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Fall Boating Gear Tips

Fall's crisp air means that it's no longer shorts and bikini weather.  Not only are the northerly winds cooler but the water temperatures are dropping, too.  Fall is my favorite boating season because I change my gear to make sure that I stay not just warm but more importantly dry.  Here are four pieces of fall boating gear that I wear on every trip.

1.  Foul weather outerwear.  A water-repellant jackets and bibs are important in for fall boating for a few reasons.  They keep the spray at bay serve as a windblock from cold air coming from the north. On warm fall days I'll wear either the jacket or the bibs while on cooler days the combination is perfect.  Many companies offer jackets and bibs in bright colors which are great for visibility.  Trade your sandals and boat shoes for a pair of rubber knee boots to keep your feet dry.  Just be sure the boots have non-marking soles and a squeegee tread.
 
2.  Layer up.  Wool clothing is an essential part of fall boating gear. Natural or synthetic, that's up to you.  I've always been a fan of wool because it maintains warmth while wet.  Modern wool offers even better properties stemming from different weaves and blended fibers.  Fleece has it's benefits, too.  It's easy to wring out when wet, it's light weight, and comes in a wide variety of thicknesses.  A layering system for either is excellent.  Start with thin materials close to your body that wick away perspiration to the additional layers.  

3.  Fingerless gloves.  Full, waterproof gloves are great, but fingerless gloves provide dexterity in addition to warmth.  You'll need a grip that works well in wet conditions, so be sure that the palms is textured for extra traction.

4.  Wool cap.  On cool or cold days a lot of heat is lost through your head.  So wear a wool cap.  It is for good reason that sailors wear them.  

Being dry and warm is paramount to having a great day on the water.  I always pack extra fall boating gear when the days start getting shorter.  I figure that if I get hot it's easy to remove.
Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.