Getting out onto the water in your boat when it’s sunny is great fun. For most, it will be the best time to get out paddling – we think paddling in the sun is by far the most enjoyable and relaxing.

However, if you’re out on the water for a long period of time, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be anywhere near any shaded areas. Unless you stop off to take a break during the day, you’re going to be exposed to the direct and full force of the sun’s UV rays for the entire duration of your trip out on the water.

Whilst sitting in the sunlight feels great at the time, it can become unpleasant very quickly when you start getting too warm, overheating and dehydrated. More seriously, prolonged exposure to UV rays from the sun can cause sunburn, sun stroke and permanent skin damage. A kayak sun shade is a great way of avoiding the full force of the sun, but still staying out on the water for as long as you like.

If you’d like to get a canopy for your kayak, there are a few points that must be considered. The canopy that you can get will be dependent on the style of your kayak, as well as the style/design of canopy that you require.

In our guide, we take a look at the various different styles of kayak canopy, including what each offer and how they differ from one another. We also review the best kayak sun shades on the market.


How To Decide Which Kayak Sun Shade Is The Best For You

The first and foremost priority of any kayak sun shade is protection. When looking for a good kayak canopy, you should be sure that the surface area is going to be large enough to cover you, and any other companions or pets that you might have on board your kayak at any time. Animals are badly affected by over-exposure to UV just as we humans are!

The Correct Size

You’d think this was too obvious a point to consider, but how wrong you would be! Getting a kayak canopy that’s the correct size in a number of areas, is so important. First of all, as we previously mentioned, it’s essential that you get a canopy that’s going to cover you and anyone else that’s on your boat.

Secondly, you should make sure that the canopy is the right size to fit onto the boat. A lot of the canopies that are available on the market are very adjustable, and can be fitted on a number of different shapes and sizes of boat. However, don’t rely on any canopy being able to fit onto your boat properly.

The Varying Weather

We’d all love to be out on the water in exclusively sunny and warm weather. Of course though, that’s almost impossible and is never the case. If you live in an area that often sees as much rain as it does sun, then getting a kayak canopy that’s also waterproof, or at least showerproof, can be a great idea.


You’ll see that there are more kayak sun shades available in lighter colours as opposed to darker colours. Darker colours heat up very quickly and retain a large amount of heat, compared to lighter colours that don’t. Heat builds up rapidly when you’re under the direct force of the sun, so opting for a lighter colour is never going to be a bad idea.

Durable Material

Canopies come made from a variety of different materials. Most of the time, they’re made from either polyester, nylon or canvas. Each different material offer advantages and disadvantages.


  • Strong
  • Effective
  • Great feel
  • Breathable


  • Great feel
  • Effective
  • Not as breathable
  • Excellent protection from rain

When looking at kayak sun shades, though, you should be careful not just to consider the material that the canopy itself is made from, but also the construction of the frame around which your canopy is wrapped. Ideally materials such as aluminium or fiberglass are the best choices, since they are both light in weight yet very strong. Other materials such as steel/other metals can be effective too, but they are far heavier and not as easy to take up and down quickly.

Ease Of Use

In our opinion, this is one of the most important factors to consider. A canopy that’s easy to carry, install on your boat, and take up and down when you want to and don’t want to use it is very important.

Have a look for kayaks that are easy to attach to your boat – some require considerably more work than others. For some this might not be an issue, but most people we imagine would like to get their sun shade onto their kayak as quickly and as easily as possible.



Best Kayak Sun Shades

 Adventure Canopies Kayak Sun Shade – Large Kayak Canopy

This Adventure Canopies Kayak Sun Shade is large in size, and the perfect option for covering the surface area of a larger kayak. This canopy is designed for one person kayaks, and offers a sun protection factor of UPF50+, as well as a total UVA/B guard of 99%. These are some of the highest sun protection figures available.

This canopy is able to give more than 10 square feet of shaded area, which is a great amount of space for keeping yourself out the way of the sun as well as your furry companion and your belongings.

For ease of use and to make sure that you’re getting protection from the sun where you want it, this Adventure Canopies Sun Shade can be adjusted in height. The fiberglass frame of the canopy means that it’s extremely durable and lightweight too.

Key Points

54” long kayak sun shade that provides 10 square feet of protection

Strong yet lightweight fiberglass frame

UVA/B protection of 99%

Available in different sizes


Quick and easy to take on and off


Saturn Deluxe Kayak Sun Shade – Easy Mounting Sun Shade For Inflatable and Solid Boats

The Saturn Deluxe Kayak Sun Shade is the perfect canopy to go for if you’ve either got an inflatable kayak, or are looking for an extremely quick and easy shade to get mounted onto your kayak.

This sun shade is said to work with just about all kayaks available. There’s no need to go to difficult lengths when fixing this mount to your boat – there’s no drilling or hammering required. The Saturn Deluxe comes provided with strong adhesive mounting points that are simply stuck onto your kayak with ease.

The frame of the Saturn Deluxe is made of aluminium – it’s therefore both strong and light in weight. The fabric on the frame is made from extremely strong, durable, and waterproof 600D polyester. It’s coated too, which further enhances the already fantastic waterproofness of this shade.

In terms of build quality, this Saturn Deluxe is excellent all-round. It makes a great middle ground between a rain shelter and a sun shade.

Key Points

Excellent protection from the rain as well as the sun

No drilling/altering of your kayak required – adhesives provided

Strong and lightweight aluminium construction


Lixada Kayak Canopy – Cheap Kayak Sun Shade

This Lixada kayak sun shade is one of the most cost-effective available. It’s functional, it looks great, and it comes in at a great price – what could be better? It’s a well-reviewed kayak that’s loved by its users.

This Lixada sun shade is available in a variety of 9 different colors. It’s constructed from Oxford Cloth with a strong aluminium frame. It’s made for use with a one-seater kayak, and offers great protection against UV as well as resistance to water.

Provided with a storage bag, this sun shade is easy to pack away and store if you’re not using it. It’s easy to setup on your kayak, and is very durable.

Key Points

Oxford Cloth making for excellent protection from the sun and rain

Available in a variety of 9 colors

Storage bag provided

Lightweight and easy to setup

Provides 8 square feet of sun protection



We hope that our guide to the best kayak sun shades has helped you in your search for the best. If you’re interested in a variety of kayaks and kayaking products, check out more from our homepage here.