|Early season, heavy whitewater, overcast skies, or an oncoming thundershower can all add up to a cool experience. To stay comfortably warm, dress in several layers. Layer # 1, Layer # 2, Layer # 3. Some outfitters will rent or loan you certain items such as wet suits and paddle jackets. Check with your outfitter to find out if this is an option for your trip.
LAYER #1 The layer next to your skin should be close-fitting and thin. A snug-fitting underwear or mid-weight fleece layer made of synthetic fibers works best. You do not want to wear cotton on the river. The evaporation of water from a wet cotton layer will actually make you colder! Synthetic fibers maintain insulative properties when wet and "wick" moisture away from your skin. You can find underwear and mid-weight fleece in our Cascade Outfitters on-line catalog.
LAYER #2: The next layer should also be made of a synthetic fiber, but should be a bit heavier in weight. If you have a particularly brutal and demanding paddle captain and you get too hot executing his or her "forward paddle" command you can always peel this layer off. You can find expedition weight fleece in our Cascade Outfitters on-line catalog.
LAYER #3: The outer layer is what is known as the "barrier" layer. This layer should be waterproof and loose-fitting enough to give you good range of motion. The idea of this layer is to seal out water, and seal in the warmth generated by your body and insulated by layers # 1 and # 2. A good rainsuit can do the job, or a good paddling jacket and pants. Check out a rain hat, too.
EXTRA STUFF: You're not done yet! You can lose a tremendous amount of body heat via your head, so a warm hat is a must on those cooler days. Your feet WILL get wet, so a pair of neoprene or synthetic fiber socks to wear with your river sandals or shoes will help keep you warm. If you are the type that gets cold hands you can also find gloves made of neoprene and/or synthetics. Check out shoes, hats and gloves.