Natural Habitat Adventures

Know Before You Go

What to Pack for Your British Columbia Adventure

The following packing list contains general recommendations for Spirit Bears, Humpbacks & Wildlife of BC. If you are currently booked on a British Columbia adventure with Nat Hab, please consult your pre-departure materials for the most up-to-date packing list specific to your trip. You will receive these materials 60-90 days before your departure.

Simplify your packing—shop at Nat Hab’s online Gear Store for key items recommended for your adventure. Look for this icon in the list below, then go to the Nat Hab Gear Store to start shopping.

Adventure-specific Guidelines

  • Please bring warm clothes, as fall is already beginning and the temperatures are becoming colder. Shorts will probably not be necessary.
  • Even though the seasons are changing, it may be possible that we will experience warm, sunny weather. Since the weather in British Columbia can change by the hour, we recommend layering (i.e., T-shirt, fleece, jacket). Keep in mind that it is often cooler on water than on land, and rain and wind are always possible.
  • Rubber boots are required. See below for details.
  • A waterproof jacket is essential, as we will be exploring a rain forest. A well-fitting garment with attached hood that can be worn over your layers with reasonable comfort is a necessity. It is important that this garment is thoroughly waterproof (not just water resistant). This will be your most important piece of clothing!
  • Waterproof rain pants are also essential for your comfort. Wear them over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. Gore-Tex and similar fabrics are both waterproof and “breathable.”
  • Should it be cold, remember body heat is most likely to be lost from the hands, feet and head; it is important to keep them warm and dry. As much as 90 percent of the heat you lose can come from your head, so be sure to bring a warm hat, just in case.
  • Warm wool socks worn over a thin pair of silk or polypropylene liners should help to keep feet warm in cold weather and prevent blisters on long hikes.
  • Dress in comfortable, loose layers. It is far better to wear layers of relatively light, loose clothing than one thick, heavy item. Between each layer there is a film of trapped air that, when heated by your body, acts as an excellent insulator. You can also remove layers more easily should temperatures warm throughout the day.
  • Wool and silk base layers are superior to cotton because they can trap warm air even when wet. Synthetic fabrics that spring back into shape after compression are also good. Polar fleece is recommended.

Clothing

  • 2 KN95 masks per person (included in your pre-departure package)
  • Lightweight neck gaiter (included in your pre-departure package)
    —Useful for wearing over the KN95 masks to keep them clean and extend their use.
    —Also provides sun, wind and/or dust protection.
  • Additional cloth face coverings
    —We recommend bringing a few more face coverings of your own. Silk, wool or polypropylene long underwear for layering (tops & bottoms)
  • Breathable, waterproof rain gear
    —You will need both a rain jacket with attached hood and rain pants. It is extremely important that your rain gear be fully waterproof, not just water repellent! Gore-Tex-type shells that can be layered over fleece are ideal. Flimsy, plastic rain gear is easily torn, rendering it useless for the remainder of the adventure, so we recommend that you avoid these items when possible. Your rain gear may be your most useful pieces of clothing!
  • Rubber boots (required)
    You cannot experience British Columbia without rubber boots! Your boots should be knee-high with good tread and be comfortable for walking. There are very few places that we travel where docks are present, so in order to get ashore, you will be stepping into the water. Your boots will be very useful for walking in the rain forest as well. If you are not comfortable hiking in your boots, you can change into other footwear once you are on shore. If the weather is warm you may be able to use sport sandals for some landings in place of the boots, but it is still essential that you bring the boots.
  • Warm sweater or fleece
  • Warm hat and gloves (again, it can be cold!)
  • Waterproof gloves (two pairs as they will get wet)
    —One option is to purchase inexpensive rubber gloves, such as those typically used for cleaning at home, which can be worn over winter gloves to provide a waterproof layer.
  • Comfortable, soft-soled, non-marking shoes (for wearing on the boat)
  • 2–3 pairs of long pants
  • 3–4 long-sleeved shirts
    —Merino wool long-sleeved T-shirts work well.
  • 2–3 short-sleeved T-shirts
  • Undergarments including long underwear
  • Warm, comfortable sleepwear (nights can be really chilly)
  • Polypropylene liners for socks (to wick moisture away)
  • Socks (preferably wool or other moisture-wicking material)
  • Swimsuit
    —There may be an opportunity to soak in a hot spring.
  • Sun hat with brim (and strap so it won’t blow away)

Additional Items

  • Cash
    —For discretionary gratuities (you may want to bring envelopes for discreet presentation).
    —For personal spending (souvenirs, Internet use, and food and beverages not included in your trip fee).
  • Water bottle
    —In our continuing effort to operate adventures with as little impact on the environment as possible, we will provide you with a reusable water bottle upon arrival.
  • Binoculars 
    —There will be a limited supply of binoculars available on the boat, but to ensure you have a pair at all times or if you have a pair that you especially like, we recommend that you bring your own pair.
  • Sunglasses (with UV filter and strap to secure them)
    —Polarized sunglasses help you to see through the reflection at the surface of the water. Most sunglasses are not polarized, and it can be worth purchasing them in order to get the most out of your wildlife adventure.
  • Headlamp or small flashlight (with spare batteries)
  • Washcloth (optional)
    —One hand towel and one bath towel are provided for each guest on board the Island Solitude, but if you would like a washcloth, you should bring your own.
  • Earplugs
  • Toiletries
  • Soap, shampoo and conditioner
    —For use while on board the Island Solitude
  • Insect repellent and anti-itch ointment
    —Insect repellent will be provided on the boat so you will only need to bring your own for use while in Bella Bella/Terrace or if you prefer a specific brand.
  • Prescription medications and favorite remedies
    —If you are prone to motion sickness we recommend that you bring your favorite remedy.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm (at least SPF15)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Small medical kit
  • Prescription glasses/contact lenses
  • Battery-operated alarm clock/wristwatch
  • Dry bags or reusable waterproof bags 
    —Several sizes for wet or dirty clothing and to protect camera equipment.
  • Waterproof dry bag backpack/daypack
    —To carry gear and camera equipment on daily excursions. Should be waterproof, not just water resistant, as it will sit on the floor of the boat where it will get wet.
  • Bandana
  • Tissue mini packs
  • Compact, retractable hiking poles (optional, for those who would like an extra point of balance)
    —If you are bringing a hiking pole, it must be able to fit in your checked luggage, as you will not be allowed to carry it on the plane.

    Header Credit: Mark Hickey 
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