Your Packing List.
Here is a list of things we suggest you bring with you on your trip. If you haven’t done much west coast camping before and want more tips than this list provides, please feel free to ask us – we have all had lots of years perfecting the art of staying warm even when it is rain forest wet outside!
- Sleeping bag: A synthetic bag that keeps you warm at 5 degrees Celsius or less is ideal.
- Thermarest or Insulite sleeping mat
- Tent: This is your bedroom- make sure it can keep you dry in heavy rain.
- Dry bags: We encourage you to pack all your personal belongings into drybags that are 20 liters or smaller. This includes one small drybag that you will keep in your cockpit during the day. The smaller the bag, the easier it fits into the boat.
- Water bottle: A minimum of 1 litre is ideal.
- Toilet paper: Bring 2 ziploc bags along - 1 for storing unused TP and 1 for storing used TP. We will burn used TP in the fire at the end of every day.
- Sun gear: Sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and swimsuit.
- Rain Gear
- Personal snacks for throughout the day
- Personal medication
Guests on our Gwaii Haanas Expeditions also have the option of renting tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats and dry bags from us for a small additional fee. This information will be included in your booking package.
- Tarp: A nice thing to have if the fly on your tent is not rainproof.
- Groundsheet: Also a nice thing to have to protect and waterproof the bottom of your tent.
- Day bag: A small waterproof day bag is a useful way to keep snacks, cameras, binoculars, etc., easily accessible in your cockpit. This could be a small backpack lined on the inside with a garbage bag.
- Camp chair: The leg-less versions (e.g., Crazy Creek Chair) provide lower back support for when you are sitting around camp.
- Bug spray
- Ear plugs: For those light sleepers who don’t find the early morning oystercatcher chorus soothing.
- Biodegradable soap: A useful item to have if you wish to bathe in the ocean.
- Saltwater fishing gear and license: For those avid fishermen among us, we will try our best to camp near protected kelp beds!
We can almost guarantee that at some point during your trip through the rain forest, you will get wet! But, we can also almost guarantee that with the right clothing, you will stay relatively dry and comfortable.
Your guides wear: Long underwear and/or fleece pants/sweaters covered with chest high Heli Hansen rain pants and Heli Hansen rain jackets. Nylon mittens covered with rubber dish gloves. Knee high gumboots.
Fabrics: Fleece, Wool, and Polypropylene
Yes, yes, and yes. Fleece pants and tops; wool socks, toques, and sweaters; polypropylene or merino wool long underwear…..all of these fabrics will keep you warm even when they get wet.
Remember: Cotton grows in dry climates and so is very efficient at absorbing moisture and never letting it go. Down is wonderfully warm and packs into small spaces, but it is very hard to dry in this humid environment and loses its’ insulation properties when it gets wet (thus why birds spend so much time preening and drying out their inner downy feathers). Therefore, cotton and down are best left at home.
Layers, Layers, Layers
The majority of your time when you live outside is spent thermo-regulating. That is, trying to keep yourself not too warm and not too cold, but just right. This task is made so much easier if you wear layers of clothing. For instance, the typical thing to wear while paddling on a wet day is: a pair of polypro or merino wool long underwear underneath a pair of rain pants and a polypro or merino wool long-sleeved top underneath a fleece sweater which is covered by a waterproof rain jacket. If you get too warm while paddling but it is still raining out, remove the fleece sweater, put the jacket back on and you are ready to go again!
*Note regarding wetsuits: We do not provide wetsuits. The majority of people (including your guides) do not wear wetsuits. However, if you are particularly susceptible to the cold or just like the added safety and comfort of a wetsuit, then please bring your own.
Quantities: 2 wet sets, 1 dry set
In terms of how much clothing to bring, it is largely a question of personal preference. The most important thing is to keep one set of clothing dry at all times. This set will be used to keep you warm and dry at the end of the day and while sleeping. Beyond that, bring two sets of clothes to paddle in. These clothes may get damp, but because we are constantly moving throughout the day, you will stay warm. Remember that even on the wettest trips there are always windows of opportunity to dry clothes out in the sun, wind, or by the fire. For this reason, your guides are often able to paddle in the same set of clothes for several weeks at a time.
It is essential that you bring a rain jacket and rain pants. Basic is best: thin, lightweight rubber or polyurethane work really well. Unless new, Gore-tex will ultimately get saturated and let the moisture in. No need to get fancy: during one particularly wet day, plastic garbage bags/ponchos kept us drier than anything else! In fact, a plastic poncho is a great item to keep you dry around camp if your rain jacket gets wet while paddling.
Foot Wear: 1 Dry Pair and 1 Wet Pair
The dry pair is used for on-land time (around the camp, hiking in the woods). Options include runners or lightweight hiking boots.
The wet pair is used for getting in and out of the kayak. What type of footwear you bring for this will depend on how adverse you are to getting your feet cold and wet. Most people bring sandals (Tevas, Chacos, Crocs, Holy Soles), old runners, aqua-booties (the ones with tough soles), or a combination of thin aqua-booties and sandals. Some of your guides wear gumboots because they work on the water for extended periods of time and need to keep their feet dry. If you have the same need, gumboots might be a good option for you but remember that they are bulky and therefore harder to pack. We suggest that your gumboots be at least 14” in height.
If your hands need extra protection against the wet and cold, bring along a pair of paddling gloves. Options include neoprene gloves, cycling gloves, or rubber dish gloves. One of your guides has been known to wear a pair of bright orange dish gloves over a pair of thin fleece gloves – we are not out here to look good!
We suggest each guest packs a 5L dry bag (or a ziplock bag within your 20L cockpit bag) full of snacks that you can easily eat out on the water. Things like trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit and candy are great options. You will keep these snacks in your cockpit with you throughout the day.
Please remember to bring double doses of any medication that you need. Your guides can carry the extra dose in case your set is lost or otherwise compromised.
What We Provide
- Kayaks. We provide high quality fiberglass touring kayaks that are very sea-worthy, easy to maneuver and fun to paddle. Usually, guests switch boats throughout the trip.
- Single Kayaks: 1 Arluk 4, 1 Solstice GT, 1 Tesla NM, 1 Tesla, 1 Nimbus Seafarer
- Double Kayaks: 2 Seaward Passats
- Kokotat PDFs
- Nylon Skirts
- Your guides carry the following safety gear
- 1 Iridium satellite phone
- VHF Marine Radios
- Paddle Floats
- First Aid Kits
- Tow Lines
- Kayak Repair Kits
- Field Guide Library
- Spare Clothes
We provide all necessary kitchen equipment. We only ask that you bring a mug! Our gear includes...
- 1 two-burner propane stove, for emergencies and really wet days.
- 2 grates for cooking on the fire
- 1 frying pan
- 1 wok
- 2 big pots
- 1 griddle
- 2 cutting boards
- 15 serving bowls
- 1 salad bowl
- 1 measuring cup
- 2 bodums for making coffee
- Hot water thermos
- 3 cutting/dicing knives
- 2 serving/stirring spoons
- 1 pasta server
- 1 flipper
- 1 spatula
- 1 cheese grater
- 1 peeler
- 2 can openers
- 1 pair of tongs
- 1 whisk
- 1 teapot
- Aluminum foil
- 10MSR 10L water bladders for transporting fresh water
- Spices: salt, pepper, basil, oregano, dill, garlic powder, cinnamon
- Condiments: olive oil, vegetable oil, coffee (no decaf), tea (black and herbal), sugar, milk, hot chocolate