What to take with you
For a safe and enjoyable kayaking expedition, being prepared with the right clothing and equipment can make all the difference in having a good time in the outdoors. The weather on our West Coast from the months of May through September are generally sunny and pleasant but clouds, wind, rain and fog can occur at any time during the summer. We supply all sea-kayaking equipment and cooking utensils on the expedition and will make every effort to direct you to equipment that you may lack prior to the expedition. If you have any questions regarding whether or not to bring something along, don't hesitate to phone us and ask. The kayaks can hold an amazing amount of equipment but there there is a limit, and a lot of group gear that must be stowed in each kayak (ie. food, tents, sleeping bags, dishes, cooking stoves and pots...everything we need for the tour) as well as your own personal equipment, so be practical. We find that many people are often surprised how few clothes they actually end up wearing.
NOTES ON CLOTHING and GEAR
A wide variety of fabrics are available to the modern outdoors person and some are more appropriate for the
marine environment than others. These are some of the better options:
Outer shell fabric- Coated nylon shells fare the best on the ocean. GORE-TEX, if new, also does well, but sea salt is notorious for crystallizing in its micro-pores letting water through. For added water resistance, apply one of the many durable water resistant coatings (DWR) that are available in outdoor stores. Nylon pants (ie. quick dry pants) are desirable, they resist dirt and dry quickly. Insulation- Synthetic Fleece is an excellent insulating layer and performs well in our environment. Fleece is cozy, warm when wet, and dries quickly. There are many brands and types of fleece, and they all do a good job of keeping the wearer comfortable. Wool is the natural alternative to fleece. Wool has all the same qualities of fleece, except it dries slowly and
isn't as compressible. Merino Wool products are absolutely wonderful. They feel soft to the skin and keep one very comfortable...a bit pricey though but worth every penny. Poly tops and bottoms make excellent layers. They go by different names: polyester, polypropylene, capilene. We call them synthetic and they are essential for the outdoors. Cotton is not appropriate for use while kayaking, as it absorbs water easily, and in the sun actually draws water out of your skin, speeding dehydration. Cotton t-shirts etc. are fine for wearing around camp, and are envied by others who need something to clean their sunglasses with however cozy synthetics are preferable to cotton.The following list is a suggestion of what we think you will require:
Sleeping Bag (those huge car-camping types don't fit well in the holds. A good synthetic bag rated to 0C or 32F will be more than sufficient). Rentals can be arranged. Just let us know in advance.
Sleeping Pad (ie.thermarest) Rentals can be arranged. Just let us know in advance.
Tent w/ground sheet (No Canvas Monsters Please! We will find you a quality rental tent at a nominal price if you require one. Just let us know in advance)
Hat (waterproof is nice but sun is our concern)
Raingear (waterproof) Warm sweater/Fleece
Shorts and T-shirts Sunglasses
Couple pairs of wool socks Small Towel
Sun screen, lip balm, toiletries Moisture cream (ie. salt-water on the hands)
Bug Juice (sorry but no guarantees that the little buggers won't be there)
Garbage Bags for your gear (the compartments are waterproof but better safe... )
Synthetic LongJohns/top (available in any quality outdoor store...REI, Patagonia, Sierra Design, Mtn. Equip. Co-op are but to name a few brands...weigh next to nothing and remain warm, even when wet. Or better yet, indulge yourself with some Merino Wool garments. You'll never regret buying them...ever)
Extra set of pants and top other than what you'll wear when paddling (being wet at the end of the day can be such a 'Drag'!)
Water bottle (the bicycle-type are super for personal use while paddling)
Extra pair of sneakers (if you plan on kayaking more than once in your lifetime, we strongly recommend a pair of neoprene booties-zippered (you'll love them) or Nike Aqua-socks or a pair of TEVA sandles. WE DO NOT ALLOW FLIP-FLOP THONGS AS THEY ARE A PRECURSOR TO SPRAINED ANKLES OR WORSE!
A good book for a lazy afternoon Pocket knife
Personal Medication (note that guides do no bring any medications on trips and will not administer them. If you are susceptible to infections or headaches or other condiitons (that you will inform us of as per the medical form you will fill out upon confirmation of any tour), we advise you to seek advice from your doctor and to bring along your own medications)
Flashlight/Headlamp and extra batteries swimsuit
Camera Dry Bag/Baja Bag Camera (If it's not waterproof, a small waterproof container like a Pelican Box are great)(These are great if there is something you must absolutely keep dry and want to have that something with you in the cockpit of the kayak you're paddling. Please note that the storage compartments of the kayaks are sealed and therefore waterproof. If you do want to still put your clothes, sleeping bag, etc. in these dry bags (completely unnecessary! Garbage bags work best & are cheap), do not purchase anything larger than the 20Litre (10 Litre are best) size as the larger bags are very hard to pack in the compartments and are inefficient in space usage. Packing your personal gear in small bags works far better than having everything packed in a few large bags. Try to keep things to a minimum. Heavy duty zip-lock bags (great for small cameras and other things that must be kept dry. Please note that only a waterproof camera ensure this...perhaps you may want to opt for a disposable waterproof camera for the expedition?)
Fishing Gear and a valid licence (if you plan to fish, remember that you require a salt-water license and heavy fines are levied on those without plus the kayak you're in could be confiscated). Buzz bombs, zingers, a flasher and hoochies together with some 6-8 oz. sliders and a 10-20 lb. test work well on salmon and cod.
TIPS FOR DRESSING WHILE KAYAK TOURING:
Layering is the best way to regulate temperature. While kayaking wear long underwear (top & bottoms) with quick dry shorts/pants over top and a fleece to throw on if it is cool. Also keep raingear handy to throw on quickly if needed. On your feet wear Teva style sandals, watershoes, or rubber boots. Always keep your hats handy to help regulate temperature. At the camp - All you need is your comfy, cozy clothes to relax in at the end of the day. Keep raingear handy and you can wear sandals or lightweight shoes.
HINTS ON PACKING
Kayak Hatch Sizes: We use kayaks with bulkheads and covered hatch openings. Sizes of openings are 12x8.5 for front hatches and 15x11 for rear hatches.
Bags: Small bags are best, large bags will not fit in the kayak hatches. Waterproofing is important when traveling on the ocean. Here are some options;
1. Dry bags are easy to pack, waterproof and small i.e. Baja bags size 5, 10, 20 litre. Any larger will be awkward to pack into hatches.
2. Stuff sacks with garbage bags liners, are acceptable. They are inexpensive, small and compressible.
3. Day packs with garbage bag liners are useful but not essential. Average size daypacks can be used for hikes and to pack gear, but are bulky to pack in kayak.
4 BAG SYSTEM:
These are some ideas on how to organize your gear.
Bag 1: Clothing Bag; to keep your camp clothes in while paddling.
Bag 2: Lap Bag; this is where you put all the gear you will need during the day while paddling ie. camera and sunscreen.
Bag 3: Overnight Bag; this is where you put all your camp items other than clothing ie. book, toiletries, flashlight.
Bag 4: Sleeping bag