Do You Need a Towel for Kayaking?

Excited kayaking woman

Kayaking is a popular water sport that allows people to explore and enjoy nature while getting some exercise. When preparing for a kayaking trip, you may wonder whether you need a towel for kayaking. In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of having a towel for kayaking and other essential gear you should consider bringing along.

Introduction to Kayaking

Kayaking is an outdoor activity that involves using a small, narrow boat called a kayak, which is propelled by a double-bladed paddle. Kayaking can be enjoyed in various water settings, such as rivers, lakes, and oceans, making it a versatile and exciting sport. As with any water-based activity, it’s essential to come prepared with the necessary gear and clothing to ensure a comfortable and safe experience.

Why a Towel is Essential for Kayaking

A towel may seem like a trivial item, but it’s essential for several reasons:

  1. Comfort: After paddling through the water, you’ll likely be wet, and having a towel on hand will help you dry off and stay comfortable.
  2. Safety: A wet and slippery kayak can be dangerous. A towel can be used to dry off the kayak seat and any other wet surfaces, reducing the risk of slipping or losing grip.
  3. Warmth: In colder weather, a wet body loses heat more rapidly, increasing the risk of hypothermia. Drying off with a towel can help you stay warm.

Types of Towels for Kayaking

When choosing a towel for kayaking, consider the following types:

  1. Microfiber towels: These are lightweight, highly absorbent, and quick-drying, making them a popular choice for kayaking.
  2. Cotton towels: While not as quick-drying as microfiber, cotton towels are soft and absorbent, providing a comfortable option.
  3. Turkish towels: These are lightweight, absorbent, and quick-drying, with a stylish design.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Towel


A highly absorbent towel will help you dry off more effectively. Microfiber towels are known for their excellent absorbency.


A quick-drying towel is essential for kayaking, as it will be ready for use again sooner. Microfiber and Turkish towels are great choices for quick-drying capabilities.

Popular Towel Brands for Kayaking

Some popular towel brands for kayaking include:

  1. Sea to Summit: Known for their lightweight and quick-drying microfiber towels.
  2. PackTowl: Offers a range of absorbent and fast-drying towels in various sizes.
  3. Nomadix: Provides eco-friendly, versatile towels that can also be used as a blanket or yoga mat.

Other Kayaking Essentials

In addition to a towel, there are several other essential items to bring along on a kayaking trip:

Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

A PFD, or life jacket, is crucial for your safety while kayaking. It will help you stay afloat if you capsize or end up in the water.


A good quality paddle will make your kayaking experience more enjoyable and less strenuous. Consider factors like length, blade shape, and material when choosing a paddle.

Dry Bag

A dry bag will help keep your belongings, such as your phone, wallet, and spare clothes, dry during your kayaking trip.

First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen, so it’s essential to have a first aid kit on hand to treat minor injuries like cuts, scrapes, and insect bites.


A whistle can be used to signal for help in case of an emergency or to alert others of your presence.

How to Store Your Towel When Kayaking

Proper storage of your towel is essential to keep it dry and accessible.

Towel Storage Options

Mesh Bag

A mesh bag allows your towel to breathe and dry faster, preventing the growth of mildew and odors.

Carabiner Clip

Attach your towel to your kayak or PFD using a carabiner clip, making it easily accessible while keeping it secure.

Prepared for Different Kayaking Conditions

While kayaking is enjoyable in various weather conditions, it’s essential to be prepared for different situations you may encounter while on the water. Here are some tips for staying comfortable and safe in various conditions:

Cold Weather Kayaking

  1. Layer up: Dress in layers, starting with moisture-wicking base layers, insulating middle layers, and a waterproof outer layer.
  2. Wear gloves: Neoprene gloves will help keep your hands warm and dry.
  3. Head protection: A fleece or neoprene hat will help retain body heat and keep your head warm.
  4. Bring a change of clothes: Have a dry set of clothes packed in a dry bag in case you get wet.
  5. Use a spray skirt: A spray skirt can help keep water out of your kayak and keep you dry.

Warm Weather Kayaking

  1. Wear moisture-wicking clothing: Choose lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing to help you stay cool and dry.
  2. Sun protection: Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
  3. Stay hydrated: Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated during your kayaking trip.
  4. Wear water shoes: Water shoes can protect your feet from sharp rocks and provide better grip on wet surfaces.

Kayaking Etiquette and Safety Tips

Responsible and respectful kayaking practices will not only keep you safe but also protect the environment and ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.

  1. Follow local regulations: Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the area you’ll be kayaking in.
  2. Respect wildlife: Observe animals from a safe distance and avoid disturbing their natural habitat.
  3. Leave no trace: Carry out any trash or belongings you bring with you and avoid leaving any trace of your presence.
  4. Stay aware of other water users: Be mindful of other kayakers, boaters, and swimmers, and maintain a safe distance from them.
  5. Communicate with your group: If kayaking with others, maintain communication and keep an eye on each other for safety.

Staying Joining a Kayaking Community

Participating in a kayaking community can enhance your kayaking experience by connecting you with fellow enthusiasts, sharing tips and advice, and discovering new kayaking locations.

  1. Local kayaking clubs: Join a local club to meet like-minded individuals and participate in group kayaking trips and events.
  2. Online forums and social media groups: Share your experiences, ask questions, and get advice from experienced kayakers in online communities.
  3. Kayaking events and festivals: Attend kayaking events and festivals to learn from experts, try out new gear, and celebrate the sport with fellow enthusiasts.

By staying prepared for different kayaking conditions, following etiquette and safety tips, and joining a kayaking community, you’ll be well-equipped for an enjoyable and memorable kayaking experience. Don’t forget to pack your essential gear, including a towel, to ensure a comfortable and safe trip on the water.


In conclusion, a towel is an essential item to bring along on your kayaking trip. It helps improve your comfort, safety, and warmth during the activity. Consider factors like absorbency and quick-drying properties when choosing the right towel. Don’t forget other essential kayaking gear, such as a PFD, paddle, dry bag, first aid kit, and whistle.


Can I use a regular beach towel for kayaking?

While you can use a regular beach towel, microfiber or Turkish towels are better suited for kayaking due to their lightweight, absorbent, and quick-drying properties.

How do I clean and maintain my kayaking towel?

Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions, which typically involve machine washing on a gentle cycle and air-drying or tumble dry on low heat.

How often should I replace my kayaking towel?

Replace your towel when it starts to show signs of wear, such as fraying, decreased absorbency, or persistent odors.

Can I use my kayaking towel for other activities?

Yes, kayaking towels are versatile and can be used for other outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, and swimming.

Is it necessary to bring a towel on a short kayaking trip?

While it may not seem necessary for a short trip, it’s always a good idea to have a towel on hand in case you get wet or need to dry off surfaces for safety reasons.