Welcome to our new top tips page. To start off with we will just cover paddling clothing. We will add to this over time and share it.
It is essential that both your clothing and paddling equipment is fit for purpose for both the environment you are paddling in and the weather.
Clothing In canoeing, it is important that clothing should protect the body without being too restrictive. There is a lot of expensive and technical kit on the market but there is no real need to rush out and buy everything all at once. Spend a little time considering what you want to use the kit for (White water, Sea, Touring, Playboating, SUP etc).
Please ask experienced members in the club for their views. Ask more than one person for a hopefully balanced set of answers. Most of us have had a vast range of paddling kit over the years and have a good idea as to what is good and what is not.
Consider which seasons you are planning to paddle. Consider the water temperatures when you are planning to paddle.
Cags – We would recommend investing in a reasonable quality dry cag as your first purchase. It will keep you warm and dry and keep the wind off you.
You can wear this nearly all year except perhaps on hot summer days. We would always recommend regulating your temperature under your cag with thin base layers. This allows you to use the same cag in a rage of weather conditions. More insulating air is trapped in and between thin layers than in one thick layer.
When trying on a cag allow for base layers. Ensure you have enough freedom of movement without in being tight or too baggy. Other members of the club will be more than happy for you to try on their gear for size.
Helmets – When kayaking our club prefers all paddlers to wear a helmet.The helmet should be properly designed for kayaking and canoeing (most helmets from other sports do not provide the same impact protection that our sport demands). The helmet should be a good fit, not slip around, not cover your eyes and importantly be comfortable for you. It should ideally cover the back and side of your head.
Shoes/Boots – Appropriate footware is essential. We recommend always wearing something on your feet. You never know what may be dropped on the river bed or bank. In addition your footwear should be appropriate for the environment you are paddling in. For example for white water trips you may well have to be clambering over rocks or portaging frequently so firmer soles with good grip and ankle support is recommended.
If your boots have laces ensure they are not too long and can be tucked away to avoid catching.
Legs – For summer paddling shorts are a good idea. You can get neoprene shorts or neoprene lined shorts which keep your muscles warm.
For winter paddling dry trousers are a good option with either latex or neoprene seals at the ankles to keep the water out. Base layers should also be worn under these. Other options are salopettes which give extra warmth up to your chest. They are also comfortable for open canoeing.