Cold Weather Clothing

Jon Turk wold agree with you in 50
degree water. Not in 35 degree water though, He adjusted comments made in Sea Kayaker to that effect.

So Good advice for norcal, drysuits probably more appropriate for February in Northern new england.

You’ve got to be kidding!
“Why swim 30 minutes or longer if the shore is 10 yards away?

What do you know about the original poster that I don’t?”

What do YOU know about Jayak that I don’t? I haven’t read where he/she said she would never be more that 10 yards from shore.

What the hell difference does it make how far away the shore is if you capsize in frigid water, reflexively gasp and drown before you’re even able to exit your kayak? Oh that’s right, you think no kayaker on calm protected waters will ever find themselves IN the water. Too bad all those dead paddlers didn’t consult with you before they lost their lives.

Assuming anything less than the worst-case scenario when dressing for cold weather paddling is to tempt fate and risk becoming another drowned-paddler statistic.

which would be worse, being in a 35 degree water in wetsuit, or being in 35 degree water wearing a sea anchor. Neither sounds ideal.

Match gear to weather, and expected use. I am not referring to point to point paddling (for which I wear my dry suit, pretty much year round).

worst case scenario
Do you wear a helmet when you go to shower?

“What the hell difference does it make how far away the shore is if you capsize in frigid water, reflexively gasp and drown before you’re even able to exit your kayak?

Assuming anything less than the worst-case scenario …”

Do you know how many life were lost from falling in the bathtub each year?

Dress for the water temperature!
“When was the last time you capsize in flat water? And how did it happen?”

Ok, I’ll bite. The last time I capsized in flat water was because some Joe Twelvepack in a powerboat came flying by and the wake took me over. He was so close I could read the brand of beer that he was drinking.

You can’t predict the changing weather and water conditions. You can’t count on Joe Twelvepack to stop and help you.

Dress for the water temperatures. Even if you are 10’ from shore and have the foresight to have plenty of warm dry clothes in your drybag, you still have to get to shore, get into dry clothes, and get back to your car. 10’ or 10 miles, it’s still dang COLD!

Conditions can change in the blink of an eye. I pray that no one has to find out what it’s like to swim in 50 degree (or less) water, but you never know, and ultimately you’ll be glad you dressed for the water and not the air.


If it were a matter of
Not paddling because you did not have immersion gear, there would not be as many kayakers as there are. I paddled may years without immersion gear. I have it all now, but not back then. There are steps you can take to mitigate adverse impacts to not wearing immersion gear: Rolling, paddling with a buddy, choosing good weather conditions, close to shore, shallow water, proficient in rolling and/or self and assisted rescues, bringing warm dry cloths in a dry bag, avoiding open crossings, wearing a pfd, avoiding boats or areas that have non-paddled boats are a few. For years, I never capsized. I did not have a roll back then or immersion gear and rarely pushed any limits. Now I push limits them all the time and get wet most everytime I go paddling. I am not advocating any risky behavior, only pointing out that you CAN paddle in the nude if you want to, and with any luck, the worst that can happen to you is sunburn. But, please be safe and reasonabbly sure of your abilities and aware of the things you cannot control. Learn to roll, practice self re-entry, get training, join a club and save for the gear you will eventually want if you live long enough.

It so varies
This thread headed for a rough time? This place has been so calm… must be time.

Seriously - to jayak who asked the question first - the point of this thread is that there are a lot of diff’s in individual tolerances.

I tend towards lighter weight, but not skinny and am in good health for someone in their 40’s let alone my actual 55. This will be the first week since early April that I haven’t been out being upside down at least twice a week. But as of Wednesday night things had cooled enough that I couldn’t go over more than three times close together before I had to rest for a bit because, with earplugs, a neoprene cap and goggles I was still coming to the edge of a major ice cream headache by the third immersion.

Meanwhile, my husband who was rolling and our friend who was sculling with the back of his head in the water were doing fine (everyone was in a drysuit.) I had the most on my head and was still feeling the cold a lot sooner than the others.

The physics of it are simple - being in water will rob heat from your body faster than being in the same temperature air by a significant multiple, more so in moving water. As others have recommended, the only way you are going to have a sense of where you are is to try it out. The best overall recommendation is probably to find a group to paddle with so that, should a capsize happen and you are someone like me who loses it quite quickly in cold, there’ll be others around who can be useful. If you can’t do that, really take some time to see how you respond to being in cold water (head included).

Not over cautious at all.

– Last Updated: Oct-20-06 8:45 PM EST –

I urge anyone who considers it "over cautious" to dress for water immersion under 50 degrees, (regardless of how close to shore) to go to a safe place that doesn't drop off immediately, simply walk out into only KNEE DEEP water without immersion protection and see how many SECONDS it takes to loose the feeling, then almost immediately the function in your limbs. Then try walking out. I'm only suggesting this because this is the only truely effective way to make someone truely understand just how dangerous cold water is. Talk is cheap. If you are really interested in the truth, it's requires only a simple test.

Plus, a "good reason(s)" to have immersion protection on calm water is this:

Heartattack, Shock, or any health related reason etc...This can happen to anyone, at any age, especially when you go from 98.6 to hitting frigid water. This is also a prime reason why a pfd should be worn.

We lost one heck of a great, long time member here not to long ago from this, when he feel out of his canoe into cold water. We should learn from these things. And make no mistake about it. It can happen to any of us regardless of health, age, etc....

Paddle safely on~

Update Note: Make sure you have someone standing by that is prepared to rescue you just in case. Yes! Even in KNEE DEEP water you could very well need it. And take a change of dry clothes and have a vehicle with a good heater standing by as well.

Look At This Link!

It has LOTS of important information.

Also, lets face the fact that JAYAK might not own a wetsuit or drysuit, but intends to paddle cold water regardless. There are many people who take this chance. So, what advice can we give him?

First, realize that cold water can kill, and kill fast! If he’s not convinced, I agree with an earlier post that he should try swimming in that cold water to see what he’s up against. But not alone! You HAVE to know what you’re up against.

Two, always wear a properly fitted PFD. This doesn’t mean with the straps loose or even unbuckled. It MUST be snug to turn an unconscious person face up.

Three, never paddle in water more than a couple of feet deep. Then you can walk to shore. Avoid deeper water, or lakes, at all cost.

Four, COTTON KILLS! I’ll say it again, COTTON KILLS! I think this was the original intent of his post, what to wear. Cotton loses all of its insulation value when wet. Might as well be naked. Wear wool or fleece or other clothing designed to retain heat when wet. At least it give you a fighting chance if you make it to shore!

Five, pack a dry bag with a complete change of clothing, including gloves, hat, and a towel to dry off! Maybe some of those instant heat pads would help your numb hands?

Six, take extra safety gear. A cell phone. A marine whistle. A GPS. Waterproof matches, etc. Maybe you make it to shore, but are too hypothermic to make it out on your own.

Seven. (Maybe it should be number one). Go with another kayaker who can help in an emergency. Hopefully, at least that person is properly dressed for the water temperature.

Hope this helps.

bohemia’s annual Thanksgiving advice
Remember, if you wake up Thanksgiving day and realize you’ve forgotten to thaw out the turkey, experts recommend soaking it in cold water. (Warm water can cause food disease.) Water is such a good conductor of body heat, it will thaw the turkey much faster than air. In a matter of hours.

(Just don’t dress the turkey for immersion.)

25 times faster than air…
Water conducts heat from the human body 25 times faster than air.

Here’s a link that might give some perspective.

Just remeber, the article says
do not warm the arms or legs of your turkey :))

Where do you live that the turkeys have arms?

Oh, I see. Anyone who would paddle in water 30-50 degrees without immersion protection would have to be a turkey.

Paddle with protection on~ (preverted comments not allowed) Splash

A MUST for cold water paddling
Make sure you have clean underwear on in case you do fall in and have to go to the hospital with hypothermia.

Sea anchor just use a knife cut
at your ankles. I love my old polyester kokatat drysuit.