We Recommend that you download our Batstar personal gear list and print it off when acquiring gear for your sea kayak adventure.
Dress for the Environment
When you sea kayak on the west coast you can expect a mixture of sun, rain and wind, sometimes all in the same day. The key to enjoying yourself is to clothe yourself in layers of wool or synthetic fabrics that wick away perspiration and repel water. We know that gear from companies like Patagonia, The North Face, Icebreaker, Mountain Hardware, Arc’Teryx, Smart Wool and Helly Hansen work really well in tough conditions. There are lots of other companies that make superb outdoor gear. Go to your local outdoor stores and literally get a feel for what you like. Many people including lots of our guides enjoy the feel of a cotton t-shirt and bring it in their dry bag for wear only in camp and at night.
We recommend a waterproof/breathable rain jacket for kayaking. Salt water will not damage your gear. You just need to wash and dry (read the label) your gear when you get home after your trip. On land we recommend a light-weight jacket or medium fleece. You can use your waterproof jacket on the water and in camp. Waterproof/breathable rain pants work the best. A good rain hat has a wide brim on it so that the rain doesn’t run down the back of your neck. If it is breathable, it serves as a good sun hat.
Why Rubber Boots?
Rubber boots serve two purposes:
1). If it is raining – they keep your feet dry and warm. If your feet are continually wet, clammy and cold, you will not have as much fun.
2). When exploring the intertidal zone, they keep your feet protected from sharp rocks, shells and barnacles.
For footware, we suggest some old running shoes or approach shoes for walking/exploring, sandals for the beach and rubber boots for the rain. When sea kayaking, we recommend that your heels are protected by footware or thick socks so that you don’t get blisters from rubbing on the fiberglass hull.
Dry Bag System
You get two dry bags for below deck storage. Put a complete change of clothes in each bag. You also get a zip bag for the cockpit of the sea kayak. Use it as your easy access day bag for layers of clothes (wind pants, sunscreen, fleece, pogies, etc.).
What about a neoprene wet suit?
We do not recommend bringing a wet suit. While the water temperature of ocean is a serious consideration, we do not sea kayak in sea states that would require a wet suit. In the extremely unlikely event of a capsize, our professional guides will help get you back in your kayak. We would then go to the closest beach and get you warm and dry.
About this List
The basic concept is to use synthetic technical clothing. It really works. Cotton, once wet, is hard to dry in a marine environment. I tend to use Patagonia, Arc’Teryx, The North Face and Sugoi gear. Many fine companies make gear that works. Use what you like and what fits.
If you have a specific sea kayak clothing or gear question, e-mail: blake(@)batstar.com. See you on the water, Blake.
BATSTAR PERSONAL GEAR LIST (for 4+ days of guided sea kayaking)
- rainproof / breathable jacket
- rainproof / breathable or waterproof pants
- fleece jacket (200 or 300 weight)
- fleece side zip pants (or tights)
(200 or 300 weight)
- lightweight working gloves (loading/moving)
- fleece gloves / rain gloves
- waterproof hat with brim
- fleece or wool skullcap or toque
- sun glasses
- water shoe/sandal
- rubber boots (yes, that’s right! They keep feet warm and dry while paddling and are great for intertidal wandering)
- light hiking boots (approach shoes) or runners for scrambling on rocks
- Long-sleeve T or zip neck (1 or 2)
- synthetic long underwear tops & bottoms (lightweight & expedition weight)
- sports bras
- synthetic vest
- cotton long sleeve shirt to sleep in
- sweats (or fleece) to sleep in
hiking socks, 3 pair (wool or synthetic)
- fast drying pants (non-jean/cotton)
- fast drying hiking/paddling shorts (1-2 pair)
- bathing suit
- towel – medium size + face towel
- sunscreen, including lip protection
- personal toiletry kit
- prescriptions (take twice as much and give half to the guides)
- knife (Swiss Army, Leatherman etc)
- 1-litre wide mouth water bottle with carrying case – easier to lash to deck
- paper &-pen in a Ziplock
- floating eyeglass strap
- extra pair of glasses/contacts
- beer, wine, liqueur, etc
- small amount of cash for purchasing extra treats on the ferry. (note: we provide all meals and snacks so this would be on top of what we pack).
- on some of our trips there is an opportunity to purchase crafts from Vancouver Island artisans. Please ask us if you are looking to collect.