So why would one wear these? The major benefit is SPF 50+ – no need for sunscreen. We often go out for 4 hours or more, and during that time you would have to reapply sunscreen at least once – not the easiest thing when out on a kayak!
When kayaking I generally only use sunscreen on my face, neck and ears – I now have SPF 50+ socks for my feet so I don’t have to apply sunscreen there, and I wear a SPF 50+ long sleeved rash vest with SPF 50+ gloves. I also have a good hat.
My leg wear came from Kmart in Australia and they are actually running leggings. You can swim in them and they keep you a little bit warmer than going without.
Here is my rash vest – it is a kayaking one, and it is a little bit special.
Because when you are kayaking you tend to be moving your arms a lot, there is a special foam type material at the bottom of the rash vest which keeps it perfectly in place.
Some rash vests will have a line of something that feels like silicone at the bottom that will do the same thing. When you are looking for a rash vest it is good if you have something like this, or else you might find that you are forever pulling it down while swimming. It can depend on what swimsuit material you are wearing, whether it rides or not.
This is fine for summer, but what about winter? What about when the water is colder? For that, we have Sharkskins. The technology involved is incredible and there have been times in a very cold winter here when you could find me in my sharkskins sitting in front of the teevee, because they are so toasty warm. 🙂
If you snorkel or surf and you tend to find the water cold – even if we are talking about the warm waters of Hawaii, you should look into shark skins, you will not believe how warm they keep you. I also have a wetsuit but I rarely wear it since getting the shark skins because they are so much better. They are also chillproof which can be important for things like paddle boarding, kite surfing or any situations in which you are wet and it is windy.
They are not cheap – nothing awesome is in this world – but they are an investment piece and they will last a very long time.
I am still undecided if I am going to pack the sharkskins but for sure the rash vest and leggings are going. 🙂