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How to Choose Apparel for Safe Fall Whitewater Kayaking

Whitewater kayaking, like other types of boating, can be done safely year round, if you have the proper apparel, training and organization. We'll give you some tips for apparel choices when you're extending your kayaking into the cooler fall months.

But first here are some other things you should consider:

  • Always wear your life jacket. We recommend that you only use a rescue-specific jacket after you've taken swiftwater rescue training.
  • A helmet is essential.
  • Equip your kayak with flotation bags. They displace water and keep your boat afloat if you have to wet exit.
  • Pack first aid supplies, some dry base layers and emergency food, like energy bars, in a small dry bag.
  • There's safety in numbers; boating with a group gives you backup if things go wrong.

Now for the apparel. In the fall, the days may still be warm but the water is cooling off. Rule No. 1 - always dress for the water temperature. Water is some 25-times more efficient at pulling heat away from your body than air is.

In this video, Ashley Niles, NRS Marketing, gives suggestions for the types of insulating layers, outerwear, gloves and booties that can keep you safe on, or in, the water.