Skill Levels

Each trip is assigned a "Skill Level" from 1 to 3 to assist you in identifying ones that are suited to your abilities. Briefly, they are:

Level 1: no experience required
Level 2: some experience and basic skills are expected
Level 3: more advanced skills and abilities are required - not for novices

For more information:

  • Detailed descriptions of the skill levels can be found below.
  • An information package is available for each trip and includes pictures, a description of the location and weather, and an itinerary. It also contains a section on who would enjoy that specific trip.
  • A general information package called "Your First Steps" is also available. It answers many FAQ and includes an overview of the skill levels.
  • Contact our office. We’re happy to discuss what to expect on any trip. We can usually provide an e-mail or phone number for a previous participant for the trip that interests you.

Skill Levels - General Information

How We Assess a Trip:
Many independent factors are assessed before we assign a "Skill Level". We consider the degree of technical skill required for the trip, how physically demanding the itinerary is, elevation changes, the elements of risk involved, the range of weather, the isolation, the length of the expedition, and many other factors. You can get a good idea about whether or not a trip is right for you from the trip information package and by contacting our office.

Your Self-Evaluation:
Your skill development, physical ability and condition, experience, attitude, and ability to adapt to new situations are the main components of your personal evaluation. Most of our participants tend to underestimate their abilities. Try to compare elements of your self-assessment with the requirements listed in the trip descriptions in the detailed information package. If you feel unsure, just give our office a call. We want you to have a great time, too.

Skill Levels - Detailed Descriptions

Level 1: These trips do not require any previous experience in the activity. Related experience (camping, swimming, etc.) will be helpful. This is an opportunity for the beginner to learn the foundation skills of canoeing, kayaking, and wilderness living. Your guides and instructors are experts at helping you succeed in these new activities.

The pace will be fairly relaxed. The location, challenges, and program are geared to ensure the trip is enjoyable and safe for the novice. Some Level 1 programs require a commitment to a multi-day wilderness trip or to learning new skills. Some first-time experiences can be a bit stressful (e.g., your first whitewater canoeing run or paddling a sea kayak in waves); but, a Level 1 trip is appropriate for beginners. More experienced outdoors people often choose these trips because they enjoy the route or want to introduce a friend to the activity.

Level 2: We expect that you have some background in the outdoors and some basic skills. You should be comfortable around the water for paddling trips. You can get a sense of the specific paddling skills required from the trip descriptions. For hiking trips, you should be fit and capable of carrying a minimum of 20-30 kg (45-65 lb.) for 10 to 12 kilometres a day on rough terrain. These trips are designed to build on your skills and to expand your experience. You should expect to learn new things and try some novel and challenging activities with help from the guides.

Some Level 2 trips have a degree of physical challenge and require a willingness to cope with unexpected adventures. The success of the trip will depend, in part, on the positive attitude and mutual support that the participants demonstrate. Level 2 includes some very extensive trips.

Level 3: These extended trips offer the opportunity for you to participate in major expeditions with the support of very experienced leaders. The pace and the environment may be very challenging, so you should be fit and active. The trip may also be in an area of extreme isolation, and specific skills may be required.

A positive attitude, an eagerness to support other group members, and a willingness to adapt to the unexpected are important to your success and enjoyment. The specific skills needed, the elements of risk involved, the isolation, the physical and emotional demands of the route, and the location would make this trip level most inappropriate for the novice. Although, extensive experience and advanced skills are welcomed, they are not required. Level 3 trips are designed for people with intermediate skills and some previous experience in the activity. Although there is a broad age range, many of our participants on Level 3 trips will be over 50 years-old.