4 Tips: What to Wear while kayaking in autumn

Just because summer is over, doesn’t mean paddling season is.

Autumn is a perfect time to get out onto flat water and tour. Getting out and seeing the fall colors is a great treat.

But even when the air is relatively warm, inclement weather, wind, and cold water may present some hiccups during your trip. Some basic safety guidelines and proper apparel will go a long way towards keeping your time on the water pleasant and free from dangerous incidents. “Dress for the Swim”

Wear your wicking base layers, whether they are synthetic or merino wool. Keeping moisture off your skin will go a long way toward keeping you warm if you happen to get wet.

Put on that insulating mid-layer. Fleece or merino wool will do the job nicely. Though you may be reluctant to do it, and may even be uncomfortably warm at times, being prepared for immersion and the water temperature is paramount.

A splash jacket or dry top and some waterproof or quick-drying pants over everything will keep you protected from brisk autumn winds, rain, and whatever chop and spray may be stirred up by them. Utilizing a spray skirt, if your kayak can accommodate one, will help mitigate cold water sloshing into your boat as well. 

Wear some neoprene booties or water shoes to round out the whole outfit. These will keep your toes and feet happy as you tour around. If it’s particularly cool outside, a pair of wool socks may be in order as well.

Dressing in layers like the ones listed above will keep you relatively comfortable. If you find yourself getting too hot, however, de-layering is acceptable for experienced paddlers. Remember, a wet exit into water at this time of year can mean a rough—and dangerous—time. If you aren’t confident in your skills post-immersion, it may be a wiser choice to wear a drysuit with your insulating layers underneath.