Enjoyable Winter Paddling Tip #2

This is a short series on how to enjoy kayaking year round, including the cooler temperatures of Fall and Winter.  Winter can be an absolute joy out on the water and with a few tools, you can get out to your favorite locations without the crowds.

Tip #2 for Enjoyable Winter Kayaking

           Pack a Hypothermia Kit- grab an extra hat, a large garbage bag, chemical hand warmers and a cook stove with some fuel.  In the winter I always carry both a set of gloves and pogies and whichever I am not using at the time goes in the hypothermia kit; you can always double up for extra warmth if needed.  In fact, the only glove warm enough for me during the really cold temperatures is a fleece lined version made by Glacier Glove. Another tip is to resist the temptation to buy a metal shafted paddle, not only do these break, they can cause hypothermia through your hands.  If you are paddling with gloves and your hands get cold, you now have two options to get them warmed up- chemical warmers and pogies.  You might be asking, “what do I do with a garbage bag?”  Make three holes, one for your head and two for your arms, pull the bag right over the top of you keeping your drysuit and pfd beneath it.  It will help keep the wind off and the heat in when things get really chilly.  Also in the cooler months pack a small backpack style cook stove with fuel; this can be a lifesaver if someone spends a lot of time in the water.  Remember, capsizes are usually not planned, they happen inadvertently, when you least suspect.  I often times hear people say, “I’m not planning on going over.”  The truth of the matter is that no one plans on going over, but it does happen.  The key is to be prepared.  Carrying a well- equipped hypothermia kit is just one step to being a safety conscious paddler. Alas, don’t forget to read Tip #1 and be sure to Dress Appropriately.