As the summer has come to a abrupt end and the cold weather is upon us, I wanted to get a idea of what everyone recommends for cold weather paddling. For the most part I am on the lakes in flat water and am not worried about getting wet just staying warm but without over-heating either. Also, this winter I would like to try some downwind work which probably means I will be going for a dip every now and then. I will most likely have to get a combination of different things but wanted to get a idea of what has been successful for everyone else. Thanks!
Its best to have layers, however less layers when you expect submersion. The challenge is that you start off cold, end up cold (if you been out a long time) but for the majority of your paddle you will be warm/hot. You need to be able to ventilate, cool off when you need to and stay warm when you need to. Hypothermia is a killer and will happen with a sequence of unfortunate events that leave you wet, cold and maybe locked out of your car or at the end of a downwind run needing to hitch a ride back up, taking it serious is a good call.
Being comfortable in the cold makes your paddle sesh fun, cold weather does not have to be miserable.
What I have found useful:
This is a good question, thanks for posting! Sorry I don’t know more about womens gear, but I will ask around. I will post more info as I think on it.
Great post Joe! I usually don’t leave myself too exposed in the winter, generally close to shore so if I did fall in I could make it back and not freeze. I use a light fleece top or smartwool like layer. Then on the bottoms I use some NRS Hydroskin Pants that are 5mm. Then I use either 5mm or 7mm booties. Thats it, not hat or gloves unless it is below 30. I only went out a few times when it was in the 20’s and 30’s, the lake was starting to freeze over, Pine Lake on the Sammamish Plateau, it was crazy. See you on the water.
Last winter I bought a long john wetsuit, neoprene jacket, gloves and booties. All quicksilver. Not trying to push the brand, but that is what fit me the best. My jacket rocks, and keep the wind off of me and keeps me warm. I got most of my stuff at urban surf and they are great at helping you figure out your options. I also bough the neo-goo gloves, which I am 50/50 on. they keep my hands dry and warm, and are a must have in the winter, but are a bit slippery on my paddle. I put electrical tape on my paddle to give me more grip anyway and that solves the problem. The best thing I have gotten are my booties, the quicksilver cyphers. They are thick at 7.5mm but super warm and surprisingly responsive on my board. here is a link to them. Booties
If I could buy only one thing, it would be these booties.
The other thing I bring is a warm jacket and something hot to drink when I get out of the water. Nothing better after a cold paddle.
I like to wear dry pants (over some long johns depending on coldness) when downwinding in winter. If I take a spill, im not usually in very long, so I stay mostly dry. On top I will wear a paddle jacket/top with layers underneath.
That layering approach gives me more verstaility for weather conditions, since I dont like to don the wetsuit unless surfing