Kayaking is a year-round sport. Just because the cooler weather is moving in, there are still plenty of ways to continue paddling throughout the fall season. Especially with the changing colors that accompany this season, the scenery you’ll find while kayaking in the fall is unparalleled. Don’t let the colder temps put you off!
While kayaking is possible beyond the summer months, you do have to prepare differently for fall paddling trips. This can be an adjustment for those who haven’t done it before but preparing properly and coming equipped with the right gear and supplies will allow you to comfortably enjoy the trip.
Fall Kayaking Gear
You’ve probably already noticed the temperatures cooling down and getting darker earlier as we move further into autumn. This change in pace is pleasant to most, but it does change up what to expect out on the water as a kayaker. Maintaining visibility, warmth, and your energy level is key to a successful fall kayaking trip.
Because the days get shorter once summer is over, the amount of reliable light you need to paddle in also dwindles. This shouldn’t discourage your kayaking itch, though. Planning trips earlier in the day that end before the evening or packing headlamps and deck lights if you plan to be out later will help you see your surroundings better in lower light. Check the weather before you go, as well, to make sure you aren’t paddling into any conditions that would make your trip more challenging to steer through.
Staying warm and dry is also slightly more challenging when fall kayaking. When it’s warmer out, the occasional splash is welcomed and can be refreshing, but as we move into cooler weather, the water you’re getting splashed with is also colder. Splashes or unintended dunks are now less inviting. Dressing in light, insulating, water-wicking layers will make you the most comfortable out on the water this time of year.
Recommended layers include a water-wicking synthetic or wool base layer, an insulating mid- layer like a fleece, and a water- repellant top layer. Fast drying pants and neoprene boots are also helpful clothing items to protect against splashes. You can also look into a spray skirt for your sit-in kayak to further insulate and keep yourself dry.
Last, but not least, packing snacks, safety enjoyment, and first aid are always recommended when kayaking. Paddling in cooler weather can sap your energy faster than in the summer, so make sure you’re bringing sustenance, so you don’t burn out. PFD’s, first aid, and GPS navigation are also advised kayaking gear in case of an emergency.
Regardless of the season, kayaking is a great opportunity to unwind by connecting with your surroundings and stay active with low-impact exercise. So layer up, put on your headlamp, and get on the water!