What should you bring?
Itʼs imperative that you come prepared for both intense periods of sunshine and for cold rainy days. Prince William Sound has a warm and wet coastal climate typical of temperate rain forests but has extreme local variability due to ice fields, high mountains, and its proximity to the gulf of Alaska just to name a few. For example, even on a sunny day, it can be 10 degrees cooler paddling amongst the icebergs at Columbia Glacier than it is in Valdez, 30 miles away. Summer temperatures range between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit but can occasionally drop to the mid 30ʼs at night or exceed 70 degrees on sunny days. Fortunately, sea kayaking can be enjoyable in rain or shine, as long as you are prepared. In PWS and throughout Alaska you ought to follow standard layering techniques so you are ready for a cool day to turn warm and sunny or vice versa.
It is crucial that you bring at least 2 sets of warm clothes on any extended trip. We strongly recommend the use of modern synthetic clothing such as polypropylene, fleece/pile or nylon, which breathes, insulates when wet, and dries quickly. Cotton layers are nice for around town but do not hold up to the demands of the backcountry.
Your clothing ought to include:
- Feet… a pair of wool socks for each day is a good idea, plus an extra set or two in case you step in water that is over your boot. We paddle in break-up/rubber boots, which we can provide you with. Rarely do we paddle in sandals or neoprene booties.
- Lower body… most of us paddle in thermal bottoms or fleece pants for cooler days/areas, light weight nylon pants are nice for warmer days. Shorts donʼt take-up much space and are a true novelty to wear when the weather allows. If you like to keep your bottom dry, a good pair of rain pants will go a long way… we can provide you with pvc rain pants if needed but strongly recommend bringing your own. Remember 2 sets.
- Upper body…. it is not uncommon to wear 3 shirts while paddling. Start with a lightweight T or long sleeve, then something a little heavier and finally a fleece. Vests are good at keeping the core warm while minimizing bulk. A good rain top is worth its weight in gold, protecting you from not only rain but also any splash. We can provide you with a pvc jacket if needed but again, strongly recommend bringing your own. Remember 2 sets.
- Hands… a light pair of gloves is nice to have along. We will provide you with pogies which are neoprene mitts that attach to the paddle. We like pogies more than neoprene gloves… your fingers like to be together. Some paddlers still choose to wear a light set of neoprene or other gloves under the pogies to protect their hands.
- Head…. a winter hat and a baseball or other billed cap. Sunglasses with croakies or something to keep them from reaching the ocean bottom.
If you have any questions or would like more specific information about any of the packing list items please don’t hesitate to call us at 800-to-kayak.
- Winter hat
- Billed cap
- Light gloves
- (2+) T-shirt
- (2+) Medium to heavy-weight long-sleeve shirt °(2+) Fleece jacket
- Rain jacket
- (2+) Thermal bottoms °Fleece pant
- Nylon pant
- Rain pant
- Socks/day plus extras
Additional items to include:
- bring a comfortable pair of shoes for around camp. These donʼt need to be hiking boots. There are very few trails in PWS. Most of the hiking we do requires creek crossings or walking in wet areas… most people opt to use the rubber boots we provide.
- sun screen… even for cloudy days.
- mosquito head net and/or insect repellent.
- camera with extra batteries and film or storage space…. you might take more than you think.
- fishing gear… If you would like to fish please understand that we are not guided fishing business. Many of our guides fish and will be able to assist you but we are not able to provide any fishing gear. Equipment and licenses can be rented or purchased in Valdez, next door at Fish Central or other sports outfitters.
- personal toiletry items (donʼt worry, weʼll provide the t.p.)
- a healthy attitude, ready for adventure, relaxation and fun
Items we provide:
- rubber boots
- rain gear if needed although we strongly recommend bringing your own.
- kayaking equipment (kayak, p.f.d., paddle, sprayskirt, pogies, drybags)
- camping equipment, if you choose to use any of your own please let us know.
- tent with ground tarp
- therma-rest sleeping pad
- 20 degree sleeping bag
- an experience of a lifetime
We donʼt paddle in dry suits but if you have one and are comfortable wearing it, bring it along.
If you have any questions or would like more specific information about any of the packing list items please donʼt hesitate to call us at 800-to-kayak. Happy packing!