A few months back, I wrote a short piece that caused a bit of a stir. Apparently “storing your kayak for the winter” didn’t resound well with many, especially those residing in more temperate regions (tongue in cheek of course). But the reality for many is that the idea of putting a kayak out of commission for a few months is unheard of because of either mild winters or the utilization paddling gear designed for cold weather paddling. I recouped some of the fury through a visual presentation highlighting cold weather paddling apparel and now, in an effort to continue this positive momentum, I’d like to offer some recommendations on kayaks that are ideal for paddling during the coldest months of the year.
The concept actually, is simple — get a kayak with a combination of a higher freeboard (hull that remains out of the water while paddling) and elevated seat that will stay dry or a kayak with a cockpit that can be fully or partially covered by a skirt.
Native Watercraft Ultimate & Wilderness Systems Commander
These are my “go to” boats for any flatwater paddling. Both of these kayak/canoe hybrids offer the ultimate (pun intended) in protection from the elements. In addition to staying dry with elevated seats and no scupper (drain) holes, both offer a series of cockpit covers for the best in cold weather paddling protection.
Hobie Pro Angler 12 or 14
Some call it a kayak, others say it’s a boat, either way if your intentions are to fish, hunt or participate in any other activity that may involve taking a lot of gear with you, this is it. Big time freeboard, completely stable and most importantly, dry. And how can we forget, this one is powered by Hobie’s Mirage Drive for hands free propulsion.
Native Watercraft Mariner
More sit-on-top but similar to the Pro Angler, the Mariner also offers hands free propulsion, with forward and reverse, but more importantly an elevated seat. I think you see the common thread here but having an elevated seat does make a big difference. Nobody wants to be out in the cold with a wet butt!
Wilderness Systems Ride & Ocean Kayak Big Game Angler
For those who prefer a traditional sit-on-top kayak, both the Ride and Big Game Angler (pictured) are ideal due to their high capacity ratings. This simply means they will sit up higher on the water so that you’ll see less water in your boat. For the best protection when paddling relatively calm waters, use scupper plugs especially around the seat area.
Diablo Paddlesports Adios
It’s stable, will drain water but best of all when using a Diablo Larry Chair (not pictured), your bottom is almost guaranteed to stay dry. Like a sit-on-top kayak, you also have the option to plug your scupper holes.
Liquid Logic Marvel 14.5 (Tandem)
If paddling tandem is your thing, consider the Liquid Logic Marvel. It’s a sit-inside kayak with a cockpit than can be covered by a skirt. What really makes this boat ideal for cold weather paddling is its stability and elevated seat design. Even with some water in the boat you’ll be comfortable knowing you’ll stay dry.
Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125
If you want performance take a look at the Tsunami 125. Like’s it little brother, the Tsunami 120, the 125 offers a deeper hull and a larger cockpit. What this means is that not only do you get the protection you need from the elements when using a fully enclosed skirt, you’ll find the 125 a tad more stable with more freeboard than the 120. A perfect combination of agility, speed and comfort.
I could have paired the Looksha with the Tsunami 125 but at 14 ft, I think this deserves it’s own billing. Like the Tsunami, it’s a sit-inside option with greater stability and carrying capacity than most kayaks in this category.
Pair any one of these kayaks with proper paddling apparel and nice cup of warm coffee before you head out and your in for a fun day out in the water. I must stress the importance of safety though. Take all necessary precautions, paddle with others and whatever you do, try your best to stay out of the water!
Note: Keep in mind that we are offering free kayak shipping* + 15% off accessories* with a kayak purchase through December 31st making it an ideal time to shop for a kayak. *All offers exclude Hobie kayaks and accessories. Other exclusions apply, click here for complete details.