Inuit who still use kayaks
Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-08-12 5:53 PM (EST)
traditionally do not use PFD's and do not use wetsuits or dry suits. They use sealskins. However they know a few dozen rolls that are truly bombproof to get themselves out of the water fast.
So they have an arsenal of tricks instead of merely assuming they will never flip. That assumption ( that your boat is capsize proof) is going to kick your a$$.
No one has addressed yet some peculiarities of sub freezing kayaking. First, your paddle is likely to ice up. Second your boat is going to become slippery. Very much so. Don't assume that you wont fall in either boarding or getting out just cause you have not done that before.
Third, while your lake may not freeze due to wind action, water along the shore probably will. This makes getting in and out of the water a bit of issue. You may well have to slink across ice. In your kayak you may be more stable, but never underestimate the fact that ice sheets can give way and dump you in. And getting out back on to the sheet or floe requires ice claws. Do you have those?
You hate your wet suit. I get it. Go get one you will use, and that is comfortable. Its safer prepare for the worst and hope for the best, rather than assume the best and have the worst crap on you.
Also get dry clothes (wool, fleece, hat, gloves) in a drybag and consider that part of your kit. Its amazing how chilled you can get when your wetsuit actually gets wet and you get out.