Rashguard use in kayaking - a question

Besides helping to prevent rashes, are rashguards also considered a proper first wicking layer in a cold-weather layering system? Or are these two completely different fabrics and garments? I have a “surfer” rashguard that says it’s made of nylon and lycra. It’s tight against the body. Would that work as a first layer? Of course I’ll have to try it for myself but I’m looking for some conventional wisdom here before my next trip.



I use martial arts rash guards, underarmor, cheap walmart rash guards, etc. They all work great under dry tops, wet suits, heck anything. They are the perfect first layer because aside from preventing rashes, they wick moisture, retain some heat, and prevent chafing.

Yup-that’s what there made for
partly anyway

Works under your wetsuit, makes it easier to put wetsuit on and off and gives you a couple of degrees worth more insulation when worn under a wetsuit.

I wear…
a rashguard and a pair of non padded bicycling shorts underneath my farmer john and drytop. When I get back in, I can strip down to those right there next to my truck and quickly dry off with a towel. I just don’t have the guts to strip down butt naked in public like the surfers do.

Thanks. It looks like the rashguard that I have may work well then. It’s good to see that the paddling industry, with the technical-named fabrics, is not the only source for some items.


I’ve tried rashguard under a drysuit (my other stuff was still wet) and it did not wick well enough for that. I was cold from being wet fairly quickly.

But I find rash guard to be a good layer under any not-dry clothes, even a semi-dry suit like the Kokatat SuperNova assuming you get some water in there rolling or whatever.

rashguard isn’t enough…
As a dry suit provides little to no insulation, a rash guard typically isn’t enough by itself to keep you warm in a dry suit. I typically layer the rash guard with either some pile, fleece, or drysuit liner and then the dry suit on top of it all.

Good to know but
my application right now it a base layer under a farmer john wetsuit, with a paddling jacket over it.


Hydroskin or Mysterioso Tops
are very versatile and let you layer to fit the water temperatures. They work well with the combination of farmer John and drytop you are using, not for really cold conditions, but under a 3/2 wetsuit you can surf down into the low 50s. (I am well insulated with a large endogenous blubber layer, your milage may vary.)

.5 mm Body Glove Tops
from Sierra Trading Post. I like these better than my Hydroskin tops. Better cuts, smooth face that does not take in as much water. Great in itself with neo shorts in the summer. Also work well as layering as the temps begin to drop.