We’ve just about hit that time of the year in the UK when it gets darker earlier and earlier, the weather has begun to turn and the water is that little bit colder – Winter Is Coming. It’s a great time to start to look at your cold weather paddling gear and assess whether it is going to be up to the job.
Being cold is not just uncomfortable it can also be life threatening. Having the right gear for the right conditions is key at any time of the year but the margin for error during the colder seasons is much tighter.
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.
Staying both warm and dry makes any kayaking adventure that much more pleasant. I’ve been kayaking for over 25 years now and am amazed how much the kit has moved on during that time. Way back then getting soaked to the bone was pretty much a standard feature of paddling even if you didn’t swim. Even though staying dry is much easier and therefore makes keeping warm itself so much easier it’s important to get your insulation layers right.
I tend not to feel the cold as most folk but I still pick my insulation layers really carefully to make sure that I not only stay nice and warm but that I do not over heat. I personally find overheating way worse than being too cold.
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.