Thursday, 22 May 2014

Paddling Gear for the Cold

We're blessed to be based in Sydney, as temperate a climate as you could hope to have, with cool winters laced with sunshine, and a water temperature that barely plumbs the depths some of our southern neighbours have to endure.

Nonetheless, as the calendar marches into winter, the mornings are cool, the evenings chill down fast, and gradually our sea temperatures are dropping into the teens.

On cue, we're getting requests for information on paddle gear we stock for cool weather, how they work together & how they apply to different types of paddling.

The NRS Disco Shirt ($115), NRS H2Core Expedition Shirt ($99), and NRS H2Core Paddle Shirt ($70)
In the past year, we've revamped our range of winter gear to include the cream of cold weather kit from leading manufacturers Peak UK, NRS & Reed Chillcheater.

The lightest is the loose-fitting NRS H2Core Paddle Shirt. This is slightly heavier than a rashie, with silky fabric on the normal rub points for paddlers under the arms & on the sides. It's a fair weather winter top, suitable as a base layer, without the cooling evaporative effects of a typical lycra rashie.
The Peak UK Thermal Rashie ($75)
The Peak UK Thermal rashie is another new addition which is a brilliant cold weather top. When I'm working hard & pushing my aerobic limits the biggest problem I face with clothing is overheating. The Peak Thermal Rashie is thin enough to breathe if I'm working, holds very little water & thus has a greatly reduced evaporative cooling effect, and provides 'instant toasty' when worn under a barrier like a cag or paddle jacket. It's incredibly versatile, and like all Peak UK gear is cut for paddlers.

The NRS Disco Shirt is the cold water high intensity top. I'll use it for a surf on the bar in winter where I'm going to be soaking wet for an hour or two, and the bursts of high energy & sprinting to catch & surf waves are interspersed with a fair swag of time waiting for a wave. It's strength is it's wind resistance, a barrier material that protects your core, with silky anti-chafe fabric where you need it.

The latest addition is the heavy duty NRS Expedition Shirt, a warm thermal top versatile enough to be worn as an outer layer, but definitely the bomb when layered under a cag. On a slow coastal exploration trip with mates, stopping to play at rocks & surf, this top under a cag or paddle jacket would be the king.
NRS Hydroskin Pants ($115), Peak UK Neoskin Pants ($75), Reed Aquatherm Pants ($115)
Down below, there are three options depending on what you value most. 

The NRS Hydroskin pants are the most stretchy, least constrictive, and insulate by trapping warm moisture between you & the fabric. 

The Peak UK Neoskin Pants are scuba diver warm, thick Neoprene with a considered paddling design free of rub points. They're my pants of choice on cold early morning ski fitness paddles.

The Reed Aquatherm pants are the most waterproof, and by virtue of Reed's shell fabric the most windproof. On their own they're not particularly insulating, but if I was standing on a beach in a cold wind they're the ones I'd hope to be wearing.
The Peak UK Tourlite Hoody ($189), Tourlite Shorty ($129), NRS Short Sleeved Endurance Jacket ($75) & Long Sleeved Endurance Jacket ($115)
We've also updated our paddle jacket range lately, with some new jackets from Peak UK. They're not the heavy duty cags we have come to see profligate over recent years, and that's because we recognise that the biggest problem with cold weather gear for the majority of paddlers is actually overheating. These outer layers stop the wind without adding bulk and hindering your athletic output.

The Peak UK Tourlite Shorty & Hoody are premium quality paddle jackets, light enough for all round use in our forgiving climate, but constructed for the rigours of the sea. They're both made from a  tough but soft feel ripstop nylon, with wide neoprene velcro cuffs.

The NRS Endurance Range offer a low cost over-jacket, cut for paddling, and specifically designed to protect paddlers from the wind, especially if they've been caught out. Made oversized, so they're easy to slip on over your paddling gear on the water.
Reed Touring Cag ($285), Aquatherm Pants ($119), Shirt ($149) & Vest/Deck ($159)
Last but not least, Reed Chillcheater continues to pump out brilliant cold weather gear, born of the frosty waters of the UK. This is hard core sea kayaking kit, the trademark Aquatherm fabric designed to insulate & beat the wind.

I think it's important to get cold, before you go out & spend money on cold weather gear. Some of us feel the cold regardless of how hard we're paddling & need all the help we can get, others turn purple as soon as they lift their output & can make do with much lighter gear.

Please give either Rob or I a shout if you'd like to chat about any of our winter paddling gear. Everything listed is avaiable through our ONLINE STORE, with freight free on all orders over $50.

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