The frosty mornings are definitely here and keeping warm whilst on the water is the key. Therefore I thought I’d do a quick run down of the kit I would typically wear to keep warm whilst on the river. The key to keeping warm is to use layers of clothing and to keep as dry as possible.
My winter paddling gear is as follows –
PFD, helmet, boots/shoes and spraydeck don’t real change through the seasons, although if it is really cold I might wear a Playboater Titanium Earwig. The Earwig helps take the edge off that sensation you get when your head hits cold water.
My dry kit does change, as I tend to move away from using Dry Tops/Shorts to full suits.
The dry suit takes care of the chances of getting wet but it is still essential to think about what you wear underneath!
Wool or sythetic thermals are best. Anything cotton based will become cold if it gets wet. Under the drysuit I wear 2 x light weight long sleeved merino tops (Howies or Icebreaker) and a 3/4 pair of Icebreaker 260 leggings combined with a pair of long ski socks. This seems to cover all the bases for me and I have never found that I get cold, although I am built for colder climates as I don’t seem to be affected by the cold too much. Many folk now wear some sort of fleece onesie (sp?) which is a one piece suit similar to a baby grow! This helps prevent and cold spots particularly around your back were a top/pants system might come “untucked”.
To help keep my hands dry and therefore warm I sometimes use my Palm Rivertec Pogies. I usually find that once my hands have warmed up that I can do with out the pogies. Gloves are another option but I tend to find them more restrictive than even pogies.