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Can You Kayak in the Rain? – Surviving the Storm

rainy kayaking

There are certain activities and experiences in life that we always want to do. Being hooked on something and considering it your go-to hobby is enough for you not to think clearly and to always want to do it. Despite evident danger and challenges that would you be better without, having fun and chasing that feeling of joy is often too strong.

This is why taking proper care and making sure safety is at the highest possible level is so prevalent. In the case of kayaking, taking the small vessel out and paddling around in the water already has enough dangers and potential rough situations even without the weather causing more mayhem and chaos.

Everyone knows that being stuck in a rainstorm while on any sort of boat is scary. The feeling of helplessness regarding the potential overboard or capsizing scenario is too strong not to creep into the back of your head even on a sunny and clear day on the most capable cruise ships. For a small paddling boat like a kayak, even the lightest of rains can cause a commotion that can lead to dangerous situations.

Since it is a real possibility and no fun to be a part of this experience, every kayaker needs to know how to handle it. Surviving the storm is particularly important for kayak fishermen who spend hours if not most of the day out on the water catching fish. In the remainder of the article, we talk more about whether or not kayaking in the rain is possible and if so, how to do it properly.

It Is Possible and People Do It

kayak on rain

First and foremost, not every rain is the same and a kayak can be a safe place in many rainy conditions. Light seasonal rain and even short summer showers that seem too heavy to be true are no match for a kayak, but only if you behave accordingly.

The worst thing you can do in a fishing kayak is panic when the rain starts. Sure, you have no idea when it will stop and how rough it will get. Even if you had checked the weather forecast beforehand, it can catch you by surprise and be heavier than anticipated. However, remaining calm is key because otherwise, you will not be able to react in the right way.

The key thing when kayaking in rainy conditions, especially in a storm, is to protect yourself, i.e. your clothes. Your other gear will either be in a waterproof, sealed hatch, or it will be on top of the kayak but still waterproof. It is meant for fishing so rain will do it no harm. You, on the other hand, must stay warm and as dry as possible.

Staying Dry and Warm in the Storm


Rain clothes are a must in a storm if you are to weather it the right way. Waiting it out and continuing with your kayaking is the ultimate victory as you do not have to leave for home if you are completely fine. A raincoat that will cover your entire body is your safest bet here, preferably a proper fishing raincoat that is more heavy-duty than your regular throw-on.

If you know that it will be rainy while out kayaking, another set of clothing should be brought and kept somewhere where water will not dampen it. When the rain stops, simply change if you get wet. You should always bring a separate set of clothing to change anyway. A new undershirt, shirt, pants, underwear, and socks.

The real problems start when it is also cold while raining and when there is also wind to be combated. That is when a windbreaker underneath the raincoat should protect you, but a waterproof kayak skirt is a real deal here as it will keep water from getting to your crotch, legs, and feet.

Life Vest and Helmet

These two pieces of safety gear become crucial survival gear when a storm sets in. The life vest or life jacket will help you as an additional layer of clothing while still in the kayak. Hopefully, that is where you will stay for the remainder of the storm, but should you find yourself in the water it will save your life and allow you to swim more easily.

Obviously, the helmet protects from hitting your dome on rocks, timber, and various debris that can be present in the water during a storm. Kayaks get out of balance in strong winds and heavy rain and even the smallest of excessive movements can turn it over, leaving you in the water. This is where your life vest will show you the meaning of its name.

Kayak Umbrellas and Canopies

umbrella for kayak

Kayaks are very versatile when it comes to equipment that can be attached to their many holders and mounts. Fishing rigs and cups are the usual stuff, as are gadgets on the dashboard. However, in a storm, every bit of cover helps so you should invest in a kayak umbrella or canopy.

They typically cover the entire seating area and are angled enough for the rainwater not to drop on you. Some can even close all the way around the kayaker and give you a cocoon-like experience. This would be the ultimate solution to surviving the rainstorm while out kayaking. Of course, you will still need everything mentioned above, too.

Anchor System

Last but not least, your kayak should be rigged with an anchor system if you mean to survive frequent rain sessions. Rain is usually accompanied by wind at which point it is considered a storm. Windy conditions on the water mean drifting further away from where you want to be and paddling is not always enough to combat the heavy gusts coming your way.

In order not to be blown far away, onto rocks, or to the other side of the lake/river, the anchor can help you stay in place. There are different types of anchors that can be attached and installed onto kayaks. It is a smart move to get one just in case. They can be used even when the weather is fine to make sure you are sitting in place when you want to.

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