Our Keela kit is truly made for everyone and everything when it comes to adventure, so whether you’re trekking in the mountains or gliding downstream – Keela always ensures that you’re comfortable and capable no matter what you’re doing.
We spoke with Keela ambassador and kayak extraordinaire, Gareth Farrow about his over two decades of experience with the sport and how Keela helps him to perform when needed.
I have been kayaking for over 20 years and in that time, I have used many variations of kit to keep me warm and dry. In cold times, for maximum dryness, most people wear a thermal onesie under a dry suit, but I prefer a separate top and bottom as it’s more versatile and better fitting for me personally.
When it comes to kayaking, especially on long trips or expeditions, I am always looking for a thermal that I can wear multiple times without it starting to smell as sometimes we are away from civilization or just lack the home luxuries of a washing machine.
The Keela Merino Thermals are great for this – helping to regulate temperature and reduce smell when you sweat and wick moister away with ease. If they do end up getting wet, that’s no problem as they retain their thermal efficiency making them ideal for water sports. For warmer conditions, especially overseas kayaking, I also like to use the ADS or ViralOff range for a lightweight base layer without the thermal properties. There are benefits to using ViralOff including its antibacterial component, eliminating sweat smells, and reducing the risk of viruses.
When the weather gets colder and whilst I am on call with a safety team, I commonly wear Keela’s Expedition PrimaLoft socks as they are very comfortable and very warm. I have also been known to wear the insulated Talus Jacket under my dry suit when sitting around is going to be the longest part of the day and it works wonders.
When I am off the water and on land, my kit all depends on where in the world I am and what the weather is doing.
In the summer and on an expedition, I tend to wear an Insect Shield T-shirt and socks, which have been a lifesaver for many years. The last thing I want is to be eaten alive by midges and mosquitoes when I get off the river, as the damp river environment is what they love almost as much as biting a kayaker.
I find the Storm Waterproof Jacket to be perfect for these conditions as well as it being very lightweight and packable, great in an emergency and not too warm to wear in the warmer weather. This summer I have also been making the most of the ADS advanced t-shirts with zip necks for my open canoeing adventures. They are lightweight and breathable with added temperature control from the zip and getting them wet and paddling in them has really helped me stay cool while keeping the sun off me.
In the colder months after the kayaking season is over, I will always put either a Talus or Solo Jacket on to keep me warm. Their ability to be warm while wet is great for kayaking as getting changed in the rain won’t affect their thermal capabilities. But once on I usually like to put a Munro Jacket over them – I can’t think of a better combo to be warm and dry.
If you only take one thing away from this to use in your kayaking adventures, I would fully recommend a PrimaLoft jacket whether it be for off the water, on the water, or just an emergency layer in your kayak to put over all your gear.