How to Avoid Chafing While Kayaking

How to Avoid Chafing While Kayaking
Kayaking is an enjoyable water sport. You can kayak on lakes, rivers, rapids and even on the ocean. Expect to get wet, especially if you are paddling on white-water rapids or sea kayaking. Moisture and friction can lead to chafing if you are not careful, and discomfort can ruin even the most beautiful days on the water. Make preparations in order to avoid chafing on your next kayak excursion.


Difficulty: Moderate

Tips to Avoid Chafing

Things You’ll Need:
  • Kayak
  • Paddle
  • Life jacket
  • Spray skirt
Step 1
Wear clothing appropriate for kayaking. Water splashes on you from paddling when you kayak, and this moisture combined with the friction as you paddle can lead to chafing. Use a waterproof paddling jacket made of breathable material. Paddling jackets have cuffs that snug around your wrists, blocking out drops of water that trickle down the paddle onto your hands. On warmer days, you can wear athletic shorts or swim trunks. Colder days call for a wet suit or nylon track pants. Wear aqua socks or tennis shoes.
Step 2
Choose a life jacket that maximizes safety and comfort. Most standard life jackets have bulky padding around the chest and neck, and mesh or nylon side panels. This causes chafing, especially in the armpit area when you paddle. Use a kayak-specific life jacket with oversize arm holes and minimal bulk around the shoulders and neck. This will greatly reduce chafing and improve your mobility. The best products feature neoprene lining and trim, a soft material that limits chafing when it comes in contact with the skin.
Step 3
Kayak with a spray skirt. Water splashes over you and the cockpit of the kayak every time you raise your paddle to stroke. A spray skirt is a thin waterproof sheet with a hole in the middle for your torso and elastic edges that you secure around the rim of the cockpit and your torso to lock out any splashing water. Make sure you fit the spray skirt properly to avoid any leaks in the cockpit. This will keep you completely dry from the waist down, limiting lower-body chafing.
Step 4
Wear special paddling gloves to protect your hands from blisters and chafing. You should also carry waterproof band-aids to cover any sensitive areas where chafing may occur during the course of your excursion. Make sure to remove any dirt or sand from the shaft of your paddle, and keep your grips as dry as possible.

Article Written By David Thyberg

David Thyberg began his writing career in 2007. He is a professional writer, editor and translator. Thyberg has been published in various newspapers, websites and magazines. He enjoys writing about social issues, travel, music and sports. Thyberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College with a certificate in Spanish and Latin American studies.

The Latest from the Community

Beautiful day for a hike but still icy and cold! Bundled up pretty good so was just fine. I will say I didn’t give...