Paddling Tips and Tricks – Volume 2, Issue 3

Well first of all I would like to apologize to all my readers for not getting this out last month as I indicated. Feb flew by and now we are already through our first full week of March… Time flies when youand#39;re having fun!

Since I am not boating today because of the strong winds and low temps in the Tri-Cities area; I thought this would be a very appropriate time to talk about being prepared for Winter Paddling for this monthand#39;s installment of Paddling Tips and Tricks.

Below is an excerpt from a great thread I saw on Boatertalk started by Clay Wright addressing this very issue.

Some of the MOST important things are ones you might not have in your pin kit…

#1: A watch where you can see it and knowledge of sunset time. This should let you better mark your progress and allow you to start hiking / look for makeshift camp/ trail out before dark.

#2: Headlamp: Itand#39;s gonna happen, so make sure you can keep walking after dark (best way to keep warm) with a light – the LED variety weigh nothing and last 8hrs.

#3: Phone: a text saying and#39;Weand#39;re fine, call ya tomorrowand#39; will prevent loved ones from calling the rescue squad and helicopters and allow YOU to settle in to camp – then paddle out by day instead of risking night-boating or having to hike back in later to get your boats. Itand#39;s a HUGE difference worrying about people being cold than people being pinned / injured / dead. Some signal available on ridgetops from most rivers.

#4: Knowledge of the topography: bring a topo map or have it memorized so you know which way to hike. Most of the time, itand#39;s along the river. Some places have trails and bridges – some donand#39;t. Knowing which way to follow a trail when you find it is critical to your decision to leave the river.

#5: Space blankets / lighter / warm hat / gloves: With this combo, when there is an injury you can survive much easier and rescuers will spot the fire/smoke from the air.

Check out the full thread for additional info: http://www.boatertalk.com/forum/BoaterTalk/1419368

Another important factor when preparing for winter paddling is the way you dress for the on-water activities. If you get cold, you are not going to have fun… Here are some suggestions that I have learned throughout my many years of outdoor activities.

  • The Main key to staying warm when in the cold is layering your clothes and not wearing any cotton (Did I mention no cotton?). Cotton may be the fabric of our lives, but if you wear it in the river there is a good chance that you will get Hypothermia. Cotton has no insulating properties once it gets wet. It also does not provide any protection from the wind. So NO COTTON!
  • The term andquot;layeringandquot; is meant to be 2-4 light to mid weight articles of clothing (depending on weather conditions) that you wear for tops and bottoms. It is better to have on 2-4 light articles of clothing on than one insulated expedition type suite. This allows you to shed layers if you begin to get hot. Layering is divided into three basic groups: Base, Mid, and Shell.
  • The Base Layer is usually some sort of capilene, polyester/lycra or polypropylene insulting underwear against your skin (No Cotton!).
  • The Mid Layers can be a lot of different clothing items such as polyester fleece, neoprene, or polyester/lycra tops and bottoms (No Cotton!!).
  • The Shell Layer is usually some sort of dry suit or dry top andamp; splash/dry pants to prevent all your other layers from getting wet (NO COTTON!!!).
  • Head Warmth is very important too, considering that we loose almost 80% of our body heat through our noggin. A good skull cap made out of neoprene or polypropylene will help provide this extra insulation under you helmet.
  • Hand Warmth can be achieved by wearing poggies or some sort of neoprene gloves.
  • Foot Warmth is crucial for comfort and to prevent frostbite. I good pair of 100% wool socks or some sort of synthetic blend over a pair of polypropylene socks should keep your feet toasty warm. Layering your feet with socks is just as important as layering your body. No Cotton!!!!

Now that youand#39;re all suited up for action, you can enjoy the river 365 days a year instead of just those warm days.

I hope to see you on the river!

Wesley R. Bradley – Tri-Cities World Kayak Ambassador

Here is the original post:
Preparing for Winter Paddling