Over the years I have come to appreciate the finer points of kayaking in warm/hot climates. Just living from the kayak is so much easier, when you aren’t having to climb in and out of dry suits. In addition a range of skills are much easier to perform when you don’t have 3 or 4 layers protecting you from the environment. My top of choice in warmer climates is the Patagonia Sunshade crew.
We would all agree that protection from the elements is crucial in cold environments, the same is true when kayaking in hot weather. My clothing of choice is also an item of equipment, which is in the running for the oldest clothing I still regularly use. A Patagonia long sleeved top, the Sunshade Crew, from their fishing collection.
It has seen significant use on numerous kayaking trips to warmer climates. As well as receiving significant annual use during the warmer summer months in Jersey. It has proved to be hard wearing and effective at protecting me from the suns rays. It is just starting to show signs of use with the fabric under the arms thinning and the cuffs starting to fray. This is hardly surprising after over 10 years of use.
It proved to be ideal garment on 4 trips to Baja, sea kayak leader training in Mauritius and 10 days paddling through the offshore reefs of Belize, plus 8 days on Wilson’s Prom, Australia. Closer to home I have worn it on numerous paddling trips to the Mediterranean, including Greece, Spain, Gozo and Italy. It is also proved to be perfect for kayaking in during the warmer summer months in Jersey. I think that it is the item of outdoor clothing I own, which has probably seen the longest and most sustained use.
The current Sunshade Crew has a few modifications from my trusty garment. The sleeves are slightly longer with thumb holes, which pulls the fabric down over the back of your hands. An area of your body which can be susceptible to the effects of the sun. So this change is a real bonus. The zipper on the small chest pocket seems more robust and less likely to corrode. Mine gave up years ago.
Currently available in 4 colours, I think it was only available in grey when I got mine. I am not complaining though as I would probably go for grey again. There are cheaper tops available but if you are looking for a robust paddling top offering protection from the sun then the Patagonia Sunshade crew is an excellent starting point. It is already packed for my next trip.