Not only is canoeing relaxing and a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature, but it’s also a great way to get some exercise in. To get the most out of canoeing, you need the right canoe paddles. Since every canoer is different, paddles come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so do your research ahead of time. Here are some of the best canoe paddles in 2021.
Choosing a canoe paddle ought to be a straightforward task. However, settling for a particular canoe paddle could be a little tasking considering the array of options available. Apart from the number of canoe paddles available, there are other variables to also consider. This buying guide will help you to ease the task of choosing a paddle for your canoe.
Our review of the best canoe paddles has introduced you to the best canoe paddles available in the market. This buying guide points you to the things you should prioritize when buying a paddle for your canoe. The guide also includes tips on how much to spend on buying a canoe paddle. It also has a section that answers frequently asked questions about canoe paddles.
What are the Things to Consider Before Buying a Canoe Paddle?
For a long-lasting canoe paddle that optimally performs to your expectations, you should consider the following factors before you make a purchase.
The combined length of the paddle’s shaft and the blade is the actual length of a canoe paddle. Shorter paddles allow you to maneuver quickly and steer well; they are suitable for whitewater canoeing. Longer canoe paddles are ideal for lake canoeing and give you more power with each stroke.
Type of Material
The type of material used to make the paddle is another factor to consider. This factor affects budget and weight. Canoe paddles can be made out of three materials – wood, composite materials, and plastic.
Canoe paddles made out of wood are the most traditional of the three. The entire paddle – grip, shaft, and blade – is made of wood. The weight of wooden canoe paddles often depends on the type of wood used to make them.
Some wooden paddles are made of different kinds of wood that are laminated together. They usually need to be maintained to avoid losing color and texture.
Plastic canoe paddles usually have blades made of plastic and shafts made of aluminum. The shaft could be quite cold to the touch; hence some are coated with vinyl material. Unlike wooden paddles, plastic paddles do not require maintenance. They are also heavier than wooden paddles.
Canoe paddles made from materials like graphite, kevlar, and carbon fiber are referred to as composite paddles. They have the advantage of being lightweight and easy to use. However, they are more expensive.
There are three shapes that the blade of a canoe paddle can take – beaver tail, otter tail, and square-tipped. Each of these blade shapes has its peculiarities.
Usually, a paddle with a beavertail blade is slim around the shoulder and broader at the tip. Paddles with ottertails are narrower towards the shoulder and tip. Beaver tail paddles and otter tail paddles require a higher cadence. However, they paddle through the water effortlessly.
Square-tipped paddles have wider blades; the wider blades allow them to displace more water with each stroke. They are ideal for whitewater paddlers.
Bent Shaft vs. Straight Shaft
The choice between canoe paddles with bent shafts and those with straight shafts is a choice between efficiency and control. Blades of bent shaft paddles are angled in such a way that it enters the water earlier to enhance the efficiency of your stroke. They make steering strokes difficult and are therefore not ideal for whitewater canoeing.
Straight shafts are the more conventional of the two. They allow you to make steering strokes that keep the canoe going in the desired direction. They are suitable for whitewater canoeing.
Another factor to consider is the paddle’s grip. A canoe paddle can either have a palm grip or a T-grip. A palm grip takes the shape of a teardrop; paddles with this type of grip can be used for long trips as the shape fits nicely into the palm of your hands. T-grip paddles have a T-shaped handle on the end of the shaft. A paddler can easily wrap their fingers around the handle.
How to Size a Canoe Paddle
Many people face the problem of picking the correct size of a canoe paddle. When next you are faced with this problem, follow these steps to measure the paddle correctly.
If you are in a store where your canoe is unavailable, sit on a chair.
Pick up the paddle and turn it upside down.
Fix the paddle’s grip between your thighs while still seated.
Ensure that the grip touches the seat.
Do not slouch or extend your torso.
Observe the throat of the paddle
The throat should align with your forehead if the shaft is straight.
The throat should align with your nose if the shaft is bent.
As a helpful tip, you should always carry a spare paddle for your canoe when setting out. Extra paddles could prove handy if your paddle gets damaged while you are in the middle of the water.
How Much do Canoe Paddles Cost?
The price of a canoe paddle is dependent on different factors. Chief among these factors is the type of material used to make the paddle. Prices are between $70 and $400. Canoe paddles within the range of $150 and $250 offer a middle ground between cost and efficiency.
Best Canoe Paddles FAQ
Can one person paddle a canoe?
Yes, a single person can paddle a canoe. Solo canoeing is quite common; it gives you full control of the boat.
How do I store my canoe paddle?
When not in use, canoe paddles should be dried out and kept in a dry place. Try not to leave your canoe paddle inside a canoe outside; this exposes them to moisture and sunlight.
What is the difference between canoe paddles and kayak paddles?
Essentially, only one end of canoe paddles is used to paddle, while both ends of kayak paddles are used for paddling. Structurally, a canoe paddle has only one blade; the blade is located on the end of the shaft. A kayak paddle has two blades; the blades are located on either side of the shaft.
Lucy spent the better part of her young life traveling and competing in swim meets and gymnastics. Being a dedicated individual sport athlete, Lucy knows that being at your best at the competition is everything. As a freelance writer, Lucy joins our Product Reviews Team to provide all of her insight on the best products to keep you at the top of your game.