As the summer has come to an end that doesn’t mean that the paddling season also has to finish. Paddling throughout the year allows you to explore the different seasons on the water and the most popular locations are a lot quieter than they are during the summer months. One of the most common questions that we are getting asked at the moment is ''what you should be wearing whilst paddling in the colder months?'' The key to paddling through the winter is preparation as elements can change a lot quicker than they do during the summer months. As usual there are plenty of options depending on what you prefer:
Neoprene Gloves: You won’t regret buying a pair of neoprene gloves for paddling in the winter months to keep your fingers warm as your hands and feet normally feel the biggest effect from the cold weather (and are probably most likely to get wet whilst getting in and out of the water). Opting for a pair of gloves with a grippy palm will help prevent your hand slipping on the paddle shaft. You will also find that particular paddles will make your hands colder. An aluminium paddle will be a lot colder than other paddles; another excuse to upgrade to a carbon paddle!
Wetsuit Boots: It is easy for our feet to get cold whilst out on winter paddles as they do not get a lot movement. We would recommend getting a good pair of 5mm neoprene wetsuit boots to keep your feet nice and warm during a day on the water. Some people prefer not to wear shoes with a rubber sole so that they can have more contact with the board. If this is your preference then you can purchase neoprene socks rather than boots.
If you already have a pair of summer wetsuit boots and don’t want to pay out for a new pair then consider getting some neoprene socks for some added warmth inside your summer boots.
Hat: We lose a lot of body heat through our heads so it is ideal to wear a hat when you are out on the water. Neoprene hats are ideal if you are likely to end up in the water but if not then your favourite woolly hat will be perfect.
Wetsuit: There are all sorts of different styles and thickness of wetsuits available; most people find that a full wetsuit a little too restricting and warm when out on their paddleboard adventures during the winter. Full winter wetsuits are great for watersports where you are likely to be submerged in the water for long periods of time but hopefully you will spend less time in the water whilst paddleboarding! A long john style wetsuit will not only keep your legs and core warm during the colder months but they also allow you more movement for your paddle strokes and tend to be more comfortable for stand up paddleboarding. Long john wetsuits offer more versatility when it comes to the ever changing temperatures of the UK winters! You have the option of wearing a thin rash vest underneath or some thicker neoprene layers on colder days.
Neoprene Leggings: If you’re not keen on a full wetsuit then neoprene leggings are the way to go. Our legs often get the coldest and most wet during paddleboarding while our upper body stays relatively warm so a pair of 3mm neoprene leggings will keep your legs warm whilst not sacrificing on your range of movement. Pair with a rash vest and some warm upper layers.
Dry Suit: For people who do not like to get wet at all whilst out on the water you might want to consider a dry suit or dry trousers and cag which are more popular among kayakers and canoeists. A drysuit does exactly what it says on the label. Dry suits come in a range of different styles for different purposes so be sure to look for a SUP or paddling specific suit for maximum comfort. In order for a good drysuit to be watertight it needs to be a good fit and most brands will offer male and female suits designed for different body shapes. These are great for paddlers looking to get out on white water or choppier seas where there is a greater chance of getting wet and cold. Drysuits will have tight cuffs around the neck, wrists and ankles (unless they have socks incorporated in them) which can be quite restrictive when stand up paddleboarding. If you are working hard while paddling then these watertight cuffs may also mean that any moisture built up within the suit will stay within it (this tends to happen in the cheaper suits). If you do not have the budget for a full dry suit or would prefer something with a little more versatility then you can also get dry trousers and waterproof cags which will allow you to mix up your options depending on the weather and body of water which you are paddling on.
Layers: Whichever option that you choose the key to staying comfortable while paddling in the winter is layering up. A rash vest is a good base layer especially underneath neoprene. If you tend to feel the cold easily or you will be paddling at a leisurely pace then you can purchase thermal rash vests and long sleeved neoprene top for extra warmth. Sports Tops, hoodies, insulated jackets and waterproof jackets will all keep your upper body warm and allow good movement.
Dry Bag: The risk of falling in the water differs not only depending on the paddlers experience but also what type of water that you are paddling on so it is good to think about this when packing your dry bag. Make sure you have spare dry layers and a towel packed in case you do fall in the water and need to warm up. A hot drink in a flask is always appreciated during your paddle as well as food to keep you going throughout the day. At 35 litres our new dry bag is the perfect size for packing a full days worth of kit.
Changing Robe: There is nothing better than putting on a changing robe and having a hot chocolate when you get back to your car. The Sandbanks Style Luxury changing robe is the perfect paddling must have for the winter. Not only is it spacious enough to get changed in before and after your paddle it’ll keep you nice and warm when you arrive back from your paddle and the super fleecy pockets will warm your hands up!