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 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

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 shired like X.

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.

Vapor Apparel Men’s UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection Long Sleeve Performance T-Shirt for Sports and Outdoor Lifestyle, Large, Columbia Blue
4,432 Reviews
Vapor Apparel Men’s UPF 50+ UV Sun Protection Long Sleeve Performance T-Shirt for Sports and Outdoor Lifestyle, Large, 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 recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV protectant.
  • PERFORMANCE WEAR: Lightweight 100% Microfiber Polyester jersey-like shirt with PURE-tech moisture-wicking technology, which is permanently infused with the fabric to keep you dry. The Anti-odor technology keeps you fresh and odor-free.
  • ACTIVE LIFESTYLE: Built for athletic activities like swimming, fishing, running, hiking, playing baseball, or simply sitting at the beach all day. This t-shirt provides optimal protection for any outdoor activity like mowing the lawn or gardening.
  • FIT FEATURES: The set-in-shoulder construction provides a great fit and a natural, flattering shape. It is true to size in the shoulder and slimmer fitting through the body. Refer to our size chart in product images to find your best fit.
  • BEST CARE: Hand or machine wash in cold water and hang dry. In order to maintain the quality of this shirt, fabric softener is not required and not recommended. Sun protection properties are enhanced after several washes and wear.

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

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

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.

BALEAF Women's Long Sleeve Half-Zip Sun Protection Rashguard Side Adjustable Swim Shirt White Size M
873 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
  • Raglan long sleeves give you enough room to move and stand-up collar offers extra neck coverage
  • Adjustable side length for custom look. Wear it as a rashguard in the surf or as a cover-up on the beach

3. Men’s Columbia Tamiami Shirt

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.

Sale
Columbia Men's Plus Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt, Fossil - Medium
3,613 Reviews
Columbia Men's Plus Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt, Fossil - Medium
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia's PFG Tamiami Long Sleeve shirt features Omni-Shade UPF 40 fabric for maxium protection against the sun and Omni-Wick technology that pulls moisture away to keep you cool and dry.
  • HANDY FEATURES: This men's Columbia PFG Tamiami long sleeve fishing shirt features two handy chest pockets for conveinent storing and roll-up sleeves for extra hot days out on the water.
  • COMFORT & BREATHABILITY: This long sleeve fishing shirt features a mesh-lined vent at back for the ultimate breathability and comfort.
  • CLASSIC FIT: With a modern classic fit, Columbia's PFG Tamiami II Long Sleeve shirt is ultra-light and comfortable enough for maxium activity.
  • Columbia PFG Tamiami II Long Sleeve Shirt wears perfect for long days out on the water.

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

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 varities) and is available in an array of colors.

Sale
O'Neill Men's Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sun Shirt, Pacific, 2XL
1,357 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
  • Minimal Seam Placement For Maximum Rash Protection
  • Slim Fit: Fits Close to Body, But Is Not Tight

5. Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Booney II Sun Hats

For an outdoor hat that helps beat the heat, the Columbia Bora Bora Booney hat is a great choice. The 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.

Sale
Columbia Unisex Bora Bora II Booney Hat, Moisture Wicking Fabric, UV Sun Protection
3,991 Reviews
Columbia Unisex Bora Bora II Booney Hat, Moisture Wicking Fabric, UV Sun Protection
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia Unisex Bora Bora Booney fishing hat features our signature wicking fabric with sweat-wicking capabilities and UPF 50 sun protection technology that helps shield you from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
  • HANDY FEATURES: This high-performance fishing hat features a mesh breeze-inducing vent to keep you cool and protected during long hours outside and in the sun.
  • ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: It's equipped with an adjustable drawcord and toggle at the back for a fit that's adjustable and comfortable.
  • SUN-DAY WEAR: This hat is essential for any sunny day outside for its wide, protective brim. Mesh vents are non UPF
  • OMNI-WICK - The ultimate moisture management technology for the outdoors. Omni-Wick quickly moves moisture from the skin into the fabric where it spreads across the surface to quickly evaporate—keeping you cool and your clothing dry.

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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