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What to Wear Paddle Boarding in Winter

What To Wear While Paddle Boarding In Winter

Winter paddle boarding can be an exhilarating and peaceful experience, but it’s essential to dress appropriately to stay comfortable and safe on the water. In this article, we will guide you on what to wear while paddle boarding in winter, so you can make the most of your chilly adventure.

Importance of Proper Clothing for Winter Paddle Boarding

When it comes to winter paddle boarding, proper clothing is crucial. The cold temperatures and icy water can pose risks if you’re not adequately dressed. Wearing the right gear will not only keep you warm but also protect you from hypothermia and other cold-related injuries.

Layering for Warmth and Flexibility

Layering is key when it comes to dressing for winter paddle boarding. By wearing multiple layers, you can adjust your clothing according to your body temperature and the weather conditions. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer that will keep your body dry and insulated. Look for thermal leggings and a long-sleeved top that will provide warmth without impeding your movement on the paddleboard.

For the mid-layer, consider wearing a fleece or down jacket to provide extra insulation. These materials are lightweight and breathable, allowing you to move freely while staying warm. Opt for a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect yourself from the elements. Investing in a good-quality wetsuit or drysuit, depending on the water temperature, is crucial to stay warm and dry throughout your paddle boarding session.

Choosing the Right Base Layer for Insulation

The base layer is the foundation of your winter paddle boarding outfit. It should be made of a moisture-wicking material that will keep sweat away from your body, preventing you from getting cold and clammy. Look for thermal leggings and a long-sleeved top made of merino wool or synthetic fibers like polyester or nylon.

Merino wool is an excellent choice for a base layer as it is naturally breathable and insulating. It also has moisture-wicking properties that will keep you dry even if you sweat. Synthetic fibers like polyester or nylon are also great options as they dry quickly and provide good insulation.

Insulating Mid-Layers for Extra Warmth

To add extra warmth, you’ll need a mid-layer that provides insulation. A fleece or down jacket is ideal for this purpose. Fleece jackets are lightweight, breathable, and excellent at trapping heat. They are also quick-drying, making them ideal for winter paddle boarding.

Down jackets, on the other hand, are incredibly warm and lightweight. They provide excellent insulation without adding bulk. Look for jackets with a high fill power, as this indicates the quality and warmth of the down insulation.

Outerwear Options for Winter Paddle Boarding

Choosing the right outerwear is crucial to protect yourself from wind, rain, and cold water. Look for waterproof and windproof jackets or pants made of breathable materials. These will keep you dry and comfortable even in wet conditions.

Investing in a good-quality wetsuit or drysuit is also essential for winter paddle boarding. A wetsuit is made of neoprene, a material that provides insulation by trapping a thin layer of water between your body and the suit. This layer warms up and helps regulate your body temperature. Drysuits, on the other hand, are completely waterproof and keep you dry by preventing water from entering the suit.

Accessories to Consider for Winter Paddle Boarding

Accessorizing wisely will help keep you warm and protected during your winter paddle boarding session. Wear a cozy hat or beanie to keep your head warm, as a significant amount of body heat is lost through the head. Look for hats made of wool or fleece for maximum insulation.

A neck gaiter or scarf is also essential to protect your neck from the cold wind. This area is often exposed and can easily become chilled. Choose a material that is soft, warm, and breathable, such as merino wool or fleece.

Don’t forget to keep your extremities warm with a pair of gloves and warm socks. Look for gloves that are waterproof, windproof, and have good grip to handle the paddle. For socks, opt for thermal or wool socks that will keep your feet warm even if they get wet.

Lastly, wear water shoes or neoprene booties to keep your feet warm and provide traction on the paddleboard. These will protect your feet from the cold water and sharp objects, ensuring a comfortable and safe paddle boarding experience.

Safety Precautions for Winter Paddle Boarding

While dressing appropriately is essential, it’s also important to take safety precautions while paddle boarding in winter. Always check the weather conditions and water temperature before heading out. Cold water can lead to hypothermia, so it’s crucial to be aware of the risks and plan accordingly.

Make sure to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket at all times. Even if you’re a strong swimmer, unexpected accidents can happen, and a PFD can save your life. Additionally, consider paddle boarding with a buddy or letting someone know your planned route and estimated time of return.

Recommended Clothing Brands for Winter Paddle Boarding

When it comes to choosing the right clothing for winter paddle boarding, there are several reputable brands to consider. Some popular options include Patagonia, Columbia, The North Face, and O’Neill. These brands offer a wide range of clothing specifically designed for outdoor activities, including paddle boarding.

How cold is too cold for paddle boarding?

Paddle boarding in cold water or weather conditions requires careful consideration to ensure safety and comfort. The threshold for “too cold” can vary based on personal tolerance, experience, and the specific conditions. Here are some factors to consider:

Water Temperature

General Guidelines

  • Water temperatures below 50°F (10°C) are considered dangerous for paddling without proper thermal protection.

Individual Tolerance

  • Personal cold tolerance varies, so it’s important to know your own limits.

Air Temperature

Wind Chill

  • Even if the air temperature seems tolerable, wind chill can make it feel much colder, impacting your ability to stay warm on the water.

Clothing and Equipment

Appropriate Gear

  • Wearing a wetsuit or drysuit, along with insulating layers and protective gear, can extend the comfortable paddling range into colder conditions.

Hypothermia Risk

  • Prolonged exposure to cold water and air increases the risk of hypothermia, so it’s crucial to dress accordingly.


By following these tips and wearing the appropriate clothing, you can stay comfortable and enjoy paddle boarding in winter while staying safe and protected. Remember to layer your clothing, choose moisture-wicking and insulating materials, and invest in quality outerwear. Accessorize wisely and take necessary safety precautions. With the right gear, you can make the most of your winter paddle boarding adventure in comfort and style.

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