Baby, It’s Cold Outside - Kayaking in Colder Weather
Exhilarating and intriguing, paddling in colder weather offers a unique experience that is certain to take your breath away.
The fall’s ushering in of bold colors and lower humidity can make paddling your favorite lake an absolute joy. Couple that with a picnic or some nature photography, and you’ll definitely be in the zone. But, what about colder weather? Much colder weather? The short answer is it requires a bit of planning and respect for the elements.
At temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the water can pose certain risks. Being prepared is the best remedy for enjoying cold weather paddling safely and comfortably.
Dress for Success
Remember your parents telling you to ‘layer up’ when the first real cold snap of the season arrived? The same formula works remarkably well with cold weather paddling.
Even though a dry suit is a great call for outer coverage, it won’t do much to keep you warm in lower temperatures. That’s why layering under a dry suit makes a good combination for comfort and for safety. Long johns and thermal leggings work great for layering your clothing and won’t noticeably affect your range of motion.
The same approach should be taken with your hands and feet. Neoprene gloves will help keep your hands free from chill and wool socks in a decent pair of wet shoes will keep your dogs nice and toasty.
Most importantly, dressing in layers and protective outerwear is an excellent safety measure should you end up in the water.
Don’t Forget Your Thermos
In colder temps, nothing hits the spot quite like a hot beverage. Coffee, cocoa or even hot broth can help warm your body and give you a boost of energy. Taking a few more breaks than you normally would isn’t a bad idea, either. It’s important to keep up your energy and your core temperature when taking on the weather. And, as tempting as a hot cider may sound, adult beverages are best left back on shore.
Boning Up on Safety
For cold weather paddling, you should be well versed in self-rescue, partner-rescue and returning your kayak to an upright position after a spill. If you need a refresher on any of these topics, be sure to visit our YouTube channel, featuring tutorial videos here.
Because colder water affects our bodies quickly, it makes sense to paddle with a buddy and keep your kayaks relatively close to one another. Your communications devices should be charged up (super low temps can drain batteries quickly) and safely tucked into watertight storage. Finally, your personal flotation device is absolutely necessary when venturing out in cold water.
Okay, we’re done lecturing you about the cold. Now, it’s time to consider cold weather paddling a new part of your kayaking adventure list.
With the crispness of winter, and the splendor of colder regions, it’s easy to understand the attraction of paddling when the seasons change. You may just find it your new favorite pastime.
Oru Kayak offers a full range of folding origami kayaks for every level of skill. Check them out here.