Winter paddling clothing: What to wear for paddling in winter

Winter paddling clothing: What to wear for paddling in winter

So you’ve decided to paddle through winter. Excellent news! But you’ll need to stock up on some winter gear to hold back the cold.

Not only will you be privy to some different wildlife, especially as our resident summer birds migrate to southern climes, but you will also be treated to some epic frosts and beautiful sunrise and sunset paddles.

It really is worth braving the cold for such a different experience. However, you’ll also need to be prepared! To help you on the clothing front, we’ve put together a list of all the winter clothing essentials (and a few extra luxuries if you want to treat yourself).

Top ten items of winter paddling clothing

  1. Layers. Let’s talk about layers. Winter temperatures vary in the UK, so layers are a brilliant way to stay ahead of the forecast! Thermal base layers are a game changer, especially when they can be layered so easily!
  2. Pogies and neoprene mitts or gloves. Pogies are a paddler’s favourite as they can keep your hands relatively dry AND keep the wind chill off them, without compromising feel or performance. Some people also opt for neoprene mitts or gloves underneath too. Take a look at our gloves guide by clicking here. Here we explain why you should consider wearing gloves, the types available and how to look after them.
  3. Thick, good quality cag (and spray deck for kayakers). Cags are a little like waterproof coats, only they usually have waterproof seals on the neck, trunk and hands to prevent water getting in. This can be a real lifesaver in winter. Spray decks are brilliant for kayakers too for keeping the water out of the kayak. If you’ve already got this kit, double check it for holes and fix any tears or holes before you head out on the water. It will definitely save you from a surprise, especially if you end up rolling!
  4. Dry clothes for afterwards. No one wants to be driving home in soggy or damp clothes. Take a spare just in case you get splashed, your portages end up being messier than normal or you take an unexpected dip! Always better to be prepared.
  5. A Buoyancy Aid (BA) with pockets comes in very useful! You can use the pocket to store snacks for the paddle and your phone in a waterproof pouch too! Remember you could be burning more calories in winter than you’re aware of, especially if it’s cold! So taking extra energy snacks or gel, fruit and nuts could be a good shout.
  6. It’s not all specialist kit in the list here. A warm, woolly hat could mean the difference between being freezing cold or actually quite comfortable.
  7. What do you usually wear on your feet when paddling? If the answer is nothing, you’ll want some thick winter wet boots. They’re relatively inexpensive but keep your toes from getting too cold and cramped! Take a look at our 5 reasons why you should wear shoes when paddling and what types work best by clicking here.
  8. If you’re planning on doing lots of winter paddling for years to come, or you need a way to spend any spare cash, a drysuit is a sound investment. Specific women’s fit drysuits are available from Palm Equipment too. They keep you warm and dry from top to toe. Brilliant for canoeing, kayaking or stand up paddleboarding, making the paddle a lot more enjoyable especially if you’re planning a lot of water time!
  9. A warm coat or Aqua Parka (waterproof changing robe) to keep you toasty when you get off the water. Gill’s Aqua Parka are a popular choice for paddlers because they’re so spacious and they can just be chucked on at the side of the river. British Canoeing members receive 15% off all Gill’s range of clothing and accessories, including their Aqua Parka.

After some more general tips and advice around paddling in winter? Take a look at our article here which looks at everything you’ll need to plan a paddle trip in the colder months of the year.