Moore Canoeing

Dressing for Sport Canoeing

The purpose of sport canoeing is to help you feel as if you were born a creature of the water while allowing you retain your sensitivities as a human being, a highly evolved land creature. That is your guiding concept when outfitting yourself for a sport canoeing outing.


Almost anything you have in your closet is appropriate for some canoeing occasion. Naturally, if you are embaring on an extended wilderness expedition or even a weekend camping trip, your dress will complement the environment and occasion, but for a picnic or dinner cruise or to play for an hour on the pond after work, consider wearing something other than the most scruffy T-shirt and shorts that you own. The motion of an accomplished sport canoeist is extraordinarily elegant, and his attire should complement that elegance.

Early on the learning curve, however, one may experience moments of inelegance and face the possibility of getting wet. Until you know your limits, it is prudent to wear clothing that will not be ruined if it becomes wet. And it is always wise to have with you a complete change of warm dry clothes and a towel.

In some instruction sessions we even fall from our canoes and get wet on purpose—when learning self-rescues, for example, or when practicing braces—where we discover our limits by going beyond them. For these occasions a bathing suit is proper attire.

Ninety-nine percent of the time we are canoeing, however, it is our intent to stay dry, and our self-confidence as canoeists is reflected by the civility of our dress.


With practice you will usually be able to keep your shoes dry while canoeing. They are, however, more subject to becoming wet than is the rest of your clothing. Until you know your limits, plan for them to get wet. A variety of nylon/neoprene water socks work well. Canvas deck shoes are also a good choice, especially if they have extra reinforcement over the toes.

Don't wear high-tops or any shoes that will bind your ankles; it's important that you have the freedom to point your toes when kneeling. Avoid sandals as they provide little protection of the tops of your toes when kneeling. In any case, have with you a change of dry shoes and socks for after a class or outing.


During instruction sessions, it is preferred if you have your own sport canoe, paddle and life jacket. If you do not, Moore Canoeing School does have a selection of such equipment that may be rented (for instruction purposes only). Be certain to make arrangements for use of such equipment in advance.

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© Patrick Moore, Moore Canoeing 2000 - 2019     

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