How to Kayak in The Winter: Must-haves and Need-to-Knows
Monday, January 6, 2020 by Mark
Kayaking can be tons of fun, even in the winter. It's a great sport that'seasy to pick up and doesn't need complicated training. Before you head outinto the water, there are several things you need to know about kayaking.
One of the most important things is having the right boat. The many typesof kayaks available can make choosing one quite overwhelming. Your choicedepends on what you want to achieve while kayaking, whether it's fishing, casual fun, or recreational.
Before you hit the water, what else do you need besides a kayak and apaddle? If you've never been kayaking before, a lesson should be at the topof your list. It looks easy to do, but without some guidance, you may findyourself in the water instead of floating above it.
A general rule when it comes to picking out clothes for kayaking, you dressfor the water, and not the weather.
It seems counterproductive to go out in the cold, wearing nothing but awetsuit. Imagine going out to kayak in a huge bundle of warm clothes.You'll be warm for a while, but all those extra layers get in the way ofyour kayaking fun.
A wetsuit allows a thin layer of water to enter between it and your body.Your body then heats up that water, and the heat retained keeps you warm.You can slip on a rash guard under the wet suit since it's quick-drying andcan provide some extra warmth.
Base layers such as fleece liners can keep you warm when you're out in thecold. However, they need to stay dry so you can wear them under a drysuitor dry wear.
A lot of people don't think about protecting their faces from the colduntil it's almost frozen off. You can keep your head warm with a face mask,or a cap made of natural fibers such as wool or cotton. Just don't look inthe mirror if you decide to wear the last one or you might give yourselfquite a fright.
Since you'll be paddling your kayak, your hands get exposed to the coldair. You can keep them warm and comfortable with gloves or mittens. If youget some water-resistant ones that's even better, as long as they don'tmake it hard to control your paddles.
No one wants cold feet (literally) while they're out having fun. You cankeep your feet warm with waterproof footwear that keeps the water away fromyour feet.
Staying safe is a number one priority. Some safety equipment that can comein handy while you're kayaking is:
It might seem pointless to have a life jacket if you're not going into deepwaters or at high speeds. Regardless,a life jacket is still important. Accidents happen, and when they do, your personal flotation equipment maysave your life.
Whistles are useful in the event of an emergency. They're an easy way toalert people of your position in case you need a rescue. You'll need aproper emergency whistle, designed to be audible over distances, even inbad weather.
GPS, Map, or Compass
A navigation system is useful for long distances or traveling in unfamiliarterritories. Electronic GPS devices are the most convenient. Having a mapor compass as backup is also a good idea, in case your GPS falls into thewater, and it's not waterproof.
Of course, this is good to have wherever you go. In case of accidents andinjuries, a first aid kit can help you take care of those. As long as ithas the basics like bandages, gauze, disinfectants, and safety pins, you'regood to go.
A spray skirt covers the cockpit of your kayak to prevent it from fillingup with water. It's not necessary if you're going out on flat water, but itcan come in handy if you plan on kayaking through more dynamic waterways,such as rapids.
Kayaking Tips You Need To Know
Besides dressing correctly and safety equipment, what else do you need toknow?
How to Sit in Your Kayak
It would be best if you always sat up straight in your kayak, with yourfeet resting on the footpegs on either side. Your knees should be bentupwards and outwards as well.
Holding the Paddle
It would be best if you hold your paddle with both hands a little overshoulder-distance apart for efficient paddling. The concave part of theblade should face you, so it sweeps through the water when you paddle.
Knowing this will help you save yourself or others in case your kayakcapsizes. Your kayak lessons should include a capsize drill where you learnexactly what to do if it happens.
Don't Kayak Alone
It's fun to go out and "find yourself," but going kayaking alone can bedangerous. This is because if anything happens while you're alone, youmight not get help in time.
Choose a Familiar Route
Winter can be tricky weather to navigate. As long as you check weather forecasts and maps, you can prepare for anything that might happen. It will also beeasier to find a safe space to land on a route that you know.
Kayaking in winter can be very fun and relaxing, as long as you dress forthe elements, choose the right boat, and know what to do in an emergency.The most critical aspects of kayaking in cold weather are staying warm anddry, so if you've got that covered, you're all good to go.