Winter time doesn’t exactly conjure up sunny images of days on the water floating lazily with your friends. In fact, it never does. But if you’ve been bit by the prone kayaking bug, waiting on warmer temps isn’t reasonable. Here are some pointers to get the most out of your wintertime bellyaking exploits:
You will be in the water, so dress to swim.
A drysuit is a substantial investment but the most valuable piece of gear you can own. Not only will it keep your layers completely dry, it will block the wind and eliminate evaporative heat loss. We recommend the Immersion Research Arch Rival, which has the best combination of features and value of any suit around. Under your drysuit, a fleece union suit is ideal, as the one piece design will not restrict your movements or create any seams that would be uncomfortable to lay on.
Remember Your Feet
Around here at Team Bellyak we are big fans of Astral Footwear. The Brewer and the Rassler are both ideal shoes for prone kayaking fun. Lightweight, quick draining and superior grip on all surfaces make them the ideal watersports shoe. They work very well with a drysuit too.
Now to your Hands and your Head
A warm fleece or neoprene hood under your helmet will help significantly to keep the rest of your body warm. The our bellyak Gloves will keep your hands fairly warm, and for extra cool temperatures a pair of thin wool gloves worn inside the webbed gloves will assist you maintaining dexterity and comfort while paddling in cold water.
A wetsuit/drytop combination is a good choice if you don’t have a drysuit. Remember, you are essentially swimming the river so take into consideration the combined water and air temp and dress warmer than you think.
Layers Layers Layers
Weather can change in a heart beat, and cold water shock is a very real possibility. Always bring layers with stored in a Drybag to keep them, well, dry, so you can put them on in a moments notice and warm up.
Remember, you’re dressing for the water temperature – not the air temperature, so be smart and you will have the most fun!