Over the years, some of our greatest memories have come from meals we have shared on our kayaking trips in the Queen Charlottes: the time we baked pizzas in an oven that everyone helped build from beach rocks and coals from the fire; the evening a big coho was caught and we cooked it on cedar planks while the fish jumped in the bay and the full moon came up. The freedom that comes when everyone shares in the cooking process allows for moments such as these.
— Jo Hager

We are proudly the only company in Gwaii Haanas that does not offer a fully catered trip. Instead, our guests work together to buy and prepare one meal each on the trip. While this is a bit different, we truly believe that food brings people together and that this practice makes for the most memorable meals.

How does communal cooking work?

Easily! On our trips, each guest is responsible for bringing one meal for the group - this means planning, buying and cooking the food.

In the spring, we circulate an online meal planning document where we assign each guest a meal. You might get "Dinner Night 4" or "Lunch Day 3", and you'll see what everyone else has been assigned. We'll also include any dietary restrictions we need to think about, and details on what guides will provide for the kitchen. Your job is to then think about one meal, write a short description, and prepare the food ahead of time.

Bit nervous about the idea of cooking for a few strangers? Don't worry! Anything and everything tastes good in the outdoors and your guides are always available to help out with brainstorming and cooking. Experience shows that fellow kayakers are equally as happy to lend a hand! 

Tips for your meals.

We've been working with the communal cooking method for years, and have learned a few things along the way that might help you out. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind...

  • Simple recipes work best! Pick something you're comfortable with that doesn't require too many pots.
  • Everyone eats more when out on these trips - bringing extra food is never a bad idea! Mixing protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables also works to keep everyone happy.
    • 50g uncooked pasta per person
    • 1.5 large potatoes per person
    • 3 - 4 slices of bread per person
    • 5 cups uncooked oats per group of 10 people
    • 6 cups uncooked rice per group of 10 people
    • 2 dozen eggs per group of 10 people
    • 1500g of granola/cereal per group of 10 people
  • Weight: Kayakers are not constrained by weight, and kayak hatches often act like coolers. Most fresh food will keep for about a week, so you don't need to avoid fresh food!
  • Fruit: To pack fruit, wrap them in cloth or newspaper before putting them in a mesh or plastic bag. This will help keep the fruit fresh for longer. Citrus fruits with thick skins and hard vegetables travel best!
  • Meats: Fresh meat will not keep past the first day. All other meat should be dehydrated, dried or tinned.
  • Vegetarians: We will brief your group on dietary restrictions ahead of the trip. If there are vegetarians in your group, please add meat at the end of the meal so they can have their portion first.
Cooking together was an absolute highlight of this trip. I loved getting to know my fellow paddlers over food - each recipe inevitably came with a few stories that we wouldn’t have shared otherwise. Prepping my own meals was a great way to get excited for this trip, and feel more competent as a kayaker and tripper in general.
— Erik Heffler

Grocery Store Options

Grocery stores in Haida Gwaii receive their produce early in the week on the ferry. Selection can be limited meaning you'd be wise to bring any specialty or essential foods with you. Bulk items can be purchased on arrival.

  • Sandspit: Super Value Grocery Store. Open Monday - Saturday (9:30am - 6pm), Tuesdays (9:30am - 7:30pm) and Sundays (10am - 4pm)
  • Queen Charlotte: City Centre Grocery Store. Open Monday - Saturday (10am - 6pm) and Sunday (1pm - 6pm)
  • Queen Charlotte: Isabel Creek Natural Food Store. Open Monday - Saturday (10am - 5:30pm)
  • Queen Charlotte: Farmer's Market. Open Saturday (11am - 2pm), with lots of fresh local produce!
  • Skidegate: Co-op Grocery Store. Open Monday - Sunday (10am - 6pm)