Keeping Warm on the Water: Which thermal top should I wear?

Keeping Warm on the Water: Which thermal top should I wear?

If you paddle, sail, foil or surf, it’s tough not to be daunted by the prospect of chilly morning training sessions. The solution for most people is to layer up their existing gear - but this can lead to unwanted bulk and overheating. 

Vaikobi have three specially-designed cold water tops that keep the wearer comfortable and an optimal temperature for performance watersports. So what is the difference between our three cold tops, and which Vaikobi thermal top should you choose? Here’s a guide to help you find out:

VCOLD Base Layer Top

VCOLD Base Layer top:

The Vaikobi VCOLD Base Layer top is a stretchy, ultra-lightweight fabrication designed to retain critical body heat in cooler weather. Its thermal technology regulates body temperature during even the most rigorous training sessions while ocean paddling, outrigger canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding. It is made from a high-wicking hydrofleece that keeps you perfectly warm without overheating. The hydro mesh underarm and side panel features ensure maximum breathability and comfort. This base layer is an excellent choice for water sports involving little submersion, such as flatwater kayaking, canoeing, yacht sailing, or the change from Autumn to Winter. 


Review by Landon M. From the United States - Five Stars 

I had the opportunity to have brought this layer on a 12-day trip down the mighty Grand Canyon, and I wore it the whole trip and loved it! This thing is sweet because as soon as it got wet, it would dry out so quick along with being amazingly warm!”

hydroflex top


VCOLD Hydroflex top

The Vaikobi VCOLD Hydroflex top is better for even colder temperatures, spray, and exposure to weather. It is equipped with a hydrophobic coating that sheds water and dries rapidly to keep the spray off your skin and core. It has a super soft fleece neck for comfort and protection from the cold. It also features a scooped lower back hem for protection of the lower back, which prevents water from flushing upwards. This is an ideal top for choppier water, seated paddlers, rowers, and dinghy sailors. The hollow yarn used in this top has high thermal properties to block out wind chill, and it is available in black, grey, and navy. Its super tough flatlock stitching makes it a durable and worthwhile choice for performance athletes.


Review by Rachel C. From New Zealand - Five Stars 

“I love this top so much! Keeps you warm during the winter months, and I don’t feel like I overheat; most importantly, it is sooooo comfortable! Well done, team Vaikobi on a great product!”


VCOLD Flex Top

VCOLD Flex top

The VCOLD Flex top is the optimum choice for the days you can see your breath in the air. As our warmest base layer, it uses VCOLD Flex airprene technology to ensure thermal regulation and comfort while still being breathable. Our finely-tuned neoprene comes with a plush pile inner liner and perforations that allow for breathability and body temperature control. Super stretch airprene ensures natural cooling through air and water entry. Spandex stretch panels located underneath the armpits allow for natural movement, especially when kayaking and downwind paddling. Features such as the scooped neck and cutaway armholes also increase comfort around the arms while engaging in a paddling movement. For the best result, the VCOLD flex top should be form-fitting to ensure the core is kept warm in cold environments. This top is best suited for ocean performance sports that likely result in immersion.


Review by Neil G. From Canada -  Five Stars 

“The Vcold flex top is SO comfortable! A beautiful easy stretch makes it easy to put on and move in. It’s actually cozy to pull it on for a chilly morning paddle here on the Canadian west coast. And yet it’s not hot or uncomfortable to paddle in once you get going. It has become my go-to base layer paddling top for much of our year-round SUP season. And it dries fast in between sessions as needed. If you needed one paddling top to deal with virtually everything short of frequent cold water immersion, this is it. Highly recommended.”

For more of the best cold weather gear for your watersport visit or find a stockist near you.

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