Kayaking in Extreme Heat: Beat the Summer Sun

As the summer heat intensifies, thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike are braving the elements to indulge in the exhilarating sport of kayaking.

But with scorching temperatures threatening to dampen the adventure, it’s crucial to stay one step ahead of the summer sun.

In this article, we’ll reveal the ultimate guide to conquering extreme heat while kayaking, from strategic timings to ingenious cooling techniques.

So grab your paddle, gear up, and prepare to beat the heat as you embark on an unforgettable kayaking expedition like no other.

1. Choose The Right Time To Paddle

When it comes to kayaking in extreme heat, timing is everything. Avoid paddling during the mid-day hours (11AM to 4PM) as this is when the sun’s rays are strongest and the temperature reaches its peak. Opt for early morning or late evening paddle sessions instead to escape the scorching heat.

Paddling in the evening or at dusk offers multiple advantages. Firstly, it provides protection from intense UV rays. As the sun begins to set, the angle of the sun’s rays is less direct, reducing your exposure to harmful UV radiation. Additionally, kayaking during these times allows you to avoid crowded waterways and the noise and disturbance caused by motorized vessels.

2. Beat The Heat With Proper Hydration

Staying hydrated is crucial when kayaking in extreme heat. To combat the increased risk of dehydration, it is recommended to drink double the amount of liquids compared to a normal day. Aim to replenish fluids frequently by sipping on water or sports drinks. However, be cautious with caffeine consumption as it can contribute to dehydration.

To keep your beverages colder for longer, freeze a water bottle or use an insulated canteen. This will help to combat the heat and ensure that you have refreshing drinks throughout your paddle. Furthermore, consuming foods rich in potassium, sodium, and magnesium before heading out can help prepare your body for the heat and replenish important electrolytes.

3. Protect Yourself From The Sun’s Rays

When kayaking in extreme heat, safeguarding yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is of utmost importance. Clothing with high UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) ratings is highly recommended. Opt for a sun shirt or a hooded sun shirt with thumb holes to cover your arms and hands. Leggings or long pants can protect your legs, while close-toed shoes offer the necessary foot protection. Don’t forget to wear gloves to shield your hands from the intense sun exposure.

A sun hat or a ball cap should be worn to protect your face and head from direct sunlight. Additionally, consider using a facial scarf or neck gaiter to cover your neck and lower face from the sun’s rays. These accessories provide an additional layer of protection and help prevent sunburn.

To ensure adequate protection for areas that cannot be covered by clothing, apply a mineral-heavy and waterproof sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 50 or higher. Remember to reapply the sunscreen regularly, especially after being in the water.

  • Choose clothing with high UPF ratings
  • Wear a sun shirt or a hooded sun shirt with thumb holes
  • Use leggings or long pants for leg protection
  • Wear close-toed shoes and gloves for foot and hand protection
  • Wear a sun hat or a ball cap for face and head protection
  • Consider using a facial scarf or neck gaiter
  • Apply a mineral-heavy and waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher
  • Reapply sunscreen regularly, especially after being in the water.

“When kayaking in extreme heat, safeguarding yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is of utmost importance.”

4. Stay Cool With Smart Clothing Choices

Aside from sun protection, choosing the right clothing can aid in keeping you cool while kayaking in extreme heat. Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing made from moisture-wicking materials that allow sweat to evaporate quickly. Consider investing in a moisture-wicking sun shirt and pants specifically designed for outdoor activities.

Utilize the rolling technique to cool off while on the water. By partially submerging your kayak and rolling it side to side, you can enjoy the refreshing sensation of the water on your skin and cool down your body temperature. Furthermore, make use of the dip and immersion strategy. Regularly dip yourself, as well as hats, shirts, hands, and toes, in the water to stay cool throughout your kayak adventure.

Choosing the most shaded areas possible can provide additional relief from the heat. Look for routes with forests of mangroves or areas with trees along the shore. These areas offer natural shade and can significantly reduce the intensity of the sun’s rays.

  • Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing made from moisture-wicking materials
  • Invest in a moisture-wicking sun shirt and pants
  • Utilize the rolling technique by partially submerging your kayak and rolling it side to side
  • Apply the dip and immersion strategy by regularly dipping yourself, hats, shirts, hands, and toes in the water
  • Choose routes with forests of mangroves or areas with trees along the shore for natural shade

5. Keep Your Pets Safe In The Sun

If you plan to bring your furry friends along for a kayaking adventure in extreme heat, it is crucial to take precautions to keep them safe. Dogs are also susceptible to heat exhaustion and sunburn, so it’s essential to protect them just like you would protect yourself.

  • Using paw protection can prevent burns from hot surfaces
  • Applying pet-friendly sunblock to exposed areas can shield them from the sun’s harmful rays
  • Consider “doggie dunking” – providing your dog with frequent opportunities to cool off in the water
  • Never leave your pets unattended in the car, as the interior can quickly become dangerously hot.

“By following these essential safety tips, you can enjoy kayaking in extreme heat while ensuring your well-being and that of your furry companion.” – Dogs Monthly

Explore the resources provided by the National Center for Cold Water Safety to gain a better understanding of the science behind staying cool on hot days.


  • Choose the right time to paddle
  • Stay hydrated
  • Protect yourself from the sun’s rays
  • Wear appropriate clothing
  • Keep your pets safe in the sun

With proper precautions, you can beat the summer sun and have a fantastic kayaking experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature is best for kayaking?

When it comes to kayaking, the ideal temperature lies in the realm of the 120-degree Fahrenheit rule. This rule suggests that the combination of air and water temperature should add up to 120 degrees. This balance creates an optimal environment for kayaking adventures, ensuring comfort and safety while gliding through the water. So, whether it is a warm day on the river or a brisk coastal excursion, aiming for that 120-degree mark is key to having an enjoyable kayaking experience.

Can it be too hot to kayak?

While summer is undoubtedly the ideal season for kayaking, it is essential to acknowledge that there is indeed a temperature threshold beyond which it can be too hot to engage in this activity. As much as we may appreciate the warmth of the sun, extreme heat can pose serious risks such as heat exhaustion, dehydration, and sunburn. Therefore, it is crucial to strike a balance between enjoying the sunshine and taking precautions to protect ourselves from the potential dangers of kayaking in scorching temperatures.

What do you wear kayaking in the summer?

When kayaking in the summer, it’s essential to prioritize sun protection and comfort. Opting for a cooling shirt or rashguard made with UPF-rated sun protection, quick-drying fabrics, and cooling technology can address both concerns efficiently. These specialized garments provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays while keeping you cool and comfortable throughout your kayaking adventure.

How hot is too hot for kayak storage?

Proper temperature control is crucial when it comes to storing your kayak to prevent any potential damage. It is important to avoid extreme temperature ranges, such as below freezing or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius). Exposure to extreme heat can cause your kayak to become brittle and potentially lead to damage. Therefore, it is essential to find a storage solution that keeps your kayak away from direct sunlight, as it is the worst option due to the potential heat it can generate. By ensuring your kayak is stored within a suitable temperature range and away from direct sunlight, you can help prolong its lifespan and maintain its durability.

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