Warm Gear | Cold Water

polar pass for kayaking and paddle boarding in NYC winter

Warm Gear | Cold Water

Warm Gear | Cold Water

Top 4 Gear Tips for Kayaking and Paddle Boarding


When the water temp is below 60°F, paddlers must dress to protect against heat loss. Paddling is still amazing with the right gear. On warm days, stash unneeded gear in your deck bag, but have it nevertheless! Our top recommendations:


#4: Warm Hands

SUPers should keep their hands warm with sports gloves like these football gloves. They’re breathable, flexible, traction when wet. On a warm day, keep them in your dry bag.

Kayakers should wear kayak mitts or toasters as their outer layer, whether or not they have gloves. Remove them when it’s warm but once the wind picks up and there’s spray, you’ll be grateful!


#3: Protect Chest and Arms

Start with a 3-4mm sleeveless wetsuit (aka Jane for women and John for men). Measure yourself carefully. Most suits run tight. Sleeveless wetsuits necessitate a waterproof splash jacket and a light rash guard underneath. Peel off layers if there’s no wind or temps are warm. At home, throw your layers in the washer.

Most full-sleeved wetsuits constrict the shoulders and must be hand-washed. If you prefer a long sleeve suit anyway, select flexible materials like these 4/3 Henderson suits.

On a budget? We rent wetsuits monthly.

If you’re a dedicated aficionado with extra cash, get a high-quality drysuit instead. Kokatat and Immersion Research are timeless faves. Drysuits protect against wind and water but don’t insulate from cold air. Wear athletic base and mid layers beneath. As usual, wear a lifejacket that adjusts at the shoulders and chest.


#2: Insulate Legs and Feet

Your underwear will get soaked with sweat if you follow the directions so far. Wear quick drying undies and carry extras for after-trip comfort.

For feet, wear 7mm high top booties with a side zipper. Without zippers, you’ll tear fingernails prying off wet boots. Booties 5mm or less are fine until Thanksgiving, but will not protect toes in the winter.

Rinse and air-dry booties or they will stink. Wear clean wool socks to prevent smells.


#1: Cover Head and Ears

Rock a wool beanie or headband that covers your ears. You’ll sweat so choose a light unlined one. If you want a visor, it’s better to have a drawstring so the visor doesn’t sail away.


In other words, you must have this gear to paddle in NYC now. Pay close attention the specific recommendations.

  • 3-4mm sleeveless wetsuit with rash guard and splash jacket or 4/3mm full-sleeve wetsuit or drysuit
  • Water-friendly gloves or mitts
  • Lifejacket – we can lend one
  • 5-7mm neoprene booties
  • Warm hat

While we’re at it, other essentials are:


We want to help you so drop us a line.


See you on the water!

The Team at Manhattan Kayak  |  MKC



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