Are you looking to level up your kayak game? A spray skirt may just be the thing you need to take you from a basic paddler to a hardcore seasoned pro in kayaking. This small addition to your gear will allow you to kayak year-round and open up even more routes to paddle.
Expanding your kayak accessories can be an overwhelming shopping experience. But it does not have to be! With some clear guidance and advice on the best gear out there, you will easily be able to find the best spray skirt for your kayaking level.
From answering the burning question of “what is a spray skirt” to the specific features you should look out for, we have got you covered. Here is your buyer’s guide to the best spray skirts for kayaking along with the top 9 currently available online.
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A spray skirt is a flexible waterproof cover for a kayak that attaches to the paddler’s waist. They are used to prevent water from entering the boat without restricting the paddler’s stroke or movement. They also create a warm environment for the kayaker to allow year-round paddling in some destinations.
Spray skirts are often used when kayaking in breaking waves or while navigating white water rapids. They are considered more advanced pieces of equipment. Paddlers are encouraged to use spray skirts if they want to progress in kayaking.
There are four key components that make up a spray skirt:
There are several types of spray skirts to choose from, besides the standard recreational type, when progressing your kayaking career.
As you become more familiar with wearing a spray skirt, you may want to consider using one with shoulder straps. This maintains tension on the skirt and keeps the funnel fully extended up the paddler’s torso, avoiding water pooling in the skirt.
Here are two more specialized types of spray skirts:
Spray skirts and spry decks often get confused as the same thing. It is important to note they are different bits of kit.
A spray skirt seals the kayak cockpit rim entirely, whereas a spray deck only covers part of the opening to reduce the amount of splash entering the boat. Spray skirts are used in whitewater kayaking and allow paddlers to perform advanced maneuvers, like Eskimo rolls, without flooding the kayak.
There are some key features to consider when shopping for a kayak spray skirt. Do not get overwhelmed by it all! Here is your buying guide for the best kayak spray skirts.
Kayak spray skirt material is a top priority to think about as it affects comfort and performance. Mainly, there are two options: neoprene or nylon.
A neoprene spray skirt provides superb warmth when the air and water are bitterly cold. They often come with rubber or neoprene rands to secure onto the kayak’s cockpit and can withstand some of the toughest conditions. Neoprene skirts create such a tight seal that they can be difficult to remove when wet, so it is important to practice this so you can perform an emergency wet exit if the need arises.
A nylon spray skirt is a good option for mild/warm weather. Nylon is highly versatile and can be waterproof, breathable, or water-resistant. Often the rand is a bungee cord that provides a tight seal but will not fully keep water out if capsized. However, this does make them easier to detach when in the water.
Some spray skirts use a combination of nylon and neoprene. This is a good choice if the conditions are variable.
Most spray skirts for kayaking follow the same basic design: tunnel and deck. There is some difference when it comes to the fastening, either offering a rand closure or a bungee. Some will also have an adjustable neoprene waistband to create a watertight seal.
When shopping for a kayak spray skirt, be sure it is suitable and will fit your sit-in kayak.
Shoulder straps and pockets are two examples of some great features some kayaking spray skirts can come with.
Adjustable suspenders (or shoulder straps) are useful to keep the tunnel fully extended up the torso. It also helps prevent water from gathering on the deck. This can be helped with a tensioned deck feature as well.
Pockets come in different shapes and sizes. Interior or exterior, typically they are located on the deck or tunnel. They can be designed for storage, like a mesh pocket for sunscreen or bug spray for example, or fleece lined to offer warmth for hands in cold weather.
Follow these simple steps to use a spray skirt when kayaking:
Here is your run down on the top 9 kayak spray skirts available online at the moment.
Best overall spray skirt for kayaking
The Seals Inlander Sprayskirt is designed for light to moderate paddling conditions, specifically made for recreational kayaks. It is made with a medium-weight coated nylon packcloth that is both durable and water-resistant.
With an adjustable tunnel for comfort and fit, this skirt is accommodating for many kayakers. The rim grip/safety slip technology keeps the skirt on your cockpit rim. There are also double-stitched and sealed seams, making this a good overall option for recreational kayaking.
Best budget spray skirt for kayaking
The Attwood Nylon Spray Skirt is made with polyurethane-coated 210 denier nylon. It has dual-side adjustability and PVC-sealed seams which make it easy to install and remove.
This kayak spray skirt folds to a compact size and can be stored in your kayak. A mesh bag is included for safe storage. Overall, this kayak spray skirt is great value for money and will suit those on a tighter budget.
Best lightweight spray skirt for kayaking
The Seals Splash Deck Spray Skirt is designed for paddlers who do not require a fully closed cockpit. It is great for calm paddling conditions and hot summer days. Not only does it provide splash protection but also good UV protection as well. This splash deck keeps the interior of the kayak cooler and more comfortable on warm days while also keeping the paddle drip off your lap.
There is an assortment of sizes, so be sure to measure up against your kayak cockpit. The materials used are lightweight, as is the mesh pocket on the deck.
Good spray skirt for extreme kayaking
The Seals Extreme Tour Kayak Spray Skirt is designed for extreme paddling conditions. It has been constructed with a high-performance 4.0 mm neoprene deck with a waterproof, breathable fabric tunnel and adjustable neoprene waistband.
If whitewater rapids are calling you, then this may just be the spray skirt you need!
Good spray skirt for watertight kayaking
The NRS Drylander Shock Cord Sprayskirt is designed to stretch and fit tightly to both the kayaker and the kayak. A rubberized inner deck coating grips the kayak combing from the inside, resisting slippage, while the tough 4-mm neoprene surface holds well under pressure.
It performs exceptionally well in whitewater conditions and is ideal for more advanced kayaking techniques. Just be aware that the neoprene is super tight when brand new and can be challenging to put on and take off.
Good spray skirt for premium kayaking
The Immersion Research Lucky Charm Rubber Rand Kayak Spray Skirt is the first skirt introduced with their 3-fin style rand. It not only offers a wide variety of rim shapes but also provides great implosion resistance.
It is the go-to deck for serious river runners. If the budget allows, this is a fantastic spray skirt for advanced kayaking.
Good intro spray skirt for kayaking
The NRS Basic Nylon Kayak Sprayskirt is a basic option that is affordable and gets the job done. It is ideal for gentle touring or learning how to use a spray skirt while kayaking. Designed with sturdy urethane-coated nylon, the skirt has an adjustable bungee for the deck and a drawcord for the waist to provide full mobility.
It is perfect for paddling on the river or exploring a lake. Although it is basic, this spray skirt is a great fit to keep rain and water out, keeping you dry for the whole session!
Good spray skirt for general kayaking
The Perception TrueFit Spray Skirt is a good all-around option for water-resistant kayaking. A water-resistant tunnel zipper allows hot air to vent out when unzipped and keeps you dry when zipped closed, making it one of the most breathable skirts available.
All of the seams are double-stitched and seam-taped for premium durability and waterproof performance. There is a large zippered mesh pocket on the deck for storing items that can get wet. And the grab handle includes a clip that can attach to your PFD while walking.
Good spray skirt for ventilated kayaking
The Wilderness Systems TrueFit Spray Skirt provides an excellent fit for sitting inside kayaks that is designed to keep the paddler dry. Sticky edging grips the cockpit rim tightly and adds extra durability. The implosion bar prevents water from pooling on top of the skirt.
A water-resistant tunnel zipper allows hot air to vent out when unzipped and keeps you dry when zipped closed. All seams are double-stitched and seam-taped for premium durability and waterproof performance. Large zippered mesh pocket on deck for storing items that can get wet.
Whether you are after recreational or whitewater spray skirts, you need to make sure it is the right fit for you and your kayak. Always check the manufacturer’s size chart against both you and your boat.
Kayak skirts are a useful addition to your kayaking kit. Once you get used to the feel of paddling with one, you won’t want to go without again!
Kayaking without a spray skirt is common and often recommended for newcomers. A spray skirt can be considered restrictive for anyone that is still learning how to kayak. If you are not using a spray skirt, it is best to stick to calm conditions where water will not be entering the kayak.
Kayak skirts are needed when paddling on challenging rivers or rough oceans. If your kayaking adventure takes you through a lot of white water, then you will probably want to consider using a spray skirt to cover the entire cockpit and keep moisture out.
Spray skirts for kayaking need to be a tight fit around the torso of the kayaker. This will ensure it is watertight and will not be too restrictive in stroke movement. At first, they will be difficult to put on and take off until you get used to using kayak spray skirts.
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