Cold Weather Paddling
Lake Merwin, WA

Cold Weather Paddling

2022, Apr 02    

Portland weather is all over the place year-round. SUP folk like to talk a lot about gear and we’ve scraped some of the most valuable tips, tricks, and gear bits for you here. Let’s start with cold weather paddling. Noa Rubin posted a comprehensive gear roundup a while back that holds true every season. Here’s her response to “what do people wear when they paddle in cold weather?”


Let’s talk about… cold.. baby… lets talk about… winter paddling. Hey friends, lots of folks have been asking me lately about how we paddle in the winter, so I found some dorky photos of myself to show you guys + give a run down. There are three options – drysuit (some people swear by this, but it’s too warm for me, and pricey), the fancy SUPskin (another pricey option), or the third option which is layering over a lighter farmer Jane (sleeveless) wetsuit – this is the one I have been wearing since 2016 (it lasts!).

cold noa 1

I usually wear a pair of leggings under it to be a little more cozy (and a tight short sleeve wicking t-shirt). Booties are a must! Go 7mm don’t bother with anything less than that. Here is what i have and love. I usually wear a pair of cozy wicking socks under them.

Over the wetsuit I wear a thin half zip fleece (to vent if needed) or some sort of wind resistant top. Or a shell, if it’s raining/snowing. I always wear some sort of beanie, I prefer ones with a bill so rain doesn’t touch my nose, or wear a beanie under a trucker hat. A lot of times I wear a balaklava under it as well.

cold noa 2

I also bring gloves but I rarely wear them, these are my favs (and believe me, I have tested lots of pairs as a former Dragonboater).

ALWAYS keep a dry top in my drybag so if i fall in I can change out my wet top. Keep clothes to change into in the car. ALWAYS GO WITH SOMEONE, don’t paddle solo in the winter, cause also then, who will take dorky photos of you! (FYI It was approx 30 degrees in that photo of me in that crazy teal water and it snowed.)