when cooking or setting up camp. And the stockist, Haddad’s outdoor clothing shop in Otorohanga shop is a fun place, a shopping experience, well worth a detour.
Lake Rotoiti vista
Dry suits – they look like ‘full-body armour’ and a struggle to get into, but those who use these swear by them. You can add numerous layers underneath and even after multiple dunking’s or rolls, emerge dry! Neck - A “Buff” not only protects your neck and face from sun and wind, but stops delicate skin getting irritated and scratched from the Velcro neck fastenings of paddle jackets. Alternatively try a balaclava. Head – a warm head is essential. Wool is good, and cosy when dry. The Sharkskin beanie is not bulky and fits well underneath a wide-brimmed rain or sunhat and dries overnight. Hands – disposable vinyl surgical type gloves or washing-up gloves work well in the Waikato but are not adequate at minus 0-degree temperatures. I’ve seen poggies work well on European paddles, but when you are used to a Greenland paddle and sliding your hands along the shaft and blade, they would take some adjusting to. Buy proper paddling gloves. The thumb and two finger-less ones are designed for the likes of fishermen who need to do fine work…but I’d recommend five fingered ones for paddling. Feet - Put socks (woollen or Sharkskin) on before your long pants, then slip into your booties. In this order, it’s a lot easier to pull off your tight ankleted pants at the end of the day.
Cold Tips for camping and kayaking in cold conditions (gained in Alaska and in NZ). Jackets – if you can tolerate neoprene/ latex on your neck and wrists – whitewater jackets certainly keep your arms a lot drier. The wrist gasket stops the dreaded under arm trickle. Trousers – for around camp, the “Swazi” pants with their waterproof knee and bottom patches are fantastic, for sitting and kneeling, as you do,
If you can find a plastic bag these days… slipping those on before you pull on wet booties, keeps your toes toastie, as long as you can launch without getting water over the top of your booties. If you do get ice inside your booties, a trick I witnessed on the winter “Kayak for Child Cancer” expedition, was to pour hot water into them. Around camp, even in summer, with long wet grass, use gumboots. In Alaska we used gumboots (called Alaskan tennis shoes) as booties. Maybe not ‘safe’ in a capsize, but at least you had dry warm feet when the water
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