaking in Seattle.

1. Rash Guard

You must always be prepared to swim when doing water activities such as kayaking, even without physical contact with the water, because no one knows when the kayak may capsize. A rash guard is a good swimwear because it’s lightweight and allows a wide range of motion. 

girl with her mother kayaks on the river

It’s made of synthetic fibers like spandex and polyester, ideal for kayaking because it provides breathability in warm temperatures. In addition, it covers the arms and provides an extra layer of protection from the sun.

2. Wetsuit

Since the water temperature in Seattle is pretty cold, you must also wear a wetsuit. Wearing it provides a feeling of security for when you have to swim in case of capsizing. Whether you’re an expert or a newbie in kayaking, you still need protection from the cold water in the worst-case scenario.

Most people wear a rash guard underneath a wetsuit to protect their skin from chafing due to the latter’s fabric material—neoprene. 

If wearing two layers of full sleeves bothers you, you may opt for a sleeveless wetsuit made of premium isolating material such as the Lamorecn Diving Vest or a short-sleeved one with adjustable fit such as the ZCCO Diving Suit. It can also help with your arm movements while paddling and can provide the necessary warmth.

3. Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

Another essential thing to remember when doing water activities is wearing a personal flotation device. Beginners and experts alike need to wear it at all times while on the water. It’s not only necessary but also required. You must follow the boating laws and regulations when kayaking in Seattle.

personal flotation device as a life jacket in store

When you rent a kayak, rental shops usually provide PFDs. You’re free to bring your own Coast Guard-approved PFD, but make sure to use a brightly colored one to make you more visible in case of an accident.

4. Board Shorts or Swim Leggings

If you don’t plan to wear a full wetsuit, you can wear board shorts or swim leggings for bottoms. Board shorts allow easy movement for your legs, while swim leggings protect them from the sun’s UV rays.

Remember that you must avoid clothes made of cotton since they retain water and add on unnecessary extra weight when you’re trying to swim. Cotton can also be uncomfortable to sit in when wet and doesn’t dry as easily as some other synthetic materials. 

5. Water Shoes

The best shoes to wear while kayaking are water shoes. They’re comfortable and designed specifically for water sports. They’re made of breathable, quick-drying materials and provide warmth for your feet while submerged in cold water.

They can also protect the soles of your feet from friction and do not impede swimming when necessary. You also don’t need to wear socks with water shoes. They’re designed to fit comfortably on your feet, against your skin, and are lightweight. 

6. Hat

A hat with a 2-3-inch (5.08-7.62-cm) brim is wide enough to shield your eyes and face from the sun or raindrops but not too wide to block your central and peripheral vision, making it ideal for kayaking. It would also be great if it had a strap along your chin to secure it against strong winds.

7. Whistle Necklace

A plastic whistle necklace such as the Hipat Whistle is a lifesaver in case of an accident while doing water sports. It’s lightweight, and you can wear it snugly around your neck. Some personal flotation devices also have whistles attached to them, so you can easily call for help when you’re out on the water. 

8. Kayaking Gloves

The Palmyth Gloves can protect your hands from calluses or blisters from holding the paddle for an extended period. They’re made using spandex and polyester, which allow you to grip the paddles securely while still allowing easy and comfortable movement of your fingers.

In addition, they provide UV protection for your hands. Seattle is a temperate area; that’s why many kayakers tend to take their hands for granted, thinking that a long-sleeved rash guard is enough to protect them from the sun.

9. Waterproof Phone Case

It would be best if you carry your phone with you while kayaking. You can take good photos of your experience, but more importantly, it can help you call for help in case of an emergency. To ensure that your phone is secure, you must carry a waterproof phone case such as the MoKo Waterproof Pouch. It comes with a lanyard that you can wear around your neck.

Always Dress for the Weather When Kayaking in Seattle

Seattle has four seasons in one year. It may seem rainy all year round, but the city does have a short but dry summer. However, the summer doesn’t usually get too hot, and the city has a pretty temperate climate.

The water temperature in different bodies of water in Seattle tends to be cold, ranging from 46°F to 73°F (7.78°C to 22.78°C), with most of them below 60°F (15.56°C) all year round. 

It’s important to remember not to overestimate yourself when kayaking. You may be an experienced or a professional kayaker, but the weather can still pose some risks. You can be prepared for kayaking in Seattle by planning around the weather and wearing the right gear.

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