Kayakers, Douro River, Portugal

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What to Pack for Your Portugal Adventure

The following packing list contains general recommendations for a Portugal kayaking adventure. If you are currently booked on Paddling Portugal's River of Wine, please consult your pre-departure materials for the most up-to-date packing list for your trip. You will receive these pre-departure materials 60–90 days before your departure.

Items indicated in color below are typically available in the Nat Hab Gear Store. Please note that due to global supply chain issues beyond our control, we cannot guarantee that every item will always be in stock.

Adventure Guidelines

  • Casual style clothing is fine for the vast majority of our trip. Some guests prefer to bring something slightly dressier for our stay in the manor house and for our farewell dinner in Porto.
  • Since you’ll likely get a bit wet from water dripping off your paddle, we recommend a swimsuit as a base layer—and sometimes we stop for a swim in the river along the way.
  • On top of your suit, wear quick-dry fabrics that offer protection from the strong sun, including a lightweight, long-sleeved synthetic shirt. As we do not use spray skirts on the calm river, lightweight nylon pants or shorts that come at least to the knees are recommended.
  • A brimmed hat is essential to protect your face and neck from the sun—we recommend a lightweight, nylon “crushable” style that won’t be damaged if it gets wet.
  • Wear a sturdy, water-appropriate sport sandal such as Tevas or Keens that will protect your feet when we go ashore for breaks or picnic lunches. Closed toes are best.
  • Though your feet are not likely to get cold (even though they may be wet), you may wish to wear neoprene or wool socks with your sandals just in case. They also offer protection from the sun.
  • Lightweight paddling gloves are highly recommended to protect your hands from blisters.
  • Bring a lightweight waterproof rain jacket with hood that can double as a windbreaker—it can be stored in a dry bag inside the kayak when it’s not needed. Please note that rain ponchos do not work well for paddling.
  • Light hiking clothing, such as shorts or lightweight pants, are recommended for our short day hikes. We suggest layering as the temperature can vary.
  • Hairdryers are provided at all accommodations. In some locations you may need to check them out from the front desk.

Clothing

  • Lightweight, breathable, waterproof (not water-resistant) rain jacket, with hood
  • Warm fleece
  • Tennis shoes or lightweight hikers
    —Bring appropriate shoes for short day hikes. Hiking boots are not necessary.
  • Water-resistant sport sandals (Tevas, Chacos, etc.)
    —For kayaking. Cover your feet and toes well with sunblock or a light neoprene sock to prevent sunburn.
  • 2 pairs of comfortable lightweight pants
    —Paddling in long pants or capri-length trousers that cover the knee is advised to prevent sunburn.
  • 1 pair of nylon zip-off pants
    —Useful for warm days and cooler mornings and evenings.
  • 2–3 lightweight, long-sleeved shirts
    —For cool evenings and to protect your arms, shoulders and back from the sun while paddling.
  • 3–4 short-sleeved T-shirts
    —We strongly encourage synthetic or quick-drying natural fibers, like merino or silk, and not cotton.
  • Swimsuit
  • 3 pairs of shorts
    —You may not need as many pairs of shorts if you are bringing zip-off pants.
  • 1–2 dressier outfits (optional)
    —Rural Portugal tends to be a more traditional part of the country, and you may feel more comfortable at dinner at some of the manor houses in slightly dressier clothing. For women, we recommend a packable knit dress or skirt, while khakis and a buttoned shirt are a good choice for men.
  • Underwear
  • Lightweight wool or synthetic socks
    —Bring appropriate socks for short day hikes. These will also protect against sunburn when paddling.
  • Sleepwear

Additional Items

  • Cash
    —For discretionary gratuities (you may want to bring envelopes for discreet presentation)
    —For personal spending (souvenirs, or food and beverages not included in your trip fee)

  • Small, water-resistant daypack
    —Your daypack should be 25–35 liters, and can also double as your carry-on bag.
  • Small dry bag
    —We will supply one 20-liter dry bag per kayak; however, it’s good to have a smaller dry bag or reusable waterproof bag for wet or dirty clothing and for protecting camera equipment.
  • Waterproof or water-resistant sun hat, with brim
    —It can be helpful to dip your hat in the water to cool off when it gets hot. Also make sure you have something to secure your hat when it is windy.
  • Lightweight neck gaiter (included in your pre-trip package)
    —Provides sun, wind and/or dust protection.
  • Water bottle (included in your pre-trip package) or water bladder with hose (i.e., Camelbak or similar)
    —In our continuing effort to operate our adventures with as little impact on the environment as possible, you will receive a reusable water bottle (unless you opted out on your Booking Form) to take with you on your adventure.
  • Carabiner (to attach your water bottle to your kayak)
  • Paddling gloves
    —If you are prone to blisters while paddling. Gloves will also help protect against sunburn.
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Outlet adapter and/or power converter  
  • Sunglasses (With UV filter and secure strap)
  • Earplugs
  • Toiletries in reusable bottles to minimize waste
    —Shampoo and soap will be provided at all our accommodations.
  • Insect repellent and anti-itch ointment
    —Repellents containing DEET are the most effective against mosquitoes, but please be aware that DEET is a very strong ingredient which can damage plastics, clothing and equipment.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm (at least SPF30)
    —We recommend a large bottle, as you will use a lot on the river.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Prescription glasses/contact lenses
  • Fast-drying travel towel
  • Electrolyte/flavor crystal packets (optional)
    —Can be added to water to replace fluids in case of intestinal illness and/or enhance the taste to encourage hydration.
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