Well it is Manitoba so....yes, there are bugs. But it really depends on the season and where we are paddling. On the water bugs are usually not an issue but the evenings at the campsite can be pretty active. Bringing clothing cover for on and off the water helps as well as bug spray for the evenings. Otherwise, feel good about giving blood :)
Our beginner courses are for everyone. Many of our students are first time kayakers. If you have taken our Beginner River Kayaking Weekend course or the Paddle Canada Flatwater class with Paddle Manitoba (Fort Whyte) already, then you can sign up for our Sea Kayaking level 1 class or our Whitewater Kayaking Weekend.
If you have experience and are wondering about which course level you should sign up for, just drop us an e-mail or give us a call and we can help you figure that out.
No, you don't need to be a super hero to kayak. Our course progressions are adapted for the individuals in the group, allowing participants to work at their own pace. Having said that, some degree of physical fitness is helpful as you will be lifting, bending, twisting, stretching all day long. You will need to be able to put your head underwater, get in and out of your kayak (right side up and upside down), manage your paddle and skirt, and be comfortable (relatively) sitting in a snug cockpit for several hours at a time (with breaks of course).
We have seen all kinds of bodies and abilities come through our courses and we believe kayaking can be for anyone. But play it safe and if you have any concerns about participating in this activity, please contact us and consult your physician.
Paddling time varies with the ability and objectives of each group, the location of the course, and travel times; but we typically spend between 6-8 hours each day.
For general sign up, we ask that you be 18 or older, but we like to offer our program to all ages and we encourage groups of youth and families to join us for private weekends. Under 18, you and some friends want to get into the sport? Give us a call and we'll set you up with a youth weekend that you'll never forget.
Your course includes all specialized boating and safety equipment unless otherwise stated. Some of the personal items you will need are listed below. Clothing: consider the weather and be prepared any extreme: from sunny and warm, to cold rain and wind. Take more than you need, cars will carry the load. Consider that you will need clothes for in the kayak, and for on shore when the paddling is done. Some ideas for kayaking clothes. You will be getting wet, head to toe, and staying that way for the best part of the day. If you dress smart, you can keep yourself pretty comfy and warm. Bring what you have, if you have any concerns, give us a call.
This may seem like a lot to wear in the kayak, but if the weather is nice, you can leave it in camp, if it's cool, you'll be glad you packed it. For off the river, it will depend on if you are on a day course or weekend course but a few ideas are: Warm clothing, rain gear, hat, toque, gloves, sun shirt, bug shirts, good jacket, personal hygiene products (please bring environmentally friendly, bio-degradable soaps and cleaning products), sturdy footwear, bug spray... whatever you will need to be comfy in any weather!
For camping some things to bring might include: Tent and tarp, sleeping pad, sleeping mattress, lawn chair, hammock, cooking gear (there are fire box's), cooler. Make sure to bring enough food for the duration of the course, lots of high-energy snacks, and lots of drinks. There is fresh water at the sites, but bring several liters to get you through the first day. There is an equipment list on our "Register" page to print out the list of what you need to bring.
Gratuities are of course optional but most people do tip their guides. It can be a bit awkward to ask on the last day what other people do. The normal range is $5-10 per day per guide, or something in the range of 2-5% of the trip fee per guide.
We will always ensure that one nationally certified guide is available for every 6 paddlers. We do not accept more than 9 participants per course.
The kayaks we use are specialty, plastic polyethylene (like tough Tupperware) river and touring kayaks. Our river boats are designed to be used in all kinds of moving water while are touring kayaks are mid range tripping boats. We use models that are best suited for our students with a nice combination of forgiveness and performance. They are all modern designs, comfortably outfitted, completely adjustable for each student and they come in some funky colors!