Paddling in the Cold Months
Jan 08, 2013It's that sad period of the year again; we put the covers over our kayaks, stash them in the garage, and give one more apologetic look to the racks on top of our cars who aren't going to see much use for the next three months before going inside, stoking up the fire and settling in with a cup of hot chocolate.
A large (and rather awesome) part of my job is to browse conversations as they unfold on our Facebook page. Without fail, there will be a number of people who lament that they're done kayaking for the season, it's just too cold. And who can blame them? I hate being cold.
This year, though, it seems that there are a number of people extremely determined that they aren't going to let the fire die just because Jack Frost is rearing his head.
Paddling in the cold months isn't just for kayaking extremists though. Some people find paddling in the snow and in the still, cold, quiet air to be a great escape to peaceful solitude. If you're hoping to get out and paddle in the winter months, there is a way to be safe and comfortable while doing so. Take Carmaine Patterson here for example...
Carmine is a great example of a smart, safe, warm, and dry paddler (not to mention dedicated).
Here are a few tips on how to keep you warm and safe, and in doing so, helping you to never have to look at your kayak again and say "until next year, old friend."
- Layer, layers, layers – start with a warm base layer that helps to capture and maintain body heat. Some great suggestions are neoprene–like Bomber Gear's Hydrogen Line, or a fitting fleece layer–you can even get Wildy branded fleece from Harmony Gear.
- Stay Dry – With shivering-inspiring water, keeping your body warm is synonymous with keeping it dry. Bomber Gear makes some great waterproof drywear. From tops, to full body, you can suit up and watch the water roll right off you.
- Spray Skirts – In my opinion, unless you're trying to get a weird tan, spray skirts are a great optional accessory to have year-round. But in the cold months, they are a necessity. A spray skirt means no wet lap and no water puddling up in your cockpit.
- Think Ahead – Something I love about this picture of Carmaine is that she has a paddle leash! That's something I haven't invested in, or seen much use for in the past. I mean, my paddle floats, why would I want to spend money on a leash? But then I saw this picture, I thought, "wow, if I ever dropped my paddle in that kind of weather I would never want to stick my hands in that water to paddle over to it!" So think ahead, grab the accessories you need, and remember: always wear a PFD and take a bottle of water along, just because you're not hot doesn't mean you're staying hydrated!
Have any other suggestions, favorite smart accessories, or maybe even some pictures from cold weather paddle adventures? Share them with us over at our Facebook page!
Update: We had mentioned the importance of warm, water-proof outerwear. Bomber Gear is currently offering free shipping on orders for the month of February, so if you're looking for a good place to buy great quality drywear, check them out!