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5 Cold Weather Paddling Tips

5 Cold Weather Paddling Tips

Last February, Dan from Paddle North pumped up the Portager and headed down the Detroit River. It was an amazing route, as he paddled through giant sheets of ice.

Cold weather paddling can be invigorating, but it's critical to be safe and respect the water. We've compiled a list of safety considerations and tips to assist with cold weather paddle exploration. 


1. Dress for the cold water temperature, even if you don’t plan on getting wet

The dry suit will only keep you dry. You should also layer with wool or synthetic (not cotton!). Use materials that can wick away your sweat and then eventually evaporate through this material.

dan paddle detroit

2. Use a leash if you’re going out in frigid water and air temps, or in wind.

The ankle leash acts as a secondary safety precaution, keeping you near the board at all times (even if you fall off).

3. If you have doubts, don’t go out.

Experience is important when paddling, and even the most confident paddlers have risk of falling in. 

4. Wear a PFD. 

Non-negotiable. It will also help keep you warm.

5. Paddle in a group.

Paddling solo can be super fun, especially when you just want to find an escape. But cold weather paddling is different and needs to be respected. We don't ever recommend solo cold weather trips (Dan was spotted from shore and water with videographer in the video).


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