How To Choose Clothing for Winter Kayak Fishing?

Most of the kayakers enjoy spending a sunny and bright day on the water in the winter. In this time of the year, you can have some of the best fishing experience if you have the proper equipment, warm clothes, and the right fish finder. One of the most important things when kayak fishing in winter is to warm yourself up and avoid hypothermia.

As a kayaker, you want to be comfortable with what you are wearing and ensure safety. Choosing the right winter kayak fishing clothing isn’t always easy. When the water and air temperature continues to drop, protection against coldness become more than just a matter of comfort.

The key consideration is to protect yourself from the elements, such as water, snow, rain, or wind. With the right clothes, you are ready to face up these challenges. Same goes with the ice fishing, you just need to follow the right guide and make sure you take those extra precautions.

Here are some general rules for clothing to keep in mind before you go on a winter kayak fishing.

Always start with your PFD or a life jacket for kayak fishing


Fishing accidents can happen sometimes, so it is wise to be prepared. While kayak fishing is an enjoyable hobby, the water is not always our friend. That is why it is important always to have PFD (personal flotation devices) or a life jacket with you.

Even great swimmers can experience shock within a minute in the freezing water and may lose muscle control. In that case, the right life jacket will ensure that your head is kept above the water and save you from drowning. It will be your best defense against cold-water shock.
man with a life jacket in a kayak fishing successfully

Adjustable kayak life jackets are an excellent choice since they are versatile. They can be customized in the case of kids and allow a proper fit. Although, it is not recommendable to take along small children when kayak fishing on unpredictable waters.

Also, it is always better to go for Coast-Guard approved jacket. They are completely safe and dependable. Kayak fishing life jacket with a Universal fit can be used by wide range of people with different body physiques. It will also limit the amount of water that can get inside the other clothes you are wearing.

Your PFD should fit and be snug, and yet provide you to move freely and not irritate while paddling. As for the ladies, it is recommendable to use women-specific PFDs versus unisex designs. They usually provide a better fit because of the contoured cups for larger bustlines, designs made for longer torsos and princess seams.

You can purchase PFD or a life jacket in different colors. So, they are also designed to look good on you while saving your life at the same time.



Choosing the right winter kayak fishing clothing is crucial for your safety. The only way to stay dry when you are kayak fishing, even in the roughest conditions, is to wear a full-body dry suit. A dry suit combines a waterproof material with wrist, ankle gaskets and neck to keep the water away from the body. The gaskets keep the water from coming in, sealing tightly against your body.

Most of them are latex, so it is not recommendable if you are allergic to it. The dry suit acts as an outer layer, and it keeps you dry, but not warm. They are extremely versatile because you can wear them over layers of clothing.

So to keep yourself warm wear a base and a mid-layer. The role of the base layer is to pull the sweat away from your body. It is best to use clothes made of wool or synthetic material. Fabrics like Capilene or polypropylene works great.
three men in drysuits

The dry suit doesn’t allow water to come in, but it allows moisture to come out, decreasing the danger of hypothermia. If the water gets below 45 Degrees F, wear it with a base and multiple mid layers. Because of the good range of motion, they are ideal for casting the bait and for paddles.

If you are going to spend a lot of time kayak fishing in the winter, then choosing a dry suit is an excellent decision.

Jacket and pants


Another option is to wear separate pants and jacket for winter kayaking. Choose the jacket that is made from multiple layers, breathable and durable material for a long lasting performance. Make sure that the fabric is resistant to rips and to allow protection from elements, like water, wind, snow or rain. Most fishermen know how the weather is changeable so they should be prepared for extreme conditions.

two men in fishermen's jackets and pants
Make sure that the fishing jacket material is waterproofed, windproofed and breathable. It must withstand snow, rain and freezing temperatures so it can provide lots of insulation against the cold.

Some types of fishing require lots of activity which will warm you up and cause you to sweat. This sweat needs to evaporate quickly, otherwise, it will make your underlayers wet which can cause hypothermia. These jackets allow moisture to come out. They must be properly adjusted and cut for a good fit and to allow the freedom of fisherman’s arm movement while paddling or casting the bait.

As for the pants, choose the dry one, especially those with integrated socks or feet. They are excellent at keeping the lower half of your body dry. They might be more expensive, but they are very comfortable.

With a tightly, broad adjustable belt that can be combined with a fitting neoprene waist, it will decrease the chance of water entering during an immersion. One of the most important things is that the wading belt is built-in so it can’t be forgotten. So, as we said, with a proper winter kayak fishing clothing and some useful fishing tips, you are ready to face up challenges.

Protect your feet, hands and head


When you choose the shoes, make sure to get the safest one you can get. Kayaking wetshoes and Neoprene Booties are excellent choice to keep your toes dry. For the winter kayaking, it is recommendable that the boots have enough room so you could wear woolen socks.

a couple of people fishing with protective gear during warmner months
Good woolen socks will wick away the moisture keeping your feet warm and dry. As great insulators because of the hollow fibers, possum socks will provide extra warmth when your feet are wet. A few additions to keep you warm and comfortable while fishing in winter, would be warm gloves and a hat.

Keeping your hand warm is crucial to your success on the water. When they get cold you will lose feel and dexterity, and that can cost you the ability to feel the subtle bite or to tie knots. It would be wise to always carry two pairs of them, so you can change them when one gets wet.

The Conclusion

It is crucial to choose the right clothes for the winter kayak fishing. Make sure that it is waterproof and that it keeps you warm. Prepare yourself, pay attention to water temperature and plan for the worst-case scenario. Sometimes a perfect day can become hazardous if you end up in the cold water. So it is important to take the extra precautions and always keep a change of clothes in your car.

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