not dumb, but need more info
Posted by: willowleaf on Mar-20-13 12:10 PM (EST)
It would be easier to give you a useful answer if we knew what kind of boat you have and where and how you plan to paddle. If you are planning to do whitewater you would probably want a paddle jacket -- these are different from standard raingear. They have neoprene close fitting neck and wrist seals and also a way to seal tightly around the waist. Even in a dry climate on a relatively warm day, you will be susceptible to hypothermia if you clothing is soaked and there is any kind of breeze due to evaporative heat loss.
If you are going to be paddling only in calm waters, you will still get wet from paddle drip, something most beginners don't realize. Even if there is little hypothermia risk, it can be annoying to have your sleeves and shirt wet all the time. If you are paddling a sit on top kayak or a recreational style with a huge open cockpit where a sprayskirt is not practical, you will get wet any time you go out and will likely find a simple paddle jacket very useful.
And if you go on extended trips there is always the chance that you will get held up and end up paddling back later in the day than you planned when the temperatures drop. A paddle jacket pulled on over your clothing will help keep you warm, especially useful when you are tired. It is also useful for keeping yourself or another person warm if they capsize and get soaked. I always have one with me stashed in the boat even for day trips on warm days.