Northern Vancouver Island Kayak Trip Planning Service

We offer a profession service for groups and couples who wish to do their own trip. Our service charges start at $500.00  Outside of this service we offer transport for your kayaks and gear to destinations to start your trip from in Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago. When planning your kayak excursion to Johnstone Strait or waters beyond, keep in mind that you must take into account the level of experience and the level of fitness of each paddler in your group. It is recommended that you and the members of your party should have done a number of multi-day sea kayak trips in other coastal areas of North America or Europe before you tackle this area of Johnstone Strait.  

Having folks in your group who are familiar with rescue techniques and wilderness First Aid is essential.  Also, having folks who have paddled in open water with currents would be a confidence builder for these trips. We have found that most groups who venture North are prepared on paper and past knowledge but are surprised by the complexity of the weather and moving water in the open water and large passages that make up Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago. That being said, with the right preparation and backup. most groups have successful sea kayak trips in these waters. 

Trip Consulting Service: 

Based on our 25 years of sea kayaking in the areas you are about to explore we offer a trip consulting service to help you plan a successful and safe excursion. This is an excellent service if you wish to get your information updated by someone who has guided sea kayaks in the waters of Johnstone Strait, Queen Charlotte Strait, the Broughton Archipelago and Knight Inlet to ensure that you get the best of your time spent in your area of choice. 

You provide the chart and Larry will provide a realistic route that includes camping locations. This session is done on route or prior to departure. We follow the route of your departure from Broughton or beyond. Hence you can see where the best routes are and how currents, wind and tides could affect your journey and prepare for a Plan B. Most paddlers agree that it is not a bad idea to check with some local knowledge before departing on their trip.

If you wish to explore options for an economical excursion for your group or family please contact us by email… you may be surprised by what we can offer you!

If you have inexperienced paddlers in your group, or are in doubt about the changing weather, tides and currents of the Johnstone Strait area, may we suggest considering taking one of our guided sea kayak trips with our parent company Discovery Expeditions. Discovery Expeditions operates out of Telegraph Cove and have taken all levels of paddlers on amazing adventures for over 20 years.

Kayak Trip Planning - The Four Essential Concerns

• Clothing  •  Personal Items  •  Safeway Equipment  •  Wilderness First Aid Kit

Be Prepared for all types of Weather! For paddling trips into Johnstone Strait, the Broughton Archipelago and other Vancouver Island and BC Coastal Destinations, you should be prepared for variable weather and sea conditions. A multi-day kayak trip can go through an entire spectrum of weather conditions. Air temperatures are generally mild throughout the months of June thru to September. As this area has some of the coldest water of the entire BC Coastline you should expect to experience quick-moving weather patterns. It is best to be prepared for all weather types and this should include suitable warm clothing.

Marine Weather Forecast for Johnstone Strait, British Columbia

On Vancouver Island, the cities of Nanaimo, Courtenay and Campbell River all have well-stocked retail outfitters. The local sales staff possess a keen sense of local knowledge and are up to date with environment changes that have occurred over the winter.

Planning To Do A Little Fishing? Don’t Forget your Fishing Licence!

We have excellent fishing locations just minutes from our base camp location in Johnstone Strait. Pink Salmon is the main species and usually they are approx. 3 to 4 pounds in size – perfect for dinner. To fish in BC waters, you will need to purchase a fishing license. We can suggest information on the licenses that are required to fish the oceans of the West Coast of Canada. You are also welcome to bring your own fishing gear. West Coast fishing is known for unique gear so advice is best sought from the local tackle shops.

Recommended Safety Equipment for your Kayak Camping Trip

We strongly recommend that you come equipped with the following devices for your trip:

• A nautical chart of the area you are going to do you trip in laminated sections (you can also familiarize yourself with the area via Google Earth).
• Two communication devices, a VHF radio/cell phone/satelite phone that is registered with the carrier for this area. (Rogers)
• Signaling device (mirror, horn, strobe light) and the ability to use them.
• An updated first aid kit 
• The protocol to call for assistance over the VHF radio
• A headlamp, extra batteries and a working compass with GPS backup.

Clothing Suggestions

Most summer days start cool in the mornings (8 am), progresses into warm afternoons (4 pm) and often warm evenings into darkness at (10 pm). Dressing in layers has worked for us for many years now. Taking special care of your feet is essential when on a sea kayak trip. We suggest that you bring extra footwear that can get wet and a pair of runners for strolling around basecamp.

Layering is the best way to regulate body temperature and maintain warmth. We suggest avoiding cotton, (except for those hot days). Cotton has no insulation value when wet. An inner material that wicks moisture from the body and gives a comfortable dry feeling even while wet is the best first layer (Polypropylene, Lycra, Nylon, Polyester). A synthetic material such as fleece or pile makes the best second layer to provide warmth. Wool is also suitable. It is always a good idea to bring an entire spare set of clothes each day while out in the kayaks.

Warm Hat – wool or fleece hat will come in handy for cooler days and evenings. For those hotter sunny days nothing beats a brim hat. You will find that a good summer hat will make you feel very good, even on the sunniest days. While baseball caps are okay they still do not measure up to a good brimmed hat. Light Windproof Jacket and Paddling Jacket – both essential. Shorts – Nylon shorts worn over long underwear works as a comfortable dress for paddling. Bring a few pairs with you. Long pants – 1 pair of fleece or warm comfortable pants, 2 lighter pair such as a quick dry fabric, and 1 pair long underwear. Jeans are NOT recommended for paddling. Fleece pants are the most comfortable for those cool nights and colder days. Fleece Jacket (for after paddling) –  warm fleece top to change into after paddling hours are over. Vest – fleece or wool, keeps the body core warm and allows the arms to breath. Cycling, Paddling Gloves or Poogies – These might help on cold days and some people feel that they help while paddling. Long-sleeved Shirt (quick dry, non-cotton) – 2 to 3 quick dry shirts. T-shirts & Socks – lots of socks (1 warmer pair for around camp). Undergarments – light poly underwear works best in the marine environment. Footwear – Bring a pair of gum boots (wellingtons), a set of runners and a pair of proven comfortable sandles. The minute footwear gets wet from saltwater, wash the salt out of the footwear with fresh hot water, then dry. Rain Jacket, Pants and Hat – Allows you to stay warm and comfortable if faced with paddling or hiking in transitional weather. A hat is essential for precipitation.

Personal Items to Pack

Sleeping Bag & Sleeping Pad - To be prepared for varying weather, a two-season sleeping bag is a good idea. TC Kayaks suggests that you bring a sleeping bag that is compact. The marine environment rarely gets cold. The norm is mild and damp on the BC Coast. We have a dozen sleeping bags for rental during the summer. Sleeping Pad - Non waterproof nylon stuff sac - If your sleeping bag does not already come with one, they are ideal for stuffing your sleeping bag in and using in conjunction with a garbage bag. Having the stuff sac on the outside prevents the garbage bag from ripping. They can be purchased at most outdoor and hardware stores. Wet Shoes - A pair that can get wet such as sandals. If you want extra warmth, rubber boots where you can wear socks are best. In the hot mid summer season you will enjoy wearing your sandals to cool off. We tend to use a combination of sandals and rubber boots. Camp Footwear & Hhiking Shoes - A pair of runners or hiking boots will come in handy for exploring the many islands in the area. Sunglasses & Sunscreen (stored in Ziploc) – A must for protection from sun and glare off water. Safety cords on your glasses are also a good idea. Towel and Bathing Suit - Not too bulky of a towel.

Prescriptions and other Medications - If you are bringing medication please ensure that:
a) the name of the drug and expiry date are on the container,
b) you have the detailed instructions of dosage and frequency,
c) they are packed in water and sun proof container,
d) you bring a full extra dosage of your medication in a separate container in case you misplace or lose yours or are weathered in.

Miscellaneous Items

• Toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, washcloth, feminine hygiene products (non-perfumed items are less likely to attract bugs), hairbrush, etc.  • Small hand towel  • Mosquito repellent  • Small flashlight - with fresh batteries  • Water bottle – 1 or 2 filled water bottles. Bike bottles or Nalgene bottles work best.  • Camera & film – In waterproof bag or case.  • Binoculars (optional)  • Garbage bags – To pack your garbage out. Also an extra garbage bag may come in handy to transport out laundry, clothing that has gotten wet etc.  • An all-weather note pad is perfect for kayakers.  • Book or journa - Hip pocket all weather note pad makes writing legible notes in the rain a lot easier.

Safety Equipment

We strongly recommend that you come equipped with the following devices for your trip:

• Nautical chart of the area you are going to paddle in laminated sections. Chart #3546 Scale: 1:40,000. Also check out Google Earth when planning your trip route. 
• Two communication devices, a VHF radio/cell phone/satelite phone that is registered with the carrier for this area. (Rogers)
• Signaling device (mirror, horn, strobe light) and the ability to use them.
• Updated Wilderness First Aid Kit
• First Responders course and the protocol to call for assistance over the VHF radio.