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Home » Best Wetsuits For Kayaking in 2024: Buyers’ Guide

Best Wetsuits For Kayaking in 2024: Buyers’ Guide

Getting out on the water in your kayak is one of life’s simple pleasures. Paddling along the shoreline, gliding over calm coves, and dipping your paddle into the waves just feels right. But kayaking can also mean getting damp, cold, and downright wet at times. Whether you flip over, hit a big splash, or just get spray from breaking waves, you’re going to get wet. This is where the dedicated wetsuits for kayaking comes in.

What is a Wetsuit For Kayaking?

A wetsuit for kayaking provides insulation, freedom of movement, and protection against abrasions and UV rays so you can enjoy paddling comfortably even when the water is cold. A properly fitted wetsuit acts like a second skin, trapping water between the neoprene layers. This insulates you from the cold water and wind chill while allowing full range of motion for paddling.  Whether you’re kayaking for pleasure or competing, staying warm and protected is key.

However, with so many options on the market, figuring out which wetsuit is best for kayaking can be overwhelming. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to choose the perfect wetsuit for your kayaking adventures. We’ll cover factors like material, thickness, coverage level, extra features, and our recommendations of the best wetsuits for kayaking.

1. O’Neill Men’s Reactor Full Wetsuit For Kayaking

1. O’Neill Men’s Reactor Full Wetsuit For Kayaking

The O’Neill Men’s Reactor 3/2mm back zip full wetsuit delivers performance in a value-driven package. The ultra stretchy 3mm neoprene body and 2mm sleeve and leg sections  provide flexibility while retaining heat during extended use. Regrettably, seamless Paddle Zones reduce chafing and allow unrestricted paddle strokes. Noteworthily, the singular SuperSeal Neck adjustment features a 360° smooth skin interior lessening chafing. Remarkably, the wind resistant smoothskin back and chest panel boost comfort. Most significantly, the proprietary Krypto Knee Padz with contoured neoprene shield prolongs the longevity of the wetsuit while protecting the knee during gnarly surf sessions.

  • 1. Stretchy neoprene for flexibility.
  • 2. Seamless zones reduce chafing.
  • 3. Adjustable neck closure reduces chafing.
  • 4. Wind resistant chest and back panels.
  • 5. Protective knee pads extend longevity. 
  • 1. Only back zipper closure.

2. O’Neill Women’s Reactor Full Wetsuit For Kayaking

2. O’Neill Women’s Reactor Full Wetsuit For Kayaking

The O’Neill Women’s Reactor 3/2mm back zip full wetsuit effectively delivers essential performance features for an entry-level wetsuit. Manufactured with imported neoprene rubber, a key material to protect against cold water, the suit offers a foundation for kayaking, surfing, diving, paddle boarding, and everyday lake and beach use.  

To facilitate easy entry and exit while retaining heat, the wetsuit deploys a back-zip closure system with a water-resistant zipper. The ultra-stretch neoprene material utilized, which encompasses the supremely flexible 3/2mm thickness,  not only delivers an exceedingly soft feel but also maximizes mobility especially in the seamless knee padding areas for least restrictive movement while kayaking or paddling. 

  • 1. Offers flexibility due to ultra stretch neoprene construction. 
  • 2. Provides ease of entry and exit through back zipper closure.   
  • 3. Insulates adequately against cold temperatures.  
  • 4. Features minimized seams in key areas for comfort.  
  • 5. Delivers reasonable value at an entry-level price point.
  • 1. Not intended for hardcore water sport use due to basic design.

3. Stohlquist Unisex Storm John Wetsuit For Kayaking

3. Stohlquist Unisex Storm John Wetsuit For Kayaking

The Stohlquist Storm wetsuit from Stohlquist brand delivers reliable performance for its price. While utilizing standard 3 millimeter neoprene, the flat-lock seams throughout help boost durability where needed. Furthermore, the YKK zipper locks help seal out water where the relief zippers exist, aiding thermal performance even while donning and doffing the wetsuit. Correspondingly, the U-shaped cuff openings allow for easier wearing and removal.  

  • 1. Flat-lock seams improve durability versus standard stitching.  
  • 2. SupraTex material in high abrasion areas extends suit life.  
  • 3. Zipper locks keep water out when zippers used, aiding performance.
  • 4. U-shaped cuffs enable easy donning and doffing of the suit.
  • 5. Reinforcements aim to boost lifespan compared to basic 3mm neoprene.
  • 1. Only utilizes standard 3mm neoprene thickness.

4. Aqua Sphere Women’s Powered Pursuit Wetsuit For Kayaking

4. Aqua Sphere Women’s Powered Pursuit Wetsuit For Kayaking

The Aqua Sphere women’s Powered Pursuit wetsuit enables high-performance and maximum comfort during water activities. Bio-Stretch zones utilize 1 mm stretch panels, allowing the wearer optimal range of motion while Aqua-Grip cuffs and Aqua-Flex collars seal out water through quick release ankle panels. Additionally, the core body utilizesAqua Drive 4 ml panels to boost buoyancy while inhibiting drag during swims. Thermo-Guard’s 5 ml core body layers retain body heat. Ultimately, 100% UV protection shields the wearer from the sun’s harmful rays. Founded over two decades ago, Aqua Sphere has created premium swim gear defined by innovation, comfort and technical designs.

  • 1. Provides full UV protection from the sun’s rays.
  • 2. Enables maximum mobility with strategically placed stretch zones.
  • 3. Increases buoyancy and reduces drag with specialized Aqua Drive panels.
  • 4. Retains body heat to keep the swimmer warm with Thermo-Guard layers.
  • 5. Offers quick release ankle panels for easy transitions.
  • 1. Requires time and effort to properly put on and take off.

5. O’Neill Men’s Reactor Short Sleeve Wetsuit For Kayaking

5. O’Neill Men’s Reactor Short Sleeve Wetsuit For Kayaking

Built with high-quality 2mm ultraflex neoprene rubber, the O’Neill Men’s Reactor 2mm back zip short sleeve wetsuit focuses on flexibility and fit. The stretch neoprene provides a soft yet durable feel with superior mobility. Seamless paddle zones minimize chafing while maximizing comfort during kayaking and other water activities.

The wind resistant smoothskin chest and back panels offer added insulation against the elements. The key feature is the fully adjustable back zipper entry system which allows easy donning and doffing while locking out water during use. Other notable attributes include a fully adjustable smoothskin neck closure, leak-resistant flatlock stitching, and a hidden key pocket. 

  • 1. Flexible 2mm neoprene provides comfort and mobility.
  • 2. Back zipper entry allows easy on and off.
  • 3. Wind resistant panels offer insulation.  
  • 4. Seamless design reduces chafing points.  
  • 1. Thin 2mm thickness offers limited warmth.

6. Stohlquist Women’s Rapid Jane Wetsuit For Kayaking

6. Stohlquist Women’s Rapid Jane Wetsuit For Kayaking

Made from 3mm super-stretch neoprene and waterproof glued and blind-stitched seams, the Jane Rapid wetsuit provides excellent thermal protection from the brisk waters up to 60°F. While maintaining a sleek formfitting silhouette, extra wide armholes and stretch neoprene enhance mobility for paddling strokes. Supratex reinforcement at the knees and seat increases the suit’s abrasion resistance and durability during kayaking and other water sport activities. Non-corrosive YKK zippers with elastic locks on the full-length zipper closure help keep water out while minimizing chafing.

  • 1. Excellent thermal insulation from 3mm neoprene      
  • 2. Wide armholes for good mobility and freedom of movement.
  • 3. Supratex reinforcement at high wear areas adds durability.
  • 4. Waterproof glued and blind stitched seams.                    
  • 5. YKK zippers with elastic zipper locks help keep water out.
  • 1. Full-length zipper may be difficult to zip and unzip independently without assistance

7. O’Neill Men’s Original Sleeveless Wetsuit For Kayaking

7. O’Neill Men’s Original Sleeveless Wetsuit For Kayaking

The O’Neill Original 2mm back zip wetsuit is crafted from neoprene rubber imported from Australia. The wetsuit offers streamlined and comfortable performance for water sports like kayaking, surfing, and swimming. Made with 2mm Fluid Foam neoprene for the body and 1.5mm FluidFlex for the legs, the wetsuit provides adequate insulation while maintaining flexibility. The fluid foam material integrates seamless paddle zones to reduce chafing. The glued and blind stitched seams enhance the wetsuit’s water resistance. Moreover, the strategic reduction of seams further boosts mobility.

  • 1. Made of imported neoprene rubber for durability.   
  • 2. Different thickness levels for body and legs for flexibility.  
  • 3. Seamless zones reduce chafing.   
  • 4. Blindstitched seams improve water resistance.  
  • 5. Retro styling with functional upgrades.
  • 1. Colors only available in black.

8. Billabong Men’s Absolute Full Wetsuit For Kayaking

8. Billabong Men’s Absolute Full Wetsuit For Kayaking

The Billabong Mens 3/2mm Absolute chest zip full wetsuit boasts a performance-oriented design combining eco-friendly materials with cutting-edge technologies. Comprised mainly of  80% neoprene, 10% nylon, and 10% polyester, the wetsuit utilizes a partly recycled superlight foam that provides flexibility and freedom of movement while maintaining insulation. Furthermore, its exterior features a fully recycled PRO STRETCH fabric with internal seams reinforced by machine-applied neo tape for exceptionally smooth contours and reduced chafing. In addition, the graphene-infused interior lining integrates with the silicon-enhanced stretch material to deliver enhanced dexterity and range of motion. Weighing in at a mere 4.6 lbs, the zip-in chest entry system allows for quick drying and effortless on-and-off, while the graduated seat and arm flexibility maximize mobility for unrestricted paddling performance.

  • 1. Eco-friendly materials and partly recycled foam.
  • 2. Exceptional flexibility and freedom of movement.
  • 3. Smooth seams and reduced chafing.
  • 4. Enhanced range of motion from graphene-infused lining.
  • 1. May not be warm enough for colder conditions.

9. O’Neill Women’s Reactor Short Sleeve Wetsuit For Kayaking

9. O’Neill Women’s Reactor Short Sleeve Wetsuit For Kayaking

Made with neoprene rubber for durability, the O’Neill women’s Reactor 2mm back zip short sleeve wetsuit utilizes ultrastretch neoprene that offers exceptional flexibility and mobility while providing warm and comfortable insulation. The back zipper closure allows for easy in and out while remaining water resistant. As an entry-level wetsuit, it is well-suited for a range of water activities including kayaking, surfing, diving, paddle boarding and beach outings. Seamless panels in paddle areas reduce restriction while smooth skin panels provide wind resistant protection from the elements.

  • 1. Flexible neoprene offers mobility and comfort. 
  • 2. Back zipper provides easy entry and exit while remaining water resistant.
  • 3. Suitable for range of water activities at an affordable price. 
  • 4. Seamless panels in high motion areas reduce restriction.
  • 5. Updated colors and graphics for style.
  • 1. Only provides 2mm of warmth.

10. NeoSport Women’s Full Wetsuit For Kayaking

10. NeoSport Women’s Full Wetsuit For Kayaking

The NeoSport wetsuit offers women a premium neoprene performance for water sports. Constructed from 1 mm thick neoprene, importantly, the full wetsuit utilizes flatlock seams and spot taping for durability. To promote, the material provides insulation in cold conditions while kayaking, diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding and other activities. 

Notably, the wetsuit uses technical features to balance warmth and comfort. The lycra trimmed openings at the arms, neck and waist enhance flexibility while minimizing chafing. Moreover, the bonded knee pads boost abrasion resistance for heavy use. Furthermore, the zipper closure and adjustable collar allow a snug fit for buoyancy without constriction. Additionally, an internal key pocket offers storage convenience during activities. 

  • 1. Uses 1mm neoprene for insulation in cold conditions.
  • 2. Flatlock seams and spot taping increase durability.
  • 3. Lycra trimmed openings enhance flexibility and reduce chafing.
  • 4. Thermal knee pads provide abrasion resistance.
  • 5. Adjustable collar and zipper ensure a comfortable fit.
  • 1. Time consuming to put on and take off.

How To Choose The Best Wetsuits For Kayaking?

Going kayaking is an amazing way to spend time outdoors and explore nature from a unique perspective. But one key element to a successful and enjoyable kayak trip is finding the perfect wetsuit. With so many options on the market, how do you choose the kayaking wetsuit that will keep you warm, comfortable and able to paddle with ease? Here’s a guide to help you make the best decision for you.

Determine Your Activity Level

The first step is figuring out what type of kayaking you plan to do most often. Are you a casual paddler who wants protection from the occasional splash? Or do you hit rougher waters regularly where complete immersion is likely? 

  • Casual: A 2/3 length flexible suit will protect you from light splashing while allowing full mobility. The shorter length keeps you comfortable on longer rides.
  • Regular:  A full length spring suit  is a good balance of warmth and range of motion. Look for unrestricted panels at the knees and elbows to maximize paddling efficiency.     

Choose the Right Material Thickness

The thicker the material, the warmer the suit – but bulkier it is to paddle in. Consider:  

  • 1-2mm: Great for occasional paddling in temperate waters. Provides splash protection but limited warmth.     
  • 2-3mm: A good all-around option if you paddle regularly year-round. Provides adequate insulation for cooler conditions.
  • 3mm+: Needed for extended paddles in cold waters. Bulkier but will keep you toasty.

Make sure it has glued seams to prevent leakage and look for neoprene patches at hinges for extra protection.

Personalize for Comfort

Getting the perfect fit for your body type and needs is key:

  • Tall and thin? Look for long leg and arm lengths with a more narrow cut.   
  • Curvier? Opt for anatomically shaped panels and higher spandex content for a customized fit.

Extra features like pre-bent knees, anti-slip pads and adjustable wrist/ankle cuffs boost comfort. 

Frequently Asked Questions When Picking Wetsuits For Kayaking

Q: How thick should a wetsuit be for kayaking?

A: It depends on the water temperature and how long you’ll be paddling. For casual kayaking in warmer waters, 1-2mm will work. For cooler conditions or extended trips, 3mm or thicker will provide better insulation.  

Q: Do I need a shorty or full length wetsuit for kayaking?

A: It depends on the type of paddling you do. Shorter 2/3 length suits are good for casual paddling as they allow full mobility. Full length suits provide the most coverage and warmth, so they are recommended for regular kayaking in colder waters.

Q: How tight should a kayaking wetsuit fit?

A: Wetsuits for kayaking should have close but comfortable fit. Too loose and it will not retain heat effectively. Too tight can restrict movement and cause chafing. Look for neoprene that has a little stretch and try the suit on in store before purchasing.  

Q: Should neoprene wetsuits have glued or taped seams?

A: For kayaking, glued seams are generally recommended over taped seams as they are less likely to leak. Glued seams create a watertight barrier between neoprene panels.

Q: Do I need a drysuit or wetsuit for kayaking?

A: A wetsuit is sufficient for most kayakers, especially casual paddlers. Drysuits are bulkier and more expensive, but provide complete coverage should you fully capsize. They are mainly needed for extended trips in cold waters.

Q: Which brands make the best wetsuits for kayaking?

A: Popular wetsuit brands for kayaking and other water sports include: O’Neill, Stohlquist, Aquasphere and Billabong.

Final Thoughts

Wearing the right wetsuit while kayaking is essential for comfort, performance and safety. From just providing insulation against cooler waters to protecting you from abrasions, a high-quality wetsuit will make your time on the water more enjoyable. The freedom and serenity you’ll experience on the water is well worth the investment in the right gear.

Enjoyed this article on the best wetsuits for kayaking? Then be sure to check out our other outdoor gears guides.

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