A Quick Guide to Cold Weather Paddling
As fall colors paint the trees and roads, we find ourselves deeper and deeper into the colder seasons of the year. While that may be the case, our adventurous spirit will never yield. We’ll take every possible opportunity to get out on the water and explore where the trails can’t reach. That said, the weather tends to work against us at every turn. Water temps at this time of year become deadly, and the brisk cold air isn’t any more forgiving. Will that stop us? Never!
We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve (pun intended) to help you and your team stay safe and warm on water this Fall, Winter and beyond.
This should be a no-brainer, but also never overlooked. You can always strip down if you bring too much, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. A quality rule of thumb is to steer clear of cotton and jeans. Getting wet in either material completely saps your body heat and drastically increases your chances of getting hypothermia. The best bet is to go with clothing made of synthetic materials to stay both warm and dry, and add layer by layer depending on the weather.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the colder it gets, the more important it will be to protect exposed body parts like your hands and ankles. It will be worth investing in paddling gloves, neoprene socks and headwear. A full dry suit is probably a little overboard for what our K-Pak can tackle.
Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Your life vest will actually add a considerable amount of insulation to your fit. The motto is to dress for the temperature of the water, not the air. Keeping your head above water if you do take an unfortunate tumble is important, needless to say. Additionally, there are breathing techniques you can find that make bearing the temperatures slightly more tolerable in emergency situations. You don’t have to go full on Wim Hof, but taking a page out of his book couldn’t hurt for a worst case scenario.
Staying fed and hydrated is one super important thing to not overlook - and will actually dramatically improve your performance. It’s easy to forget when we aren’t in the sweltering heat, but staying hydrated helps lubricate your joints and prevents your muscles from stiffening up, which they’ll be prone to in the cold. Warm liquids during cold nights are also a life saver - if you’ve got room for an insulated thermos with your favorite late night sip, we recommend packing it. Good foods to have on hand are ones rich in fat and carbohydrates because they both energize and warm you.
We can never pass up some good old hand warmers, especially out on the water. A portable charger is also a great idea if you plan on spending a long time floating. Cold weather actually drains our phones batteries much faster than a hot sunny day, so this is always a safe bet. We also mentioned things like gloves and socks earlier - pogies may also be a great investment at the cost of a little fine handling, if you need to dip into your tackle box.
With our K-Pak, it’s probably safe to say you wouldn’t barreling any Class IV rapids anytime soon. That said, a cold day out paddling to fish or take some photos can be made much more comfortable with these tips on-hand. Don’t let chilly temps stop you from seeing what’s out there - shop our K-Pak this holiday season!