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Winter Kayaking Tips in Alaska or Other Cold Places

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While the cold weather of winter may change a few of the settings or safety precautions taken for certain common forms of activity in a place like Alaska, winter doesn't shut these activities down altogether. A great example here is kayaking, which may not always be quite as accessible in all the same areas during winter, but is still regularly offered on many saltwater bodies throughout the state.

At Pybus Point Lodge, we're proud to include kayaking as one of the numerous activities we offer in our Alaska all-inclusive fishing and wildlife packages. Many of our clients love jumping in a kayak and enjoying some of the remarkable scenery on Pybus Bay and other nearby locations, and we're happy to assist you with this pursuit at any time of year. Whether you're thinking of kayaking at our lodge or in any other location during the cold season, what are some basic tips we can offer for both safety and enjoyment? Here are several.

Get a Dry Suit

First and foremost, while wearing a wet or dry suit is mostly optional during warm-weather kayaking, doing so during cold weather can be a life-saver. An unfortunate fact is that getting cold in the chilly Alaskan winter air can sometimes be inevitable, and even if you're wearing breathable waders or dry pants and such, staying warm can still take some effort.

For this reason, obtaining a quality kayaking dry suit before you head out onto the water is a must. Wearing this type of protection while paddling around in the winter air means you'll be able to stay warm and dry, and isn't that really what it's all about?

If you've never purchased a kayaking dry suit before, our team of pros will be happy to recommend some brands, styles, and features that they've found to be especially effective.

Other Clothing and Layers

Depending on where you're kayaking and how long your trip might last, it may help to bring along some additional warming layers. The face is always a good place to start, and this particular area can be especially vulnerable to the cold if you're out in it for an extended period of time. If your budget permits, a heated electric vest is a nice addition for a longer outing on the water, and can help keep your core body temperature up so you don't have to worry about being uncomfortable.

Depending on where you're kayaking and how long your trip might last, it may help to bring along some additional warming layers. The face is always a good place to start, and this particular area can be especially vulnerable to the cold if you're out in it for an extended period of time. If your budget permits, a heated electric vest is a nice addition for a longer outing on the water, and can help keep your core body temperature up so you don't have to worry about being uncomfortable.

Wear a Paddling PFD

A PFD, or Personal Flotation Device, is a must-have for any kayaking trip. Even if you're just out for an afternoon, it's important to have one on at all times so you don't risk falling out of your kayak and needing to rely on it. When you go winter kayaking, wearing a PFD rated for cold-water temperatures is also a great idea because it'll keep you extra warm.

In addition, we recommend wearing a PFD that's rated for 5-10 pounds more than your actual body weight. This will allow you to paddle more easily while wearing it, without having to worry about maneuverability or how the kayak feels in the water.

And of course, make sure your PFD is properly adjusted and securely fastened before you get out for a wintertime paddle! We also recommend checking its condition regularly throughout the season, as this can help ensure you don't find yourself in a bad situation.

Plan Ahead for the Tide and Current

Regardless of whether you're spending an afternoon or several days on the water, it's important to bring along a tide chart and know how high and low tide times might affect your kayaking journey. While low tides can sometimes be advantageous because there will typically be fewer waves, you'll need to remember your kayak is likely to get stuck on the bottom more easily.

High tides are great because there are typically larger waves, which can help you move along faster and have a bit of fun in rougher conditions. Just make sure you take extra time to scout out where you're going to enter and exit the water - it might be a good idea to practice these routes beforehand - and always keep a close eye on the weather.

When it comes to currents, planning your route in advance can be an important factor when kayaking in cold conditions. If you're traveling downstream instead of upstream, there's almost no current at all, which means you'll need to have a better kayaking technique when it comes to paddling.

In the event of a strong current, make sure you know how to escape an eddy and don't risk your kayak being pulled off in a direction it doesn't want to go! Have a plan for what you'll do if this happens, and be safe about it.

Proper Eye Safety

For some reason, kayakers tend to gloss over eye safety themes like proper sunglasses more often in winter than they do in summer. This is a huge mistake, as ultraviolet rays can be especially strong on the water during wintertime and cause you more harm than usual.

Make sure to use waterproof sunglasses if they're easily removable, as this will help prevent them from becoming damaged or outright lost when there's water all around you. Another great option is polarized lenses, which will reduce the glare and provide you with better visibility than normal sunglasses.

For more on how to stay safe and enjoy your time while kayaking during the winter in Alaska or any other cold location, or to learn about any of our Alaskan fishing trips, wildlife adventures or other programs, speak to the team at Pybus Point Lodge today.

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Discover why people like you can’t stop talking about Pybus Point Lodge. More than 30 years ago, the lodge opened as a simple fishing camp, drawing a devoted following in spite of basic accommodations. With new owners and experienced captains and crew, our corner of Alaska has become an unbeatable fishing and eco-tourism resort.

Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


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