If you enjoy kayaking in colder weather, you know the importance of keeping water out of the cockpit. Whether the water is freezing or just really choppy, adding a kayak splash skirt to your vessel will protect you and keep you dry.
With good preparation, cold weather doesn’t have to cut the kayaking season short. You can be sure that the best kayak skirt will completely seal off the cockpit, blocking any splash from getting inside.
To help you make your choice, our product list offers reliable kayak water skirts that will significantly extend your season on the water. And, if you want to learn more about each of the features, don’t miss the buying guide below.
How To Choose A Kayak Spray Skirt – Buying Guide
Whether you’re more interested in the perfect fit of a neoprene kayak spray skirt or you prefer the comfort of a nylon kayaking skirt, there are plenty of options to choose from. Take a quick look at different factors to consider when making your choice.
Materials and Performance
Because of their specific use, kayak spray skirts need to find a balance between warmth and comfort on one side, and water protection on the other. Two materials show the best results here – nylon and neoprene.
Neoprene: Neoprene is most famous for its use in wetsuits, as it provides excellent insulation in cold weather. Neoprene spray skirts do a similar job – they create an insulating layer and help you stay warm. But what’s even more important, neoprene spray skirts create a tight seal around the cockpit and your waist, preventing any water from coming inside.
Nylon: If you want something lighter and more comfortable, a nylon spray skirt might be a better choice for you. With the extra breathability comes a tradeoff though – nylon isn’t as warm nor does it create a tight seal like a neoprene spray skirt. However, it still does a great job of keeping you dry against moderate splashing.
Nylon/Neoprene blend: Some models combine the materials to get the best of both – the tunnel is made of breathable nylon, while the neoprene deck and waistline give you a good seal.
Like you’ve probably noticed in the reviews, some models come with extra features that make the skirt more functional. These extras include:
- Suspenders – They keep the tunnel straight so the water doesn’t collect on the skirt deck
- Shock cord waist – Allows you to adjust and tighten the tunnel so it fits better
- Tensioned deck – Keeps a nylon deck tight so water can roll off instead of collecting
- Pockets – Convenient for stashing smaller items like snacks, sunglasses, or sunscreen
Sizing the Spray Skirt
Proper fit is very important for the efficiency of your kayak water skirt. Two areas require your focus here – cockpit rim and your torso.
The size of the cockpit rim (coaming) varies significantly from one kayak to the next, and the kayaking skirt needs to fit well and cover it completely. Because they’re not very adjustable, neoprene spray skirts come in a larger number of sizes. On the other hand, nylon skirts often have a one-size-fits-all design with a bungee cord, but their performance isn’t as good.
As for the torso, it’s important how well the tube fits. Again, nylon skirts are often universal and adjustable, so you can tighten or loosen them easily. Unfortunately, neoprene kayak skirts have a snug fit, so you should pay attention to these dimensions when buying. Manufacturers usually have size charts for their products, so you shouldn’t encounter any problems.
Other Types of Spray Skirts
Besides the basic design we’ve been talking about, there are two more modified options that make the skirt more practical in certain situations – half skirts and tandem spray skirts.
Half skirts: Also called mini-skirts or splash decks, they are ideal for warm weather and calm conditions. Unlike a standard skirt, these only have the deck and the rand, without the tunnel. This way, they prevent splash from getting inside while allowing your upper body to breathe and move freely.
Tandem skirts: These models are specially designed for two people in tandem kayaks. The basic construction is the same as regular skirts, but they come in two pieces where each kayaker wears one piece. The pieces are then joined together when you enter to cover the entire cockpit.
Sealing and Water-resistance
The point of using a kayak spray skirt is to keep the splash out of the cockpit, so a good seal is paramount. The best kayak skirt will be almost watertight, both around your waist and around the rim. As we said, neoprene skirts give a better seal, while nylon skirts have a higher comfort level.
Q: Why do I need a spray skirt?
The main purpose of a kayaking skirt is to keep water out of your cockpit. It’s especially useful if the conditions are choppy because a lot of water in the kayak could destabilize it. Also, by keeping you dry, a kayaking skirt will help you stay warm in colder weather.
Q: How do you get into a kayak with a spray skirt?
Using the kayak water skirt is fairly easy but, for safety reasons, you should make sure to do it properly. Here’s what you should do:
- While still outside, get in the kayaking skirt tube and adjust it on your torso
- When you get in the kayak, make sure that you’re comfortable and the seat is adjusted before attaching the skirt
- Start with the rear end of the skirt – lean back and attach the rand under the rim
- When the back part is secure, stretch the skirt and attach the front
- Tuck in the kayaking skirt on the sides, ensuring everything is sealed
- Make sure the grab loop is on the outside, in case you capsize or need to do a wet exit
Q: How do you clean a kayak spray skirt?
A kayak spray skirt doesn’t require much maintenance – you should only rinse it with fresh water after each use (especially after chlorinated or saltwater). Also, make sure to completely dry it before storing it to prevent mildew.
Q: Are kayak spray skirts universal?
No, but some are highly adjustable. However, this depends on the type of skirt you get. Neoprene skirts are not adjustable and a certain size will only fit a particular kayak. On the other hand, nylon spray skirts often come with bungee cords that give them a good amount of adjustability within a limited cockpit size range.
Globo Surf Overview
If you want to extend your season, a kayak water skirt is a necessary addition to your gear. The best kayak spray skirts will not only keep water out of the cockpit, but they will also help you stay warm. With the help of our buying guide and product list, we hope that you’ll be able to find the best kayak skirt to keep you protected for years to come.Using one of the best kayak spray skirts will keep kayakers dry and secure in their kayaks. From single kayaks to double, there should be a top rated kayak water skirt design for everyone. Spray skirts are easy to use and a great addition to any kayaking trip. If you know exactly what you need you can save time and money by investing in the best kayak skirt.
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- Kayak Drysuit
- Stand Up Fishing Kayak
- Kayak Cockpit Cover
Do you own one of the spray skirts that made it onto our list? Let us know how it has worked for your kayaking needs in the comments section below.