Winter kayaking relies on extra planning and gear to avoid issues in the difficult climate conditions.
Extra supplies are essential to stay warm and comfortable on trips in colder water temperatures.
Winter kayaking benefits from warm protective clothing and spare clothes in a dry bag for changing into on arriving back at base. A change of clothes is vital to help warm up after finishing the paddling session.
Here are six of the essentials for winter kayaking adventures:
A must-have piece of gear for the winter and cold weather paddling is the dry suit. It is a practical piece of kit to protect against the cold air and water temperatures.
Dry suits are an outer layer and go over the top of other items of clothing. With no a dry suit in place the onset of hypothermia can soon take effect.
Use gloves in neoprene material to keep the hands and fingers warm. A practical choice is the purpose-made diving gloves which come with a palm area with leather palms for extra grip potential. With the hands used so much when paddling, it makes sense to use neoprene gloves for the most effective protection.
A practical safety rule is to make sure a communication device (VHF, cell phone, etc.) is packed before setting off on a paddling adventure.
Plus, it benefits to provide a float or passage plan to a trusted shore based contact.
Pack a well-prepared kit with relevant rescue gear and emergency supplies, including:
- Space Blanket
- Light source (flash light, flare, or other to help signal for help)
- Firestarter (flint stick, electric lighter, etc.)
- First aid kit
- Emergency rations (high energy snacks)
- Water supply (or ability to purity and collect water)
- Towline (towing the kayak back to base or pulling the damaged kayak while swimming)
- Sea ladders, floats, stirrups or similar aids (help to get back in the capsized kayak)
It helps to keep the emergency supplies close at hand. Avoid stowing the rescue gear in a difficult to reach hatch or similar area on the kayak.
Food & Liquid
A flask with a warm drink is certain to help boost the mood and help maintain the fluid levels.
A practical solution for winter kayaking is to have the means to make hot food and drink while out on the cold water travels.
Plus, avoid drinking alcohol while on a winter kayaking adventure because this thins the blood and leaves the body feeling cold.
Be easy to see when kayaking in low-light or at night. Wear the appropriate clothing and light sources to make it easy for other boats in close proximity to notice you.
A PFD can easily accept extra light sources and distress tools like a torch or whistle to help in difficult situations.
A Spraydeck in neoprene is a perfect solution to maintain the warmth in the kayak, keep the cold water out, and give a better seal to minimize the possibility of capsizing.