Winter Kayaking: 9 Useful Tips

A winter kayaking session is certain to go with more success when the proper preparation is put in place.
Winter Kayaking

Winter kayaking

Here are nine tips for great kayaking throughout the winter period:

Avoid ice

Take extra care in regions where ice might be a problem, especially if kayaking on canals or other flat water.

A carbon fiber or similar hulled kayak can easily be damaged if paddled into a hard object like ice.

Low-light conditions

Winter kayaking means less light and it gets darker, much earlier in the evening.

It you plan to kayak a river or lake with minimal light there is a great chance that the darkness will start to set in pretty quick and early. Make sure to keep this in mind when paddling on the more remote waters.


Similar to the rest of the body, the hands should be kept protected with the preferred kayak mitts or pogies.

Hands left exposed to regular sessions of getting cold weather can have long-term health implications. This not only relates to the possibility of frostbite, but also the swelling and stain on the tendons caused by the cold.


Staying motivated in the winter with its cold, dark, and wet environment isn’t the easiest if paddling alone.

It usually benefits to go kayaking with a partner for a more enjoyable session.

Multiple layers

The most effective method to stay warm in cold weather environments is to wear multiple thin layers instead of a single thick layer.

Use the right materials and layers and you will be left feeling a lot warmer when paddling the river, lake, or open waters.

Protect the feet

Give the feet proper protection when paddling in the cold water. Use proper kayaking footwear or add neoprene socks to the feet to maintain the warmth.


Padding in the winter is certain to be much quieter and frees you up from the fair-weather kayakers that are out in numbers throughout the warm seasonal months.

Even though it will be much colder, the winter kayaking is certain to give a peaceful and relaxing time and still highly enjoyable with the proper preparation and clothing in place.

Warm up

After completing a winter kayaking session, it makes sense to warm up as soon as possible with a hot shower and a warm drink.

Plus, it you got really cold out on the river try to warm up slowly (a tepid shower) to avoid pain in the feet and hands which is referred to as chill blades.

If the kayaking session leaves you cold with frozen hands it might also benefit to rely on assistance to help undo buttons or similar issues that might be problematic with claw-like hands.

Winter outfit

Wear the proper winter kit that will leave you feeling warm and comfortable for the duration of the paddling session. The proper winter kit is a must-have to avoid issues with hypothermia and frosting. With the possibility of capsizing in a kayak, appropriate and waterproof clothing should be in place.