What’s special about Have Kayaks, Will Travel?

When you take a course with Have Kayaks, Will Travel, you will work with Alec and/or Sharon, so you don’t have to wonder who will teach a course and what their qualifications or coaching styles are.

What is your coaching style?

We’re seriously playful, and playfully serious! Our primary focus is teaching safe, effective and efficient techniques — whether it be strokes, rolling or rescues — and we do so in a fun and encouraging atmosphere.

Will I ever take courses with someone else through Have Kayaks, Will Travel?

On occasion, we offer special courses and certification opportunities by guest coaches; in those cases, we advertise the coach along with the course.

What is your maximum coach-to-student ratio?


What else is special about you?

We are committed to long-term paddler development and to long-term relationships with our students. This means that we’re happy to keep in touch, answer questions and help you develop as a paddler.

We also run occasional social paddles for our students–opportunities to get out with us and other paddlers for free.

Whenever possible, our courses include a journey, so you can get out and use skills in an environment in which you need them. And we are committed to including memorable moments in all of our courses — experiences that will surprise and delight you and amaze your friends!

Where are most of your courses held?

Mostly in Chicago and on Lake Michigan, but we’re called Have Kayaks, Will Travel for a reason! We coach throughout the midwest, on both coasts and in Canada.

Can I rent gear from you?

We have a limited supply of boats and gear we can rent to students in our courses. Contact us to see if we have what you need. If we don’t have it, we can try to help you find it.

What do your students say about you?

Check out “testimonials

What’s your cancellation policy?

If we cancel a course, you can apply the cost toward another course or request a full refund. If you withdraw from a course, you can apply the cost toward another course or request a 50% refund.

When do you cancel a class due to weather?

We will cancel in advance if the weather is clearly inappropriate for a course or unsafe. Once a class is underway, if the weather causes us to get off the water, we will provide valuable off-water activities until it is safe to return to the water.

Why can’t I register online?

By talking with you on the phone, we get to know you and can make sure you’re signing up for the course that best meets your needs and interests. We can also answer all your questions.

What should I bring to a course?

We’ll send you information about anything specific, but in general:

  • sea kayak suitable to the venue
  • PFD
  • paddle
  • spray skirt
  • shoes without laces
  • clothing appropriate to the conditions*
  • water
  • snack and lunch
  • any medications you need
  • sunscreen
  • sun hat
  • sunglasses
  • strap for glasses
  • dry bag for your keys, wallet and cell phone

* We can advise you about appropriate clothing when we talk prior to the course.