Sunglasses and strap
Compass (deck mounted or hand held), other navigational aids
Safety equipment - paddle float, bilge pump, whistle
Helmet - may be required for certain classes (surf) or conditions
When kayaking it’s important to dress for the water temperature not the weather. Dressing in layers is the key to safe and comfortable paddling. We recommend a combination of these layers depending on conditions:
Layer 1 (wicking layer next to skin)
Lightweight merino wool, synthetic or silk base
Layer 2 (insulating layer)
Wool or synthetic stocking cap
Midweight merino wool, fleece, or pile
Hydroskins or wetsuit
Synthetic stocking cap
Layer 3 (outer layer)
Paddle jacket – closes at neck, wrists and waist to minimize heat loss
Water shoes or neoprene booties
Dry suit (if you have one)
Avoid Cotton and Denim – they will not keep you warm when wet.
Please keep in mind that we will be paddling in Lake Michigan and Green Bay. These are very large bodies of water that do not warm as quickly as smaller inland lakes. Water temperatures will likely be much lower than what you may be accustomed to and there will likely be more wind.
Swim suits are generally not appropriate paddling attire for the symposium.
Wetsuits or hydroskins and a wind-breaking layer are suggested for any class and may be required for rescue, rolling or skills challenge classes and for selected tours. Many paddlers prefer dry suits for these conditions. Instructors may refuse to allow participation in a class or tour if the participant does not have appropriate paddling clothing.
Limited items (sunscreen, water bottles, chums, etc) will be for sale at the symposium shop, but do not come expecting to be able to fully outfit yourself. We recommend addressing any gear or clothing needs before the symposium.
For more information on gear and clothing recommendations visit Rutabaga Paddlesports in Madison.
PFDs are required to be worn any time you're in a boat on the water, including classes, tours, demos, etc.
"I feel like this weekend was made for me (a 45-year-old with extensive paddling time, but modest training.)"
"My biggest thrill…was sharing this experience with my 8-year-old granddaughter, who thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this paddling experience—from realizing her capabilities, paddling in waves and playing games to meeting new friends and working together with other kid paddlers to transport boats and gear."