Hey, buds! It’s the new year and you know what that means–more kayaking to be done! Waters are cold and steady so it’s just begging to be paddled in. So you just know that I’m really itching to get into the waters (holiday pounds to work off–and all that). A constant question that seems to come up from my friends is “John, aren’t you cold?”
Apparently, it’s a pretty common concern that most people have about us kayak enthusiasts. I think they’re surprised that we just don’t turn into blocks of ice the moment we come into contact with water, haha! But all kidding aside, it’s a pretty good question, actually. When it’s cold and the water is even colder, paddling can be dangerous if you aren’t properly equipped. In serious cases, it can even result in severe hypothermia. So let me share with you my tried and tested tips on how to keep warm while kayaking in winter.
1.) Wool Socks
No, I’m not joking. A good pair of thick wool socks is worth its weight in gold when you’re in a kayak in winter. They’re comfy and can be quite toasty–they dry really quick and odor doesn’t stick to it. So if you’re on an extended trip, you don’t have to bring several pairs of wool socks with you. It makes packing a lot lighter. Imagine this, you spend several hours wearing neoprene paddling shoes or even slogging it through some cold water then after drying your feet, you slip them into some warm wool socks. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?
2.) Rubber Gloves
Not the most cool looking thing out there but it does the job–particularly for winter paddling. Rubber gloves keep your hands warm while making your fingers free and ready. This is especially helpful when you have knots to tie or undo. When I get out of the water, I have a pair of mitts ready to catch my hands and slowly warm them up and keep them cozy.
3.) A Trusted Drysuit
For paddlers who like to go into different kinds of waters, drysuits offer the best protection against the water. For me, it may look a tad silly but these one-piece suits do the trick. Drysuits are usually make of nylon with a waterproof polyurethane coating or breathable laminate. Mine have latex gaskets at the wrists and ankles–plus the neck part has a special zipper to really keep the water out. So I could get dropped into the water and I would still remain dry.
4.) Layers and Liners
While drysuits will keep you warm, they’ll provide little insulation from the cold. So it’s quite important that you pair your drysuit with specifically made insulation and liners–tops and bottoms made of fleece can do the trick. A good liner will be quick-drying and breathable. Most liners on the market today even feature an abrasion-resistant outer surface that blocks wind pretty well. Personally, I go for full-length fleece liners with front zip entries. They go pretty well beneath my drysuit.
5.) An Insulated Hat
Boy, let me tell you how much this is an important part in keeping you warm! I usually pair a woolen cap with my wool socks (don’t judge me!). Other options that you guys can choose from are fleece caps, face masks, lightweight balaclavas. In more extreme situations, you can even choose to wear full neoprene hoods.
So that’s it for me. It may not seem like a lot but it certainly does the trick. So if you’ll excuse me, off I go to research my next kayaking spot!