DIY Paddle jacket

Pre-season kayak training in Kiruna involves practicing rolls in very cold water, and a hot sauna nearby is essential to avoid core temperature dropping below the critical 32°C where consciousness begins to get fuzzy. There again, there those that believe that a fuzzy consciousness is a prerequisite for practicing rolls in Lappland in the first place.

Keeping dry minimises heat loss, and this can be achieved by making a custom-built anorak. An easy way to do this is to start with a regular anorak pattern and then take away all unnecessary seams, sealing the unavoidable ones on the outside with an elastic silicone sealer. Then you attach a spraydeck to the bottom of the anorak, using either an old one from your boat, or making one yourself, sewing elastic into the seam that attaches to the boat for a good fit.

The anorak/spraydeck combination should not be too short, or it will pop under extreme manoevers, nor too long, which will cause it to collect water. Don't forget to attach a strap to the front of the spraydeck to allow easy removal.
The wrists of the anorak are partially sealed with ribbons, and then completely using neoprene wrist supports worn over the junction between sleeve and hand. The hood will need some adjusting - tying a bunch on the back of the hood (so that it looks like a sumo wrestler's hairdo) will draw the hood tighter around the face. The hardest part is to get a good seal between the cockpit and the coaming, rather than between the anorak and the paddler.

This anorak, by the way, answers to the name 'Libresse' : "Keeps you feeling dry all day long".

Keep on rolling!

© Anders Lundgren 1999

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(MRH Kayak pages)