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What to wear spring paddling

Spring weather on Bowen Island and in the Howe Sound region can vary tremendously. From warm and sunny one minute to blowing cold and rainy the next. We don’t all have a wardrobe full of neoprene, spray jackets and booties, so what do you wear paddling when the weather can be so unpredictable?

You don’t have to be a pro-paddler to dress the part. Here are 5 things you can find in your closet for your next kayaking trip:

1. Layers

Like many outdoor excursions, layers are key. It’s the best way to account for changeable weather and stay comfortable. When on the water it’s best to stick to wool or synthetics. They help move moisture away from your skin and either dry quickly or retain heat, so you stay comfortable. Cotton is a no-go around water so save the jeans and sweatshirts for another time. Try three layers when it may be cold out:  shortsleeve top, long sleeve top and a fleece layer for extra warmth. This combination allows you to add/remove items throughout the day. Mix and match items you may wear to the gym, camping or hiking.

dressing in layers
jacket + pants

2. Jacket and Pants

The outer layer is your number one protector against foul weather like rain or wind. Bring a rain jacket to keep you dry and block the breeze. If you have them, rain pants can also be extremely useful. Otherwise, if you have pants you use for hiking they often have some water repellency to them. Athletic pants or tights can work too.

3. Shoes

There is a chance your shoes may get wet. Water shoes or sandals are great. But if it isn’t quite sandal weather yet you can use a pair of running shoes. Make sure your socks are synthetic or wool, similar to what you may use skiing or hiking.

sandals or watershoes
Toques or hats

4. Toques and Hats

Dig out that trusty toque and bring it with you. A warm day onshore can change to a windy, cool day on the water. A sunhat or something with a brim can also keep sun and rain out of your eyes.

5. Sunglasses and Sunscreen

Even on a cloudy day, UV rays can get through. They also bounce off surfaces like water, leading to increased exposure. Grab your sunglasses and sunscreen before you join us at the docks.

sunglasses + sunscreen

Aside from clothing, bring a water bottle. You can keep it in your seat or on the deck of your kayak. A Ziploc bag or waterproof case for your phone/camera is highly recommended.

After your kayaking trip is over it’s always nice to change into something warm and comfy so bring a spare change of clothes. Finally, why not head up the street to one of the local cafes or pubs to grab your favourite beverage and relax with friends while recounting the explorations of the day.

After your trip enjoy a local cafe or pub