If you’re paddling out in the winter months, you know the importance of quality gear that will keep your extremities from losing all feeling, and keep you in the water for as long as you want. Here are our top picks for Winter 2017.
Dakine 9'6" Recon 3.0 - Noserider Surfboard Bag ($270)
Why We Chose It: We’d never put our boards in harm’s way and Dakine has a solid reputation when it comes to surf-goods transportation.
Why We Liked It: They don’t call it “Recon” for nothin’ - this bag is specifically designed for hiding a second board, with a full-length divider that Dakine says “reveals only one board when unzipped with the goal of keeping upcharge costs down at airport check in.” Sure, the weight of two logs might tip off airline personnel, but we were able to hide a shortboard on a flight to Baja with no problem.
Tester Tip: Once you reach your destination, you might need some Baja tie down straps to transport your board bag.
Glerups Low Boot ($125)
Why We Chose It: We were looking for new outdoor slippers for those moments when we can’t feel our toes and want to go straight from the neoprene booties to the warm and cozy slip-ons.
Why We Liked It: We wanted coziness, and we got it. Made from 100-percent wool, this slipper is warm and comfortable, and the natural-rubber sole makes the slipper sturdy enough for outdoor use. After a cold-water session, this is the perfect shoe to throw on while loading up the boards, but looks good enough that you can keep wearing it to go grab that post-surf coffee.
Tester Tip: Your boot may feel a little tight at first, but don’t worry, the wool will stretch.
Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Fleece Poncho ($160)
Why We Chose It: The moment the wetsuit comes off, we want to dive into something warm and easy to throw on. The poncho is a new item for Patagonia, and considering how much we love the Snap-T, we wanted to give it a try.
Why We Liked It: More like why we loved it. The Synchilla Fleece Poncho envelopes you in instant warmth and is soft as butter. If it’s cold enough, throw the hood over your head, or if you need a little air, unzip the top-to-bottom zipper. Large pockets to stick your cold hands in are a welcomed feature.
Tester Tip: You won’t want to take this off, ever.
Slowtide The Digs Changing Poncho ($70)
Why We Chose It: There’s no way to sugarcoat it, most changing ponchos are so ugly we wouldn’t be caught in one. But Slowtide’s The Digs looked pretty sharp, so it was worth a shot.
Why We Liked It: Cozy, stylish and practical, The Digs matched all the criteria we sought in a changing poncho. A heavy and uber-soft terry cloth keeps you warm and comfortable. Long-length (44.5”) lets you bend over without showing anything you’re not prepared to share with the parking lot. And a clever dual-pocket pouch has a compartment where you can stick your hands for warmth, but also gives you access inside the poncho, allowing you to use your hands to change without having to take your arms out of the sleeves. A leather logo patch on the chest and camo pattern on the interior of the hood are stylish details.
Tester Tip: If this is your first introduction to Slowtide, be sure to also check out their beach towels, for which they’re best known.
Xcel 2017 Women's Infiniti 3/2 Fullsuit ($320)
Why We Chose It: The Infiniti 3/2 is one of the newest women’s suits from Xcel, a brand whose main focus is wetsuits for surfing and diving.
Why We Liked It: As soon as you slip into the Infiniti and feel the Nexskin wrist and ankle seals tightly gripping your skin, you know that water is not getting flushed into this suit. A front-zip configuration also helps prevent flushing. While front-zips can often be more difficult to get in and out of than a back-zip, this was no problem with the Infiniti. A smooth-skin chest on an all-black suit will flatter any figure.
Tester Tip: If you have surf shoulders, you go girl! So does this tester, and she needed to go up a size to get a little better paddle movement.
Xcel 2017 Anti Glove ($50)
Why We Chose It: For those who don’t like wearing gloves while surfing, the Anti Glove looked like an interesting alternative to its thicker predecessors.
Why We Liked It: The Anti Glove is thin enough that you’ll forget you’re wearing anything on your hands, but provides that layer of wind resistance to keep your hands protected. Textured fabric covers the bottom of the glove allowing for solid grip.
Tester Tip: Xcel also has 1.5mm and 2mm glove options for those looking for a little more warmth without too much bulk.