Cold Weather Paddling Gear Checks

With snow coming down in Tahoe, and folks talking about heading up to the ski resorts.  it is a crucial time to make sure if you are wanting to paddle through the winter, you have the right gear. A few almost key pieces of gear in order to keep yourself and your friends safe and warm.

  • Drysuit (Keeps your entire body dry besides your hands and face)
  • Skull Cap (Helps with brain freeze)
  • Gloves, Mittens, or Pogies (Save those hands!)
  • Good shoes (A to keep yourself from slipping on the icey banks and (B to keep the dry socks on your drysuit from getting holes in them!
  • Earplugs to save your hearing from the cold California water (seriously most important thing to have in the winter cold water can seriously damage your hearing)
  • Underlayers- a drysuit is almost useless without being paired with good fleece and capilene. Capilene helps wick away moisture from the body and fleece is an amazing insulator. Also if you want to be extra warm consider investing in a Union Suit!
  • Check to make sure gaskets aren’t drying out (no one wants to be putting on their drysuit and have a gasket rip right before you go paddling!) If your gaskets look like they need love our River store Staff will happily repair your gaskets for you!

Now, not only is it easy to forget all the different gear you need for winter paddling, but it is also easy to forget to check on your gear after the longer summer. Its never fun to forget gear but when the water is icy & snow is falling its time to step up your game. Personal misadventures forgetting spare keys, not checking floatbags hold air, or leaving critical gear at home can ruin a fun day on the river.  Here are some checks I like to do to help get gear ready for this season.

Boat Check…

  • Tighten Screws
  • Check wing nuts (keep a spare in PFD)
  • Check Floatbags (check they still hold air)
  • Check Drainplug is well attached

1st Aid….

  • Maintain/Replace Basics  (full list here) (keep CPR mask and gloves on your person rather then in the boat)
  • Check high sugar/fat/protein food item is added (Snickers or Paydays work great extra brownie points if you have one of these and are paddling with a diabetic!)
  • Check Space blanket is in
  • Check waterproof matches and fire starter are in.

Rescue/Pin Kit…

  • Check work-ablity of moving parts (carabiners, pulleys etc)
  • Check for damage or over stretch on Ropes, & Webbing
  • Check that spare paddle still fits together
  • Re-stuff throw-bag (should make sure it also drys out frequently)
  • Check screwdriver/multi-tool has a home somewhere in your kit

Warm Layers, Shells & Wearable Gear…

Dress for the Rescue/Swim

  • Drytop/Drysuit replace broken gaskets, send in for water test & patching if needed.  (See here for more info)
  • Find Pogies, gloves, scull cap, neoprene socks from where ever they hid in the Summer months.
  • Check that you have enough layers including a extra
  • Make sure shoes for paddling are grippy, warm, and solid for hiking out
  • Check PFD is still floating you well

Shuttle Vehicle

  • Mostly check all is in working order including spare, wind sheild wipers blades etc…  BUT also make sure the SPARE is in its spot.

It is also important to have a small check list of extra items that you can check the morning of trip. These are the little things that make the trip way more enjoyable in the cold.

  • Thermos w/ Hot Yummy drink.
  • Goodie bag for after paddling Chips, Salsa, Beverage of choice usually beer.
  • Take out clothing… (no one wants to sit next to YOU if YOU are still in wet paddling clothing during shuttle)
  • Cell phone is charged & in
  • Check to make sure drybag is DRY.
  • AND Check the 5 essentials Boat, Paddle, PFD, Sprayskirt, Helmet, you don’t want to be the one to volunteer for shuttle bunny because you left your skirt at home.

So with flows coming up & snow coming down, we hope to see you all out on the water this cool weather paddling season and if you have any gear needs at all hit up The River Store!

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