Cold-Weather Paddling Wear

I’ve been away from the paddling hobby for a few years due to a heavy work schedule. I own a canoe and we’ve been having a mild winter here in PA thus far. In fact, this is the first week that it’s actually been cold a few days in a row.

That being said, I’m not up to date to the latest in cold-weather paddling wear. I’d like to hit the water for a few days this month if the water stays open.

What should an avid paddler choose for winter paddling clothes?



Dry Suit and Gloves
Well, at least kayakers who don’t want to risk hypothermia are wearing dry suits and good gloves for cold water/weather paddling.

And a warm hood

I prefer fleece under

– Last Updated: Jan-18-07 8:25 AM EST –

(under the drysuit) Lower layers of fleece work best for me as temps get particularly cold, different kinds and thicknesses but all fleece and mostly Malden Mills. Except for my feet where I use alpaca wool socks. But this varies between people.
Also, we have found that scuba/dive shops are the best source for thicker really good gloves and hoods for winter paddling.

If you are sure you won’t be swimming
I often canoe shallow narrow streams where a capsize means you wade a few feet to shore. No real need for a dry suit even in the coldest weather in those circumstances.

I wear fleece pants and polypro shirts, maybe a fleece sweater, maybe a wool shirt and a breathable raincoat. I carry spare dry clothes in a dry bag. Noeprene paddling gloves and mukluks are nice too.

OTOH if I’m out on a lake or larger river where a capsize means an icy swim, or running whitewater where I know I’ll be wet even if I don’t dump, I wear the drysuit with the same fleece and poly pro underneath.



See the Chota’s thread…
that said, getting into and out of the boat get’s you wet…find waterproof footwear that protects at least to the knees…whether they are Chota’s or another brand/type.