Best Sun Protective Clothing For Kayaking

A day spent out on the open water kayaking is hard to beat! Yet even the best day can be ruined by a bad sunburn. Kayaking is a popular outdoor sport, but it also puts …

best-sun-protection-clothies-for-kayaking

A day spent out on the open water kayaking is hard to beat! Yet even the best day can be ruined by a bad sunburn.

Kayaking is a popular outdoor sport, but it also puts you in prime positioning for a sunburn. After all, when kayaking you have a number of factors that can contribute to more sun exposure than other outdoor activities. For one, being out on the water means that you’ll have additional sunlight reflecting off of the water, increasing your sun exposure.

Being out on the water also means that you won’t have much shade to take shelter under, except for overhanging trees here and there.

Obviously, these risks shouldn’t keep you from enjoying paddling down the river, but there are some sun safety precautions you should take. We’ll round up some of the best sun protective clothing you’ll want to have for kayaking!

1. Vapor Apparel Men’s UPF50 Long Sleeve Shirt

Vapor Apparel Men's UPF 50+ UV Protection Long Sleeve Tee, L, Columbia Blue
9,124 Reviews
Vapor Apparel Men's UPF 50+ UV Protection Long Sleeve Tee, L, Columbia Blue
  • Permanent Protection: The UPF 50+UV/Sun Protection technology blocks the sun’s rays and is built into the fabric, unlike other shirts. Our fabric is...
  • Performance Wear: Lightweight 100% Microfiber Polyester shirt with PURE-tech moisture-wicking technology, which is permanently infused with the fabric...
  • Active Lifestyle: Built for athletic activities like swimming, fishing, running, hiking, playing baseball, or simply sitting at the beach all day....

A long-sleeved sunproof shirt should be a must-have item for kayaking. You’ll want to get the most sun protection you can out of your shirt, which is why we recommend going with a long-sleeved, high-collared shirt like this Vapor Men’s Shirt.

I know what you’re thinking- won’t I be hot in a long-sleeved shirt? Not to worry, as this shirt has moisture-wicking material that is designed to dry quickly, as well as anti-microbial features to keep you from getting too smelly.

We also love that this shirt comes in 20 different colors, plus it has a UPF 50 rating so you know it’s really keeping the sun away.

2. Baleaf Women’s Long Sleeve Half-Zip Sun Shirt

BALEAF Women's Long Sleeve Half-Zip Sun Protection Rashguard Side Adjustable Swim Shirt White Size M
2,434 Reviews
BALEAF Women's Long Sleeve Half-Zip Sun Protection Rashguard Side Adjustable Swim Shirt White Size M
  • Soft, sleek, lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying fabric
  • UPF 50+ blocks sun's harmful rays
  • Chest zipper with pull for easy on and off, and the zipper garage protects your neck from chafing

While the Baleaf Half-Zip Shirt is technically unisex, we imagine women will be looking for a more fitted sun shirt while kayaking on the lake.

This shirt is made from 85% polyester and 15% spandex with a 50 UPF rating. It’s lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking to keep you cool in the heat.

This Baleaf shirt is designed with a chest zipper so that you can zip up the neck for full coverage, if you’d like. The side length is also adjustable, allowing this shirt to be worn as a rashguard or a cover-up, depending on your needs.

It comes in four different colors: white, black, blue, and coral.

3. Men’s Columbia Tamiami Shirt

Columbia Men's Plus Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt, Fossil - Medium
7,838 Reviews
Columbia Men's Plus Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt, Fossil - Medium
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia's PFG Tamiami Long Sleeve shirt features our signature UPF 40 fabric for maximum protection against UVA and UVB rays and...
  • HANDY FEATURES: This men's Columbia PFG Tamiami long sleeve fishing shirt features two handy chest pockets for convenient storing and roll-up sleeves...
  • COMFORT & BREATHABILITY: This long sleeve fishing shirt features a mesh-lined vented back for breathability and comfort.

The Men’s Columbia Tamiami Shirt is a great choice for those who are looking for a sun shirt with a little more style. This button-up shirt (with roll-up sleeves) featured wicking material and UPF 40 sun protection. It also is antimicrobial treated to prevent any bacteria growth, plus it has ventilation panels for additional cooling.

This shirt comes in over 30 different colors! It also is made by Columbia, a trusted outdoor clothing manufacturer, so you don’t need to question the quality.

4. O’Neill Men’s Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sun Shirt

O'Neill Men's Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sun Shirt, Pacific, 2XL
693 Reviews
O'Neill Men's Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sun Shirt, Pacific, 2XL
  • Skin Cancer Foundation Recommended Product; UPF 50+ Ultraviolet Protection
  • Perfect For Surfing, Swimming, Paddle Sports, Boating, And Beach Days
  • Comfortable Yet Durable 6oz Polyester/Spandex Construction

This sun shirt from O’Neill is designed to protect you in and out of the water, so if your kayaking trip will end with a dip in the lake, it’s smart to grab a top that can also function as a water shirt.

O’Neill is a reputable surfing apparel company, so their brand name comes with some added clout. This sun shirt is 50 UPF, comes in multiple sizes including several XL and XXL varieties) and is available in an array of colors.

5. Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Booney II Sun Hats

Columbia Unisex Bora Bora II Booney Hat, Moisture Wicking Fabric, UV Sun Protection Grill, One Size
12,601 Reviews
Columbia Unisex Bora Bora II Booney Hat, Moisture Wicking Fabric, UV Sun Protection Grill, One Size
  • OMNI-SHADE: Be safe and protected. Omni-Shade blocks UVA and UVB rays to help prevent sunburns and long-term skin damage. The tight weave construction...
  • OMNI-WICK: The ultimate moisture management technology for the outdoors. Omni-Wick quickly moves moisture from the skin into the fabric where it...
  • COLLEGE STYLE, SUN-DAY WEAR: This hat is an essential for any outdoor collegiate event, with its wide, protective brim providing all day sun...

For an outdoor hat that helps beat the heat, the Columbia Bora Bora Booney hat is a great choice. This men’s sun protection hat features a 50 UPF rating, an omni-wick sweatband, an adjustable chin strap, and an adjustable drawcord at the back of the hat to adjust it tighter to your head.

This hat also comes in six different colors, although there are no especially fun, bright colors – all the color options are pretty desaturated.

We also love how packable this hat is – it can easily be folded up and thrown into a small daypack when you don’t want to use it.

Just a few pieces of sun gear will ensure you have a great, burn-free day kayaking on the water!


Do you have any favorite pieces of gear you use for sun protection while paddling around the pond? Share your favorites in the comments!

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