Nov 18, 2022
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How to Prepare for Kayaking in Winter in Las Vegas

Discover Las Vegas’ winter charm this holiday season! Exploring the great outdoors during the colder months brings about a soothing, peaceful feeling you won’t always experience amid the sweltering summer weather. Try winter kayaking in Las Vegas for a relaxing excursion. Las Vegas is known for its mild winters but can still get fairly cold, especially out in the water. Proper preparation is crucial for a smooth and safe winter paddling adventure

During the cold season, the days are shorter, and air and water temperature can drop dramatically once the sun goes down. As a result, even with a stable kayak, paddlers might find that their bodies aren’t as ready for physical exertion as they would be in the warmer months of spring and summer. This means you want to take extra steps to ensure you stay dry and warm while you’re paddling.

5 Winter Kayaking Tips for Las Vegas Paddlers

Winter kayaking may involve some risks and challenges, but in return, you can make unforgettable memories as you enjoy the cool winds. Plan every aspect of your kayaking adventure, depending on your budget, preferences, destination, and abilities. Here are a few tips to get you started, from the pros at Evolution Expeditions.

Winter kayaking Las Vegas

1. Dress in Layers

Wear clothing layers that allow you to sit and paddle in cold, wet conditions. Helpful hint: Dress for the water temperature, not the weather! Never under-dress, even if you're only in for a short day ride in mild temperatures. It’s better to have too many layers than not enough.

Opt for several thin layers made from synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester since they are quick-drying and more durable than natural fibers. On the flip side, cotton is one of the worst materials to wear while doing water sports. It quickly absorbs water and stays wet for a long time. 

Las Vegas' winter air temperatures are mild, but the water is more severe, so you'll still need protection if you unexpectedly fall in the water. A personal flotation device (PFD) is another essential part of the kayaking dress code. Wear a lifejacket with a snug and comfortable fit — one that won’t restrict your movements while paddling but won’t slip off, either.

2. Prepare a Dry Bag

A dry bag is a waterproof bag that keeps things dry and safe when exploring wet environments. It usually has a secure roll-top closure that is sealed with a single buckle and an airtight seal that protects your belongings from water damage. Some, meanwhile, have waterproof zippers. 

These multipurpose bags vary in durability, thickness, style, and level of waterproofness. The right choice depends on how long you’ll be in the water, the things you’re planning to bring, and where you’ll use them. If possible, choose a color that doesn’t blend well with the surroundings, so you’re less likely to accidentally leave it behind. 

A short day trip of around one to two hours on the Black Canyon Water Trail may only require a five- to 10-liter dry bag, whereas a full day of paddling may need dry bags with 10- to 30-liter capacity. People going on multi-day adventures may need more than one bag to bring all of their essentials. 

3. Check the Weather in Advance

It might not be the arctic, but Vegas still gets cold. Expect cool, sunny days and winter evenings around 32°F. The cold temperature can pose challenges to kayakers, especially those exploring remote, narrow locations for long hours. Winter forecasts are unpredictable, so check the weather before heading out to avoid problems.

winter kayaking tour in Las Vegas

The wind is critical when planning a safe winter journey in the waters. Check the river level in addition to the wind direction and speed. Depending on the area, you may experience heavier than normal winds when kayaking during the cold months.

Some paddlers choose their kayaking clothes based on the 120-degree rule. They add the air temperature and water temperature together. When the sum amounts to more than 120° F, it’s okay to kayak without thermal protection. Although you can use this as a guide, it’s still important to prepare for the cold and pack more layers! 

4. Kayak with a Group 

Summer and winter kayaking are different in so many ways. It's always best to kayak with a friend or a large group of people, especially during winter. An accidental fall in cold winter waters can be dangerous and lead to numb extremities. Your body response may be slower than usual, putting you at huge risk. 

If a wild turn causes the kayak to capsize and you find it hard to jump back due to the cold, having fellow kayakers nearby is vital. This is why we highly recommend taking a guided kayak tour in Las Vegas, as opposed to going solo.

Kayakers who are determined to navigate alone should create a paddle plan thoroughly. An emergency kayak kit with extra clothes and communication devices is a must-have. 

5. Have an Emergency Plan

Create a float plan. Anticipate what could go wrong and create action plans based on those challenges. It doesn't have to be complicated. Simply write down who you're with and where exactly you're going. Moreover, include your return date and planned route. 

Hand over a copy to a friend or family member before leaving. As much as possible, don't deviate from this plan. If you do, you might not get the help you need if you suddenly find yourself in an unexpected situation and need rescue.

Carrying signaling and safety communication devices is also very helpful, especially for those going on a self-guided tour in remote locations. Hand and paddle signals may not be enough. Prepare safety lights, flares, whistles, and emergency flags. For extended trips, communication devices like VHF radios are indispensable. 

Winter Kayak with Us

Come wintertime, the most popular kayaking spots are almost empty, allowing you to enjoy spectacular scenery without dealing with scorching temperatures, huge crowds, and peak season hassle. Still, there are challenges you need to conquer to make the most out of your trip. At Evolution Expeditions, we can help you explore the waters in safety and comfort! Book a guided kayak tour with us today.

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