White Water Clothing-Staying Warm and Comfortable

White water clothing can mean the difference between staying warm and comfortable, like the difference between football and basketball.

Whitewater Clothing

Clothing for Whitewater Kayaking and Rafting

There is a difference on what you wear for differing sports. Its nice to stay warm and dry as you can while rafting or kayaking. What you wear does make a big difference. Some clothes dry slower, especially cottons but fabrics like cotton and blends with nylon and polyester make a huge difference in drying time and how moisture is wicked away from you body. Spandex blended in adds to how much the material stretches and makes the white water clothing more comfortable.

Katie likes wearing wool under her layers, it keeps you warm even when it gets wet.

Rash guards are light clothing that protects you from the sun and the elements. Also, being for comfort in the water sport of you choice. Built for comfort and a relaxed fit. Wicks moisture away from you body, helping to keep you warm and dry. Rash guard also protects you from the sun and protection against chafing. A good layering choice.

Layering for Warmth

You usually dress in layers of clothes to keep warm, especially in differing water temperature conditions. The colder the water temperature and the change in weather conditions determines how we will dress.

If the water temperature is on the warm side you may decide all is needed is a rash guard t-shirt and relax fit cloths fast

drying time and breathable. Cotton is slow drying so is a poor choice for whitewater sports.

Clothes that are a mixture between polyester, nylon and spandex are made of fabrics in combination that are breathable, wick moisture away from the body and also dry quickly.

Drysuits Versus Wetsuits

Wetsuits keep you warm by the water coming through you suit where it warms against you body, air bubbles in the neoprene acts like insulation in you house. Keeping you warm but over time you still feel the cold. This is why the colder the water you are active in the thicker or more millimeters thick you suit should be.

The wetsuits can range from a few millimeters thick to approximately 7millimeters. Thicker the warmer. Legs and arms could be less thick to give more freedom of movement depending on you water sport.

Drysuits on the other hand are meant to keep you dry and warm at water temperatures less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This is where you use layers underneath to help keep you even warmer. There are lots of good sites that go into more detail than I go in here. NRS, Outdoorplay and Wetsuit Wearhouse are a few sites.

White water clothing makes a lot of difference, how your day will go. For a short rafting adventure with a guide you usually just get wet and you hope for a nice, sunny and hot day and you’ll get by fine. Maybe then you’ll be hooked then you’ll be investing in your own gear. Just always keep it fun. These are just a few choices to help you find the right clothing. Amazon is one of the best with lots of choices, research and good ideas.

Footwear for Comfort and Safety

Footwear for water comfort come in many choices. It is pretty much a personal decision and what you are going to be using the shoes for. Some have choices of different kinds of soles, arches and traction designs.

Also, how they disperse the water. Are you going to use your shoes just for rafting and wading in water or are you going to get out and hike and climb. Are you going to be spending more time in the water boarding and wading in the surf. Maybe youwhitewater shoes want to be able to do all of these. Pick the right shoe.

Some water shoes will give plenty of added support while others will be more like wearing a pair of socks. Other will pick up on small rocks and need cleaning more often. There are lots of choices and you need to try to make the right one, that way you will enjoy your day to the fullest.

Make sure you get the most comfortable shoe you can afford. The cost variance on these shoe choices are not that much.

Amazon has a big selection on water shoes, rash guards and clothing. Pick for comfort and to match your sport. One of Amazon best water shoe is the Mens Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe. Mainly has a good rating for water sports. If you were going to raft then hike a lot I would do research on others as well. Some people like them for fishing.

Enjoy Your Whitewater Adventure

There is much to enjoy when you love a sport like whitewater and the way you dress, will make your adventures enjoyable. There is so much research out there and lots of choices to make. There is no reason not to go prepared and be comfortable.

Amazon has many good choices from swim suits to rash guard t-shirts and layering clothes to wetsuits. Big choice in the shoe department.

Whether you take a short day ride kayaking on a lake, running a quiet stream with maybe category one rapid or playing in the surf in Hawaii. There is no reason not to be prepared to make it the best trip ever.

My daughter kayaks some of the coldest streams in the US. She wears her kokatat dry suit plus layer underneath with wool or she even said down. I know when down gets wet it stays wet. Wool on the other hand insulates even under wet conditions. In the evenings they wear there lighter layers to sit around and enjoy a nice fire and good meal plus camp fun.

The clothing you wear on your outings, makes a big difference in how much you will enjoy your adventure. Stay away from cotton and lean toward nylon, polyester and spandex fabric. Use rash guard clothing to protect yourself from sun and chafing. They are fast drying.

Wear a good type of water shoe that will dry quickly won’t pick up the sand and gravel and gives good traction and will give you the support for whatever your plans are.

In cold water layer to stay warm, you can always shed extra clothing. Bring a waterproof dry bag for extras.

Plan Your Whitewater Adventure

I wish you the best for your whitewater adventure. Plan and be prepared.



  1. Hello, I really love the life on the white water. I mean I have gone kayaking with a lot of people especially most of my friends who find it really fascinating how I always just want to go on the waters in that little boat. I guess it all comes from my family. Well, one of the most important things is how you’re dressed because you wouldn’t want to feel uncomfortable while on the water. This is a good post you know with good advice too. Love it!

    • Payton Thanks for the comment it was really appreciated. My daughter Katie inspires me with the same spirit that you have. She loves the life on the water too. Best to You

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