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Gear To Bring On Your Sea Kayaking Trip

Bringing the proper clothing and accessories can make or brake a trip. Being comfortable in the wilderness is important to us, so we have amassed a clothing list for our trips. (see below) The areas we visit can have changing conditions during your sea kayak trip even during the summer in British Columbia.  Most of our trips are to Johnstone Strait, Blackfish Sound and the Broughton Archipelago. And some of our custom trips are further north to areas like the Great Bear Rainforest, Haida Gwaii, and the Central Coast of British Columbia. In these areas we start in late Spring and move into Summer in June, July, August and September. Generally air temps are stable and mild. When high pressure cells move through these areas, winds are strong and often the first few days are cool and show a drying trend.  Other times low pressure cells can keep the air temps stable but on the cold side, especially in the morning. As usual day starts off cool, so we suggest you start with layers of clothing and look forward to peeling them as the day goes on. Evening are surprising warm

However, since this is the West Coast, down turns in the weather happen, which bring short bursts of wind and rain. It is best to be prepared for all weather types, and this should include suitable warm clothing

Below is a list to help you with your clothing and gear requirements for your adventure vacations with us. It is always a good idea to bring an entire spare set of warm, dry clothing each day while out in the kayaks

Kayaking and personal gear


Clothing (modify for day trips)

We recommend you bring ALL of the following clothing on our sea kayaking trips:

  • 1 rain jacket

  • 1 pair of rain pants

  • 1 rain hat

  • 1 warm wool or fleece hat

  • 1 summer hat with a brim

  • 1 light windproof jacket

  • 1 pair of long fleece or warm comfortable pants (jeans NOT recommended)

  • 2 lighter pairs of pants made of a quick-dry synthetic fabric

  • 1 pair long underwear

  • 1 warm fleece jacket or wool sweater

  • 1 fleece or wool vest

  • 1 pair of cycling gloves and a pair of neoprene gloves

  • 1 long-sleeved shirt-quick dry, made of synthetic fabric (cotton NOT recommended)

  • 2-3 quick-dry shirts

  • 2 T-shirts

  • 1-2 pairs of quick dry nylon shorts

  • 3-5 pairs of socks, 1 warmer pair for around camp

  • Underwear; light poly underwear works best in the marine environment

Dressing for the BC Outdoors: Layering

Layering is the best way to regulate body temperature and maintain warmth. We suggest you avoid cotton (except for those hot days) since cotton has no insulation value when wet

  • First Layer: An inner material that wicks moisture from the body and gives a comfortable dry feeling even while wet is the best first layer (Polypropylene, Lycra, Nylon, Polyester)

  • Second Layer: A synthetic material, such as fleece or pile, is the best second layer to provide warmth. Wool is also suitable.

  • Third Layer (Outer Layer): A water/wind resistant jacket works well in our paddling environment


Personal Gear

  • Compact sleeping bag: To be prepared for varying weather, a two-season bag is a good idea. The BC Coast marine environment rarely gets cold–the norm is mild and damp. Please contact us if you do not have a sufficient sleeping bag: we do have a dozen sleeping bags available for rental during the summer

  • Sleeping pad/mattress: We can provide a suitable sleeping pad if you don’t have one to bring

  • Non waterproof nylon stuff sac – If your sleeping bag does not already come with one, they are ideal for stuffing your sleeping bag in and using in conjunction with a garbage bag for waterproofing during transport

  • Wet (Water) shoes for kayaking: such as sandals or rubber boots (we recommend bringing both)

  • Camp footwear: hiking shoes or runners

  • Sunglasses & sunscreen to protect from sun and glare off water (store in a Ziploc bag)

  • Safety cords on your glasses

  • Bathing suit

  • 1 small towel

  • Medication: If you are bringing medication, please ensure that a) the name and expiration date of drug is on container, b) you have the detailed instructions of dosage and frequency, c) they are packed in water and sun proof containers, d) you bring a full extra dosage of your medication in a separate container to leave with the head guide in case you misplace or lose yours or we are weathered in.

  • Personal items: toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, washcloth, hairbrush, feminine hygiene products (non-perfumed items are less likely to attract bugs), small hand towel, etc.

  • Mosquito repellent

  • Small flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries

  • 1 or 2 filled water bottles; bike bottles or Nalgene bottles work best

  • 2 cameras with waterproof bag or case.

  • Small Binoculars (We have an extra pair at camp)

  • Garbage bags to transport your gear while on the water

  • Beverages. We supply a wide range of herbal teas and coffee as well as juices. You are welcome to bring soda pops or alcoholic beverages for the evenings

  • Book to read or journal


Discovery Expeditions will help you with further questions regarding your gear requirements. For those traveling to coastal destinations on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo, Courtenay, and Campbell River all have well stocked retail outfitters you might want to visit. The local outfitters possess a keen sense of local knowledge and are up to date with environmental changes that have occurred over the winter. Call our office Co @ 250 756 0094.


Fishing Gear Option

If you want to try fishing, you must purchase a fishing license. We can suggest information on the license you will require. We have two fishing rods at camp but do not supply the fishing bait or lures. We suggest bringing colourful buzz booms or hoochees. There is excellent fishing just minutes from our basecamp location in Johnstone Strait. Pink Salmon is the main species, approximately three to four pounds in size. You are also welcome to bring your fishing gear. Be sure to ask at the local tackle shops what fishing gear to bring for the west coast

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