How To Dress For Kayaking In Fall (Wear Your Fave Fall Fashion!)

If you’re like me, you love spending time outdoors kayaking. But it can be challenging to decide what to wear as the weather begins to chill off in the fall. Do you need a wetsuit? What kind of clothing should you layer?

In this blog post, I’ll share my top tips for dressing for kayaking in the fall. By the end, you’ll know exactly what to wear (and what to pack) so that you can enjoy your time on the water no matter what the temperature is.

Key Takeaways

  • Wear a swimsuit to stay warm in cool weather
  • Dress in layers for easy temperature regulation
  • Choose quick-drying fabrics to avoid getting cold if you get wet
  • Wear a life jacket for safety in all conditions
  • Bring extra clothes and a towel to change into after kayaking
How To Dress For Kayaking In Fall
How To Dress For Kayaking In Fall

Here’s The Answer To How To Dress For Kayaking In Fall

Kayakers must consider what to wear on their paddling adventures as the weather starts to chill down in the fall. The water temperature will be colder than in summer, and more moisture will be in the air.

To stay warm and dry, you’ll need to layer your clothing. A fleece or wool base layer is a good choice for kayaking in fall weather. It will help you stay warm even when wet.

A lightweight nylon or polyester shirt can go over your base layer. You may not need a jacket on a warm day. But if it’s forecast to be cool or windy, you’ll want a waterproof jacket with quick-drying pants.

Kayakers also need to think about what they’re wearing on their feet. Immersion boots or neoprene booties are a good choice for fall kayaking. They’ll keep your feet warm even when they’re wet.

If it’s going to be a warm day, you may be able to get away with wearing sandals or synthetic fabric shoes. But if it’s going to be cold or wet, you’ll want boots with fasteners that won’t let water in.

You’ll generally want quick-drying fabrics that keep you warm even when wet. Wear layers so you may modify your clothing as the weather and temperature vary throughout the day. Additionally, check that your shoes can keep your feet dry and comfy for extended periods in possibly rainy environments.

Wear A Swimsuit Or Quick-Drying Clothes

Wear A Swimsuit Or Quick-Drying Clothes
Wear A Swimsuit Or Quick-Drying Clothes

The best way to get into kayaking is by wearing a swimsuit or quick-drying clothes. A wetsuit is a good idea, too.

It is simple and convenient if you decide to dress in a swimsuit.

You won’t even have to worry about changing out of your bathing suit when it’s time for dinner because quick-drying clothes are the best option for both beginners and advanced paddlers alike.

Dress In Layers

Wearing layers allows you to regulate your body temperature, especially when temperatures fluctuate in the water.

If it’s warm, you can peel off a layer or two; if it’s cold, you can add one or two more. This keeps your core temperature balanced and prevents overheating or chills.

Wear Bright Colored Clothes

Wear Bright Colored Clothes
Wear Bright Colored Clothes

Bright-colored clothes are more visible. This is especially true when you’re in a kayak, and it can be difficult to see, so it’s important to wear light colors that stand out against the environment.

If your clothing is already very light in color, consider adding some reflective strips or other safety features if you plan on kayaking at night or early morning. The last thing you want is for someone else on the water or shoreline not to be able to see you!

Choose The Right Footwear

  • Neoprene boots or barefoot
  • Durable, waterproof footwear (boots or shoes that are comfortable and fit well)

The type of shoe you wear on your feet will depend on what kind of kayaking you do.

If you’re planning to go paddleboarding in the ocean, it’s best to wear a pair of neoprene boots for protection from sharp shells and rocks—the water can be rough in the wintertime.

But if you’re going out into a lake or river where there is less debris, then no special footwear is needed: just wear something warm and comfy that fits well and provides good traction on your boat.

Protect Your Skin

As you step onto the water, remember that your skin is constantly exposed to UV rays. Even if it’s cloudy outside and you have little to no chance of catching a sunburn, your skin can still take damage from sun exposure.

While kayaking in the fall, protect your skin with sunscreen or SPF clothing like rashguards and neoprene leggings. Additionally, you should put on a hat, sunglasses, and gloves because they are all necessities for any stylish paddler.

Bring Extra Clothes

  • Bring extra clothes. Being trapped in wet gear while kayaking is the last thing you want to experience. Bring a change of clothes and a towel, if possible. It’s also helpful to have some dry stuff from the get-go so that you can change out of your wet things as soon as you get back home.
  • Bring extra layers. If it’s chilly when you’re out on the water, add an extra layer or two (or three!). This will keep you warm without overheating too much in case someone else on the trip starts to get hot—which happens more often than not!

How To Layer Your Clothing For Fall Kayaking?

How To Layer Your Clothing For Fall Kayaking
How To Layer Your Clothing For Fall Kayaking

Fall is the best time to go kayaking. Compared to summer, the air is colder, and the water is warmer. But you need to be prepared for cold conditions.

Over your undergarments, put on a personal flotation device (PFD). This will help keep you warm and dry.

Layer your clothing. Wear a lightweight shirt, a sweater, and a jacket. Kayaking can be strenuous so you may get hot even in cool weather. Be sure to wear layers that you can easily remove if necessary.

Wear pants or shorts that cover your lower body. You’ll be sitting in the kayak for a long time, so you want to ensure your legs are protected from the sun and scrapes and scratches.

Choose footwear that will keep your feet dry and warm. Tennis shoes or sandals are fine for short trips, but for longer kayaks, you’ll want shoes that offer more support and protection.

Which Is Better For Fall Kayaking – Paddle Jacket Or Paddle Vest?

Both are sensible choices, yet each has advantages and disadvantages. Here’s the deal: Your paddle jacket can be worn as a rain or sun protection layer (if it has a hood), whereas your vest will only protect you from the elements when it’s zipped up.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be engaging in lots of physical activity—like paddling or hiking—a vest can be warmer than a jacket that doesn’t have sleeves (like this one).

And suppose you’re planning on hitting colder waters or expect some precipitation. In that case, a zipper-fronted jacket may provide more warmth than an open collar design like the one pictured here (though if you know how to rig up an emergency shelter with your kayak gear, then neither should pose much of an issue).

Footwear For Fall Kayaking – Neoprene Boots Or Barefoot?

Footwear For Fall Kayaking – Neoprene Boots Or Barefoot
Footwear For Fall Kayaking – Neoprene Boots Or Barefoot

If you’re a beginner, I recommend going barefoot. This allows you to feel the ground and notice rocks or other obstacles before they can cause damage or injury. Additionally, you’ll be able to move around more easily in a crisis.

However, suppose you’re advanced and have experience in this type of activity. In that case, neoprene boots are probably better because they help keep your feet warm and dry during cold weather kayaking trips (which are common during fall).

If money is no object for you and comfort is more important than functionality (which isn’t always true), go with whatever works best for your needs.

Extras – Hats, Sunglasses, And Sunscreen For Fall Kayaking

Extras like hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen can also help protect you from the elements while kayaking. A wide-brimmed hat will shield your head and face from the sun’s rays.

Polarized sunglasses will guard your eyes against water, snow, or sand glare. Lastly, a good SPF of 30+ is crucial to ensuring that your skin stays healthy in the fall when UV rays are at their strongest.


As the weather gets cooler in fall, it’s important to make sure you’re dressing appropriately for kayaking. You can keep dry and comfortable while on the water by dressing appropriately.

Here are a few tips for what to wear kayaking in fall:

  • Wear layers that you can peel off as needed. A waterproof outer layer is a good idea.
  • Dress in bright colors to protect you from the sun and other boats.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from rocks and debris.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to dress comfortably and safely for kayaking in fall weather. For more kayaking tips and information, check our website or follow us on social media.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get cold kayaking in the fall?

It depends on the temperature of the water and air. You might want to wear a wetsuit or dry suit if you’re kayaking in cold water or weather.

Do I need a wetsuit for fall kayaking?

Again, it depends on the temperature of the water and air. If you think you might get cold, it’s a good idea to wear a wetsuit.

What type of booties should I wear for fall kayaking?

Closed-toe shoes or booties will protect your feet from rocks and debris. However, neoprene socks might be a better choice if you think you might get cold.

What are the benefits of wearing paddling pants while paddling in the fall?

Paddling pants will protect your legs from the sun and scratches or scrapes. They can also help you stay warm if you choose a thicker pair of neoprene or other insulating material.

Looking for the perfect fall kayaking outfit? Check out our guide on what to wear (and not to wear) when hitting the water this fall!