Hey everyone I am looking for any advice on some winter paddling gear. I am in northwest Indiana near Lake Michigan. Not planning on any multi-day trips, just day trips on some rivers in the area.
Dry is Warm
Have to keep water off, out, away , to stay warm.
Immersion, dunking, getting wet happens.
A simple mis-step near the bank and whammoo
you've slid into the water and are soaked.
It happens at the start, on breaks, at the end.
Usually priceless, funny as hell, but it does happen.
As water levels rise, fall, various obstacles
suddenly become an issue. Treestumps, rocks,
fallen limb, strainers, etc., etc.
Any one of those "can" dump you into ice water.
Dress to get wet - everytime - spring/fall/winter
I'm a fan of polartech under my spray/splash jackets
and paddling pants. I also like it under my drysuit.
In addition I use arcteryx base layers
It will take some experimentation with synthetic fabrics
to figure out what works for your style of winter paddling.
Going hard, full out, saturates almost every fabric.
They are designed for "sweat vapor", not sweat droplets.
With that said - attempt to get breathable stuff when possible.
You'll be more comfortable on light touring, cruising, etc.
Forget style, color, flair, etc., etc.
Almost no one will see you, and friends are
layering "anything and everything" to be comfortable.
Sales, discount stores, closeouts rock !
2013 Gear Reviews coming out as well
Assuming that by “gear” you mean apparel, I agree with the general sentiment that the drier you are the better when the water is cold. It’s difficult to provide anything more detailed without knowing more about the type of paddling you are planning on doing. E.g. sea kayaking or whitewater?