Kayaking Shorts? Need to stay dry..

New paddler here. I have a SOT 10’ kayak and I’m having a terrible time staying dry. I’m getting less messy, but I’ve plugged my seat scuppers and left my front/feet scuppers open. As a lady, I really need to keep my shorts as dry as possible. Do any of you experienced folks have any advice on keeping my bottoms dry? I’m paddling primarily in our river, which is not the cleanest, and mostly when it’s hot. Should I try wetsuit shorts? TIA!

I am a lady too. I have some dryness concerns but it is due to some post-surgical stuff. I don’t really understand why being of the female gender alone means you have to keep your seat dry when doing a water sport.

Which is difficult in a sit inside kayak and an impractical proposition in a SOT.

If you really can’t tolerate getting wet, you have the wrong craft. A canoe would be more practical.

Sitting in pond scum…
My first kayak was an 11’ SOT and just getting in it was enough to let water in the scuppers. I liked to paddle it to a snack bar for breakfast but got tired of being wet when I got there.

I filled all the scupper holes with Marine Tex… and no more wet britches.

Swim suit?
Have you tried wearing a swimsuit bottom/swim shorts/skirtini? The nylon/lycra dries pretty fast. Running/biking shorts maybe?

Don’t try wet suit shorts.
They will be worse.

The idea of a wet suit is to be wet and then your body heat warms the water temperature to keep you warm.

They are made to absorb water.

You might try a pair of splash pants. My wife and I use them on occasion in the cold weather.

They are waterproof and you can get them at a bike shop or on line at Performance.

The problem with them in the hot summer weather, is you might end up sweating and still end up with a wet bottom.

Jack L

Wow, that’s certainly not a welcoming or encouraging first post on this message board. It’s a concern being a female because it’s causing infection. I’m perfectly fine with a wet body as long as it’s not going to keep making me visit my doc. I was hoping for some female intel.

Thank you for the suggestion. I will try some running shorts/dry wick materials. Much appreciated!

Thank you very much! I will check them out.


Perpetuating wetsuit myths

– Last Updated: Aug-12-15 7:38 AM EST –

"The idea of a wet suit is to be wet and then your body heat warms the water temperature to keep you warm."

No, the idea of a wetsuit is that it will keep you warm DESPITE getting wet. The insulation is provided by the gas bubbles trapped in the neoprene. Water is not an insulator and it drains heat from your body. It DOES NOT keep you warm in any way whatsoever.

"They are made to absorb water."
No they are not. A well-fitted wetsuit is actually very dry. The less water that enters the suit, the warmer you will be.

I really wish people would stop parroting this nonsense.

I think
you would stay a lot dryer paddling a sit in kayak with a spray skirt.

OK - sorry and useful info

– Last Updated: Aug-12-15 7:36 AM EST –

Sorry, it is just that everyone I paddle with of either gender gets wet, usually wetter than me, and I have never heard anyone have the issue you mention.

So the answer is that it is not a significant risk, unless you are paddling in some especially dicey water. Considering that a good bit of my paddling is in the Hudson or Mohawk rivers, often after a storm with run-off like last night, you'd probably have to make an effort to find more problematical water.

On the suggestions below - as I said, I tend to try to stay drier than most due some post-surgical stuff. So I have tried them all.

Wet wear - until you swim it keeps you fairly dry, except if it is hot you will also sweat under it. Once it is wet it stays wet. Given your concern, I don't think it is your solution.
Waterproof splash pants - will keep you dry from splash unless you swim, but will also cause heat and sweat inside even in cooler weather. If I had to choose between wet water and wet sweat against your concern, I would take the water.
Quick drying stuff - Best idea, but some people get biking shorts for this thinking that the liner pad will provide extra cushioning. It does. However, against your concern, it might not be a great feature.

If there is some factor which causes you to have an unusual susceptibility, I have to go back to a sit inside or a canoe.

Sometimes the truth…

– Last Updated: Aug-12-15 7:36 AM EST –

...isn't what we want to hear. Celia's absolutely correct that you've chosen the wrong type of boat if you need to stay dry. Like it or not, that's a fact. You could try a pair of dry pants, but they won't be comfortable in warm weather.

Definitley moreso…
…than in a sit-on-top.

Big question…
I was slow on the pickup here. But, given your concern about basically just exposure to water on top of a boat…

do you swim?

That’s quite a lot of … confidence, for being dead wrong. A wetsuit is designed to use water as an insulator. Perhaps you’re thinking of a drysuit?

“This Is Africa”?

Since you quoted me, you might want
to take a look at one of the official definitions of how a wet suit works

Especially since you say someone is “spouting nonsense”

Jack L

An excerpt from a wetsuit manufacturer
The following explains how a wetsuit works, thankfully it is exactly what I was taught 40 years ago when I get my SCUBA certification. I would have been bummed to find out what I believed all these years was incorrect! LOL!

A wetsuit should be a tight fitting garment which should be gently squeezing you all over. When you enter the water a very thin layer of water will squeeze between the wetsuit and your skin. If the wetsuit is baggy then a whole lot of water will flood in to fill the gaps between the wetsuit and your body. In both of the previous situations the cold water entering your body will have an instant cooling effect on your body.

Now lets take the first scenario; the tight fitting wetsuit: Here the thin layer of cold water that has squeezed into the suit is warmed up by your body heat. Because there’s not a lot of water it doesn’t take long to warm up and doesn’t rob your body of a huge amount of heat. When you move about in the water, fresh water from outside is largely prevented from entering the suit as the suit is already ‘full’. Having a good fit at the ankles, wrists and neck of the suit will help this resistance to fresh water entry, or ‘flushing’ as it is known.

In the second scenario, that of a baggy wetsuit, much more water will be inside the suit to begin with. Your body will take much longer to warm it up and the process will rob your body of much more heat. In fact your body may never be able to warm the water up significantly. When you are immersed in water and start to move around fresh water from outside easily flushes through the suit and displaces or dilutes the water that your body worked so hard to warm up. This constant flushing of cold water will make it impossible to maintain much body heat and will reduce the effectiveness of the wetsuit hugely.

So the first thing about wetsuits to understand is that a tight fitting wetsuit is critical to staying warm and a baggy wetsuit is unlikely to keep you warm. In fact it is fair to say that a well fitted thin wetsuit will probably be warmer than a baggy thick wetsuit.

Since you quoted me, you might want
to take a look at one of the official definitions of how a wet suit works

Especially since you say someone is “spouting nonsense”

“Most wetsuits are made from multiple layers—and these help to trap and reflect heat much like any other insulating clothes. Some are lined with a thin layer of metal such as titanium or copper to reflect your body heat back inside. That helps to keep you even warmer than a normal wetsuit. Also, as you step into the ocean, a small amount of water seeps in between the neoprene costume and your skin—and stays there. Your body quickly warms this water up to something approaching normal body temperature. So now, between you and the sea, there’s an insulating layer of rubbery material, some warm water, and multiple layers of insulation—all working together like a kind of personal, all-over body radiator! Not all wetsuits are the same, but these layers are typical of what you might find between your warm body and the cold sea”

Jack L