How to Choose a Spray Skirt

How to Choose a Spray Skirt
Sprayskirts can help keep a kayaker warm, dry and well ventilated during a day on the water. They come in different sizes for different uses. A kayaker who rips through heavy currents and rapids should look for a specially designed whitewater sprayskirt. Someone who enjoys a peaceful day on the lake will want a recreational sprayskirt. The best way to pick out the right sprayskirt is to visit a retailer in your area to try them on personally and see how they fit on your kayak's make and model.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Kayak
  • Kayak
Step 1
Decide how you will use your spray skirt and in what kind of water conditions. If you usually paddle in calm conditions with few waves, you probably won't need a sprayskirt. Choose between recreational, sea/touring, and whitewater sprayskirts.
Step 2
Write down the manufacturer and model of your kayak. You will need this if you buy a sprayskirt online or in person at a kayaking shop. Unless instructed by your manufacturer or kayaking expert, avoid one-size-fits-all sprayskirts. The sprayskirt needs to fit over your cockpit as well as your torso, and it should be sized correctly.
Step 3
Choose the material and waterproofing capability of your sprayskirt. Neoprene skirts are often used by whitewater or ocean kayakers and fit snugly from the waist to the cockpit. They are designed to withhold breaking waves and insulated for cold-water paddlers. Nylon is a dry choice for sea kayaking; nylon sprayskirts are comfortable for hours of touring and can be waterproof or venting. You may also choose a nylon and neoprene combination for comfort, some insulation, venting capabilities and durability.
Step 4
Try on the sprayskirt before buying if possible. Most are sized by waist circumference or cockpit size, and a double skirt fits a tandem kayak. The sprayskirt should fit your torso, the deck of the cockpit and the rand. The rand is like an elastic cord or rubber lining that holds the skirt tight over the cockpit.
Step 5
Put your sprayskirt on your body and cinch any waist cords or shoulder straps. Attach the skirt to the kayak, starting behind you and working around to the front. Keep the loop accessible and out of the cockpit. If you capsize, you won't be able to get to it. If the skirt is too loose, water will flood your cockpit. If it's too tight, you might be uncomfortable or have difficulty getting it off during a capsize.
Step 6
Check to see that the sprayskirt comes off the kayak somewhat easily. The first few times will be a little difficult if it's a brand new skirt. The idea is to make sure that you can remove the skirt during a capsize.

Tips & Warnings

Rent a sprayskirt from a kayaking rental shop to test it before purchase.
Sprayskirts do not prevent water filling the cockpit during a capsize and are not flotation devices.

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