So you’ve decided to paddle through winter. Excellent news! Not only will you be privy to some different wildlife, especially as our resident summer birds migrate to southern climes, some epic frosts and beautiful paddles throughout the winter will be a real treat. 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.
Top ten items of winter paddling clothing
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 and wrists to prevent water getting in. This can be a real lifesaver in winter. 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!
- 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! Prepared is the best way to be.
- A Buoyancy Aid (BA) with pockets comes in very useful! Fitting it properly and in good condition is key whenever you put your BA on.
- A woolly hat could mean the difference between being freezing cold or actually quite comfortable. Your body loses most of it’s heat through the head.
- Thick neoprene boots are going to be essential for winter paddling. 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.
- 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.
- 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!
British Canoeing members receive 15% off all Gill’s range of clothing and accessories. This could cut down your kit costs massively and keep you toasty through the winter.
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.