One of the most wonderful things about kayaking and all its associated activities is that you get to experience nature in all its glory. Whether it’s the splish-splash of the water or the wind enveloping your tresses, they’re all part of what makes kayaking so amazing. Kayaking, however, also means protecting yourself from the harshness of the outdoor elements. For instance, sunny, humid, and hot weather can cause anything from sunstrokes to sunburns. On the other hand, being constantly wet in colder climates can even lead to hypothermia. This is where the best mens and womens wetsuits for kayaking, kayak fishing, whitewater rafting, etc. come into play. A wetsuit is a close-fitting rubber garment usually covering either half of or the entire body and generally worn for warmth during water activities.
Just like the Best Drysuits For Kayaking, wetsuits protect you from the harsh weather elements that your body isn’t used to while kayaking and kayak fishing. They guard you against the cold and the heat alike, while still keeping you comfortable enough for enjoying the activity you’re doing. That said, buying a wetsuit for the first time can be slightly confusing and even daunting. Hence, we’ve put together a buying guide for helping you look for a good wetsuit. To that end, here are the 13 best mens and women wetsuit options for kayaking, kayak fishing, whitewater rafting, etc.
How To Choose The Best Wetsuits For Kayaking?
When it comes to kayaking apparel such as the Best Kayaking Shoes, the Best Kayaking Hats, or even the Best Kayaking Gloves, they need to be chosen with care. The same goes for kayaking wetsuits. So, what should be considered while looking for wetsuits? Read on.
Most good wetsuits are made from synthetic rubber-like neoprene that insulates your entire body by keeping a thin layer of warmth between the material and your skin. Usually, pure neoprene is stiffer than neoprene that’s mixed with nylon or lycra. So, if you want a flexible suit that’s easy to slip into, then go for wetsuits made from ultra-flexible neoprene or a neoprene mix. Additionally, many wetsuit for kayak fishing options has a layer of microfleece on the inside of the suit for additional protection and softness.
Typically, a wetsuit’s thickness is measured in millimeters, especially when they’re made from neoprene. Generally, neoprene that’s thinner than 3 millimeters is not only more flexible but also perfect for tropical, warmer waters. Plus, it can even guard your body against the harshness of the sun as well as the wind without making you feel too hot. On the other hand, some wetsuits are made with mostly lycra or nylon that makes them very thin and thus act as an exposure suit. When you need additional warmth, these extremely thin and smooth wetsuits and can easily be layered under thicker wetsuits.
On the other hand, wetsuits thicker than 4 millimeters are best for kayaking in the cold water when you need something to keep your body when you paddle. While they’re slightly harder to paddle as they’re much stiffer, they’re a blessing and something of a lifesaver in icy cold temperatures.
Size and cut
The size and the cut are perhaps two of the most important considerations when it comes to wetsuits. To begin with, the wetsuit needs to fit snugly, like a second skin. However, it shouldn’t be so snug that it’ll cause chafing or pinching. Furthermore, it’s even okay if the legs and the sleeves are of the wrong length, but what you need to watch for is a snug fit around the torso. If the torso is baggy, then the water will pool inside and make you cold. Plus, if the neck opening is smaller or larger, then you could either get a rash or the water could flush into the suit very easily. So, make sure that that the wetsuit is flush against the body at the chest, neck, bottom, and armpits without sagging or pinching.
One of the most important considerations in wetsuits is their cut since they practically come in every combination. You can buy a full wetsuit, or just as the bottom or the top. The full suit, also known as a steamer, provides the most warmth since it has long legs and long sleeves. However, make sure that it doesn’t cause chafing. Some even like farmer-John-style sleeveless wetsuits with long legs and no sleeves. These allow kayakers to have a warm body and a complete range of arm motion as they paddle.
Another thing to consider is that while some mens and womens wetsuit for kayaking options might be starkly different, there are even some unisex options in the market.
If money is no object, then premium wetsuits also come with reinforced knees that provide additional protection and stitched and glued seams preventing water from seeping in. Also, look out for relief zippers, leg zippers, internal heaters, and even locking systems.
Should you wear drysuits or wetsuits for kayaking?
Many watersports enthusiasts wear wetsuits notwithstanding the season. However, in cold conditions, wetsuits become indispensable as they prevent hypothermia and even death. If you’re kayaking into waves or whitewater rafting or are okay with getting wet, then go for a wetsuit. However, if you want to stay completely dry while kayaking, then you should definitely go for a drysuit as it keeps the moisture out completely and your body bone-dry. Moreover, drysuits are better for kayaking in tropical and warm waters, while wetsuits are better for kayaking in ice-cold waters.
O’Neill Men’s Epic 4/3mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit
Sitting atop the list of the best wetsuit for kayaking options is the O’Neill Men’s Epic Full Wetsuit. It might be on the expensive side when it comes to wetsuits, but it’s a highly value-for-money wetsuit for those interested in water activities such as kayaking, kayak fishing, etc. The wetsuit nicely balances strength and flexibility and despite featuring a snug fit, it feels unrestricted and lightweight. Unlike many other wetsuits, this one has a backside zippered entrance which makes it easier to access and wear this suit easily without any hassles. Furthermore, the neoprene material that’s used to make this outdoor gear is stretchable and soft at the same time. Plus, it doesn’t make you feel irritated or itchy, notwithstanding whether the climate is cold or hot. Finally, the suit boasts well-stitched seams that ensure that water will not pass through.
- Backside zipper entrance.
- Stretchable and soft design.
- Well-stitched seams.
- Sizing runs on the smaller side.
Cressi Lady Front-Zip Full Wetsuit
Are you a curvy woman who has always found it hard to find clothes that fit just right? Well, you don’t have that problem with the Cressi Lady Front-Zip Full Wetsuit, one of the best womens wetsuit for kayaking. Whether you’re curvy or busty, this Cressi Bahia wetsuit was designed for you. It’s made from ultra-stretchable neoprene and even has flexible panels that offer you a better and more entire range of motion. What’s more, it’s available in a wide range of sizes that range from XS to XXL, making sure that you find a size that fits you best. Plus, it even features a zippered front closure, which makes it super easy to get in and out of the suit even if you’re on the move. Even the material on the legs and arms is thinner, making it easy to tug it over your ankles and wrists too.
- Available in many sizes.
- Flexible panels for ease of movement.
- Front closure with a metal YKK zipper.
- The seams are sewn and not glued.
Lavacore Full Men’s Wetsuit
If you indulge in kayaking adventures that will always find you in the water, then look no further than the Lavacore Full Men’s Wetsuit. Not only is it the best wetsuit for kayak fishing and kayaking, but it’s also great for whitewater rafting, diving, and more too. To begin with, the water-resistant suit boasts a quick-drying outer layer and a windproof middle layer. So, it deflects any wind from possibly entering your body, thus preventing any chilly effects when you speed up the kayak. Meanwhile, the inner fleece is for hygiene and sanitation and even regulates the bacteria that are produced from sweat as well as any associated odor. Moreover, the four-way stretchable wetsuit practically guarantees flexibility and is exceptionally comfortable to wear, too. Finally, what makes it so great is its breathability, as it doesn’t feel stifling even if the temperature is high.
- Keeps you afloat.
- Flexible and stretchable.
- Windproof and waterproof.
- Slightly expensive.
- If you run warm, then you might find this slightly hot.
Bare Evoke 3mm Full Wetsuit
For the fashion-focused young woman, the Bare Evoke 3mm Full Wetsuit is the best womens wetsuit for kayaking. The design of this wetsuit is inspired by activewear and yoga styles, and thus featuring a flattering cut and details that enhance and accentuate your figure. If that wasn’t enough, it even comes in a gamut of appealing colors as well. That said, this wetsuit does more than just make you look good. For starters, it features an innovative infrared fabric liner that both reflects as well as traps your body heat, using it to warm you to your very being every time you’re immersed in the water.
What’s more, the skin-to-skin seals reduce water movement at the collar, ankles, wrists, and even at the zippers for additional warmth. Moreover, it’s the smaller details such as the extra padding around the zipper and spine and seamless underarms that you’ll love. They reduce chafing and friction greatly, thus keeping you comfortable in the water for longer.
- Comes in many colors and sizes.
- Seamless underarms reduce chafing and friction.
- Padded spine and zippers for protection and comfort.
- Adjustable collar.
Stohlquist Men’s Rapid John Wetsuit
There’s more than one reason why the Stohlquist Men’s Rapid John Wetsuit is the best wetsuit for kayak fishing, kayaking, and other water activities. To start with, it’s one of the most inexpensive wetsuits on this list, making it the perfect choice for kayakers who’re on a budget. However, that doesn’t mean that the wetsuit is frugal or skimps on any features. In fact, it protects you and keeps you comfortable at all times, thanks to its 3mm neoprene build. So, not only is it stretchable enough so you can paddle freely but also it resists wear-and-tear, thus adding to its durability. Also, the armholes are wide enough so you can grind without any inhibition. Moreover, the glued and blind-stitched seams seal the warmth within, which is especially great for colder temperatures.
There’s even a relief zipper integrated into the suit in case you feel like you’re being squeezed. Finally, the Supratex seat and knees on this gear lend it extra rigidity and defense against abrasions.
- Abrasion-resistant neoprene build.
- The front zipper ensures quick access.
- Great durability for long-lasting use.
- Comfortbale and flexible.
- Some users found it too tight.
Seavenger 3mm Neoprene Wetsuit with Stretch Panels
There’s a lot to love about the budget-friendly Seavenger 3mm Neoprene Wetsuit with Stretch Panels. It might have been designed for warm-water diving and snorkeling, but it’s also one of the best womens wetsuit for kayaking. For starters, the wetsuit provides tons of warmth, all thanks to its thick 3mm neoprene build. It’s also built to last, especially given the shoulder and knee pads that resist abrasions but also boost the suit’s strength. Moreover, it comes with flatlock stitching in the knee and the armpit areas, which not only prevents chafing but also provides a range of motion, thus boosting the range of mobility. The wetsuit even comes with an easy to use and yet tough number 10 YKK zipper that makes entering, exiting, and sealing it a breeze. Finally, this Seavenger garment even comes with an extra-long leash.
- Easy to put on and take off.
- Super stretchable and prevents chafing.
- High quality.
- Bulky and sturdy YKK zipper.
- The larger sizes are off.
- Some users mentioned that the wrists are tight.
Mens Sharkskin Chillproof 1PC Full Wetsuit
The Mens Sharkskin Chillproof 1PC Full Wetsuit is yet another best wetsuit for kayaking, especially if you’re going to be taking quick dives into the river or ocean waters. The wetsuit boasts a rugged and durable design and is actually made from a blend of three windproof composite materials. The first is the comfortable, next-to-skin microfleece layer which is moisture-wicking and keeps you dry and cool. The middle layer is 100 percent windproof and yet breathable for stopping windchill and regulating body temperature too. Finally, the third outer lycra/nylon blended layer is also four-way stretchable that protects the body from the elements. So, not only is the suit versatile to keep the cold out, but it also keeps the heat in. The best part? It weighs just 1.85 lbs.
- Rugged and flexible design.
- Anti-microbial and odor-resistant properties.
- Accessibility is slightly difficult.
- Sizing issues
Ivation Womens Lycra Full Body Wetsuit
Yet another best womens wetsuit for kayak fishing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting is the lightweight Ivation Womens Lycra Full Body Wetsuit. While it’s not exactly perfect for the coldest conditions, it makes for an excellent choice for a nice base layer when it’s chilly outside. Made from 20 percent spandex and 80 percent nylon, the wetsuit even provides protection from jellyfish and sea lice and even provides a whole lot of warmth. Moreover, it even blocks the rays of the sun, thus avoiding sunburns and more. Thanks to the leg stirrups as well as the long frontal zipper, it’s very easy to get in and get out of. In fact, the rather useful leg stirrups even stop the legs from riding up when you’re getting into the suit. Finally, the wetsuit is even designed to promote a great range of motion, both in and out of the water.
- Perfect fit and range of motion.
- Long frontal zipper.
- Great base layer protection.
- Not waterproof.
NRS 3.0 Farmer John Wetsuit
Despite its land-based name, the NRS 3.0 Farmer John Wetsuit is yet another best wetsuit for kayaking and is definitely one of the top guns in the kayaking community. The rugged yet ultra-flexible gear not only ensures convenience but also optimal protection for all those who wear it. Made from high-grade neoprene, the super-stretchable wetsuit is extremely durable and resistant to abrasions, scratches, and even rips and tears. What’s more, all the seams of this wetsuit have been stitched, glued, and sealed as well for enhanced insulation. However, the standout feature is the heat-reflecting titanium laminate adhesive that keeps the cold water out and retains the body heat, thus keeping you toasty. Besides warmth and insulation, the wetsuit even has a frontal zipper that allows quick entry and exit into and out of the gear.
- Ideal for many body sizes.
- Flexible material ensures mobility.
- Rugged and durable.
- No ankle zippers.
O’Neill Women’s Reactor 3/2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit
Yet another best womens wetsuit for kayaking, kayak fishing, and other water activities is the sleek and good-looking basic O’Neill Women’s Reactor 3/2mm Back Zip Full Wetsuit. The suit comes in a base of black color accented by vibrant shades such as pink, blue, and more. Plus, it even features the famed O’Neill logo. Coming to its build, the suit is made from 30 percent high-end FluidFlex neoprene and 70 percent FluidFoam neoprene, making it perfect to be worn in colder water and temperatures too. In fact, the neoprene used in this wetsuit is proprietary to the O’Neill brand The design features a zip at the back and even comes with a conveniently hidden pocket for keys and other waterproof essentials.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s even a ‘super-seal collar that is easy to adjust. Rounding up the features of this excellent womens kayaking wetsuit is the breathable flatlock seams that manage to keep out most water.
- Back zipper for easy entry and exit.
- Fully adjustable super-seal neck.
- Snug and comfortable fit.
- Some users said that the sizing was off.
O’Neill Reactor 2mm Spring Wetsuit
Yet another best wetsuit for kayaking, especially for men, is the O’Neill Reactor 2mm Spring Wetsuit. Designed especially for kayaking in warmer waters and during warmer weather, the ‘spring-friendly’ design of the suit keeps your core body warm and insulated while allowing your legs and arms to breathe at the same time. Plus, it doesn’t make you feel restricted, despite offering a snug fit. What’s more, the sleeves of the Spring Wetsuit are made from extra stretchable neoprene and a FluidFlex material that gives you all the flexibility for paddling and kayaking. It even has a single super-seal neck that reduces friction and keeps you comfy around known areas of irritation. Finally, the Flatloc build also prevents anything from getting caught onto the suit and proving to be an obstacle.
- A Flatloc build for reducing irritation and chafing.
- Flexible and lightweight.
- Too thin for sea or ocean kayaking even in summers.
Hevto Guardian 3mm Neoprene Full Scuba Diving Suit
Not only is it one of the best womens wetsuit for kayaking, but the Hevto Guardian 3mm Neoprene Full Scuba Diving Suit is also an excellent kayak fishing suit too! The well-designed Guardian Goddess wetsuit, which costs just around $50-60, is made from a combination of nylon elastic fabric and 3mm neoprene. Not only is it healthy, skin-friendly, and environmentally-friendly, but it also keeps you comfortable for long hours on or in the water. The Flatlock stitching ensures that no water gets in easily while keeping you warm at the same time. Thanks to the stretchable nature of the fabric, you can paddle easily and even master diving and swimming skills quickly without any hindrances. Stretchable, comfortable, and well-designed, this womens kayaking wetsuit is a must-have part of your kayaking gear.
- The wetsuit is thick enough to provide warmth.
- Flatlock stitching keeps warmth in and the cold water out.
- Stretchable and comfortable.
- Available in many colors.
- Zippers aren’t durable enough.
Henderson 3mm Thermoprene Wetsuit
Sitting atop the list of the options for the best wetsuit for kayaking is the Henderson 3mm Thermoprene Wetsuit. If comfort is what you’re looking for, then there’s no better product than this wetsuit that’s made from a proprietary blend of neoprene and nylon. What’s more, it’s even 75 percent more stretchable as compared to a regular wetsuit. But, that’s not all. This wetsuit can even be layered with other clothes either over or under it without feeling squeezed. Thanks to the contoured fit, there’s very little water that enters the suit, allowing you to stay as warm as possible with high heat retention.
Moreover, the outer layer resists, while the adjustable collar, spine pad, and lycra-trimmed cuffs help to keep you comfortable, no matter the kind of waters you’re paddling in. Finally, all seams on this Henderson wetsuit are blind-stitched and GBS-glued for preventing water seepage and extending the life of the suit.
- Seams are blind-stitched and GBS-glued.
- Adjustable collar, spine pad, and lycra-trimmed cuffs.
- Contoured fit.
- On the expensive side, but it’s worth every cent in the long run.