30 Tips for Staying Warm in Winter

Here’s a reposing of my 2010 article in SUP Mag on staying warm in winter before and after your paddle… While written for SUP, I"m also a kayaker where many of these ideas originally formed for me. Doesn’t apply if you live on Maui.



Great Article !!
But I almost got sidetracked by the not applicable if you live in Hawaii. Ahhhhh what a thought for a cold grey day!!



I liked it too
but missing is an extra set of thin windproof gloves (a spare DRY pair) that will assist you in tying on the boat or board.

Below freezing this is probably the most unwelcome task there is prior to going home.

Also use the easiest system you have for straps. Not a good time to fiddle with frozen and balky cam straps.

Move to San Diego …
Sorry …

It gets kind of cold here near freezing with wind on the water early mornings in January /February but water stays about 55F.

It’s been stormy and cool here last couple of days and most paddlers/ surfers thought it was too cold to be out.

I had a great surf session Saturday AM with just two other people on the entire beach. Last night the OC lady types were wearing gloves and parkas in the Grocery store and it was about 50 F. and raining.

re: that thermos
I paddle canoes ww, and find, wearing neo gloves (NRS reactors) that a thermos of hot water is invaluable. If I’m losing heat and the hands get cold, I pour some hot water into the gloves, twice, then put them back on.Warms my hands up and I’m great for another 1/2 hour or so. Talking low '20’s for temps here.

Great Thermos hotwater tip. Thanks

best tip ever
if its cold, stay inside. You should be warm.

Here in northern MN our water freezes as soon as you shouldn’t be out on it. Helps a lot.

if the waters moving fast enough
it doesn’t freeze, and all the yahoos are inside, leaving pristine conditions (except for temp ;-)) for those few still out. It’s special in the winter.


winter kayaking
Winter kayaking here in Maine on the ocean is wonderful! Tourists have gone,peace has arrived.

Stock up on Food and Thermos

– Last Updated: Dec-18-11 3:07 PM EST –

My advice - eat often for caloric fuel

Worst mistake I made in winter:
Paddled hard in morning, ate lunch with friends.
Went back on the river, flipped, wet exit, shiver city !
Got soaked back then in my wetsuit and polypro gear
NO leftover hot drink in thermos, no food to eat.

Keep reserves for emergencies.
- your crisis, or a crisis for a buddy

Food is vital in the winter for metabolic activity

Winter paddling is """special"""
I took the pic while in my kayak, paddling
behind my canoeist buddy on a great snow day.

good stuff here
Extensive and useful list.

Last winter I rediscovered how staying nourished keeps you warm, and why to avoid overdressing before you’re out in conditions.

wow. how can one live in the north
…and hide from winter?

IMO the best way to endure is to get out in it. It’s not going away anytime soon.

Hot tea & hot soup
For me, nothing is better than hot beverages. No caffeine.

I don’t usually do lunch stops in the winter because I cool down too much and if I get damp under the dry suit I have to change. I usually paddle a few hours and that’s it. Along the way the hot beverages are great for keeping me warm. It’s good to keep some of those cheap heat packs in a dry bag just in case.

Come down to the Florida Keys
and live happiley ever after in a bathing suit and a sleevless poly pro shirt!

Jack L

go skiing
I take out my ski gear and lay them on the boat until I can’t see the boat itself! :wink:

I usually do that on Thanksgiving weekend. Though this year it’s been warm so it hasn’t happened yet. But will be doing that this weekend.

Watched our lake

– Last Updated: Dec-19-11 10:51 AM EST –

freeze and form ice crystals. Neat to watch the crystals grow.

We did this from kayaks first in a sheltered cove.

Then paddled out where there were whitecaps and spray and watched the water freeze hanging from branches.

We tried to paddle round in back of an island..totally wild and played icebreaker.

Pretty fun day for a 19 degree day with 15 mph winds.

Even did an accidental immersion...

Were totally warm till it go time to tie the boats on top..thats where the dry gloves and handwarmers help (though you cant tie well with the handwarmers you can take a handwarmer rest)

My winter footwear was the booties attached to my drysuit, thick wool sox underneath (that I usually use in snowmobile boots) and oversize Crocs.

that sounds pretty cool
That is why I really enjoy paddling in winter. You get a unique perspective of winter and the conditions.

One piece of bad advice
"Some use waterproof lasers pointers to shine at boat pilot houses if a collision is imminent." Do not do this. Never shine a light directly at the driver of a power boat.

took the words right outta my mouth abc
…don ski clothing & go.