Clothing   One of the most important steps in assuring a good trip on the water is wearing the proper protective clothing.  I consider 3 factors before determining what clothing to purchase or bring out on to the water: Thermal protection, splash/water resistance and breathability.

Depending upon your environment and local paddle zone, staying dry may be the most important factor to maintaining a normal body temperature.  In certain climates, the mild water temperatures threaten a paddlers ability to stay warm.  It's even possible to wear too much, overheating the body thus potentially causing hyperthermia and dehydration.  Whether it's a wet or dry suit, splashwear or swim trunks, match the appropriate clothing to the climate and conditions.   

Other things to consider:  How restrictive is the clothing while I'm on the kayak?  Is the clothing and/or wetsuit adversely affecting my ability to paddle or maneuver around the kayak?  Most clothing specially geared towards water sports, paddling specifically, are at least fairly comfortable for wearing while kayak fishing.  Some are more comfortable than others.  If the clothing is specialized for paddling it shouldn't be too restrictive.  

I often like to split the difference.  Some days I'll wear a farmer john wetsuit with a good paddle jacket. Other days I may wear a paddle pants and jacket combo.  I always wear booties regardless of if I'm wearing a wetsuit, paddle pants or swim trunks.  If the air temperature is cold, I may put on an additional layer underneath my jacket or over my farmer john.  I can always peel layers off while as my body temperature rises.  That works for me.  There are several options and routes to go when it comes to protective apparel. Find a comfortable, warm, breathable and water resistant system that works best for your climate and application.

Paddle Jackets


Paddle Pants


Neoprene Shorts


Images courtesy of Northwest River Supplies