So, recently we got our first snowfall in the Pacific Northwest. It ended up being at least two feet and brought with it frigid conditions of 20-degree air temperatures.
Honestly, I can't say I get excited about paddling this time of year . . . what motivates me to get on the water the most, is the fact that I don't want to get "out of paddling shape" for spring and summer time boating.
However, the hardest part of getting on the water in December and January is actually getting gear on and walking down to the river. Once my gear is on and I'm launching into the water, I'm wondering why I don't just do that everyday.
Paddling in these conditions - 20 degree air temp and 35 degree water temp - CAN be very dangerous. That's why it's important to me to have the right gear. Having the right gear makes paddling in these conditions doable and less life-threatening in the event of an unfortunate swim.
Here is how I layer up in these arctic conditions:
1. My Level Six Hot Fuzz Fleece Unisuit. But because I get really, really cold (and HATE being cold), I'll add another layer of fleece on the top - my hot fuzz separates.
2. My Level Six Drysuit. I love this drysuit. The combo of the fleece and my drysuit keeps me on the HOT side for sure . . . exactly how I like it.
3. My creeking shoes, pfd and helmet.
4. My Level Six Pogies. I really like these pogies because they are very low profile. I can't stand having anything on my paddle. But, when it's frigid enough, these are a must and don't weigh down my paddle or feel like a lot of bulk.
I'm known for "over dressing" when gearing up to paddle. I'm always afraid of getting too cold. I haven't been "too cold" on the water in a very long time. Most of the time, I'm too hot . . . (but that can be cured quickly).
It's true . . . "there is no such thing as the wrong conditions to go kayaking, but there is such a thing as the wrong gear!" Thanks Level Six for keeping me warm and toasty so I can enjoy boating even in the toughest conditions.