Fall and Winter offer some of the best paddling conditions on the California Delta. With spectacular sunsets and abundant wildlife viewing you can enjoy magical moments on the water. You may be thinking it's too cold to paddle but I'm here to let you know you can still enjoy being on the water without being cold and uncomfortable.
First of all, the number one thing not to wear is COTTON. Cotton absorbs water and takes a very long time to dry. Do not wear cotton t-shirts or jeans when paddling. Synthetic clothing like polyester blends, fleece or wool are great options for layering. We are all unique and some of us run warmer than others. If you tend to chill easily, start with something like a rash guard or thin synthetic base layer. You can also use these year round for sun protection. Next would be a medium weight layer or wool followed by a heavy outercore or expedition weight layer. There are many manufacturers but my personal favorites are Kokatat and NRS. Check their websites for more information about their products.
Another option is pairing dry pants with a dry top. This is a more economical option but again won't necessarily keep you completely dry if you are submerged. Again, beware of dry top and pants vs. semi-dry top and pants.
Finally, gloves can not only help keep your hands warm but can help protect against blisters. I honestly have yet to find a pair of gloves that I love. Neoprene gloves are ok but for me, once wet, it's very hard to keep my hands warm. I'm still experimenting and will let you know if I find the perfect glove. Another option to gloves is using pogies. Pogies allow you to have direct contact with the paddle shaft yet shield your hands from cold temperatures.
Do you have to spend a thousand dollars or more to keep warm? The answer is NO. The most economically safe option is a wetsuit paired with a paddling jacket or semi-dry or dry top. If this isn't in your budget you can always wear synthetic layers and splash pants and splash jacket to help keep you dry.
Whether you wear a drysuit, wetsuit or go with synthetic layers, ALWAYS bring a change of clothes to keep in a drybag in case you do get wet.Delta Kayak Adventures offers paddle pants or wetsuits at no additional charge to help keep you dry and toasty if you book rentals or a guided tour.