When selecting what to wear, consider the environment you are in or could be in. As with many outdoor activities you’ll want to use the quick dry layer system, wearing distinct layers of clothing rather than one or two thick layers. In all but the warmest conditions you’ll want your outermost layer to be made of a water- and wind-proof material. For your under layers, avoid clothes made out of cotton. Although comfortable off the water, cotton offers no insulating value when wet and is very slow to dry. Instead, choose insulating clothing made of synthetic fibers. As well as wicking moisture away from your body, this system allows you to easily adapt to changing weather conditions. You may also want to choose paddling clothes equipped with reflective strips, especially if your paddling involves long crossings and high-traffic areas. If you are venturing offshore or may encounter turbulent water, ensure you are dressed appropriately for those conditions and/ or cold water with a wetsuit or drysuit.
Gloves – When the weather outside gets cold, neoprene gloves become indispensable. Working like a neoprene wet suit, they allow a thin layer of water to become an insulator between your hands and the cold. Fit should not be too tight nor too loose.
Pogies – Great for protecting your hands from a cold wind while also allowing normal contact with your paddle. Their insulating neoprene design, attached directly to the paddle, lets your hands exit easily.
Neoprene hood (primarily whitewater) – Ultra important when the conditions get cold. Helps avoid heat loss through your head and prevents painful “ice cream” headaches caused by rolling in cold water.
River shoes/booties (primarily whitewater) – Wearing a closed-toe river shoe with a good sticky tread surface is essential for safe scouting and portaging. More than helping keep your feet warm, these shoes grant you grip on the damp rocks surrounding the river, and help with traction in the event of a swim.