Cool weather clothing

What type of clothing do you wear during cool weather? Some sort of waterproof pants? I use a SOT kayak to fish from, and the weather is definitely cooling down here. Thanks.

Dry suit since it goes thru the winter. How late do you fish from the SOT, in terms of the water temps you would be in should you swim?

This time of year
This time of year I wear a water proof shell and pants with a synthetic layer or 2 underneath.

When it gets colder I wear pretty much the same stuff, but take other precautions like paddling with a group in calm, smaller waters, and having 2 sets of warm dry clothing among other things.

I just stuck my feet in the Twin Cities last night while launching and the water is coooooold already. These early 40 degree nights sure are sucking the heat out of the water!

On the ocean drysuit
Thats a bit of overkill for those close to shore always at a relatively low risk of capsize.

Windproof shell and pants and wool longjohns ( merino not itchy). Spare clothes and fire making materials in a dry bag ought to do you fine just in case.

If you are getting wet you might consider a wetsuit or hydroskin; with a windproof layer over that. I’d imagine a SOT could be wet

the ole mantra is…
dress for water temperature, not air temp. since you might be in the water and hypothermia is a possibility. So, if you are going to be in a place where your time of recovery and clothes change is longer than 15 to 20 minutes and the water is cold, then dress accordingly. This is the “worst case scenario” philosophy. There’s a lot of discussion over he years about what the water temp cut-off level is but I see 55 degrees mentioned a lot. Wool and polypro are two types of clothes that can preserve body heat even when wet.

Water is warmer than air for me
Up here in Buffalo NY the water temp has been higher than the air temp for the last few days. I was dressed for air temp. This has been on creeks but even lake Erie was warmer than there air at 69F water temp. We were in the mid fifties air temp. Its about equal today. If out in the lake just a wetsuit with splash jacket. On creeks using my dry pants with layer of fleece under them and thin fleece top with splash jacket. BUT keep more close in hatch to change into.

The key for creeks is to have a change of close. If you get wet. Pull over and change cloths. Out on open lake thats different, then a wetsuit. When water temps get lower back into drysuit. End of year the water stays warm for a while around my parts.Funny thing is many people start worrying about what to were now but in my area its most dangerous in May. Thats when the water is SUPER cold yet air temp can get into the mid seventies.

Thanks guys

I suppose paddle drips are of concern
If it’s mostly paddle drips that will bother you, rain pants are a good first step. All the usual advice about what your main clothing should consist of (such as polypro and wool) still will apply.

Whether you need more preparedness for a cold-water dunking than having a change of clothes at the ready will depend on how far from shore you go.

I’ve never fished in cold water with a kayak before. I always used my jon boat for that, but I don’t have it anymore.

I’m just worried about the off chance that I fall in the water.

Soo - what water temps are you out in?
Like I said, drysuit for me because I figure someone is going to say let’s take a trip in December or January when there is open water. So it is easiest just to go from lighter weight stuff to a drysuit with breathable underlayers. I already have it and it covers the from chilly to really cold.

I figure Wisconsin has similar water temps to upstate NY. When do you hang up your fishing pole?

wet suit
can be worn under ‘normal’ polyester or nylon fall clothing.

no cotton

buy neoprene socks

Ditto neoprene socks
Of late I’ve been wearing them with my Teva sandals. They do a good job keeping my feet warm. Paddling today after work, it was 47F and windy. My upper body was warm but my pants got wet from paddle drip. Will try my fleece leggings tomorrow.

No “ditto” for me.
Applying my experience with gloves, I’d say wool is far better than neoprene. Neoprene gloves make my hands cold. I’ve heard some others say the same. In the same conditions where my hands rapidly become numb and useless when wearing neoprene gloves, they will warm right up again if I put on wool gloves, even when the wool is soaking wet.

I wear wool socks in winter, and several times on outings I’ve broken through the ice cover on shallow water and soaked my feet. In all my years of winter hiking, I have yet to get cold feet from such a soaking, unless my feet were already cold when it happened. I wouldn’t trust neoprene to work that well.

I’m not saying neoprene can’t be okay for some people, but my bet is that wool is better. It sure is better for me (and wool doesn’t stink).

sock sandwich

– Last Updated: Sep-17-14 8:31 AM EST –

I've always worn neo socks on the outside of my drysuit, which has sewn-in booties. Don't ask me why, perhaps I thought I was protecting the booties from wear. Last spring I wore a pair of smartwool socks inside, then the drysuit booties, then the neo socks. My feet were toasty.

dry pants
I picked up a pair of NRS breathable waterproof dry pants a couple of years ago and they have become my go-to paddle wear for all but hot days. On mild windy days I will wear them over a swimsuit with a long sleeve poly jersey on top, on cooler days I’ll wear poly longjohns or neoprene short under on the bottom and add a semi-dry top above. I like the soft adjustable high rise waistband, very comfortable in the cockpit. They breathe well and I have never felt sticky or overly hot in them.

I usually wear them with neoprene sox and scuba type short booties or knee high booties, depending on how deep I am likely to be wading for launching and en route.

They also double as rain pants for hiking, have proved very useful so I always carry them in a nylon pouch in my car for emergency weather gear as well.

I see Backcountry has a few sizes on sale at the moment:

I got mine at REI using one of the occasional 20% off coupons they send to members.

neoprene does allow air to penetrate (and water) to penetrate. If the gloves aren’t kept wet, air blows right through. I’d go with GorTex with gloves, maybe neoprene with a thermal liner inside if that passed the chill test.


I also wear those pants as my primary cool weather paddling pants and like them a lot. If you really start to sweat they get a little sticky, but any waterproof clothing does.

Anyways, they’re great pants

Booties. Neoprene
works fine IF you can keep your feet dry…

Thats all well and good for us that have drysuits with integral Goretex socks.

Wool socks…don the drysuit and then neoprene booties over the goretex socks ( which I dont want to hole anyway) and all is good to go well below freezing ( yes the ocean is still open)

Now for you not needing a drysuit… from inside out. Wool Sox, garbage bag over foot ( zip locs arent big enough)…trim the excess off the bag, tape to knee high, apply neoprene booties over all.

Toasty feet shall ensue.

The key is dry feet.

sounds like you’ve got it all
sussed out. I paddle WW in Tenn., N.C., and Geo. and in the summer temps can be 90 while water released from TVA dams can be 50 to 55 degrees. Makes for an interesting mix.

Have fun,


the ultimate test
1. wear whatever you are thinking of (head to foot) for cold weather paddling in your area.

2. jump out of the boat/capsize. Get thoroughly, soaking wet. Get head wet.

3. Stand in water at least 20 minutes. (you’re doing this in water you can stand up in)

4. If you still have the dexterity to remount successfully -without using the bottom to vault yourself up) and paddle then you have a pretty good idea that your choice of cold weather clothing will work. Keep in mind, too, that once soaked, once back in the boat you can still become hypothermic if there are enough wind/waves and you are exposed to them. So it’s good to carry another layer to put on, and a change of gloves and head gear. Extra hand and head coverings are good, whether seakayaking or river kayaking, and I’ve been in winter paddling situation up here in MI where both have been vital.

5. In case it doesn’t work out, it’s a good idea to run this test near shore, with a friend nearby, car running w. a sleeping bag, towels and a hot non-alcoholic bev.

There are paddling clubs and informal groups in Wisconsin which do cold water dunks in at the onset of cold water paddling season to help each other evaluate cold weather gear.