What to Bring

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What to Bring - Clothing & Equipment List

Have you ever gone kayaking with whales? You'll want to pack the appropriate gear to maximize your comfort. The following is a list of the clothing and equipment you will need at Orca Camp. It is of utmost importance that you follow this list accurately for your own comfort and well-being during your trip. Proper preparation is a vital ingredient in your enjoyment of the program. When selecting your clothing, keep in mind the following principles about staying warm and dry.

Clothing & Equipment List


It is very effective to wear layers of clothing to stay warm, as the air trapped between the layers acts as an insulator. Layering also allows you to regulate your body heat by adjusting the number of layers, depending on the temperature and your activity level. There are 3 main layers: ‘Transfer’ which is the layer next to your skin; ‘Insulating’ which is the main warmth layer(s); and, ‘Protective’ which is the outer layer to protect you from wind, rain, and other elements.

Keeping Dry during your Trip

Wetness increases the loss of body heat and is uncomfortable, so it’s important to stay as dry as possible. Some clothing is hydrophobic, and therefore, stays dry (i.e., synthetics such as polypropylene, polyester, capilene, and natural fibres such as wool and silk). Clothes made of these materials make great expedition clothing. Be careful of other materials (e.g., cotton and down), because they are absorbent and stay wet. Also, avoid overdressing as it can cause excess perspiration and therefore wetness.

Please avoid cotton clothing (including jeans) if possible. Once it is wet, cotton takes a very long time to dry in this coastal environment.

Clothing List


  • 1 pair shoes to be worn during the day while kayaking if you choose not to take advantage of the booties we provide. We recommend a pair of Teva’s (sandals with Velcro straps) or a pair of wind surfing shoes such as Nike Aqua Socks or neoprene wet suit boots **
  • 3 pairs of wool or thermal socks
  • 1 pair quick drying, sturdy walking shoes for wearing around camp and on short walks

** Please do not bring rubber boots for in the kayak although they can be great around camp!


  • Wool/fleece hat
  • Sun hat or visor (ballcap)
  • Rain hat (sou’wester), not needed if you have a hood on your raincoat


  • Pair of wool or synthetic gloves, if you choose not to take advantage of the paddling gloves we provide

Upper Body

  • Synthetic fabric shirts (1 lightweight, 1 medium-weight) for paddling
  • 2-3 t-shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirt with collar for wearing around the campfire
  • Fleece zip-front jacket or pullover (for cool evenings and mornings)
  • Waterproof raincoat with sleeves that close tightly (make sure that it’s durable)
  • Lightweight windbreaker or paddling jacket
  • Lower Body
  • 2 pairs shorts (light/fast drying nylon is best)
  • 2 pairs medium weight pants (synthetic is fast-drying)
  • Pair of heavier pants (for cool evenings around the campfire)
  • Pair waterproof rain pants (Note: A full length coated nylon cagoule can be substituted for rain coat/pants)
  • Duffel Bag / Pack
  • A 25-l waterproof bag per cockpit is provided for our guest’s convenience
  • Duffel bag for carrying gear to the base camp location
  • Small sturdy nylon daypack for in kayak & on hikes

General gear

  • Small inflatable pillow
  • Sunglasses with neck cord
  • Extra prescription glasses/ contacts
  • Neck cord for prescription glasses while in kayak
  • Water bottle w/strap to fasten to kayak – min 1 litre/1 quart(litre / quart size)
  • Toiletry kit - biodegradable soap, (bar soap does not work well in salt water, we suggest clear hand dishwashing soap, or “seasuds”), toothbrush and small tube toothpaste, small container moisturizing cream, etc
  • Waterproof sunscreen (SPF 15+ )
  • Lip salve (with PABA recommended)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Small towel & washcloth
  • Flashlight or headlight (with extra batteries and bulb)
  • Large garbage bags (for waterproofing gear, e.g. on watertaxi)

Optional Items

  • Camera (insured for loss, theft, and damage recommended) with extra memory card and batteries
  • Waterproof box or bag for storing camera (see ‘Packing for a Kayak Trip’)
  • Small binoculars (also insured for loss, theft, and damage recommended)
  • Lightweight reading material
  • Journal and pencil / pen
  • Sketch Pad for drawing
  • Small musical instrument
  • A candle lantern
  • Compass and chart of the area (see ‘Maps & Charts’ in Further Information package), laminate your charts or cover them with waterproof vinyl (e.g., Mactac)
  • Favourite ‘goodies’ or spirits to enjoy around the campfire
  • Toilet paper

First Aid

Your guides will carry an extensive wilderness first aid kit, however, you should bring the following items for your own personal use:

  • Band-aids (elastoplast or fabric type are best)
  • 1 roll gauze
  • Blister kit (moleskin or ‘second skin’)
  • Tensor bandage
  • Adhesive tape, small gauze or telfa pads
  • Topical antibiotic ointment (e.g., polysporin)
  • Antacid
  • Mild analgesic (e.g., aspirin, Tylenol)
  • Mild anti-inflammatory (e.g., Ibuprofen)
  • Motion sickness medication (e.g., Gravol, Transderm patches); any personal medication (bring extra!)


Group equipment such as tents, paddles, sprayskirts, PFDs (lifejackets) are all provided. We pride ourselves in the quality of the equipment we have selected for your use. However, if you would prefer to bring your own equipment please clear its performance with the office and then confirm that you will bring it.

Our guides will further have corresponding and laminated charts of the area in camp to follow and show daily paddling routes to our guests. Please refer to Further Information on Orca Camp for matching chart numbers.

Packing for your base camp trip

Your Orca Base Camp trip is unlike any of our other expedition style trips as you have the convenience of having a home base to make yourself comfortable in for the duration of your trip. The extreme waterproofing which is needed for our expedition trips is not necessary with our base camp program. However, we do suggest you take precautions just the same.

We suggest using a duffel bag to pack your gear in. Lining the duffel with a garbage bag is always a safer bet as we do get transferred out to our base camp by water taxi. In case you are bringing your own sleeping bag, may we also suggest lining your sleeping bag stuff sack with a garbage bag as well in order to ensure it stays dry during the transfer with the watertaxi.