Get ready for winter...
Post-lockdown paddlesports in the UK has exploded, with boats, boards and kit selling out and ever-increasing numbers taking to the water, many for the first time. We might be (allegedly) heading into an Indian Summer, but now is the time to start thinking about building up your winter kit to keep you out on the water, whatever the weather.
Lets start at the basics...
You need something warm, quick drying and fast wicking. The ideal winter base layer will keep you warm, even if it gets wet. You will however probably need to wear a wind / water proof layer over the top or your body heat can be lost through the fabric and rapidly disappear. The Thermal Rashy is a pure base layer, perfect for wearing underneath a shell, whereas our Stretch Fleece range is more versatile. Featuring a wind proof, water resistant fabric, the Stretch Fleece can be worn as a super warm baselayer, or as an outer layer for touring in cold, dry conditions.
The Thermal Rashy (long, short or pants) is a toasty warm baselayer, but for ultimate warmth combine it with the Stretch Fleece Top - windproof, breathable and super warm.Sal Montgomery (Team Paddler & Celebrity Life Saver!)
If your looking for an inexpensive, warm, functional, do-everything bit of kit, then the Neoskin range is for you. The Shorts are great for racing and minimalist scenarios such as canoe slalom, the Strides are warm and offer valuable over-the-knee protection, but the full length Pants really come into their own in winter. Whether you're touring, whitewater paddling or out on the SUP, the Neoskin is tough, warm and comfortable, and will keep you going right through the colder months. For winter paddling on a budget, this is the stuff.
Our Neoskin range is our bread and butter. Since our inception we have sold more Neoskin items than anything else, and for good reason. You simply cannot beat the performance and versatility at the price.Pete Astles (Peak UK owner)
There are many different kinds of outer layers in our range from super lightweight, windproof Pertex jackets to full-on expedition kit. If you are paddling flat water, in cold but dry conditions, you may find that a windproof, combined with a good set of base layers, will do the trick. If you intend to head out in light rain on calm inland waters then the Tourlite Hoody will be great. If you are sea kayaking in full on winter weather then you’re going to need the toughest kit we can offer. Legwear choices range from the Semi Pants to our selection of dry trousers - all of which work brilliantly with either the Thermal Rashy Pants or the Stretch Fleece legwear.
For the height in comfort, and for the ultimate in confidence inspiring kit, you really can't do much better than a One Piece Suit. Designed with either touring or whitewater in mind, we have several models that will suit just about any paddler. They are not cheap, and the initial outlay may understandably be too much for people just starting out. If you are just starting out in winter however, that may be when a suit will be the most welcome...!
One of our clients recently said that without a doubt a drysuit is a serious investment but it transforms those usually cold, wet days on the river.
Steve Brooks (Peak UK partner and co-founder of Kayak School Arlberg)
There's no doubting the popularity of suits these days, and you simply can’t beat them for protection and warmth, but there are things to consider - for example you are limiting your options when it comes to changing weathers. If you were canoe touring in the winter, then a set of Storm Pants combined with the Adventure Double jacket would be just as warm, all be it not quite as dry should you take a dip. However when spring comes around, and you are out in warmer weather, you could swap the jacket for a lighter, more ventable piece such as the Tourlite Long, whilst still using the Storm Pants. Separates and suits all have their place - it is up to you to decide which will best suit your needs (no pun intended).
So you've sorted your layers and you're ready to head out, but is there anything else that can help you stay warm, dry and keep your body working properly whilst out in the winter months?
Look after your hands - you'll not appreciate the difference a good set of gloves / pogies will make in cold weather until you try them. Whether its the windproof, waterproof Pogies, the full finger Gloves, or the brilliantly practical Open Palm Mitts, every winter paddler should have something in their kit bag. Similarly, check out our Headcases. Designed specifically for paddlesports, and usable by themselves or under a helmet, the Headcases are another must have. Super comfy, inexpensive and no more brain freeze. Whats not to love? If you want something to keep your head warm on and off the water then try one of our reversible Beanies. These don't work as well as the Headcases when wet but look much better down the pub!
If you have a pair of dry trousers or a suit, then be sure to wear a warm sock under the X4 socks (merino is ideal) and a close fitting Neoprene Shoe or similar on top. Make sure your footwear is not too tight though, you need to keep that blood circulating. For a tougher, warmer footwear option look at the Zip Boots, and for real, luxurious warmth, keep eye out for our new DBS Boot (coming soon…). See our Footwear range here.
If you are touring or on a long day out; take a Dry Bag and a spare warm layer with you. And finally, if you're paddling long distances, in any season, any weather, then the Ocean Bothy can be an absolute godsend if things deteriorate. Simply take it out of your bag, chuck it on over your existing layers and PFD, draw in the toggles and away you go. Happy days.
Don't forget we have a full range of Kidz kit to keep them warm too, from Neoskin, to Thermal Rashys, to the Kidz Pro Jacket. All these are made with the same bombproof materials and world class design that goes in to our regular range.
Whatever you are up to this winter, we’ve got the kit to keep you going. Visit your local dealer or get in touch for more information.
Stay warm, stay safe and happy paddling.