That time of year is coming. Here are a few thoughts on what to wear if you're going to keep paddling through the winter!
Layers - Winter temperatures are very changeable in Scotland. Thermal base layers are very important because they can be layered very easily.
Neoprene mitts. Mitts keep our hands relatively dry AND more importantly keep the wind chill away. Palm do great open palm or closed palm mitts. These are better than gloves as they don’t separate your digits. Gloves can often make your hands colder. The open palm mitts are designed to keep your fingers warm but still allow you to feel the paddle.
A thick, good quality aqua fleece is great or a warm cag a little like waterproof coat. This keeps the wind off you. They only usually have waterproof seals on the sleeves and waist. A drysuit top will stop water getting into your skin if you wear one instead. This can be a real lifesaver in winter.
Change of clothes for afterwards in the car. No one wants to be driving home in soggy or damp clothes. A moonwrap changing robe is also a game changer for quick warmth back at the car.
A buoyancy aid with pockets is great because you can tuck your hands in or put in snack. Energy snacks or gel, fruit and nuts could be a good shout.
A warm, woolly hat could mean the difference between being freezing cold or actually quite comfortable. The gla pad blue hats are insanely good.
On your feet - a minimum of 3mm neoprene socks and 5mm boots. Stick on a pair of cosy merino wool socks too - they’ll get damp but keep your feet warm. Nothing worse than paddling with cold feet.
If you’re planning on doing lots of winter paddling a Drysuit is a sound investment. Palm do women specific drysuits so you can still go for a pee without taking it all off! Drysuits can be expensive so if you're not ready for that level of expense at least a 5mm neoprene wetsuit or long john layered up does a pretty good job at keeping you warm. Remember, you still get wet and when it's very cold especially if it's less than 4-5C, it's a cold blast when you hit the water.