Cold water paddling hood...Henderson?

I am planning to paddle through the winter for the first time. After reviewing the archives, it seems like the Henderson Hyperstretch Hood is highly recommended. Having never paddled in cold weather, I have a few questions.

There are some options to order the hood in thicker material (5mm or 7mm)…any recommendations? I also read (I believe it was JackL) to cut off the bib at the bottom of the neck.

I am assuming that the gasket from my drysuit goes against my skin…and that the hood drapes over the drysuit…is that correct?

When not wearing the hood…what type of hats do you recommend to provide warmth and wind protection?

BTW…many thanks to all who have written extensively on this topic. I have recently received my Nordic Blue gloves, and am having Kokatat install goretex booties and a relief zipper in a suit that I found on sale.

In addition to layers underneath and my old Chota boots…do you have any other suggestions to paddle comfortably through the winter?

Many thanks…


When I just paddling around in the winter, I wear this:

If I practice rolls, or headed out to surf, I wear this:

Both can be found on the second page of this link:

With the surf hood, it goes over the neck gasket of the drysuit. Then the drysuit outer gasket protective flap is lapped over the neck area of the hood. This slows infiltration of water from the neck area. When the cinch loop is pulled tight on the face gasket area, very little water gets in from around the face.


awwwwww… you look cute in your
little beanie visor… I thought you were a guy ;^)

Rapidstyle survival hood

– Last Updated: Nov-04-04 9:51 PM EST –

I have a couple of those,,you can roll one up and stuff it in a pfd pocket, have a spare for a friend,,emergency heat retention for someone chilled, etc. If it's a snug fit it'll allow less water to flow into your ears than poor fitting neoprene hat with chin strap. With a heavy lycry hood liner as shown in the above divers links underneath you can increase the insulation. Not as good as 5-7mm neoprene but much more useful while paddling. Can hear through it and pull the hood off while still on your neck. I found that I could do a couple dunkings or rolls with the rapidstyle hood and divers heavy lycra liner underneath without getting any water into my ears,,or by the time it did get there it was well warmed up. The problem I had with neoprene caps was that with vigorous head movements cold water could flush in/out near the ears which was more disturbing than the less total insulation from the Rapidstyle/lycra hood combo which kept my ear canal better protected. If a drysuit is needed for immersion and the water really is down below 50 then total head/neck protection is necessary for immersion and not just the head. With the Rapidstyle hood there's the option of putting a wool/pile cap on/off or peel the top off as needed.
For paddling neoprene hoods cut-out a lot of sound.

Many choices but Henerson is very good

– Last Updated: Nov-05-04 7:43 AM EST –

The Henderson combo gold with hyperstretch is my favorite for really cold, and for roll and immersion cold shock prevention. It is also quite comfortable, and the face seal is very soft and non irritating. It reduces cold water entry pretty well if you get the right size, and it can be trimmed. It is possible to make a few very tiny holes in ear area that let in little if any water and make for some better hearing. 3-5 mm is plenty for most, 5-7 really really warm, good for me because I am tall and really thin and need all the help I can get.

The only less stretchy gold part is 1" around edge of face that makes it more comfy and seals well, and band on neck, same effect, otherwise hyperstretch material. Still this hood is probably too warm for most conditions.

I have touted henderson for a while

– Last Updated: Nov-06-04 8:31 AM EST –

around here. the gold corehenderson material is much less stretchy. Yes your gasket must go against the neck. A (Major edit) 3 or 5mm is a good place to start; just cut off the neck bib right below the horizontal seam and tweak it fromthere.

If you cannot wear the henderson hyperstretch the rapidstyle hood is nice. Wearing it inside the henderson will keep you dry in the cold.

I do not like to have a strap below my neck irritates me over a couple of hours unless it's loose enough to be useless. I do not like my patogonia thin hood

The gold core fron henderson seals very well but is not anywhere near as stretchy. This stretchyness allows you to layer the rapidstyle and make sure that when you are rolling you do not scoop up a bunch of water.

sing's visored hood is cool but I enjoy wearing hats. that's the way it is for me.

The hormonal therapy is working well indeed! :slight_smile: This is a before pic in another beanie:

sing (s/he replies)

Thanks all…and…
…my apologies to PeterK…your postings lead me to this hood…not JackL…

Look forward to paddling this winter…


just got the Hend hyperstretch 3mm in mail.

Plenty stretchable to put on and wear. Question is how long I would really want to wear it. Not exactly super comfy!

Make a head shaped form of paperback
books and tape in a spool or something else to stretch it where needed. let is stay on the for for a while. Like a few days to start

Hard to find a comfier warm hood unless it’s custom. Of course the rapidstyle hood is much more comfy but for ling term immersion of cold water it is much less valuable.

Like my drysuit my heavy hood not as comfortable as a summers day, but I got used to it

Yes the gold core hood has a lot of regular hyperstretch in it but I’m looking at four inches of the less stretchy stuff around the neck and an inch and a half around the face seal. For me, I could not get a tight comfy fit with it. Also I did not like the extra tension on my chin from the less stretchy face seal. I sized it up to make in tolerable and it scoops water if I roll, not if I scull and invert and roll up. Nice to layer with the rapidstyle though when I really need to insulate. to each theri own.