What to Wear
What you wear paddling is important. Wearing the right clothing will keep you warm and dry, providing a safer and more enjoyable paddling experience. What you choose to wear should depend on the daily conditions.
When it is a hot summer day out there (generally July and August on Quadra Island) simply dress for a day at the beach. You may want to wear quick dry shorts and a t-shirt, or a long sleeve cotton shirt to keep the sun off. There is no shade on the water so keep in mind to wear things that protect you from the sun and keep you cool. Hat, water-bottle, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must! Swim suits are a good idea if you think you might take a refreshing dip at lunch or on the rest stop. A sturdy pair of sandals that strap on (ex. Tevas or Chacos) are a good choice for walking on the beaches where we land. There is always the chance on every trip that someone is going to get wet so it is sensible to pack an extra change of clothes. Dry bags may be borrowed at the start of the trip for extra clothing and cameras.
Kayaking on cooler days, overcast days, or days with a chance of showers the key concept to bear in mind is layering. Several thin garments will keep you just as warm as a single thicker one, and are much more versatile. Remember you can always add or subtract layers. There are three main layers:
1. the base layer closest to your body
2. the insulating layer
3. the outer layer
The base layer (long underwear top and bottom) provides insulation and picks up perspiration and either absorbs it (like wool) or wicks it outward (like synthetic fibers). You want moisture to be wicked away from your body. The next layer (fleece top and bottom or polypro etc) the insulating layer, can be wool, fleece, or a similar material. Look for clothing that is cut to allow complete freedom of movement. The outer layer (your jacket) protects: YOU, the base layer, and the insulating layer from the elements. Make sure it is both windproof and waterproof. Kayaking generally keeps your legs dry inside the kayak, so rain pants are not totally necessary while paddling, unless we have a real downpour. You may also want to bring along your wool or fleece hat and lightweight gloves on cooler paddling days (spring and fall). Polypropylene keeps hands warm when wet and dries in no time. Wool gloves also work well when wet.
Kayaking in the rain...well...we DO live in a rainforest here on Quadra Island! This is why we enjoy the lush, green foliage year round. Yes… we still can kayak in the rain! Just make sure that you have a good brimmed hat, a waterproof jacket, rain pants and rubber boots on top of all those good layers. This should work just fine ☺ Also bring along your sense of adventure! Sometimes the most memorable paddling trips are those with ‘less than perfect’ conditions. They can’t ALL be sunny and flat calm.
P.S. Please don’t bring big bulky cotton sweatshirts, sweatpants etc for your insulation layers as these offer no warmth when wet and take forever to dry.
P.P.S. You can bring all of your extra layers along with you in a dry bag that we can loan you at the start of the trip ☺
P.P.P.S. Footwear can range from old sneakers with wool socks, to strapped sandals, to neoprene wet suit booties, to rubber boots.