Sun Protection Clothing for Kayaking

Sun Protection Clothing – Kayaking Comfortably

Being on the water and gliding swan-like in your kayak, you’d be forgiven for wanting to let your skin brown wearing only a swimsuit. As romantic as the image is, the following day, you may be burnt. Painfully so. Did you know that the sun’s rays bounce of the water blitzing your skin? Wearing a hat is a good idea, as is wearing sun protection, but why not take it up a notch by wearing sun protection clothing? Have you heard of it?

  1. General protective clothing

To an extent, our clothing has always been a form of protection against the sun, even more so in countries near deserts. Some types of clothing are more suitable than others at blocking out those UVBrays. Think of Cotton and Linen; They are breathable and have thread counts strong enough to be a good sunblock while still keeping you comfortable, but they get heavy when wet so they aren’t suitable for kayaking. How quickly would these fabrics dry too? If the weave is really tight, the holes are too small for UV rays to enter, and when it is you, a kayak, water, and the sun, you might be ok. The safest clothing you can choose is designed especially to safeguard your skin.

  1. Reef Safe Sunscreen and Clothing

Enter Sun protection clothing. Designed to be comfortable but with UV protection too.

You know you live in the future that people of the early 20th century thought about when your clothing can be super-powered. The kayaking experience will only be made more enjoyable if you are safe and comfortable. By safe, I am talking about your skin, the most exposed organ you have.

Please make sure, if you are kayaking around coral reefs, the sunscreen you use is coral friendly and is biodegradable. There are several sunscreen brands that produce reef safe sunscreens and it is your responsibility as a kayaker to choose eco friendly sun protection.

UPF, which stands for ‘ultraviolet protection factor’ is made from fabric that has been rated according to how much sun protection it has.

  1. The Best Clothing for kayaking

Choose clothes that are wind proof and water proof. If you want to get wet, then choose sun protection clothing that’ll dry quickly in the sun. You have long sleeve bodysuits, vests, not too unlike wetsuits, but much softer easily available online and in many department stores. Sun protection clothing is no longer niche. There is Global Warming to prepare for, after all.

Australia has had a pioneering sun protection clothing industry, with many Australians brought up with their clothing being added protection against the sun’s harsh rays. Our advice for anyone attempting kayaking is to be like an Australian by investing in specially designed UPF clothing.

What to Wear While Kayaking in the Summer

When Kayaking, special consideration should be given to your regalia to attire. You will need to have  clothing that gives you the safety you require and the perfect ergonomics to pull the best performance. There is a variety of Kayaking gear that we will name and a detailed explanation is given to help in settling for the best:

Sunglasses

The ultraviolet effect is an important element that should be considered in your choice. To this effect, polarized sunglasses that completely filters the UV filter and blocks the glare from the water would be very essential. Anglers are also provided the opportunity of having a view in the water with ease.  Here is some help picking the right sunglasses.

Hats

A fully brimmed hat that is light in weight and breathable will be good a protection for the face, neck, and ears. With this kind of hat, a mesh-like material is used at the top for heat dissipation. You may also need a sun mask or buff that is breathable and offers UV protection on the face and neck from the sun’s glare off the water surface. This is solemnly a personal preference for the buff application type and design that you will settle on.

Gloves

Though many people will disregard the glove as being unnecesary, it can be a source of protection in various levels. You can consider a glove whose gripping zone is reinforced with a tough material and all the areas that need flexibility made with a stretching material. This will be important in reducing soreness and preventing ultraviolet effects.

Clothing

A long-sleeved shirt designed for hot weather and is highly breathable is important during the summer as, without such a shirt, you will be exposed to the unwanted heat. Furthermore, kayaking for long hours with an improper attire can cause great levels of discomfort.

Legs should be secured during this sporting activity. Long pants that dry easily with the option of zipping off to a short would be the best option. You should also consider a breathable type to ensure your comfortability.

Low cut socks and breathable shoes would be my best choice of footwear to avoid getting burnt and reduce the heating levels. Lack of this consideration has led to many kayakers removing their footwear due to discomfort.

There may be a lot of ideas on what to wear and not to – make sure to go over your kayaking trip checklist every time before you go on water. What I offer is based on my years of experience in this sport. You can count on me for an amazing experience.

Kayak Sailing – Techniques and Best Practices

Kayak Sailing is Fun! As soon as the mast and sail are released you are off. Recover your paddle quickly and use it for steerage and stability. If you are sailing directly downwind ensure that the sail is central to the kayak. You will soon realise how easy it is to cover a large distance and what little effort it takes. It is very easy to steer and stabilize your kayak using the paddle.

Paddling with the Sail Stowed:

The sail will be rolled and stowed to one side of your kayak and secured with a strap.  On shorter boats you might find that the bottom of the mast gets near to your feet, this is not normally a problem and soon forgotten also the mast/sail assembly does not usually cause any problems. Keep control cords under your feet and legs when paddling!

Release Sail from Stowed Position:

The sail is released from its stowed position just prior to sailing your kayak. Turn the bow of your boat away from the wind so the wind is blowing over your shoulder from the back. Put your feet and legs under the control cord. Release the securing strap with one hand and hold on to the closed mast/sail, guide the mast toward the front of the kayak and release. We recommend that the paddle is dropped over the side prior to the sail release. Ensure that you have a strong paddle leash well secured before you launch from the beach.

Cross-Wind Sailing:

You will be able to sail across the wind after a little practice, although slower than downwind sailing it is possible to cover a lot of ground with minimum effort. Pull on one control cord and push the other to tilt the sail left or right. Do not pull the sail too much to one side.

If your kayak turns into the wind, the sail will blow towards you. To avoid this paddle on one side to keep the bow off the wind. Cross-wind sailing is easier with a stronger wind, but possible in a Force one as shown in this clip. Longer kayaks stay up-wind better than shorter ones.

Light Wind Sailing:

Even with the lightest off breeze the sail makes paddling very easy and can really extend your range. The best technique is to let the sail take the strain and paddle gently.

Stopping and Stowing:

When you want to stop sailing, pull the two control cords towards you and collapse the masts together, roll the sail around the mast and secure with the strap.

We highly recommend that you stow the rig in good time prior to getting too close to the landing area. Take extra care when landing in surf. Put control cords back under your feet and legs if you intend to come ashore or to paddle any distance.

Buyers Guide to Buoyancy Aids

A piece of kit sometimes ignored during a paddler’s early experiences of kayaking is the Buoyancy Aid/Personal Floatation Device (PFD). Offering extra flotation, warmth and storage, a PFD can also be a lifesaver when you find yourself in sticky situations – So it’s a bit of kit you don’t really want to ignore.

Sourcing a comfortable fitting PFD is one of the main things you should purchase before going out for a paddle. The cheaper PFD’s are normally bog standard, designed just for floatation. The more expensive models offer bonus features and should also be taken in consideration – depending on what paddling you’re going to partake in.

The open sea, fast flowing rivers and even the calm and peaceful lakes all have their fair share of potential hazards. In many situations a well-fitting PFD could be the difference between keeping your head above water… Or not.

With plenty of choice in models and types to choose your PFD from,  Here are some key points to keep in mind, whilst shopping for your new PFD.  Here is a look at why you always need a PFD.

WHAT’S AVAILABLE?

There are many different paths your kayaking career may take and in each instance there will most likely be a BA that fits your style of paddling.

Whether you face surfing some heavy white water, or taking a nice chilled paddle across the millpond sea watching the sunset, There will be something available suiting your requirements.

Buoyancy aids for whitewater, touring, sea paddling, female specific and youth/junior types can all be found if you do a bit of looking around.

If you’re also a dog owner, then you can keep them safe with a canine buoyancy aid! – There is no excuse for the whole family to not get involved!

BUOYANCY LEVELS

The minimum buoyancy level for PFDs is CEN 50N, but whatever water conditions you’re going to paddle in will be the guide on just how much buoyancy your BA should have.
For example, a PFD with 50N flotation isn’t suitable for paddlers heading for white water, it needs to be 60N – at least! 50N is fine for calm waters, lakes and messing around on the sea.

Always check for the CE mark when looking at buoyancy aids to insure the garment has been manufactured according to strict guidelines.

If you’re the type of person who is going to launch yourself over a weir or glide down a raging river then it may be worth looking at a more heavy duty PFD… Like the white water ones…

***One thing to remember though is that your PFD will not turn you face up if you’re unconscious – they are only able to provide extra floatation.***

FITTING

The main thing when purchasing your PFD is to get the fit spot on. If it doesn’t fit you securely then you may as well not bother wearing one!

Keep in mind that you will be using your buoyancy aid all year round, during different seasons you will be wearing less and more – This needs to be taken into consideration.

Whilst you are in the shop, it’s worthwhile tightening up the PFD and getting a friend to try and lift the buoyancy aid over your head. If your PFD can be easily pulled over your head then you need to try a smaller size, or a different design.

PADDLER PROTECTION

If your favourite spot is full of hazards like rocks and other obstacles then it could be worth getting a PFD with extra padding.
A PFD with thicker padding could help protect you against knocks and scrapes if you’re getting chucked around or even if you’re tipped out of your kayak.

EXTRA FEATURES

You may want to have some goodies on you whilst you’re out paddling. A few energy boosters such as chocolate or energy bars are always good to have when your muscles become tired and achy.

From a safety point of view it is useful to have somewhere to attach a throwline and a knife, Many PFD’s come with various loops, pockets and places to store and attach all the tools for your session.

Other features such as reflective strips and clips for your gear are all handy and could influence which product you eventually end up owning.

GARMENT CARE

Finishing up a paddling session and dumping all your soaking wet gear in the boot of your car, is the quickest way for your PFD to gather mould and eventually break down the materials making it a useless bit of kit.

Hosing off your buoyancy aid ad the end of each paddling trip with fresh water will increase its life; As will drying it thoroughly and keeping it stored away from moisture and direct sunlight.

If your PFD shows any signs of wear within its warranty period, even after due care, then it needs to be taken or sent straight back to the retailer. Don’t under any circumstances continue to use a faulty piece of equipment – Your life and others could be at risk if you do so.

Look after your kit and your kit will look after you.