Please download and review the packing list above. If you conclude that you are missing some equipment and clothing we have prepared this webpage in affiliation with Patagonia, REI, Backcountry, Mountain Surf and Altrec Outdoors to help you select and purchase gear for your trip. This following examples will also serve to show you what we feel is the "ideally outfitted" kayak school participant for Patagonia, Chile. Whatever gear you decide to bring with you keep in mind that the Futaleufu valley is a rugged and remote destination that will test your clothing & equipment. Durability and reliability are key in determining what items to take. If something breaks and needs to be replaced you likely won't be able to do it in Chile. As of August 2005 all of the items listed below were in stock. In some cases these links will take you directly to the item pictured and others will bring you to the storefront in which you can find them. Try to place orders with these websites a few weeks beforehand in case of the need to exchange items or in case of back orders.
The Basics - for all Paddlers
Expediciones Chile provides most of the paddle related gear for our beginner kayak school courses. However, some paddlers may prefer to bring some of their own gear. A drytop keeps water out and keeps you feeling dry. They are great if one is trying to learn the role and will be spending a considerable amount of time in the water. Below are some of our favorites.
All kayak school participants should bring their own clothes for thermal layering. Having the correct layering under your spray top is important. Patagonia's short sleeve water heater top works well for this purpose and can be used a stand alone piece on hot days. Our second favorite is the Mysterioso Top from REI.
colder days kayak school participants may want
to increase their layering with a Capilene
or other synthetic top. Immersion Research
makes both long and short sleeve base layer
shirts as does Kokatat.
Wearing nylon shorts will be fine for our kayak school however we recommend
neoprene "rodeo shorts" as the number one option for kayaking.
These will keep you warm enough on most days
and provide a non-slip surface that will readily grip
the outfitting of your kayak making
and rolling easier. Both Patagonia
and NRS make excellent shorts.
Having a good pair of booties or river shoes will be essential for our kayak school participants. They will allow you to easily scout rapids and portage around drops you might not want to run. Our favorite is the NRS Attack Shoe from Altrec Outdoors.
Sandals can also serve as river shoes provided the portaging and walking are kept to a minimum. Below are some of our favorite dual use sandals.
If you are going to kayak in sandals having a pair of neoprene socks will help keep your feet warm and protected. Gloves can help guard against blisters and protect the tops of the hands from the intense Patagonia sun.
More accessories you might need on the river. Noseclips for playing and rolling on the river. (Be sure to bring an extra set in case you lose one.) If you wear eye glasses or sunglasses we recommend floating eye glass retainers. A Nalgene water bottle will be essential to keep hydrated.
The sun is very intense in Patagonia, Chile - much more so than in the Northern Hemisphere. Make sure you come prepared. We recommend a waterproof sun screen, a zinc oxide sun block cream and a lip balm.
For those of you who want to prepare in advance for our kayak school there are a number of great instructional DVDs out there. For basic instruction we strongly recommend Eric Jackson's DVDs and those by Ken Whiting. The Kayak Roll DVD presents a state of the art understanding of the roll for those trying to master this essential skill.
There are a number of good instruction books on the market for beginning kayak students. Participants in our Swiftwater Rescue Classes and Guide School should consider purchasing a book before attending the course.
For Advanced & Intermediate Kayak School Participants
For the Futaleufu we recommend full flotation life vests. In the event you come out of your kayak a low volume vest or squirt vest won't give you the needed bouyancy. If you are coming on our swiftwater rescue course consider investing in a rescue vest. Some of our favorites by Lotus Designs are pictured below.
The Chilean Navy requires that all paddlers in Chile carry a river knife and a safety whistle. (Make sure you pack your river knife in your checked baggage.) For those participating in our Guide School you might want to consider a River Tow to help with kayak rescues.
you get to our school we will immediately start
outfitting our boats for the upcoming days
of paddling. You will need to come with all
the foam padding you will need for your kayak
because we have a very limited supply on hand
(we supply the adhesive). You will also need
kayak float bags. (These items will
be supplied for beginner kayak school students.)
For paddles we have had great experience with Advanced Technology Paddles (ATs). Their ergonomic design and solid construction are a great choice for the Futaleufu where durability and performance matter. We also have used Werner paddles for many years and can reccomend their breakdown paddle for traveling.
Once you have selected the boat you want paddle from the ExChile "quiver" you will need to find a spray skirt that fits the cockpit. We strongly reccomend Mountain Surf spray skirts with a bombproof fit. You can order them directly from the Mountain Surf website. On their site you will also find convenient sizing chart that lets you cross reference any kayak with any skirt. (For beginner students Expediciones Chile supplies the skirts.)
Expediciones Chile provides first class adventure travel trips in Patagonia Chile. Try rafting Chile on the famous Futaleufu River. Torres del Paine, Cerro FitzRoy, and Las Glaciares trekking Patagonia trips. Horseback Riding Chile in the rugged mountains of the Patagonia Andes. Try mountain biking in Patagonia, Chile and Argentina. Kayak in Chile on the Futaleufu river. Sea kayaking in Patagonia from the Andes to the Ocean. Get kayak lessons at our kayak school or swift water rescue training on Chile’s greatest river. Fly fishing in Chile has never been better from our CondorNest fly fishing ranch or Lago Yelcho. Ski Argentina, Chile and Patagonia during the Summer. Eco tours and yoga adventure travel vacations. Get information on Patagonia seasons, maps and our secrets of Patagonia tour all from our website.