Ice Kayaking

We have a pair of very adventurous friends in Alaska. We realized that part of why we were so awed by their many activities was that the word ‘ice’ was put in front of somewhat ordinary things – ice climbing, ice skating, ice hiking, ice biking? (Ice or not, these two are hard core). This past weekend, we tried out (mild) ice kayaking thanks to many winter storms in Virginia.

We are the happy blue dot heading south to flee the traffic and snowstorm mayhem in DC
We are the happy blue dot heading south to flee the traffic and snowstorm mayhem in DC

Upon waking Thursday, we realized that 1- DC was about to get buried in snow again and 2- work was closed. We made an executive decision to run for it and quickly loaded the car with all of Joey’s accoutrements, including him, and started driving south to Sanden. Freezing rain was falling as we departed Alexandria, but that shifted over to plain, unfrozen rain as we continued south and east to our destination. We made two stops for ice cream and groceries, and made it to Sanden just in time for Joey’s nap.

This was an excellent decision. Joey was able to spend all of Friday with his grandparents while we worked, and we had lots of time during the weekend to relax, help clean up the house for summer, and get in some kayaking.


Although the most recent storm missed Mathews and Saturday had a high of 50 F, there was still a significant amount of ice on the creek when we decided to go kayaking. We are of the type to ask how we will do something, not whether or not we can do it.

Joey is developing his camera skills from an early age
Joey is developing his camera skills from an early age

Simon donned waders and blazed a channel through the thick ice for our boats so that we could get out into the open water. We bundled up in warm clothes and had a beautiful excursion, with the creek to ourselves and only periodic ice floes to avoid or crash through. The birds had started to re-appear after a very cold winter, the sun was sparkling on the water and ice, and everything was immensely peaceful.

We elected to take this on during nap time. Joey has been very enthusiastic about jumping in to the pool during his weekly swim lessons, and I didn’t want to take any chance of him leaping out of a kayak! He was enjoyed the ice along the shore and views from the pier in the morning.

Joules Wet Weather Gear – Mom & Toddler Reviews

We’ve been getting our fair share of snow, sleet, and icy cold rain in Alexandria over the last few weeks. It was perfect timing for me to receive two raincoats from Joules – a UK company that makes serious wet weather gear – to review. Joey and I each got a new waterproof coat to try out. We did our best to allow water to leak in and tear up the cute fabrics, but to no avail. These coats are tough. Winter ClearanceSeveral weeks in, I continue to be impressed at how well this jacket handles everything that I have thrown at it. Rain? No problem ? snug and dry. Snow? Got it. Still snug and dry. Wind? Can’t feel a thing. Work? Classy enough to pull it off. Towing my kid around on a sled in the snow? No problem! Joules has us covered.

The materials and construction of the coast jacket are clearly top notch. I love the waterproof outer layer. It isn’t plastic-y like most raincoats and looks almost like a fine weave canvas. Despite looking nicer than your average raincoat, the ability to block moisture isn’t compromised at all. I’ve tested it in rain and snow and been 100% dry every time.

900On the adult coast jacket, the lining is soft patterned cotton that makes me smile every time I put it on. I love the big peacoat-style buttons and drawstrings, all of which give a cute, grown-up look to an old standby. There is a full, high quality metal zipper below the button flap. I’m so excited to have a go-to jacket for wet winter and spring weather. Joules coast jacket works for playing outside with Joey in any weather, running in the rain, and even going to work.

IMG_1343The wellyphants pattern on Joey’s Baby Barnaby Rain Jacket is as cute in person as in the picture. It is Joey’s new favorite jacket mainly due to the elephants. There is a soft red fleece lining. There is a sturdy metal zip and the flap covering it snaps closed. Joey loves zipping it open and closed, so that snap covering is pretty clutch when I need the jacket to stay on!

IMG_1382_2I find the fit to be true. Joey is 18 months, 33 inches, 23 pounds, and has room to grow in the 2T/3T. He is wearing 24M-2T size in North Face, Carters, Old Navy, etc. We’ve been getting heavy snow, so the bigger size is perfect to layer over a down coat to keep him warm and dry even in the cold wet weather. I really like the extra length on this jacket, which is usually the first thing that he grows out of.

900-2I appreciate the space for layering and longer length on this coat. The design is very thoughtful for little people, with no extra cords or frills, the snap cover over the zipper, and the fun elephant pattern. We’ve been using it almost daily for the last couple of weeks and are really impressed! The only feature I don’t love is the hood. It is a little big and doesn’t come very far forward, which in the case of my toddler often means that it comes off. The extra space means I can get a hat under the hood without trouble, but I wish I could keep it up. I am hoping that as Joey gets taller it will work a little better.

IMG_1351Three weeks in with daily use this jacket still looks brand new. The external fabric is awesome – really durable even to toddler abuse, but flexible and much nicer to touch than a classic raincoat. I have no pilling or signs of wear on the internal fleece yet.

Overall I am really impressed, and highly recommend Joules Baby Barnaby Rain Jacket! It’s adorable, kid-friendly, and most importantly 100% waterproof.

Big thanks to and Joules for hand-picking me to review this piece of gear for the benefit of the Backcountry community. This was my first chance to try out Joules products and I’m really pleased with them! As we roll into spring I’m already eyeing up their Welly Boots 🙂 Winter Clearance

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