Roz's cold weather paddling picks
Items I can’t do without through the colder months - they are all Australian brands!
Fleece lined neoprene with soft but grippy sole. They don’t affect your feel on the foot plate, but do keep out the frost when crossing the grass to get on the water.
A very warm beanie that has a peak! Mine is high vis green…..oh boy is it hi vis! You can also get pink, or if you don’t want to be seen so easily the grey will suit well. I like that the peak stops the splash from my paddle getting on my face. This is quite a bonus on a dark winter morning when the wind is blowing.
Super comfy, stretchy paddling pants that are designed for the cold. I find these pants warm enough for even our coldest winter sessions, though they are surprisingly versatile as far as the range of temperatures that I wear them in. They have a high waist at the back so they end up riding down when you are seated in your boat, and the seams are positioned so that you won’t feel them when you are paddling. As with all of Vaikobi’s range, they are very high quality and you will have them for a long time.
These come in male and female fits and are designed specifically for paddling. This is very much a go-to top for me as a base layer, or a stand alone piece on the mornings that have a bit of chill but don’t require a top with too much warmth. It is breathable and allows you to move quite freely without any bunching under the arms or around the body. I have found that the top can feel a little firm when I put it on dry, but that feeling goes as soon as I start moving around, this top is designed to form-fit.
I received my Smock Top in early February, and although excited at the thought of being able to use it (I have to admit to a certain level of nerd where technical fabrics are concerned), I didn’t think I would get to properly test it for a least a couple of months. Two weeks later we had an evening training session, with a honking westerly wind. This direction puts us side on to the breeze, and being in the back of a double ski I decided to try out my Smock, even though it was 20 degrees, as I was going to be getting extremely wet! I have used it for quite a few sessions since then.
Being that it is still early autumn and warm I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the breathability of this garment. Wearing a short sleeve underneath I have found it doesn’t feel clammy against my skin, in part due to the 2.5 layer fabric. I also love how completely waterproof this top is. The 10k hydrostatic head means this is definitely waterproof, not just a spray jacket, I have been surprised at how dry my base layers are after I have worn the smock for a session. The cuff and neck have adjustable closures that very effectively keep the water out, and the neoprene around the waist has adjustable tabs so it can be really snug without feeling tight. There is a waterproof zip on the chest pocket, I haven’t used the pocket and would still put anything into a dry bag if I was going to use it. As far as the fit goes, often for females unisex clothing doesn’t fit so well but the Smock is a good fit. I am looking forward to having this top through our Tassie winter. To be able to completely cut out the wind and stay a lot drier, will make mornings much more comfortable!
Conditions I have used it in
- warm, windy evenings for training sessions
- cool morning training sessions
- coaching where my intensity is low and temp around 15 degrees
- longer downwind conditions, 2+ hours
- colder, rainy sessions, both training and coaching
I don’t hesitate in recommending this top, if I were to lose it today I would get another straight away. It is certainly a valuable garment in my paddling kit.
I can’t leave out my PFD, after all it is a legal requirement to wear one in Tasmania! It isn’t too bulky and is a little cooler to wear in the warmer months. There are two front zip pockets that are large enough for my ridiculously big iPhone, and the back pouch fits my hydration sleeve in comfortably. I like the zip that is easy to use when putting it on. I chose the High Vis Yellow, though the orange and the blue are pretty cool colours too!
I wear mine ALL the time! It’s warm, comfortable and has a great hood. Then there is the more technical things to know about. The down is lovely quality, without the price tag of an 800 loft down, the down is responsibly sourced, and the baffles are nicely full, but not bulging, so you won’t resemble the Michelin Man! If you’re not sure about the value of this jacket, just come and talk to any of us at NLK....we all have one!
Post paddle essentials...
My ‘Ugg’ boots, sorry we can’t supply those, but they are good :-)