Know What to Wear Canoeing in the Early Spring

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Being unprepared can make an canoe trip uncomfortable or even dangerous if the weather dips or you are caught wearing clothing that does not dry quickly. Knowing what to wear canoeing in early spring will be determined by the unpredictability of the weather and the amount of physical activity you are planning. A canoe trip can be a relaxing coast around a calm lake or a wild ride in the rapids. The forecast for the day of your excursion is only one part of the equation, being on the water with the possibility of becoming wet can quickly change the way you feel.


Plan on wearing layers when you are canoeing in the early spring. It is important to be prepared for sudden drops in temperature, rain and unexpected, yet much appreciated heat.

Wear a thin, lightweight interior layer. Look for synthetic materials such as polypropylene. Steer clear of cotton; even on the best of days clothing made of cotton will take twice as long to dry as a synthetic garment.

The next layer should be made of a synthetic fleece fabric. This insulating layer will give you the added warmth you will crave if the temperature dips or the winds pick up.

For that reason you will also need a final layer to give you a wind and waterproof protection. A rain jacket and rain pants work the best. Be prepared to add and remove layers often. The clothing you choose should be easy to remove. If you cannot take off your rain paints without removing your shoes, make adjustments. Cut the outside seam and add a strip of Velcro to hold it closed.


Waterproof boots are the best choice when canoeing in the early spring. You will most likely be walking through wet ground on the way to the water. Pair with a pair of socks made in a synthetic material like neoprene. Boots that are designed for wet suits with vulcanized soles are wonderful on long trips. Also consider the flex factor of your choice of shoe and how they will feel when kneeling or sitting in the canoe.

Sturdy sandals that will not slip off are another option. These will not keep your toes warm, but will allow your feet to dry out quickly if the sun does come out.


Choose a pair of lightweight gloves. These will protect your hands from exposure and abrasion. Neoprene gloves are a good idea. Wool gloves will also keep your hands warm when wet. Add a glove liner made of polypropylene for added warmth.

Pogies are special mittens that are worn over the hand and the shaft of the paddle. These are comfortable and convenient when canoeing.


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