Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to our paddlers’ most frequently asked questions regarding reservations, trips, classes, adventures, youth camps, rentals and paddling gear.

Have a question that’s not listed? Need more details? Email us or call us! 1-800-282-4043

Reservations

How far in advance should I schedule my adventure?

Most reservations are made 14 days or more before the tour date for single day trips, and 3 or more months in advance for multi-day adventures and camps. We recommend scheduling at least 7 days in advance, but this may limit the available days and times you will have to choose from. For weekend and holiday reservations, you’ll want to make your reservation as soon as possible – several weeks ahead of time, as these dates fill quickly. Our online reservation system has real-time availability (you can view open dates/times for each trip from the trip description page) and may be the most convenient way for you to make your reservation. If you need assistance, please call our Reservations staff at 425-883-9039 or send an email to reservations@OutdoorAdventureCenter.com .

Can I register online using a Groupon voucher, Discount Code, or Gift Certificate?

Yes! Many of our guests take advantage of our online reservation system to check availability and coordinate their adventures with friends and family, then complete their reservations online.

To use a Groupon voucher, daily deal discount code, or gift certificate go to the trip page and review the description and details (such as what to bring, any pre-requisites, and how to get here). Add your desired trip date/time to the cart using the drop-down menu on the page, then click on the Checkout button to view your cart (you can add multiple trips/tours to your cart, but only 1 Discount code or Groupon voucher can be used in each transaction).

During the checkout process you will be asked for your contact information (so that we can send you a confirmation email with any relevant trip details) and you may have a balance due for any other purchases or for your Groupon tax amount (which may or may not have been included in your purchase price paid to the Groupon folks). Be sure to enter your discount code (or Groupon barcode number) in the Discount Code box.

If you have any questions please send an email to info@OutdoorAdventureCenter.com or call 425-883-9039.

Youth Camps

Can You Tell Me About Your Adventure Camp Staff?

We are certain that you and your teen will enjoy our qualified Adventure Camp staff. They have the skills, experiences, and desire to share great outdoor adventures and location with your child. Each camp leader has a variety of skills and interests that they bring to Outdoor Adventures summer camp, but the one thing they all have in common is a desire to share valuable outdoor learning experiences with the next generation of adventurers! Our team of camp staff combine a love for the outdoors and teaching skills to effectively share with your teen what it means to be safe and responsible  while enjoying the outdoors.

Each camp group is led by a combination of certified instructors and qualified assistants. They hold instructor certification from the American Canoe Association (ACA), ASHI, American Red Cross, and the Wilderness Kayak Institute (WKI). All camp staff have been trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR.

I have food allergies. Do I need to provide my own food for an overnight adventure?

Our guides are eager to provide you with a great adventure, and that includes the food! We will do our best to plan a menu that meets your needs, but in some cases you will need to supplement the menu by supplying items that are appropriate for your needs. Be sure to contact us well in advance of your trip (at least 3 weeks advance notice) to let us know of any specific needs and we will let you know if adjustments are needed. Please send a detailed email to reservations@OutdoorAdventureCenter.com

How Many Campers Are In Each Program?

The number of campers in each group can vary, depending on the adventure level of the program. Most of our outdoor adventure camps have between 10 and 16 participants, with a high instructor to student ratio. For more specialized camps, such as our Hardshell Kayaking program, we typically have less than 12 teens.

What is a typical camp day like?

Each day is different, but our Camp Leaders work hard to ensure that every day is both enjoyable and educational!

Generally, campers rise early and assist with breakfast, then prepare for the day’s activities. All participants are expected to assist with camp activities (such as preparing meals and keeping camp clean) and share the responsibility for group needs. Lunch is often eaten on the trail (or the water!) and after a full day of activities, a delicious and healthy dinner is the perfect reward!

We always include;

  • 3 healthy meals per day
  • Snacks and drinks between activities
  • Time for structured and unstructured activities
  • Some down time to relax, journal or draw, and get to know friends

What are the pre-requisites for attending camp?

Each camper is expected to have a positive attitude, follow all safety instructions, assist with group chores, and participate in each activity to the level that they are able. Participants do not need previous overnight camp experience, or have training in any of the outdoor activities, unless noted in the camp description. Our Camp Leaders will teach and assist all students, challenging them to increase their skills and encouraging them to set personal goals for new activities. For most camps, we strongly recommend that your teen be a confident swimmer, as many of our activities revolve around the water.

Sea Kayaking

What experience do I need to go on a sea kayak tour?

None! We take beginning paddlers on sea kayaking tours nearly every day. Some of our trips are geared towards paddlers who have experience and may involve a more rigorous route or more challenging conditions, but most tours are ideal for beginners who are interested in just getting out and having fun! Be sure to read through the tour description thoroughly and review the pre-requisite information to be sure that it matches your interests and skill level. Then register online or by calling 425-883-9039.

I have food allergies. Do I need to provide my own food for an overnight adventure?

Our guides are eager to provide you with a great adventure, and that includes the food! We will do our best to plan a menu that meets your needs, but in some cases you will need to supplement the menu by supplying items that are appropriate for your needs. Be sure to contact us well in advance of your trip (at least 3 weeks advance notice) to let us know of any specific needs and we will let you know if adjustments are needed. Please send a detailed email to reservations@OutdoorAdventureCenter.com

Can I bring my own sea kayak?

This depends on multiple factors; the class (or trip), your equipment, and your skills. We know that it is important for you to be comfortable on the water and that means becoming familiar with how your boat handles and maneuvers in various conditions. We encourage you to use your own kayak and gear for classes, unless doing so causes a hardship for the group, or if you are participating in a challenging program that has unique equipment requirements. Please contact us so that your instructor can help you make the best decision. info@OutdoorAdventureCenter.com

What should I wear for my kayaking trip?
We recommend that all paddlers on our day tours wear wicking/quick-drying clothes (check the labels for synthetic materials such as polypropylene, spandex and nylon). Of course, each adventure may vary, so please check your confirmation email for more details.

  • Shorts, or pants that can easily roll up to the knee
  • Short or long sleeved shirt
  • Fleece top (should be a good fit)
  • Lightweight windbreaker/rain jacket
  • Sandals (that strap on!) or shoes that WILL GET WET
  • Sun hat/visor, chapstick, sunscreen, and a compact waterproof digital camera are also recommended!

Rafting

How long is the Main Skykomish River Rafting trip?

This popular whitewater adventure lasts approximately 4.5 hours from the time you arrive at our facility to the time you are ready to leave. This can vary significantly due to higher/faster or lower/slower water levels, the size of the group, weather conditions, etc. The trip covers approximately 9 river miles from our put-in in Index to the Big Eddy State Park in Gold Bar and your on-water time is between 2.5-3 hours. Of course, you may want to allow some additional time for a soak in the hot tub, and to view your rafting photos in The River House Cafe!

What experience do I need to sign up for a rafting trip?

This depends on the river that you choose and what season/water level the river is currently running. The popular Skykomish River has several different sections to choose from.

The Main Skykomish is an exciting and challenging whitewater trip rated Class III-V (see the explanation of River Classifications). This adventurous river section is appropriate for experienced rafters, and adventurous beginners. All paddlers should be in good physical condition and be confident swimmers.

The class III North Fork and middle Sky trips are exciting river trips ideal for teens and adults who are looking for a moderate amount of adventure. A confident swimmer in good physical condition will enjoy the thrills and splash of these roller coaster river trips.

The Family-Friendly Skykomish River Trip is a gentle Class II that allows you to experience the river without the adrenaline rush of whitewater. Kids ages 6+ are also welcome to join you on this adventure!

Please read through our rafting trip pages carefully to determine which trip best matches your age, interests and abilities. For further information, feel free to email info@OutdoorAdventureCenter.com or call 425-883-9039.

Paddling Classes

I’ve never kayaked before. Which class should I take first?

Our “Intro” Courses, of course! Whether you are interested in sea kayaking or whitewater kayaking, we recommend our Intro to Paddlestrokes class as your first course. This class will effectively lay the groundwork for safe and efficient paddling techniques. Most often, this class takes place in the pool, allowing you to get used to having a paddle in your hands and maneuvering your boat without other elements (such as cold, moving water) that might distract you.

What is the value of ACA certification for guides and instructors?

The American Canoe Association offers a training program that is recognized throughout the United States as the standard for paddling instructors. If you are a sea kayak, whitewater kayak, canoe, raft, or stand-up paddleboard instructor or guide you may soon be required to obtain certification for insurance purposes. The Outdoor Adventure Center has Instructor Trainers on staff in several of these areas, and we work with the best Trainers in the country to bring a variety of certification opportunities to the Northwest.

The reasons to pursue certification through the American Canoe Association are different for each paddler; however, what every person takes away from the certification course is remarkably similar. First, there are the new experience gained and knowledge shared by fellow paddlers and guides during the class. A lot of participants learn all kinds of new teaching methods, paddling information and skills. Also, through the certification process you’ll learn a specific and proven standard of practice that has been approved by some of the best instructors in the country. Your Instructors will demonstrate and teach a central model to which you can add your own creativity and personality. If you need to obtain ACA certification for employment, your company’s insurance requirements, or for personal enrichment, please contact us to determine which course is appropriate for your needs.

Kayak & Paddling Equipment Rentals

Do you offer kayak and equipment rentals?

Yes. We have kayaks and other adventure equipment available for rent from several locations. Please see our Equipment Rental pages for the latest information or email info@OutdoorAdventureCenter.com

Do I need to transport the boat on my car?

Depending on where you choose to paddle, you may need to be able to load the boat onto your car’s roof rack system. Our Lopez Island location at Spencer Spit State Park offers direct beach access which eliminates the need to transport the boats – you can simply launch from the rental location. If you choose to transport the boat, you must have an adequate roof rack (or trailer) with paddling and straps, and be able to safely load and unload the boats. You will be responsible for loading the boats and tying them down, and must agree to take responsibility for any damage that may occur to your vehicle or the equipment.

I have no experience – can I rent a kayak?

In most cases the answer is Yes! For ocean paddling we recommend that you paddle a double or triple kayak – for added stability and momentum! You will want to let our rental staff know that you do not have any experience so that they can assist you in selecting appropriate equipment and a place to paddle. We have beginners renting kayaks nearly every day. For our river locations, please check with us for conditions to see if there is an appropriate river section to match your abilities.

I am planning a trip – can I rent a boat for the weekend?

Yes. With enough advance notice, we can usually outfit you with the boats and equipment that you will need for an overnight or extended adventure. We also have a limited number of first come, first served equipment available for last-minute trips.

Paddling Gear

Do you sell paddling equipment and clothing?

Yes we do! Our Gear Shop in Index is stocked with quality gear and clothing that you’ll see your guides using and wearing. We have rash guards, paddle tops, t-shirts, hats and visors, croakies, sunscreen, sunglasses, life jackets, and a variety of other paddling equipment. Be sure to check it out next time you are up at the River House! Used equipment is generally available near the end of the summer season, and on our website.