Originally Posted by tejasmtb
Thanks for the link, but how relevant is that thread to Texas kayakers? Water here is usually 70 degrees or warmer!
As long as you've got your spray deck, pfd, and helmet, everything else is optional. If you're not getting a rash/chaffing, cold, sunburned, or banged up, not much else is needed. In the summers in Utah I often paddle only in board shorts and booties. I'll wear the booties just to protect my feet if I swim or walk.
Dry tops keep you dry, and they'll also help keep water from going down between your body and the spray deck filling the boat. They offer no insulation value.
Neoprene or fuzzy rubber (wet suits) helps keep one warm using the water as an insulation layer, and also offers some padding/protection from banging into things.
Rash guards are simply some synthetic (not cotton) long-underwear sort of layer that just tries to prevent chaffing.
In TX if you're not cold and you don't mind a little water trickling into the boat, I'd try to get a thin long-sleeved top to help for sun protection and a little heat retention. I also get chilly somewhat easily, so that would be for me.
There are a zillion brands out there. Kokatat is the really nice, expensive stuff. NRS is alright and rather inexpensive. Bomber gear is on this board and would be happy to help you out. I use some clothing designed for surfing as some of it lasts me longer.
If you're not having any problems though, why change anything?