San Juan Island's Original Sea Kayak Outfitters & Guides Since 1980
Kayaking Trip San Juan Island

Multi-Day Rental Equipment List

Thank you for choosing San Juan Kayak Expeditions for your sea kayaking adventure. We look forward to meeting you and sharing with you the beauty and wonder of the San Juan Islands.

To prepare for a safe, self-guided kayaking experience please read the information carefully and well in advance of your scheduled trip.

When and Where to Meet:  All kayak rentals will begin at 10:45 am from our Sea Kayak Center kiosk at 275 “A” Street, unless previous arrangements have been made.  All your gear should be packed and ready to load in our van. From here we will drive you to our launch site on Griffin Bay and provide you with safety instructions.

What we Supply:

  • A written itinerary detailing the number of days, campsites, hiking opportunities, tides, morning launch times, alternate routes, etc..
  • In-depth safety instruction on the beach
  • Transportation to and from our Sea Kayak Center kiosk to the launch/landing site at Griffin Bay.
  • Two person fiberglass touring kayaks and all its gear (Werner carbon fiber paddles; spray skirts, PFDs, bailing pumps, sponges, Thermarest seat cushions and night covers.

What you Bring:

Clothing This is a kayaking and camping trip.  Plan on wearing the same clothing for more than one day!  This makes your packing lighter and when you finish the trip that first shower so much more delightful! The San Juan Islands lie in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. Summers are dry and sunny with occasional cloudy days and some rain. Summer temperatures range from day time highs of 70-80F to night time lows of 50-60F. You can expect cooler days and nights in May, June and September with a greater chance of rain.   Please be prepared for all conditions at any time!

  • Rain gear: coat with hood and pants (Gortex or comparable). Please no rain ponchos. We paddle through all sorts of weather and conditions.
  • Water shoes (Teva-like sandals, aqua socks, wetsuit booties, Chacos, etc.  No flip flops).  You will get your feet wet each time you launch or land your kayak.
  • Dry shoes(tennis, no hiking boots)
  • Warm weather clothes, t-shirts and shorts (quick drying)
  • Cool weather clothing (wool sweater, fleece jacket, polypropylene, Capilene or comparable tops and pant) (no jeans or sweatshirts); quick drying pants
  • Pair of light, soft gloves to prevent blisters (sailing, biking, paddling, even gardening gloves)
  • Pair of gloves for warmth (May, June and September trips especially)
  • Wool or fleece stocking cap (May, June and September trips especially)
  • Swim Suit – some folks like a dip in these refreshing waters!

Other Necessary Gear

  • One sun hat with wide brim/visor
  • Sun glasses
  • Sunscreen
  • First-aid kit
  • Cell phone
  • Weather radio(optional)


Since no refrigeration is available, you want to bring your favorite non-perishable breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack foods that travel well. My favorite lunches are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese, crackers, durable fruits and raw vegetables, nuts and energy bars, summer sausage, jerky, humus, pita bread, cold cuts, tuna in vacuum sealed package, etc.  Dinners can be many things, but keep in mind that water is limited so plan your meals accordingly.

Your campsites are Washington State Parks and require payment of a nightly camping fee via check or cash of $12 for eight people of less ($24 for more than eight).  Payment envelopes are provided and are deposited into an honor system pay box.  If you will be paying by check, bring a pen, as they do not provide one.  Campsites are on a first come, first served basis.  No reservations are allowed.

All campsites have a fire pit, picnic table and shared outhouse.  You will gather driftwood on the beach for fires.

Please exercise in advance of your trip.  Waters here can be choppy, winds can be strong and tides may sometimes be against you.  Good physical condition and stamina are critical in such conditions.  I recommend push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups. rowing machine, yoga, weight training of any kind, swimming, etc. on a regular basis in the months prior to your kayak rental.  Also every pound of weight you carry, you must paddle.  This might be your opportunity to lose a few of those unwanted pounds.

  • Water – ½ gallon per person per day.  You may be camping on Jones Island on night one or two, and it has potable water.  After that you will carry all of the water for the rest of your trip.  Use Reliance 2/12 or 5 gallon plastic, collapsible containers or screw-lid one gallon milk jugs.
  • Mess kit, (lightweight plate or bowl, cup, knife, fork and spoon)
  • Small camp stove, fuel and cooking utensils
  • All food you will need
  • Lighters
  • Fire starter(newspaper and lighter)
  • Quality tent w/ ground tarp
  • Light-weight nylon rain tarp w/ropes(10’x12’)
  • Sleeping bag (not down-filled) and pad (ThermaRest or comparable)
  • Nylon rope to hang food from raccoons
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Pocket Knife
  • Personal toiletries: towel, washcloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, bio-degradable soap, toilet paper, extra spectacles or contact lenses

Other Optional Gear

  • Camera in waterproof bag (zip-loc bag works fine)
  • Binoculars (zip-loc bag works fine)
  • Mosquito repellant(optional-there are few bugs)

Packing and Waterpoofing: The kayaks we use are designed for extended trips.  Your kayak will carry your personal gear and a share of the equipment and supplies needed for the entire expedition.  Please bag each paddlers personal gear as follows:

  • A small handy bag (10 liter dry bag) stowed in front of you and accessible while paddling. This will contain a jacket, snacks, sunscreen, camera, binoculars, gloves, hat, etc.
  • Sleeping bag in a stuff sack lined with 3 mil plastic bag or in a 22 liter dry bag.
  • Sleeping pad (does not need to be waterproofed and should be separate from your sleeping bag)
  • A nylon duffle bag lined on the inside with trash compactor garbage bag and no larger than 24 x 15” or a 22 liter dry bag (or two smaller bags) packed with the rest of your gear, clothing and toiletries.

If you don’t already have dry bags it is not necessary to purchase new ones as our tried and true technique will keep your gear dry.  You will need trash compactor bags.  These are heavy duty 2 or 3 mil plastic.  Line the inside of your bag(s) and your sleeping bag stuff sack with your trash compactor bag.    Doing so will keep your gear dry in all conditions and the plastic from tearing as it will if on the outside of your bags.  There should be no plastic on the outside of any of your bags.

Arriving and Departing Friday Harbor:   You need to catch the morning ( 9:05am Summer Schedule; 9:30am Spring Schedule) ferry Anacortes  if you don’t arrive the night before.  From the ferry to our Sea Kayak Center kiosk at 275 “A” Street walk directly up the sidewalk between cars lined up to go on the ferry and the Far North Café up the hill.   Cross over 1st street to “A” Street, go past The Hungry Clam, Serendipity Books, Market Chef.  We are on the corner of “A” and Nichols Streets in front of The Barking Bird.  Look for the umbrellas behind the white picket fence.

To save some money, time and precious fossil fuel, we encourage you to park your car at the Anacortes terminal and walk on the ferry. Overnight parking on the island is difficult to locate you are highly discouraged to bringing are car on the ferry.   Note ferry reservations are necessary for those driving on the ferry.  Go to to view the ferry schedule from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.

When we review your itinerary the morning of your trip we will plan with you the time you want to be picked up at the beach and returned to Friday Harbor.

Please do not hesitate to contact with any questions that may arise.

Sally and Tim Thomsen
Owners/Operators Since 1980
San Juan Kayak Expeditions
Kiosk location 275 A Street


All photos in our website have been contributed by past guests. Thanks to all who have shared their experience! And special thanks to guest Philip Robinson for his fun pics.

Contact Info

San Juan Kayak Expeditions
Tim and Sally Thomsen, Owners/Operators since 1980
PO Box 2041
275 A St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA
Open 7 days a week for questions & reservations.

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