I'm often asked about what to wear in the winter time. I've decided to put together a blog post to answer the question. None of the pictures below are meant to be endorsements of a product. But I do tend to wear brands like: Columbia, Nike, Under Armor, and Starter. The first three are much more durable - I shop the sales and constantly replenish my supply during sale season.
First principle - you may get wet, at any time you may wind up in the water so you need gear that will keep you warm even if it is wet. So wool, fleece, poly clothing is a must:
I wear wool socks I have short pairs that I wear on moderate days but when its cold I wear something similar to this:
For underwear I either wear a pair of swim trunks and a dry weave shirt like this:
or fleece base layer similar to this (I leave the T on for - peeling down):
I wear a top and bottom only on the coldest days.
Then I add outer layers shirt:
And for the coldest days an outer layer (anything under 50 degrees):
Breathable rain gear is great - you will experience a ton of splash off the water, off fish, off your paddle, and so on. You will want to remain dry. Cold days I add a fleece outer layer.
I have transitioned to wearing waders most of the winter and a top over it something like these:
then you will need some form of footwear. Most of the time I wear crocs with wool socks when temps are over 50 but when they are below I'll be in the waders and I just wear the crocs to get me to the boat and back - I stay in the stocking feet on the water.
But you might want something like these:
White prevents discoloration of your kayak.
All of this is topped off finally with a pair of good kayaking gloves like these:
And I caught a paddling jacket on sale like this one: Paddling Jacket
the neoprene cuffs help prevent water running off the paddle and down your sleeves! But this is not a necessity item and a bit pricey - Mine was half price at the time.
Remember Hi - visibility colors are a great idea.
Throughout the day you will find you will need to pull of layers. Be mindful - layers are the way to go in kayaking. You will be pulling things off and putting them on as you paddle, sit still, experience wind, or clouds. You will be amazed how much the temperature changes in a day and even a light breeze on the back of an uncovered neck is an issue.
A big help for this is a "buff" which covers the neck and can be pulled up over the ears to.
For more safety tips read this Article by a great outdoorsman and kayaker Chris Holmes:
Chris Holmes Article
Have fun and be safe!