Suggested Equipment for Cold Weather Paddling

Compiled from East Coast Paddlers members

The first list is aimed at paddling in cold weather with a reasonable degree of comfort; the second list becomes very important if someone goes in the water. These are items the groups should consider taking, although each person doesn't need to take all of them. Also see the information on preventing hypothermia.
It is always a good idea to have a Float Plan and leave on it on your windshield. Some other ideas we like:

  • Have participant list, with emergency phone numbers
  • Dress in layers
  • Polypropylene underlayers
  • Wool socks
  • Dry suit (or wet suit)
  • Rain coat w/hood
  • Water-proof hat w/brim
  • Latex gloves to wear under pogees or neoprene gloves
  • Neoprene mittens or paddling gloves
  • Second pair of gloves - for warm hands when you stop
  • Ear muffs
  • Mukluks (e.g., Chotas)
  • Foot warmers
  • Beaver hat w/flaps (a hot fashion statement!)
  • Thermal blanket or Space Blanket
  • Second pair of prescription glasses
  • Rope (for boat, also rescue, also emergency)
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Flashlight, extra batteries
  • Cell phone (turned off! -- only for emergencies)
  • Lighter, waterproof matches and fire starter
  • Knife, small saw or hatchet -- for firewood

When Someone Goes Swimming...

If someone goes in the water you must be able to warm them up quickly. This involves getting the person inot dry clothing, keeping them warm, making a fire and preparing some warmthing warm to eat or drink.
  • Piece of Plastic (ground cloth)
  • Have Extra Clothes and Socks in Dry Bag
  • Towel
  • Dry Bag for Wet Clothes
  • Hot Drinks in Thermos
  • Chocolate
  • Campstove, Pot, Water, Soup, Tea, Tang, etc.
  • Materials for starting a campfire:
    • Firestarter made from candle wax and dryer lint, poured into egg carton
    • Sterno
    • Flares for Fire Starters
    • Fire Logs w/lighter

New to Kayaking?

Don't know how to get started? Which boat to buy? How to learn without embarrassment? What if it tips over? Do I have to roll the kayak?

We were all beginners once and we'd be happy to help you with the basics. Before you even buy a boat, why not stop in at our monthly meeting (see the Paddlers Calendar) for some friendly advice from experienced paddlers. Whether you're interested in calm afternoons on one of Michigan's beautiful lakes and rivers or two weeks in the wilderness, we can help - we've been there.

To ask any questions or to contact the group for any reason, please send an e-mail to