Paddling Attire: What To Wear While Paddling In Autumn/Winter

Paddling doesn’t have to end at the close of summer. There are many ways to continue paddling into the cold seasons, attire is going to play a large role in continuing the fun.

Know Your Environment

Before you decide what to wear on your adventure, evaluate what you’re paddling into. As a rule of thumb, we recommend using the 100° degree rule – If the air and water temperature added together equal less than 100° degrees Fahrenheit (38° Celsius), don’t get on the water. Hypothermia and “cold shock” are true risks while paddling in cold weather. Take care by always checking weather conditions before beginning your journey.

Choosing The Right Layers

Knowing what water temperature and weather conditions you’ll be paddling in will help you decide on the correct layers to wear. Let’s get into the differences.

Cotton: Do NOT wear cotton. Cotton is very absorbent. It will soak up any moisture you have on your body and keep it close as a layer against your skin. It’s a poor insulator and heavy as an extra layer. If you happen to fall in it will keep you cold and dramatically drop your body temperature. 

Rash Guards: Rash guards are lightweight and provide protection against the sun, wind, and other elements during a breezy autumn day. These are perfect for transitional periods when the weather is still fairly warm, but water temperatures are dropping. Find our favorites here.

Wetsuits: Wetsuits allow you to stay warm while letting water in. The suit is made with a thin cell foam material that is designed to create a layer of water between your body and the wetsuit itself. This layer is regulated by your body temperature to keep you warm for the duration of your time in the water.

Drysuits: Drysuits are waterproof and are worn with thermal base layers to keep you warm. These are used for cold and inclement weather when you’re predominately out of the water. A surface drysuit is usually made from 3 or 4 layers of breathable and waterproof fabric designed for watersport activities on the surface. Surface drysuits are created differently from diving drysuits, so make sure you’re choosing the correct option for your activity.

Footwear: You need to be covered from head to toe. Neoprene socks and booties are the way to go!

Misc: A few extra items that are going to make your trip much more enjoyable. Neoprene gloves and hand warmers are bliss. On the safety side, it’s best to switch to a full vest if you’re used to just wearing a PFD belt.

Don’t let cooler weather keep you from the water this season – just please make sure to properly prepare. I hope this helps you continue the fun all year long. Happy paddling!

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