Kayak Touring: Getting Started


Are you planning to go on a kayak trip? Are you wondering what to bring kayaking, how to tie down your boat, and what are some great kayaking resources?

We have compiled some information here which we believe will be useful to kayakers planning to head out on multi-day trips.
This information is certainly not complete. It just gives you some very initial ideas on where to get started.
No information that can be found here or anywhere on the internet replaces practical training. Always make sure you are prepared and you have the practical knowledge, experience, and skill to deal with any situations that may arise. Please take lessons before heading out on kayaking trips

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Packing List

What should you bring on your kayaking trip?
If you’re heading out on a multi-day adventure you want to make sure you don’t forget any essentials.
We’ve compiled a packing list with the equipment our experienced guides and instructors like to bring when they go on a trip.

Please note that we do not claim this list to be fully complete. You might want to bring items not included on this list and you might want to leave some items on this list at home. Please use your own judgment and decide what is right for you, for your group, for the location you are paddling in, the season you are going, and the conditions you expect.

Float Plan

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Who would know what to do if you don’t come back from your trip as expected?
One vital tool to ensure your safety and potentially help search and rescue is a float plan.

A float plan lists the members in the group, what you are paddling, where you are paddling when you expect to be back, and what to do if you’re not back as expected. You can also include additional useful information such as the medical conditions of the group members, the gear you are taking, etc.

You will fill out the plan before every trip and leave it with somebody you can trust. You will also agree on a time (and date) when you will “close the float plan”. So when you are safely back from your trip you will call your contact and say that everybody is fine. If your contact does not hear from you by the agreed-upon time they will activate the emergency protocol as outlined in the float plan.

Here is a good article on the benefits of a float plan.

You can download our sample float plan here: Word or fillable pdf

Or use the online float plan tool provided by AdventureSmart 

Boat Tie Down

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When transporting a kayak on your kayak make sure you tie it down properly.
There are lots of roof racks and kayak-specific racks on the market. You can visit our retail store Coast Outdoors to find a rack that fits your needs.
The racks come with instructions, so please follow the instructions that come with your rack.

We have also compiled a document with general instructions on how to tie down your kayak which you can download here.

MEC also has a good description on their website.

Location Information

We are currently working on a list of recommended areas to paddle in which we will add here once completed.

Code of Conduct

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One of the things most of us love about kayaking is about removing ourselves from civilization, about being out in nature, and about discovering beautiful places. But the more of us are out there and doing this the greater of an impact we will have on these places. We want to be mindful of the impact we are having as kayakers and as visitors to the land and sea we travel on and we want to keep that impact to a minimum.

One aspect to consider is that we are traveling on traditional First Nations land. We want to treat the land and the communities we visit with respect. Please inform yourself and adhere to any First Nations protocols for visitors that may be in effect.

An amazing resource is the BC Marine Trails Code of Conduct which addresses conduct on First National land as well as reducing your environmental impact. The Code of Conduct was developed through consultations, research, peer review, and public input for the BC Coast. We recommend every kayaker familiarizes themselves with the code of ethics and adheres to it.

Kayak Touring Resources

We have a lot more great articles in our resource section.

We also have a page dedicated to online kayaking resources which is very comprehensive

Below is a small extract of that list with some resources that are specific to kayak touring