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What to Wear Open Canoeing in Scotland

Posted on Oct 01, 2018 by Rupert Shanks

Gently paddling through a Scottish glen can be one of the most peaceful and therapeutic experiences around.

However, like any Scottish adventure you need to be prepared for the elements. We’ve been guiding open canoeing trips throughout Scotland for 15 years. So we’re happy to share our complete guide to What to Wear Open Canoeing in Scotland.

Video: we produced a short summary video kindly presented by David from our Sales and Guiding team. Thanks David!

Upper Body

What to wear open canoeing in Scotland-3

  • Moisture wicking base layer. We love these Merino and synthetic blend tops from Haglofs for Men and this Icebreaker version for Women.
  • Heavier weight fleece/jumper such as these for Women and Men which are lightweight but warm and breathable.
  • Waterproof jacket. For a canoeing trip in which you will also be hiking and camping (Such as our North West Highlands trip) we recommend using a hiking style outer shell jacket, such as these from Haglofs for Women and Men. These are waterproof, breathable and therefore really versatile. If you only require a jacket for use inside the canoe it may be worth considering a watersports-specific jacket. We can highly recommend these from Peak UK for Men and Women. They are tough and waterproof yet well-articulated to allow easy movement.

Lower Body

Gear Review- Haglofs Rugged II Mountain Pant 2

Quick drying hiking trousers or zip-off trousers are a great option.

  • Lightweight trousers. We love these lightweight hiking trousers from Haglofs which are tough but comfortable, breathable and quick-drying. For Men and Women.
  • Shorts. Such as these simple lightweight shorts from Rab for Men and Women.
  • Swimming costume/trunks. We recommend these spindly string bikinis from… just kidding!
  • Waterproof trousers such as these lightweight options for Women and Men.


  • Wetsuit socks such as these neoprene ones for Men and Women. Another option is to wear waterproof socks or warm wool socks inside a pair of trainers.
  • Wellington boots are recommended.

Head and Hands

Essential equipment to take with you on the water

  • Water bottle. (Ideally 2 litres capacity in total)
  • Dry bag to carry spare clothes (Provided by Wilderness Scotland on our trips)
  • Sunglasses with buoyant strap.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm.

Download our PDF kit list and guide:

What to wear open canoeing in Scotland pdf

Happy paddling!

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About the author

Rupert Shanks

After a spell in the corporate world in London Rupert decided to find a more rewarding way of life involving a closer connection to the outdoors and to his camera! Rupert produces a lot of the photography and video for Wilderness Scotland and works within the Marketing team.

Read more articles by Rupert

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