How to Kayak in The Winter:
Must-haves and Need-to-Knows

Kayaking can be tons of fun, even in the winter. It's a great sport that's easy to pick up and doesn't need complicated training. Before you head out into 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 types of kayaks available can make choosing one quite overwhelming. Your choice depends 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 a paddle? If you've never been kayaking before, a lesson should be at the top of your list. It looks easy to do, but without some guidance, you may find yourself in the water instead of floating above it.


A general rule when it comes to picking out clothes for kayaking, you dress for the water, and not the weather.


It seems counterproductive to go out in the cold, wearing nothing but a wetsuit. 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 of your 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 and can provide some extra warmth.

Base Layers

Base layers such as fleece liners can keep you warm when you're out in the cold. However, they need to stay dry so you can wear them under a drysuit or dry wear.


A lot of people don't think about protecting their faces from the cold until 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 in the mirror if you decide to wear the last one or you might give yourself quite a fright.


Since you'll be paddling your kayak, your hands get exposed to the cold air. You can keep them warm and comfortable with gloves or mittens. If you get some water-resistant ones that's even better, as long as they don't make it hard to control your paddles.


No one wants cold feet (literally) while they're out having fun. You can keep your feet warm with waterproof footwear that keeps the water away from your feet.

Safety Equipment

Staying safe is a number one priority. Some safety equipment that can come in handy while you're kayaking is:

Life Jackets

It might seem pointless to have a life jacket if you're not going into deep waters or at high speeds. Regardless, a life jacket is still important . Accidents happen, and when they do, your personal flotation equipment may save your life.


Whistles are useful in the event of an emergency. They're an easy way to alert people of your position in case you need a rescue. You'll need a proper emergency whistle, designed to be audible over distances, even in bad weather.

GPS, Map, or Compass

A navigation system is useful for long distances or traveling in unfamiliar territories. Electronic GPS devices are the most convenient. Having a map or compass as backup is also a good idea, in case your GPS falls into the water, and it's not waterproof.

First-Aid kit

Of course, this is good to have wherever you go. In case of accidents and injuries, a first aid kit can help you take care of those. As long as it has the basics like bandages, gauze, disinfectants, and safety pins, you're good to go.

Spray Skirt

A spray skirt covers the cockpit of your kayak to prevent it from filling up with water. It's not necessary if you're going out on flat water, but it can 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 to know?

How to Sit in Your Kayak

It would be best if you always sat up straight in your kayak, with your feet resting on the footpegs on either side. Your knees should be bent upwards and outwards as well.

Holding the Paddle

It would be best if you hold your paddle with both hands a little over shoulder-distance apart for efficient paddling. The concave part of the blade should face you, so it sweeps through the water when you paddle.

Rescue Protocols

Knowing this will help you save yourself or others in case your kayak capsizes. Your kayak lessons should include a capsize drill where you learn exactly what to do if it happens.

Don't Kayak Alone

It's fun to go out and "find yourself," but going kayaking alone can be dangerous. This is because if anything happens while you're alone, you might 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 be easier 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 for the 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 and dry, so if you've got that covered, you're all good to go.


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