Kayaking in Cold Weather – What to Wear? Best Materials for Winter Cold

Kayaking is a fun and adventurous sport. When the weather turns cold, it becomes difficult to kayak in ice-cold water. Luckily, there are many ways to stay warm while on the water. Some of these methods include wearing layers that can be removed or added as needed, using sunblock on exposed skin areas that are more prone to frostbite, and drinking plenty of fluids before going out on the water.

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Kayaking in cold weather is an exciting and invigorating way to enjoy the outdoors. It is important to take precautions before you head out on the water, however, because the cold temperature can affect your body’s ability to stay warm.

Drysuits and wet suits are also are a must if you are going into real cold weather. Let’s do a quick overview:

Wet Suits

Source: heapkayaks.org

Wet or skin suits are made so that they form a barrier between your skin and the outside world. They insulate extremely well because they retain water which helps to keep your body heat up. The downside of wet suits is that if you have any holes in them, like after scratching yourself on a sharp rock, the water will come in and you’ll get cold very fast.

Mens 3mm Shorty Wetsuit Womens, Full Body Diving Suit Front Zip Wetsuit for Diving Snorkeling...
  • This shorty wetsuit men is specially designed for water sports and water aerobics; wetsuit front zip provides UV protection and defense against sea...
  • The mens wetsuit should fit snugly and tight to the body, thus to keep the body heat when in the water, you should get a ideal fit after several times...
  • Heavy duty YKK front zipper mens shorty wetsuit is easy for exit and entry; Flat-Lock Stitched Seams is excellent durability and fantastic comfort to...
  • Three layers of diving fabrics front zip wetsuit, the outer is imported nylon fabric, it is high elastic and durable; the middle insulation is...
  • Handwash in cold water for this wetsuit women with mild detergent and flat to dry, no iron, no bleach. If you have any issues about product or...
Wetsuits Men's Ultra Stretch 7Mm Neoprene Wetsuit, Winter Warm Front Zip Full Body Diving Suit for...
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  • HOOD DESIGN --- Effective protection of head and hair, hat The inner edge is smooth skin, and the inner edge is much higher than the inner edge....
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  • SUPRATEX KNEE PADS --- Use wear-resistant glossy skin to protect knee effectively; Neoprene with Ultraspan ends on arms and legs. It offers excellent...
  • FRONT ZIPPER DESIGN --- Fast and comfortable to wear, one person can also easy to finish
Dive Skins Full Body Swimsuit Wetsuit Scuba Rash Guard Diving Suit for Women Men Adult, Long Sleeve...
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  • ★DURABLE: 150% high stretch and excellent recovery, don’t worry about ripped, Skyone one piece swimsuit will be a long term partner for you,...
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  • What is the Vigor (Ⅰ) Spirit wetsuit? - The Vigor (Ⅰ) Spirit wetsuits are specially designed for kids. It is made of 3mm neoprene + nylon elastic...
  • What to watch out for the first time you wear a wetsuit? - 1) For many kids, full wetsuits can make them feel contracted. This is necessary for them...
  • If your kids are lucky enough to have a wetsuit, your kids can swim, surf or scuba dive at any time. The Vigor (Ⅰ) Spirit 3mm neoprene wetsuits are...

Dry Suits

Source: nookie.co.uk

Dry Suits work by trapping an insulating layer of air between you and your clothes. They are made to form a second waterproof layer on top of whatever you’re wearing underneath them so they are considerably thicker than wet suits (8-12 millimeters).

Drysuits also require proper maintenance to stay functional since water seeping through the zipper or any small holes may cause you to lose body heat.

As far as insulating layers go, extra clothes can be worn over a dry suit, and during breaks in the activity, you can remove clothing and store it inside your kayak or put on the warmer gear.

A drawback of dry suits is that they make getting dressed and undressed more complicated than wet suits: most drysuits require zippers rather than quick-release buckles for example, which makes them incompatible with most inflatable kayaks.

Scubapro Everdry 4mm Mens-S
  • Made of 4 mm high-density neoprene, the ever Dry weighs 50 percent less and is significantly softer than traditional dry suit Neoprene.
  • The neoprene resists compression at depth so the Dry suit can be worn with a thin undergarment or no undergarment at all.
  • Scuba Si-Tech balanced side-activated Inlet and adjustable outlet valves allow for pinpoint buoyancy control, increasing your stability and control at...
  • Keep cold water out and body heat in in with features Like a smooth-skin fold-under Neoprene neck Seal, ultra-smooth wrist seals, and a warm grey...
  • Driven to constantly innovate and improve the diving experience, Scuba builds high-quality equipment for the work, sport, and lifestyle of people...
Mookta Drysuit Waterproof and Breathable Men's Kayaking Drysuit
  • The use of new technology with 3 layers of waterproof materials and special coatings makes it waterproof,breathable,comfortable and has excellent...
  • The neck and sleeves are waterproof seals made of latex,which are comfortable and waterproof
  • There is an extra protective layer made of neoprene on the neck,cuffs and ankles to make it strong and durable
  • Ergonomic avant-garde design,easy to put on and take off and have a better freedom of movement experience
  • With adjustable design,self-draining design,fully waterproof zipper,the pursuit of excellence in details
Mookta Drysuit Breathable Men's Fishing Suit Waterproof Suit
  • The use of new technology with 3 layers of waterproof materials and special coatings makes it waterproof, breathable, comfortable and has excellent...
  • The neck and sleeves are waterproof seals made of latex, which are comfortable and waterproof
  • There is an extra protective layer made of neoprene on the neck, cuffs and ankles to make it strong and durable
  • Ergonomic avant-garde design, easy to put on and take off and have a better freedom of movement experience
  • With adjustable design, self-draining design, fully waterproof zipper, the pursuit of excellence in details
SEAC Men's Warmdry 4mm Neoprene Dry Suit, Black, Small (0060001009040A)
  • High-density 4mm neoprene drysuit designed for demanding recreational divers
  • Semi-rigid boots turn inside-out for fast drying
  • Bellowed 1000-denier Cordura pockets hold necessary gear
  • Glide Skin taped collar and smooth Aquastop wrist closures keep water out
  • Fabric storage bag, hood, hose and straps included

More tips

Source: edenvaleinn.com

First of all, it’s important to dress for warmth – even if it seems sunny outside! Your body will lose heat quickly through exposure to sun or wind, resulting in hypothermia that can be deadly. Dress in layers so that you can add or remove clothes as needed without spending too much time packing extra clothing.

Be sure your outer layer is waterproof so that you don’t get wet from rain or river waves splashing against your kayak. It’s also helpful to wear a hat and gloves since the majority of heat lost from your body is through your head and extremities. Finally, wear comfortable footwear that can stay on in wet conditions.

If you plan to be out for several hours or more, pack extra layers with you so that you can put them on if you begin to feel cold. Staying dry is one of the best ways to protect yourself against hypothermia, so take short rest breaks often to change into warm clothing if needed. Also, bring along a backpack containing water and snacks for energy as well as first aid supplies in case someone gets injured while kayaking.

Finally, write down a checklist of things to remember before going kayaking – this list should include items as life preservers and a means of communication.
Since cold weather affects the reaction time and control of your movements, it is important to take extra time getting in and out of your kayak, as well as to maneuver carefully while on the water.

If you need to pull yourself up a riverbank or climb back into your kayak, be sure you have something sturdy to hold onto and that you take care not to slip and fall into the water! It can also be helpful for at least one person in each boat to wear a personal flotation device (PFD). Attach their kayak with your paddle so you don’t get separated, and then both of you should return to safety.

Let’s do a quick review then of the things that are most important:

Source: gorgeunderground.com

1. Dress in layers so you can take them off if they get too hot
2. Wear a hat and gloves to keep your head and hands warm
3. Bring an emergency kit with snacks, water, extra clothes, a first aid kit, etc.
4. Use a spray skirt on the kayak to keep out water that will make it cold inside the boat
5. Make sure your kayak has enough room for all of your gear or bring two boats
6. Keep moving – don’t stay still in one place for long periods of time without paddling around
7. Stay out of the sun to avoid getting too cold and protect your skin from sunburn
8. Keep checking on yourself and others to make sure everyone is staying safe and warm
9. Don’t drink alcohol – it will make you lose body heat faster
10. Your reaction time and control will be slower, so take longer to plan your moves ahead of time
11. Watch for signs that someone else might be getting too cold or isn’t coping as well as you are with the temperature
12. If someone else seems to be in trouble, approach slowly from behind them so they don’t mistake your intentions if they have the early symptoms of hypothermia
13. Keep a lookout for wildlife so you don’t run into them or scare them off
14. Try to be back before the sun sets – it can get pretty dangerous on the water when its dark out, and most people aren’t prepared for that kind of situation
15. Wear your PFD! You should already carry one in your kayak anyways, but don’t forget to put it on every time you get in your boat (this is important even if you’re just in calm waters)

That’s all for now, so I hope this helped some of you who are interested in how to stay safe while kayaking through cold weather conditions.

Find out what are the main differences between drysuits and wetsuits by watching the following video: