Winter should not stop you enjoying your water sports. In fact some of the best boating conditions are experienced in winter. The winds are generally lighter, the seas and water ways flatter. But the most important rule about sailing or kayaking at this time of the year is to stay dry and stay warm. It might look sunny out there but a splash of water on you and then the wind chill factor reduces your core body temperature in no time at all and you want to go home. Or worse, the other person wants to go home because they didn’t invest in the right gear. The right protective clothing can be just as valuable than a good PFD, if not more because you will actually enjoy it benefits all year round rather than having to wait till your swimming and need the bouncy of the PFD.
To enjoy these conditions means wearing the right gear, and that gear has proven to be a combination of a light water proof layer of clothing that can be warn all year round and then the addition of thermal clothing underneath at this time of the year. The Kokatat Tempest Jacket combined with the matching socked pants keep you dry. They have been used now for many years by our members with no real wear or leaks. The Gill range was recommended to be warn underneath during the colder months, the combination of which keeps you both dry and warm and out there for longer having fun.
An added safety feature of the Gill Hydrophone is that they do not absorb much water, a very important point if you ever fall in, thicker pants like tracksuits absorb water and decrease your ability to stay on the surface with ease.. Thin Thermal products do not absorb so much water which does not decrease your buoyancy.
As for quality, don’t settle for second best either, you pay for what you get with any good quality product and after 3 years of year round use, my Kotatat’s do not leak and still seal around the neck and wrists. Kokatat are one of the world leaders in kayak clothing technology and whilst others try to copy them, I have never seen them match the durability found in the Kokatat range. The Tempest Jacket feels tight around the wrists when you first purchase them but after a short time they will fit snuggly. Don’t forget your feet either, they get very cold at this time of the year and a good wetsuit type boot or shoe is ideal for kayaking or sailing. Add socks under neath your water proof pants and your as warm as can be.
This article was written by Alistair Kelsall, I have been using these products for 3 years now without ever having one issue with them. We often turn up to Wivenhoe Dam at 6.00 am in the middle of winter to take advantage of the Westerlies that come though here. Believe me it is cold, and I mean very cold but in the gear that I have discussed here, we are warm and dry and can have fun in the cold. It is the only brand we recommend to the Island Club sailors and it was our need for such a product range that lead Sunstate Hobie to carry this line of clothing.