Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register
rivermiles.com Missouri American WaterMissouri River Relief Alpine Shop St. James WineryPfefferkorn Engineering & Environmentalladsurfski.com Olathe Ford Lincoln Mercuryprojectathena.orgFarmer's Insurancehealthyriverspartnership.comLewis and Clark Boathouse and Nature Center2013 Stickers
Home Help Search Login Register
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: 1
Send Topic Print
Cold Weather Gear for Training (Read 612 times)
08/25/17 at 10:15:46

YellowPaddle   Offline
Future Participant

Posts: 2
*
 
I'm starting to make plans for my winter training regimen and wondering if anyone has tips on the best type of cold-weather gear to get. 

I live in Virginia, so it gets pretty chilly but doesn't ice over (at least on the big water).

Before I moved here I lived in the far, far, north where the kayak was put away in winter so this is my first foray into anything more involved than a sweatshirt.

Thanks.
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #1 - 08/30/17 at 11:03:07

wcopaddler   Offline
MR340 Veteran
Colorado

Posts: 29
*
 
I'm certainly no expert, but I'll give you some of my past experiences with cold weather paddling.  I live in Colorado and generally can't paddle year round, but I'll go pretty late into the year.

I spent quite a few years as a rescue/safety boater on some awfully cold rivers out here, and our rule of thumb for hypothermia concerns was to add air temp and water temp together.  Anything below 100 signaled a high hypothermia risk.  My boat of choice was an open ww canoe, so I was fairly exposed.   When really cold, I was in a full Gore-Tex drysuit, which unfortunately is fairly cost prohibitive and really not super comfortable to paddle in, but, they'll keep you alive in extreme conditions!

From a recreational paddling perspective, I can pick and choose when I paddle, so I'm rarely in my drysuit anymore, but I'm still protected.  I saw a lot of whitewater paddlers get into trouble because they dressed for the paddle, and not the swim.  It was fairly common to see a drytop and then just a swimsuit on the bottom because they assumed they wouldn't swim and would be kept dry with their sprayskirt.  At a minimum, I wear insulated bottoms such as NRS's Hydroskin pants and a neoprene booty.  On top I'll wear a dry top over a Hydroskin or a light fleece and polypropylene base layer.  A hat is a must, and I'm also a fan of good pogies.  Avoid anything cotton!

As important as what I'm wearing is, I always have an emergency drybag with me.  I'll have a heavy fleece top and bottom, hat, emergency blanket, a quick-dry towel, and a cell phone in a water-proof bag inside the drybag.  I paddle fairly close to shore, and ALWAYS make sure somebody knows where I am.  If you have an IPhone, make sure somebody can track you using the Find Friends app.

It may seem like a lot, but after I recovered my first hypothermia drowning victim, I learned cold water is nothing to mess with!  That being said, some of my favorite paddles have been in the late fall or early winter in really cold conditions.  I realize you want to be training, but I'll scale back the workouts so I'm not sweating much.  Save your cardio for the gym and work on technique and being smooth.

I hope this helps!
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #2 - 08/30/17 at 15:58:00

Jaybee   Offline
2X MR340 Veteran
Knoxville, TN

Posts: 351
**
 
I paddle year round in Tennessee in a surfski.  Hydroskin works for me.  Hydroskin long pants, long sleeve shirt, socks and sometimes gloves depending on the conditions.  Some kind of insulated hat.  If it's really cold, I'll put a Marmet insulated top on first and then my Hydroskin.  When conditions are a bit dicey, I'll put a wing on the boat just to be safe as there is NOBODY out on the river in January (but me).

As mentioned above, have some dry back-up clothing ready.  I'll usually just carry an extra shirt or insulated top layer just to keep my core warm in the event that I get wet.  If I get wet and continue to paddle, I can stay warm enough but  if I do get wet in the winter than I'm heading back to the vehicle directly.

My basic rule is any two of: 50 degrees, low wind, sunshine and I'll go out on the water.
 

Jim
Boat # 3489
IP Logged
 
Reply #3 - 08/31/17 at 04:32:15

YellowPaddle   Offline
Future Participant

Posts: 2
*
 
Thanks, I appreciate it.  Great advice.
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #4 - 09/01/17 at 16:33:33

RugbyDoc   Offline
4X MR340 Veteran
St. Charles, MO

Posts: 136
****
 
To expand on some of the wise words written by wcopaddler:

I am also no expert but I've done quite a bit of research on this subject because I paddle year-round here in the STL area (surf ski).

The underlying rule of thumb in any water/air temp combination is - dress for immersion.  That is, dress to SURVIVE immersion long enough to get to safety.  Read up a bit...you may be very surprised how little distance you can cover when an impromptu swim in cold water occurs.  The thought that "I'm only 100 yards from shore, I should be fine" may be a deadly mistake in the right combination of water/air temps.

I have a wetsuit top, a farmer john wetsuit, a 4.0mm full wetsuit, and a Goretex drysuit (Kokatat paddling suit), neoprene hat, gloves, and booties available for use.  Yes, I have spent some coin on this equipment, and yes, I have dumped a few times in cold temps - only to discover I was not in danger and could remount my ski in a manner that probably looked normal to any onlookers.   Wink

How much is your life worth?  If you want to paddle SAFELY in cold temps, you have to seriously consider that question, and not necessarily what others are wearing...if you don't believe me, look at (amateur) kayak race photos from around the country.  So many races held in cold temps and racers without proper gear.  Hell, I see it every year just paddling at Creve Coeur Lake in the STL area.  A kayak rental outfit stays in business well into the cooler weather, and even though water temps are in the low 60s you will see t-shirt-and-shorts-clad folks out enjoying the day on the water...and literally one capsize away from ruining their day.  Or worse.

Not trying to preach.  Just trying to be helpful.  And yes, sometimes I feel like the Michelin Man in my ski, overdressed for the occasion and (especially in the drysuit) sweating quite a bit.  But it's a comfort knowing that if I lose concentration even for a second and take an unplanned dip in the lake/river, I'll survive it.  Probably even laugh about it.

Here are a few related links that offer further guidance, particularly on the "adding water temp to air temp to determine appropriate gear" philosophy:

https://paddleboston.com/resources-section/how-to-guides/dress-cold-water-paddli
ng/

http://www.paddlinglight.com/articles/the-risks-of-cold-water-kayaking-and-canoe...

https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.americancanoe.org/resource/resmgr/sei-educational_...

http://www.illinoispaddling.info/2015/12/cold-weather-paddling/

Be safe.  See you out there.


Barry

« Last Edit: 09/02/17 at 10:05:48 by RugbyDoc »  

You know you are a kayaker when you can't go over a bridge without looking for water under it.
IP Logged
 
Reply #5 - 09/01/17 at 18:08:13

Steve W   Offline
MR340 Veteran
Ground Crew Veteran

Posts: 248
*
 
RugbyDoc wrote on 09/01/17 at 16:33:33:
To expand on some of the wise words written by wcopaddler:

I am also no expert but I've done quite a bit of research on this subject because I paddle year-round here in the STL area (surf ski).

The underlying rule of thumb in any water/air temp combination is - dress for immersion.  That is, dress to SURVIVE immersion long enough to get to safety.  Read up a bit...you may be very surprised how little distance you can cover when an impromptu swim in cold water occurs.  The thought that "I'm only 100 yards from shore, I should be fine" may be a deadly mistake in the right combination of water/air temps.

I have a wetsuit top, a farmer john wetsuit, a 4.0mm full wetsuit, and a Goretex drysuit (Kokatat paddling suit), neoprene hat, gloves, and booties.  Yes, I have spent some coin on this equipment, and yes, I have dumped a few times in cold temps - only to discover I was not in danger and could remount my ski in a manner that probably looked normal to any onlookers.   Wink

How much is your life worth?  If you want to paddle SAFELY in cold temps, you have to seriously consider that question, and not necessarily what others are wearing...if you don't believe me, look at (amateur) kayak race photos from around the country.  So many races held in cold temps and racers without proper gear.  Hell, I see it every year just paddling at Creve Coeur Lake in the STL area.  A kayak rental outfit stays in business well into the cooler weather, and even though water temps are in the low 60s you will see t-shirt-and-shorts-clad folks out enjoying the day on the water...and literally one capsize away from ruining their day.  Or worse.

Not trying to preach.  Just trying to be helpful.  And yes, sometimes I feel like the Michelin Man in my ski, overdressed for the occasion and (especially in the drysuit) sweating quite a bit.  But it's a comfort knowing that if I lose concentration even for a second and take an unplanned dip in the lake/river, I'll survive it.  Probably even laugh about it.

Here are a few related links that offer further guidance, particularly on the "adding water temp to air temp" to determine appropriate gear" philosophy:

https://paddleboston.com/resources-section/how-to-guides/dress-cold-water-paddli
ng/

http://www.paddlinglight.com/articles/the-risks-of-cold-water-kayaking-and-canoe...

https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.americancanoe.org/resource/resmgr/sei-educational_...

http://www.illinoispaddling.info/2015/12/cold-weather-paddling/

Be safe.  See you out there.


Barry



True words of wisdom here. Stories every year of paddlers, from novice to very experienced, that underestimate the dangers of cold water and don't make it back. None think it will be them. Doesn't have to be 'that' cold, just a combination of elements. I prefer to sweat like a skinny pig on a Concept2 rower or participate in other activities (running, etc) for my outside fix.
Kudo's to Barry and other paddlers who invest the $$ and time to continue cold weather paddling. Makes for great & inspirational pictures! It's a real process to continue safe paddling during cool and cold weather...
 
IP Logged
 
Reply #6 - 09/02/17 at 08:16:12

wcopaddler   Offline
MR340 Veteran
Colorado

Posts: 29
*
 
Lots of good information here.  Some good links posted by Barry.  Now, let's see some people out paddling (safely!) this fall and winter!
 
IP Logged
 
Page Index Toggle Pages: 1
Send Topic Print