Here are some of our most commonly asked questions. If you have questions that aren’t asked here (or if we haven’t added them yet) – please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

We’re a small business and enjoy helping clients to have truly wonderful experiences. 

General Questions

In this section of our Frequently Asked Questions, you will find information about our general business policies and procedures.

Each course, trip or tour will also have more information that will be provided closer to the date of the event. 

Please scroll down to see more course or trip-specific FAQs.

You can view our cancellation policy HERE.

  • Courses & Mushroom tours- Group discounts are available.  10% for groups of 3-5; 15% for 6 or more.
  • Expeditions Early bird discounts available for Expeditions booked before February 15 of each year. Early bird price applies to groups of 4 or more at any time for Kootenay River and Northern BC River Expeditions.
  • Attend a course prior to a trip in the same calendar year and save!  50% off river courses (including rescue) prior to our long trips >8 days in length (i.e our Northern BC Expeditions).  Save 10% off your course booked in the same season as a Kootenay River expedition or 4 Rivers in 4 day trip.
  • Save on multiple courses – Save 10% off of your second river course booked with us in the same calendar season.
  • Annual Sale and last minute deals – Join our mailing list or follow us on Facebook/Instagram to be notified of any sales!

We offer high-quality, fully-outfitted whitewater canoes for rent.  Participants are responsible for the full cost of repair or replacement of any damaged or lost boats or equipment.  Normal wear is expected.

See our equipment rentals here.

COURSES – Vernon and surrounding area is beautiful, but not very transit-friendly! Participants are responsible for arranging their own transportation. We may be able to offer transportation from Vernon to the river on a first come first serve basis. Participants will require their own vehicle to get to the theory sessions.  

Shuttles – For on-water days of your courses, we will organize vehicle shuttles at the end of the day.

Will my car be okay on the roads? The roads to our courses are paved and shouldn’t be a problem for your vehicle. (That said, maybe leave your lamborghini at home…)  For trips – 4 Rivers in 4 Days trips often use gravel roads and logging roads to get to the best put in spots. If you have a vehicle with super low clearance, perhaps get in touch with us to arrange a carpool or catch a ride in the van. 

Need a great place to stay while attending a course, or in advance of an expedition? Please see our list of local accommodations here.

For camping options for river courses, see information here

Vernon is easily accessible along HWY 97 from anywhere else you may be staying in the Okanagan. Driving distances from a few other popular places are:

  • From Kelowna: 50 km
  • From Penticton: 113 km
  • From Kamloops: 116 km
  • From Revelstoke: 147 km
  • Approx 4-4.5 hr drive from the lower mainland

More Information about river courses

canoe courses by certified paddle canada instructorRecreational Canoeing Association of British Columbia LogoOur moving-water courses are all taught by instructors certified by Paddle Canada and/or the Recreational Canoe Association of BC.  There are two types of certification with each association – Paddler-level Certification and Instructor/Guide-level Certification.  For most people, Paddler-level certification is not necessary unless a participant is looking to develop a career in canoe guiding/instruction, or wants that written acknowledgement of skills gained.  For example, you do not need a certificate for a level 1 course to participate in a level 2 course – as long as you can communicate that you have the prerequisite skills.  It does cost an extra $10 administration fee to try for certification, and not all candidates are always successful.

See Paddle Canada’s certification levels here and the RCABC’s certification levels here if you are interested in skill level certification.

Please contact us well in advance to request certification so that we can match you up with the right course that has the appropriate instructor to give you the certificate you require.

Please contact us for more details.

Most Elements Adventure Company courses are staged from either Enderby, BC with the on-river portion of the course on either the Lower Shuswap River. At times we may do one or both days on the Middle Shuswap River, meeting in Lumby, BC.   Both the Lower and Middle Shuswap Rivers give us options to play in class 1-3 whitewater, and are each a 45 minute drive from Vernon BC.

Each morning you will meet your instructor at the staging point at approximately 8:00am and return by 5:30pm – allowing you to return to your home, motel, campground or BnB each evening to dry out and relax.  

From time-to-time, we may also head to the Similkameen, Nicola, or Adams River for more advanced courses. This information will be provided at the time of booking.  

Our 5 day Intensive course will be staged from Horsefly BC.

Theory sessions are part of all weekend courses except Level 2 (intermediate) Tandem River courses which uses the river to teach theory.

  • Level 1 Tandem and Rescue courses Friday evening theory sessions are on dry land and take place at our HQ outside Lumby from 6-8pm. These important sessions cover important theory topics and issue rental gear so you can maximize your river time on the weekend.
  • Solo course theory sessions take place on Okanagan Lake on Fridays from approx 6-8pm (depending the time of sunset. 
  • Advanced course theory sessions will be announced closer to the date of the course and may take place on the river, depending on the location of the course.

No! You do not require a paddling partner to join any of our courses or trips. During a course your instructors will switch pairings over the course of the weekend so you can better practice your communication skills and gain experience paddling in bow and stern with other people.

We encourage couples attending the course to allow themselves to be paired with other paddlers for the first half of the course so you can practice new skills and communication in bow and stern first with others.

To ensure your safety and that of the group, we ask you in our registration forms to provide information about your boat if you are planning to bring your own canoe. If your canoe is not outfitted as below, we request that you please rent one from us.

If you are bringing your own canoe, please ensure it has the following outfitting:

  • bow painter: min. 18’ of floating line secured with shock-cord or tucked beside airbag
  • stern painter: min. 18’ of floating line, OR a 70’ throw-bag secured with shock-cord
  • bailer (with a way to attach it to the canoe)
  • spare paddle
  • flotation bags (ends and center)
  • thigh-strap
  • knee pads

During a course, paddlers are often asked to switch bow and stern position, and to switch paddle partners from time to time. Please let us know if you are not comfortable with other course participants paddling in your canoe with you. Please contact us if you have any questions about bringing your own boat and/or equipment.

All paddling equipment, including river-specific canoes, paddles, bailers, PFD’s, wetsuits, and helmets are available to rent.  Rental prices are found on our website here.

Choosing the right course is worth your while to ensure that you achieve maximum enjoyment and get the most out of your paddling education! If you have any questions or want to confirm which course is the right fit, please feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email. We are happy to help you figure out which course is right for you and really love helping create a paddling education plan to help you meet your tripping/skills goals.


paddling school skills progression

Level 2 Tandem Moving Water course attendees do not have a dryland theory session and will receive their rentals on Saturday morning at your meeting location. All other course participants can expect to receive their rentals on the Friday evening theory session. 

What you have listed on your invoice is what we will bring for you – so please be in touch if you require anything further!

You do not need to transport your canoe. We will transport rental canoes in our trailer.

See our rental equipment page for details about what equipment you’ll need and whether or not your boat will be suitable. Some common questions folks have:

*Yes, your PFD needs to have a river knife (for river courses). 

*Yes, your boat needs thigh straps and floatation.

*You can use your own wooden paddles, but sand and rocks are not kind to wooden paddles on a river, and you might prefer to use our river paddles instead.  

*You can use a bike helmet if you would prefer, instead of renting a river helmet for your level 1 courses.

*A farmer john/jane wetsuit will be more comfy to paddle in than a full sleeved wetsuit


A wetsuit or drysuit is necessary if the water temperature + air temperature is less than 37 Celsius (typically April, May, June, September, October). While a wetsuit is much cheaper to rent/buy, the drysuit is the ultimate in comfort and safety for paddlers. Read more about wetsuits and drysuit rentals and care here on our equipment rentals page.

 What to wear under wetsuits, choose according to weather/temperature:

  • Warm (July/Aug): swim shorts or bathing suit, bare feet in water shoes
  • Cool (June/Sept): long underwear top and bottom base layers (synthetic or merino wool), medium thick wool socks or neoprene socks
  • Cold (May, Oct): long underwear top and bottom base layers, plus thick wool socks (or thin ones under neoprene socks), and then on top of the wetsuit you can layer up with a warm sweater, goretex jacket, synthetic pants or rain pants.  You can theoretically wear this in April and November too, but it depends on the nature of the activity, the specific weather, and your own ability to stay warm.

Under drysuits, choose depending on weather/temperature:

  • Warm (July/Aug): light wool socks, shorts and t-shirt
  • Cool  (June/Sept): medium thick wool socks, long underwear top and bottom base layers, shorts and t-shirt
  • Cold (April, May, Oct, Nov) heavy wool socks, long underwear top and bottom base layers, fleece pants, warm wool or fleece sweater

 Glove options

  • Warm (June/July/Aug/Sept) – thin leather or paddling gloves can be nice to wear to prevent blisters, but gloves are  not required
  • Cool (May, June, Sept) – thin neoprene paddling gloves or simply a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves (no joke)
  • Cold (April/May/Oct/Nov) – neoprene mitts or gloves, or a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves over a thin pair of liner gloves.  Pack a warm pair of ski mitts for in between paddling.


  • Neoprene paddling shoes or old sneakers or closed-toe sandals with heel-strap that you can get wet (no flip-flops, crocs or five-finger shoes). You need to be able to walk on uneven and rocky terrain.


  • Your PFD must be a well-fitting Transport-Canada certified (with a whistle and river knife). If your PFD isn’t suitable, you will be asked to rent one of course. 


  •  ideally paddling specific

What to pack in a waterproof bag or container (we can lend you one if you don’t have one)?

❏ spare long pants**

❏ light jacket**

❏ spare cotton t-shirt (warm weather)

❏ light wool sweater

❏ spare underwear

❏ rain gear (jacket + pants)

❏ ** Ideally nylon or quick-dry material

❏ sunscreen & sunglasses

❏ hand sanitizer & face mask

❏ snacks and lunch – it is better to have a number of small snacks for lunch that you can eat throughout the day than a big heavy lunch.

❏ water – 1L (2L if very hot weather is expected) with string or carabiner to attach to the canoe. You won’t have a place to fill up your water on river – make sure you are prepared for the day!


Optional Items (weather dependent):

  • sunhat, swim wear, sarong, towel

  • thermos of tea/warm beverage

  • toilet paper in a ziplock bag (optional)

  • camera in a ziplock bag or other waterproof container (optional)

  • Kat recommends bringing a post-canoeing sarong or dress to change into on hot days (You’ll thank yourself!)


What to pack to leave in your vehicle?

  • a pair of dry comfy shoes and socks to change into after paddling

  • extra water or a warm thermos of tea

  • extra snacks

  • road tunes