-- Last Updated: Sep-12-08 4:28 PM EST --

Hello everyone!
I am a beginner kayaker and this will be my first winter with the kayak. I want to do some kayaking in the winter because i hear that is when most rivers and creeks are the highest. We will mainly be doing class 1 & 2 but trying out a class 3 as well. I am wondering what all i need as far as clothing goes to stay warm in the winter. If anybody has any suggestions please let me know!! Thanks.

Which Rivers?
Some rivers, like the Natahala, are quite cold because the water comes from the bottom of an upriver impoundment.

Hey thats a very good point because im sure we might head up that way to do some very cold rivers such as the that one. Around Alabama we will be doing ones like Bear Creek, Sipsey River, and The Cahaba River. So i guess we are really looking for whatever its going to take to keep us warm with a little bit of a budget in mind. I’ve been told a Spray skirt, wet suit, paddling jacket and pants, gloves and water boots. Anything im missing?

People in Alabama are tough

– Last Updated: Sep-12-08 4:49 PM EST –

...but as a beginner you might need to wear 2 t-shirts.

I hope you enjoy paddlin'in Alabama as much as I did. Next year I'm going to paddle the Cahaba from end to end and hope you'll join me somewhere on anywhere along the route.

Paddlin' on
Your neighbor G_K

Alabama? Speedo and sandals :wink:

– Last Updated: Sep-12-08 5:07 PM EST –

thought you said winter? Nah, seriously you must get some low temps.. Up here we wear this
But this stuff comes on when the snow flies and the ice forms on the flatwater.

Not sure if you're canoeing or kayaking, ww or flat, but in a rough ascending order I'd go wetsuit, drytop added if kayaking, neoprene socks and gloves and if planning on total immersion in "ice cream headache" waters, a skull cap (mints wearing one in the pic.) and a drysuit. I use my drysuit around Oct. up here, with a pair of shorts and a t-shirt underneath. Later on in the year the under layers get added.

Log onto and check
the gage every time you go out for the river or creek you plan to paddle. If the river is in flood or close to it add 2 levels to its typical rating. Be ever mindful of wood. Consider taking a lesson from someone.


beginner + class III + winter???
Uh, I paddle the Locust Fork and Mulberry most of the winter. It does get cold when the runs are at their best… often in the 40’s and both rivers require a long trek out. Dry top and neoprene bottoms are my usual choice. Both of these are class III rivers. And I’m not a beginner. The Sipsey and the Cahaba are easier rivers.

The Nantahala doesn’t get colder in the winter because of the way its dam works. However, the air temp and your ability to get warm again does change significantly.

BTW, both of these rivers do have some interesting features - take along someone who knows 'em! And I second the suggestion to take a lesson.

Do you paddle with others, how many and what are their abilities in terms of rescuing you?

Do you have a roll in favorable conditions?

What is your own level in class I and II, that is can you paddle with absolute control are do you tend to miss some eddies or the line you wanted to take?

I am not going to try and advise on WW, but I suspect that the above information may help those who know more to help with best practices for you in winter paddling.

Check here
These sites have some good winter paddling information:



And I assume you’re also using