What To Pack

Sea/Flatwater Kayaking

The packing list below is a general overview of appropriate clothing for your sea/flatwater kayaking adventures with First Descents. Outfitters will provide all gear and safety equipment including life jacket, kayak, and paddles to make sure you are prepared for every adventure! Be sure to look at your program navigation pages for packing details specific to your program. Please contact First Descents if you have any questions regarding this packing list.

Must haves:

  • Water bottle – 32 oz preferably – no glass
  • Daypack/Backpack – normal school backpack works just fine

Personal clothing for kayaking:

(The list below is based on a layering system for warmth)

  • Secure Bathing Suit – one piece or two piece is fine. Whatever you’re comfortable in.
  • Wool or Synthetic (e.g. nylon, polyester etc.) Base Layer T-Shirt (optional)
  • Wool or Synthetic Base Layer Long Sleeve Shirt (optional)
  • Quick-dry shorts or board shorts
  • Long underwear bottoms or leggings
  • Synthetic or wool socks (optional)
  • NO COTTON on the river

Why no cotton?

Cotton is a poor choice for outdoors activities due to its high thermal conductivity (rate of energy loss). When it gets wet, cotton allows the moisture to sit on your skin, in turn cooling you instead of keeping you warm. In other words, you don’t stay very warm or dry with cotton!

Personal clothing not for kayaking:

  • Warm, comfortable clothes (sweatpants, jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, shorts, etc.) nights at the lodge may be chilly. Cotton is acceptable.
  • Rain Jacket
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Headlamp/Flashlight

Also to consider:

  • Camera
  • Book/Journal
  • Stocking Hat/Beanie
  • Water shoe that has a heel strap (e.g. water sandals like Chacos, Tevas etc.)
  • Personal hygiene items, sunscreen, instant hand sanitizer, insect repellent
  • Spending money (there may be opportunities to purchase souvenirs, if you wish)

Gear for kayaking:

The outfitters will provide all the necessary kayaking gear, which will include

  • Kayak
  • Helmet
  • Life jacket


  • Prescription and over-the-counter-medications will be self-administered. If you anticipate using any over-the-counter meds such as Motrin, Tylenol, or Benadryl, please bring them with you!

Other info:

All food will be provided – breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, drinks, snacks, snacks and more snacks!


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