What to Wear Kayaking in Alaska

What to Wear Kayaking in Alaska

Kayaking in Alaska offers a unique and breathtaking experience, allowing you to explore the pristine beauty of its coastal waters and encounter incredible wildlife. However, the unpredictable weather and the icy temperatures of the Alaskan waters require careful consideration when choosing what to wear for this adventure. Here are some tips to help you dress appropriately for kayaking in Alaska.

1. Layering is key: The weather in Alaska can change rapidly, so dressing in layers is essential. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep you dry and warm.

2. Insulating mid-layer: Add an insulating layer like a fleece or a down jacket to provide extra warmth. This layer should be easily removable in case you get too warm.

3. Waterproof and windproof outer layer: A quality waterproof and windproof jacket and pants will protect you from rain, splashes, and strong winds. Look for gear made with breathable materials to prevent sweating.

4. Gloves: Invest in waterproof gloves to keep your hands warm and protected. Consider purchasing gloves with good grip to maintain control of your paddle.

5. Footwear: Wear neoprene water shoes or waterproof boots to keep your feet dry and warm. Avoid cotton socks as they retain moisture, which can make you feel cold.

6. Headgear: A hat or a beanie is essential to prevent heat loss from your head. Consider wearing a hat with a brim to shield your face from the sun or rain.

7. Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the sun’s glare and UV rays by wearing polarized sunglasses. They also help shield your eyes from water splashes.

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8. Personal flotation device (PFD): Always wear a PFD or life vest while kayaking for your safety. Ensure it is comfortable and properly fitted.

9. Drysuit or wetsuit: If you plan to kayak in colder months or in glacial waters, consider wearing a drysuit or a wetsuit to protect you from the frigid temperatures.

10. Sunscreen: Apply a waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, even on cloudy days.

11. Dry bag: Bring a dry bag to store your personal belongings like extra clothes, snacks, and a camera. This will keep them dry and secure during your kayaking adventure.

Common Questions and Answers:

1. Can I wear jeans while kayaking in Alaska?
It is not recommended to wear jeans while kayaking as they become heavy and uncomfortable when wet. Opt for quick-drying and moisture-wicking materials instead.

2. Do I need to wear a wetsuit in summer?
A wetsuit is not necessary during the summer months in Alaska, but it can provide additional insulation if you’re kayaking in colder waters or on rainy days.

3. Can I wear a regular raincoat?
A regular raincoat might not be suitable for kayaking as it may not provide enough protection against water splashes. Invest in a waterproof and windproof jacket designed for outdoor activities.

4. Should I wear a hat with a chin strap?
A hat with a chin strap can be beneficial in windy conditions to prevent it from blowing away. However, it’s not necessary if you have a well-fitted hat.

5. Is it necessary to wear a PFD if I know how to swim?
Yes, wearing a PFD is essential for everyone, regardless of swimming ability. It provides extra safety and buoyancy in case of an accident.

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6. Can I wear contact lenses while kayaking?
Wearing contact lenses is generally safe while kayaking, but it’s advisable to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from water splashes and glare.

7. Are there any specific clothing restrictions for kayaking in Alaska?
There are no specific clothing restrictions, but it is recommended to avoid cotton clothing as it retains moisture and can make you feel cold.

8. Can I wear flip-flops while kayaking?
It is not recommended to wear flip-flops while kayaking as they provide little protection and can easily slip off. Opt for neoprene water shoes or waterproof boots instead.

9. Do I need to wear a drysuit if I’m kayaking for a short period?
If you’re only kayaking for a short time in warmer months, a drysuit may not be necessary. However, always check the weather conditions and water temperature before deciding.

10. What should I do if my clothes get wet while kayaking?
Carry an extra set of clothes in a dry bag and change into them if your clothes get wet. It’s important to stay dry to avoid hypothermia.

11. Can I wear cotton socks while kayaking?
Avoid wearing cotton socks while kayaking as they retain moisture and can make your feet feel cold. Opt for moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials like wool or synthetic socks.