Winter Kayaking

Just bought a Ikkuma 15 with plans to Kayak this fall / winter till the finger lakes freeze over. Have bought winter clothing.

Any suggestions.

Have fun
Don’t die.

Go out with a couple friends
once the water is good and cold and try a couple rescues solo and assisted. Trust me it’s a whole different world.

Other than that be prepared and never shortcut anything.

Good Luck


Immersion clothing or just insulative

– Last Updated: Oct-14-10 8:50 PM EST –

winter clothing? If you are not prepared for capsize and immersion I would stay very close to shore, as in under 25'. After a surprise unintended capsize, can you swim more than 25' in frigid water?

Personally I would not paddle any of the Finger Lakes in the winter without proper immersion gear.

Randy's above recommendation for having friends along is a very good one, but they too should be fully prepared from both a skills and clothing standpoint.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that a decent portion of Cayuga Lake, the deepest of the Finger Lakes, usually remains free of ice throughout the winter.

Any suggestions?
For what? You have a boat, you have the clothing. What kind of suggestions are you looking for? Don’t mean to be sarcastic, just don’t know what kind of advice you’re looking for.

Just to ask…
what are you calling winter clothing? If it is anything less than a dry suit, say a wet suit, it’s not a a plan for upstate NY winters. We live just a bit north of you in the eastern half of NY.

Great Boat
As long as you have proper gear go for it. John builds a great boat. The chance of a unintentional capsize, on a calm to fair winter day is just about nil in the Ikkuma. Just know your limits, and have fun. I know, somebody already said that.


Travel someplace warm after they freeze
(The lakes, that is, not your body parts.)

I bet your winters are as long as ours.

In other words, way too long!

Seriously, one word: drysuit.

Some good info
Atlantic Kayak has great info on clothing

on the top of the page you can hit the different temperature areas and get the info needed for that temperature group.

Ah’ really likes winter paddlin’


Better yet, stay off the water
If one doesn’t have adequate immersion clothing, you shouldn’t be kayaking in winter. If you want to paddle, invest in a dry suit and appropriate under layers.

Drysuit and find a club and paddle with others. Paddling alone in freezing water without proper immersion clothing is a good way to get dead. Dumb.

Bill H.