Paddling tips, tricks, news and gear reviews from an Unsponsored point of view

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Winter Is Coming

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.

Winter Is Coming

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.

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Cold Weather Paddling Gear

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. 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.

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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.

A good dry top/trouser combo or dry suit. Keeping dry inside makes keeping warm that much easier. Even some of the two piece systems (dry top and dry trousers) available are getting close to being as good as a dry suit. Price is sometimes much better as is the flexibility of the system.

Solid footwear. Wet river banks and slippery rocks are not a great combination if you have dodgy footwear. A good pair of river shoes or boots are worth there weight in gold. Currently using Five Ten Water Tennies or the new Astral Rassler. Footwear with a good sole will also help insulate your feet from the cold ground.

Good socks. Conventional socks only really work if you have a dry suit with built in dry socks. I tend to wear ski socks when I have my drysuit on. If you don’t have a dry suit there are alternatives that will work when wet. You could wear a pair of neoprene boots but I have found that although they are great for keeping your feet warm the ones I have used have never had the greatest amount of grip. I much prefer using a combination of a good set of footwear (see above) and a thin neoprene sock. Various manufacturers make thin 3 and 4mm thick neoprene socks that can help keep your feet warm even when wet.

Base layers. I love merino kit – it’s warm when wet and doesn’t smell! But any good, thin base layer will do the job. Colder = more layers. Polartec fleece also works really wet in cold/wet conditions.

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Keeping Warm

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.

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