Kayaking is as thrilling an activity as it is therapeutic. After all, kayaking over tranquil turquoise waters without so much as a wave in sight is something we’ve all been guilty of imagining. However, the reality is generally quite different, with waters splashing all over you even if its flatwater. This is where the best whitewater and sea kayak spray skirts work to protect both your boat as well as you. They keep the waves and the water in general from filling your kayak cockpit and soaking you to the bone. Spray skirts, also known as spray deck, are basically waterproof covers for the boat designed to stop the water from outside from slipping in. Essentially, they have a hole in them so that the kayaker can put them around their waists, hence the “skirt.”
It’s the spray skirt that makes it possible for kayakers to paddle on seas and rough whitewater where winds are strong and the waters are unstable. What’s more, spry skirts add to flotation in whitewater, keeping your head above the spray and help keep the craft afloat in flatwater too. To that end, here are the 13 best sea and whitewater kayak spray skirts.
How To Choose The Best Kayak Spray Skirts?
The process of picking the right sea or whitewater kayak spray skirt might be different from other kayaking accessories such as the Best Kayaking Sails, the Best Kayaking Paddle-Leashes, or even the Best Kayaking Cockpit Covers, but they all have one thing in common – the process is deceptively complex. With every kayak being so different in shape and size, the spray skirts are also different. Whether it’s price points, features, materials, or plain size, there are so many options that it’s mind-boggling. We’ve tried to make the process simpler for you by coming up with a handy guide.
Love kayaking but hate getting all wet? You might also want to consider the Best Drysuits For Kayaking.
First and foremost, you need to know all about the main components of a spray skirt, which are the rand, the deck, and the tunnel. Who knew that skirts could be so complex? The truth is, they’re not. For starters, the rand is the fastener that attaches your spray skirt to the kayak cockpit’s coaming or the lip. The deck is that portion of the skirt that covers the kayaking cockpit and is usually made of thick material. that’s because you want the deck to be as tough as it possibly can to take a serious pounding. Finally, the tunnel is the portion worn around the kayaker’s torso. While you want it to be snug, you don’t want it to be tight. It’s what creates a barrier between the water and your body.
Do kayaks come in different sizes? Of course. Then it’s no surprise that why even spray skirts should be of different sizes, isn’t it? To begin with, finding the right-sized spray skirt begins with measuring the dimensions of your torso as well as your kayak’s cockpit. Since every manufacturer usually has its own unique sizing chart, you must make sure that you consult it when picking out a spray skirt. For finding the correct size, measure the widest and longest parts of the cockpit coaming of your boat, and then match them to the chart. Plus, you’ll also need to measure your waist.
Two of the commonest materials used in manufacturing kayaking spray skirts are coated nylon and neoprene. Nylon is often used in skirts for touring and recreational kayaking. Also, they usually feature an elastic drawstring that creates a watertight seal. That said, the seal isn’t as watertight as that of a neoprene spray skirt, which is entirely watertight. Not only that, but it’s tough and creates one hell of a seal around the cockpit. Generally, it’s used in spray skirts for sea touring and whitewater kayaks, with the only drawback being that they don’t have much give.
Kayaking spray skirts differ a lot depending on where and what they’re being used for. For instance, spray skirts for flatwater kayaking are very different from those intended for whitewater kayaking. If you’re simply looking for a skirt to keep the rain out, then go for one designed for recreational kayaks. Touring and whitewater skirts generally provide maximum levels of water tightness.
While most spray skirts are fairly simple, there are a whole lot more features that you can look for. They’re listed below:
- Implosion bars: They’re an extra layer of reinforcement that span the width of the cockpit. They prevent your spray skirt from imploding during harsh conditions.
- In-built pockets: Usually mesh in style, these pockets are great for quickly stashing important quick-access items such as snacks, drinking water, and other gear.
- Shoulder straps: These are attached to the tunnel and make sure that the water doesn’t pool inside the deck by keeping the tunnel fully extended.
What is the best waterproof kayak spray skirt?
Our vote goes to the dual-material Seals Tropical Tour Ver II Spray Skirt, which features a mixed neoprene-nylon build. Apart from being breathable, you’ll love the absolute waterproof nature of this sprayskirt. This is thanks to the double-stitched and taped seams of the sprayskirt, which ensures that water doesn’t enter the cockpit even a little bit. That, plus the Tensioned deck stay and rim grip technology help keep the water out even more.
Seattle Sports Paddling 1/2 Skirt
Are you not a fan of the full skirt and feel that it impedes your style? Don’t worry, we have a solution for you and a rather nifty one! Behold the Seattle Sports Paddling 1/2 Skirt, one of the best half sea kayak spray skirts especially when you’re headed out during warmer weather in warmer waters. Of late, these half spray skirts have become quite a rage as they’re not only great for kayaking in warmer water but also look quite chic. Don’t get fooled by the small size of this spray skit, for it will not only keep water away from the cockpit but even protect your legs from harmful UV rays.
Going further, the spacious dual pockets are perfect for stashing quick-access items such as phones, gear, water, or food. Thanks to the handle attached to the shock cord, it’s easy to put on too. The best part? It also has an implosion bar to shed water.
- Easy to install.
- Shock cord attachment.
- Has large pockets for quick-access items.
- Not suitable for whitewater.
Seals Splash Deck Spray Skirt
The Seals Splash Deck Spray Skirt takes a rather different approach towards keeping water out of your cockpit. Since there’s space in the middle, it doesn’t cover the entire cockpit. So, if you’re doing light water paddling or even headed out to calm sea waters, then this one is perfect. Due to its medium-weight coated nylon packcloth build, it’s the ideal companion for paddling in warm weather. That’s because the central gap provides adequate ventilation too. Moreover, the mesh pocket with the zipper keeps stuff close at hand and yet secure and safe.
Another great feature of this spray skirt is the cord that’s fastened to the coaming of the kayak, which is very helpful in placing on and removing the skirt. Well-built, ventilated, and long-lasting, this spray skirt makes for an excellent buy.
- Perfect for short kayaking trips.
- Not ideal for rough waters.
Harmony Gear Fusion Sprayskirt
One of the best sea kayak spray skirts that also works wonderfully for whitewater is the Harmony Gear Fusion Sprayskirt. Made from a tough combination of nylon along with a polyurethane coating, you can rest assured that the skirt will last you years to come and won’t get worn out with time. What’s more, the nylon build is what makes the skirt so thoroughly waterproof. In addition, the double-stitched and sealed seams further keep the water out, thus extending the life of the sprayskirt. Another feature that you’ll really like is the adjustable cord that comes with the tunnel, which keeps it firmly in place.
Available in 11 solo and 5 tandem configurations, this is one of the most universal sprayskirts you’ll see on this list. You will find this resourceful towards keeping the tunnel in place. Well-designed, tough, rugged, and durable, the Harmony sprayskirt is a great buy.
- Available in 11 solo and 5 tandem configurations.
- Some users said that they felt hot in warmer weather.
Seals Inlander Spray Skirt
Yet another excellent sprayskirt from Seals is the Seals Inlander Spray Skirt. Made from medium-weight coated nylon packcloth, it provides robust protection from the water while staying breathable and comfortable at the same time. Moreover, the striped band on the anterior coaming and the adjustable waistband are extremely useful when you need to detach the sprayskirt from the rim or put it on quickly before heading out into the water. The product even boasts immense durability, thanks to the double-stitched seams which make sure that it’ll last you a while. If that wasn’t enough, the sprayskirt’s tunnel even has an adjustable cord. It’s what keeps it firmly in place. If you’re doing light to moderate paddling, then this one is perfect for you.
- Easy to install.
- Snug fit.
- Comes in 11 sizes.
- The sizing instructions are slightly vague.
Seals Extreme Tour Sprayskirt
If the earlier Seals sprayskirt was made from nylon, then this is a neoprene one. One of the best sea and whitewater kayak spray skirts, the Seals Extreme Tour Sprayskirt has everything going for it. The durable and rugged neoprene build doesn’t even let a drop of water enter the kayak, all thanks to its taut nature. What’s more, it allows your skin to ventilate, while keeping it warm and dry at the same time. However, the standout feature is the skirt’s 4mm thickness, which is rather unusual for a sprayskirt. But, that’s what greatly enhances its durability.
Furthermore, the sprayskirt comes with a pair of rather nifty suspenders that are extremely helpful in keeping it firmly secured in place. Plus, there’s a visible band on the anterior end of the skirt that’s helpful in securing it to the rim of the cockpit as well as handy when you want to remove it.
- Suitable for cold conditions.
- Well-designed and built.
- Slightly uncomfortable for warm weather paddling.
Seals Tropical Tour Ver II Spray Skirt
If there was a sprayskirt that melded materials to put their best features to use, it’s the Seals Tropical Tour Ver II Spray Skirt. Made from a mix of nylon and neoprene, the sprayskirt keeps you both dry and warm during colder kayaking expeditions. What’s more, it’s breathable too and has a lot more give than other only-neoprene sprayskirts. The Ver II boasts a pair of well-designed and adjustable suspenders too. So, you’ll never need to worry about the sprayskirt slipping off from your wait and off the kayak. Another feature of this sprayskirt that you’ll love is the mesh pocket with a zipper. This is perfect for stashing quick-access items while keeping them safe and secure.
But, that’s not all. The seams of this sprayskirt are double-stitched, thus greatly improving its durability by leaps and bounds. Plus, it ensures that not even a drop of water enters the cockpit. Finally, the band attached to the anterior rim is useful for attaching and detaching the sprayskirt easily from the cockpit.
- Adjustable suspenders.
- Handy mesh pocket for quick access.
- Slightly tight for some users
Wilderness Systems TrueFit Spray Skirt
Wilderness Systems is famous for manufacturing some of the best kayaking accessories on the market. This includes the Wilderness Systems TrueFit Spray Skirt which is amongst the best sea and whitewater kayak spray skirts on this list. Made from high-quality neoprene, the spray skirt keeps you both dry and warm during paddling. What’s more, it’s compatible with a wide variety of many cockpit dimensions, and not just Wilderness Systems kayaks. There are a lot of features you’ll like about this sprayskirt, starting with the sticky edging around the cockpit rim that offers a rock-solid hold on your kayak. Moreover, the well-designed implosion bar allows water to shed off from the top of the skirt. If that wasn’t enough, the double-stitched and taped seams for additional durability and enhanced performance.
Going further, the sprayskirt has a large zipped front pocket that allows you to store quick-access items such as water, food, and other kayaking gear. Rounding up the features are the convenient grab handle with a clip and a water-resistant tunnel zipper for ventilation.
- An in-built implosion bar prevents water from pooling.
- Water-resistant vent zipper.
- Sticky edging for rock-solid grip.
- Designed for use in moderate conditions.
- Slightly pricey.
Attwood Universal Kayak Spray Skirt
If you’re looking for a simple sprayskirt for sea or flatwater use rather than whitewater, then go for the Attwood Universal Kayak Spray Skirt. It might not have all the bells and whistles of a high-end model, but it works brilliantly as a straightforward sprayskirt, and that too for a price of just $25-30. Made for the casual recreational kayaker, this one will easily fit most sit-inside kayaks, hence its universal tag. Not only does the sprayskirt easy to put on and remove, but it also folds up into one compact size for easy storage and portability. Made from a tough 210D nylon fabric coated with a polyurethane layer, this sprayskirt even has PVC-sealed seams that stop the water from getting inside the cockpit.
What’s more, the product even has dual-side adjustability that ensures a tighter and snugger fit. Rounding up the features is the in-built mesh storage bag that’s included with the kit.
- Comes with an in-built mesh storage bag.
- Folds up flat for easy portability and storage.
- Easy to install and remove.
- Fits lots of kayaks.
Immersion Research Klingon
One of the best rough sea and whitewater kayak spray skirts is the Immersion Research Klingon, which performs as well as it sounds fancy. Featuring a Supratex 2 neoprene rear casing and deck and a neoprene tunnel, this sprayskirt was made to take a serious beating. Add to that the grippy silicone patches and the wear-resistant Nylar front casing, and you have one amazing sprayskirt with anti-implosion protection. What’s more, the bungee skirt even features a taco-like build gripping the kayak’s outer rim, which keeps you dry and makes it easy to install.
When the going gets tough, the Immersion Research Klingon gets going. Whether it’s the taped, glued, and blind-stitched seams or the Schoeller dynamic “gnarlar” rim reinforcement, it’s one tough cookie. Designed for both intermediate level river running and playboating, this one works well even in lower-level whitewater rapids.
- Keeps you comfortable and dry.
- Taco-style build grips the kayak’s rim.
- Implosion-resistant neoprene deck and tunnel.
- None, really.
Seals Adventurer Spray Skirt
Are you surprised to see yet another Seals product on this list? Because we aren’t! Behold the Seals Adventurer Spray Skirt, which is the perfect intrepid companion for adventurous paddlers who love paddling in extreme whitewater or rough sea conditions. Once the sprayskirt fits down on your boat, there’s no looking back. It won’t come off in the middle of your journey, thanks to the rim grip and safety slip technology. The medium-weight coated nylon packcloth makes it suitably waterproof and ensures that no water enters the craft at all.
There’s so much to like about this sprayskirt, such as the fact that it has double-stitched and sealed seams that ensure all the more that no water enters the craft. Finally, the adjustable tunnel with removable suspenders and tensioned deck stay add to its grippy and protective nature, all while keeping you very comfortable.
- Made from tough coated nylon packcloth.
- Adjustable strap and suspenders.
- Double-stitched and sealed seams.
Seals Shocker Kayak Spray Skirt
Yet another excellent sea kayak spray skirt is the Seals Shocker Kayak Spray Skirt. If you have a thing or two for whitewater kayaking, then this sprayskirt is right up your alley. Made from tough, long-lasting, and high-performing neoprene, it can withstand the most extreme and harshest water and paddling conditions. Why exactly is apparent in the way the sprayskirt is built. For starters, it has a form-fitting anatomical tunnel that keeps the water out. Secondly, it’s aided by the safety slip and rim grip technology. Add to that, it also has glued, sealed, taped, and double-stitched seams. If that wasn’t enough, there’s even a stitched bungee attachment to the rim. Phew!
Besides being available in multiple sizes and configurations, the product even comes with a rather useful size guide for choosing the right sized one for your kayak. While it might cost $130, it is well worth every penny.
- Sealtex wear guard.
- Safety slip technology.
- Sealed, stitched and glued seams.
- Grab loop included.
NRS Catalina Sprayskirt
Perfect for recreational kayaks, there’s nothing about the NRS Catalina Sprayskirt that you won’t love. Fort starters the deck and the tunnel of this amazing sprayskirt are made from 210D nylon Oxford coated with urethane, thus adding to its durability. The adjustable shock cord makes it easy to slip on and take off this sprayskirt, which fits a wide variety of kayaks. That’s why it also features an adjustable waist bungee to ensure a universal fit.
Going further, you’ll also find two grab loops, one in the front and one at the back. Rounding up the features is the well-designed and rather important implosion bar, which stops the water from pooling in the cockpit.
- Made from tough 210D nylon Oxford.
- Adjustable shock cord and waist bungee.
- Two grab loops.
- None, really.
Seals Sneak Zippered Kayak Spray Skirt
With so many Seals products on this list, it’s only fitting that we end it with one too! We present to you the Seals Sneak Nylon Kayak Spray Skirt, which is perfect for gentle flatwater kayaking conditions. That doesn’t mean that the sprayskirt is without robust features. For instance, it has a frontal water-resistant zipper that makes it very easy for the kayakers to put the sprayskirt on and off without any hassles. Furthermore, the medium-weight coated nylon packcloth build and the double-stitched and sealed seams ensure that no water enters the kayak at all.
Aside from the above, the adjustable neoprene waistband and removable suspenders make customizing the fit very easy. Rounding up the features are the dual-zippered mesh accessory pockets and the safety slip and rim grip technology.
- Polyurethane coating.
- Adjustable neoprene waistband.
- Removable suspenders.
- Virtually none.