Top tips for days out and expeditions
Canoe & Kayak Expedition Equipment List
On the water
- Water bottle
- Hat(s) for sunny or cold conditions
- Spectacle retainer (if required)
- Thermal top and bottom clothing
- Fleece top and leggings
- Waterproof trousers to paddle in (not always necessary if in a kayak)
- Trainers or other footwear you don’t mind getting wet.
- Watertight barrels, dry bags or dry pouches to keep your ‘must keep dry’ kit dry – IMPORTANT.
- If canoeing, you may want to bring knee pads or a kneeling mat for additional comfort
- Tip: Take an extra pair of waterproof trousers to canoe in, they will get wet but an old pair or cheap ones are great for keeping wind off legs.
On the land
- Sleeping bag (warm, small pack size)
- Good set of waterproofs (jacket and trousers)
- Fleece or warm top
- Light trousers
- Spare thermals: top and bottom
- Warm socks & undies
- Tent, sleeping bag & sleep mat*
- Cooking & dining equipment
- Small day sack in case you spend any time on land
- Tips: Avoid denim or cotton clothing because it doesn’t dry quickly and has no thermal properties when wet.
- * If you own a Thermarest or similar brand (inflatable sleeping mat) bring it; they give great comfort and warmth and pack small and light.
- 10 & 20 litre dry pouches are really handy to help keep your kit dry even if already inside watertight barrels or dry bag
- Insect repellent (most likely to be needed from May to September)
- Midge Head Net
- Small toiletries (biodegradable is best) *
- Head torch
- Spare batteries
- Zip lock bags or small dry pouches for personal items
- Camera (with some way of keeping it dry)
- Swimming costume (just in case!)
- Personal/ Group First Aid kits
- Matches or a lighter
- Tips: *If you can find some small hotel style bottles they are great for decanting soap and taking on expedition.
- It can get cold at night at any time of the year in Scotland so bring enough to stay warm!
Whitewater grading on UK rivers
If you go paddling on a river you will, at some point, come across some whitewater. If you’re note sure the difference between a Grade 1 rapid and a Grade 5, then follow this link to the Canoe Scotland website for more information.
The differences are really important to understand if you plan to undertake a river trip and don’t have much experience paddling on rivers. Always err on the side of caution and keep safe!
Where do I get tides information?
Whether you’re in the sea, on the sea or near the sea, Admiralty EasyTide will quickly provide you with valuable tidal information to help you make the most of your time.
Where can I go paddling?
Access in Scotland
Scotland has some of the best paddling environments in the world and we have a right of responsible access to them. With our rights come responsibilities. The following link will take you to the part of the Scottish Canoe Association website, dedicated to providing you with the information needed to enjoy this sport in Scotland responsibly and with sensitivity to our environment.
Handy resources for kayakers
Canoeing by Ray Goodwin
Scottish Canoe Touring – an SCA Canoe and Kayak Guide
Scottish Canoe Classics by Eddie Palmer
Great Glen Canoe Trail by Donald MacPherson
River Spey Canoe Guide by Nancy Chambers
Scottish Sea Kayaking by Doug Cooper and George Reid
Sea Kayak – a manual for intermediate and advanced sea kayakers by Gordon Brown
Sea Kayak Handling by Franco Ferrero
Scottish Sea Kayak Trail
Kayarchy Online Sea Kayakers Handbook
Paddle Pursuits Blog
Do I need insurance?
We recommend that you take out travel and personal accident insurance to cover you should anything happen while hiring our equipment.
Our insurance would cover you should anything happen as a result of our equipment failing but we do not cover you for anything that happens as a result of your own actions. Travel insurance may also cover you against cancellation fees, e.g. missed flights, last-minute illness.
You should also consider joining the Scottish Canoe Association. Membership benefits include Civil Liability Insurance and discount from a range of great suppliers.
What's the alcohol policy?
Alcohol should not be consumed immediately prior to your trip. Anyone found under the influence of alcohol or any other substances may not be permitted to hire or participate (for the safety of themselves and others).
We discourage large amounts of alcohol being taken on the water and reserve the right to refuse to hire equipment if we believe this to be the case. We do not object to groups taking alcohol with them as long as it is taken responsibly and litter/ rubbish is not left behind at campsites, for example.
Can I light a camp fire?
Yes you can as long as it is done responsibly.
Set your fire somewhere that will prevent it spreading, in an existing fire pit, on a shingle beach or stony foreshore. You should not set fires on grass as it kills the roots underneath, even if you dig out turf and replace it afterwards. Ask us for a free firepan when organising your equipment hire.
For some top tips about firelighting responsibly you can find out more at www.lnt.org
What if I need some instruction or a guide?
If you’re at all unsure about your ability to undertake the journey you have in mind, without an experienced paddler, please get in touch for advice.