How to Choose Kayak Paddles | Pro Tips from the Expert

How to Choose Kayak Paddles

Last Updated on January 13, 2021 by Michael J. Branco

Beyond the fact that selecting a kayak paddle may seem as simple as getting something with two paddles to propel you through the water, there is something else. Kayakers do an enormous amount of strokes every hour. Having the right information to assist you in selecting the right kayak paddle is critical because if your outfit doesn’t suit you, you may end up in the corner of the parking lot getting dusty from disuse. This is where we ask ourselves how to choose kayak paddles.

You need to understand the kayak pallet volume to the creative materials to select the preferable kayak pallet.

Along with the kayak itself, your paddle has the most significant impact on its performance in the water. Even a short trip involves many strokes so that the right paddle can make a difference.

Kayak Paddle Sizing

To select a kayak paddle, you must consider four basic ideas:

Length:

The width of your boat and its height determine the paddle length. Learn What Kayak Length Do I Need.

Materials and price:

Lightweight materials improve performance but increase the value of a paddle.

Choice of blade:

The volume and shape of the paddle paper affect its overall efficiency in the water.

Blade selection:

A bent shaft or feathered paddle also has the potential to make a better paddle efficient.

Paddle length

Knowing the right pallet volume is incredibly simple.

The wider your boat is, the more extended your paddle needs to be. Its height is also an aspect, mainly for a narrower boat: taller rowers require longer oars.

Kayak Paddle’s Size Chart

While kayaking with the paddle, your torso’s length is a substantial aspect when sizing a kayak paddle.

To measure correctly, sit in a straight-backed chair and use a tape measure or a stick to determine the distance between the stool and your nose.

The following table is for Werner Paddles.

WERNER PADDLE SIZING: Correct Length (Low Angle)

HeightBoat Width
Under 23″23″ to 28″28″ to 32″Over 32″
Under 5″210 cm220 cm230 cm240 cm
“5 to 5’6”215 cm220 cm230 cm240 cm
“5’6″” to 6″220 cm220 cm230 cm250 cm
Over 6′220 cm230 cm240 cm250 cm

WERNER PADDLE SIZING: Correct Length (High Angle)

HeightBoat Width
Under 26″Over 26″
Under 5’1″200 cm220 cm
5’1″ to 5’4″205 cm220 cm
5’4″ to 6′210 cm220 cm
Over 6′215 cm230 cm

(Use This chart as a starting point: Locate the closest combination of paddler height and boat width listed. Narrower boats or shorter paddlers subtract 5cm for a high angle and 10 cm for a low angle. Add length for wider boats and sit-on-tops.)

It is an excellent initiative to check the website of a brand you are considering because you may find slight variations of the following information: 

When you have more rowing experience, you will find room to make changes in the desired length, but the table provides a reasonable basis for starting.

Tweener Sizes

If it is between two sizes, it is usually preferable to shorten it. Either measure would probably work, but you will save a few ounces with a shorter pallet.

On the other hand, if you are delivered with a shorter torso, then the added arrival will be serviceable, and you should choose the more extended pallet.

The paddles are designed for low or prominent angle kayaking, and the size boards for each are not the same. The table above is for soft angle paddling.

Paddler HeightBoat Width
Under 23″23″ to 28″28″ to 32″Over 32″
Under 5′ tall210 cm220 cm230 cm240 cm
5′ to 5’6″ tall215 cm220 cm230 cm240 cm
5′ to 5’6″ tall220 cm220 cm230 cm250 cm
Over 6′ tall220 cm230 cm240 cm250 cm

Kayak Paddle Construction Materials   

As with the paddle blades, the paddle rods are accessible in a variety of materials. Aluminum and fiberglass are two recurring configurations, and carbon is used in high-end models.

How to Choose Kayak Paddles

Blades Aluminum

Aluminum pallets are the lower end of the cost and quality spectrum.

They are sturdy and have the potential to be an acceptable purchase if you are just getting started in kayaking or need something to use occasionally.

They have the potential to be cold in cold weather and, because of their heavier weight, would not be as satisfying to paddle on a long day’s ride as carbon fiber or fiberglass paddle.

If the value is the most relevant aspect of acquiring your paddle, you may want to consider an aluminum axle.

Plastic Paddles

Plastic pallets are very recurrent thanks to their durability and price. You will find that they weigh more than fiberglass and carbon fiber pallets.

Plastic pallets commonly have comparatively thick edges and more flex, resulting in a less effective blow.

They are an acceptable alternative for a recreational paddle, for playing in the cockpit, for day trips, or as a spare, assuming you lose a paddle.

Carbon Fiber Kayak Paddles

Everyone knows that the most expensive and highest quality material for a kayak paddle is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is incredibly light and super strong and rigid, making it an incredible alternative for an extensive kayaking trip.

The handle will feel warmer in your hands than an aluminum paddle. The primary virtue of a carbon shaft is the weight. When attached to a carbon paddle, you benefit from the fastest usable weight combination.

Fiberglass Kayak Paddles

Fiberglass kayak paddles are fast, rigid, and durable. They are a common alternative for kayak fans and recreational paddlers. Standard quality paddles usually have fiberglass blades and carbon shafts, which represents a compromise between weight, durability, and price.

What is feathering in a kayak paddle?

All paddle shafts accept you to rotate them to match or feather them.

They also accept you to change the feathering ratio easily, usually in 15-degree increments. Some take you to adjust them to any angle you want.

best kayak paddles

Sheet Design

Most paddle blades these days have an asymmetrical dihedral shape.

An asymmetrical blade is subjectively narrower and shorter on one side. That tilts it so that the blade area sector is more suited when you push through the water.

You can see a dihedral blade by the rib in its center. The edges without this flutter more, which can make straight tracking more difficult.

Because they are lighter, the narrower paddles are comfortable for long stretches of paddling; that’s good for a finished day tour or a trip of many days.

Shaft Design

Bent-shaft paddles have a “bent” part that places the hands at a more practical angle along the capacity part of a stroke, minimizing joint irritation and fatigue.

If you are modifying from a straight shaft paddle to a bent shaft paddle, plan a day in the water to change your stroke technique.

Two pieces or four pieces, however, are both created to break and make the housing simpler. A model with a four-piece axle has shorter parts, so it’s okay if you’re hiking somewhere with a portable kayak or carrying your paddle on a plane.

The reduced diameter shafts offer a less fatiguing grip for paddlers with small hands.

If you can’t touch your thumb and forefinger when you grab a paddle, this is you. Shafts are not made in many diameters: they are level or reduced in diameter.

Different Ways of Kayak Paddles

The paddle blade’s shape is essential because it establishes how the edge interacts with the water along each stroke.

The type of paddle you want to perform will determine the appropriate blade shape.

Your paddling style is the most relevant aspect of whether you should paddle with a short, broad blade or an extended, thin blade.

High angle palette

If you are competing or paddling in whitewater, a prominent angle paddle is an acceptable alternative to give you plenty of control in more challenging conditions. Principal angle paddles are shorter and broader.

Low angle paddle

Low-angle rowing means that the paddle is held more horizontally, and the two hands are closer together in height throughout the stroke.

Low angle blades are longer and thinner than main angle blades. If you are going on a day trip in calm waters or a kayak trip of many days, this is an acceptable alternative for you.

Wing-like blade

The wing’s paper is created with a blade face with a shallow blade shape designed to increase a forward stroke’s efficiency and capacity.

This is an acceptable kayak paddling alternative for runners and can be annoying for the recreational paddler who chooses softer, lower-angle strokes. To improve the wing shape’s unique design, you have to paddle with the paddle vertical while moving through the water.

What kind of kayaking do you do?

Recreational kayak paddles

A recreational kayak’s width means that you will need a slightly larger paddle somewhere in the range of 86-94 inches [220-240 cm] to get to the water comfortably.

If you are a recreational kayaker, polypropylene or fiberglass-reinforced polypropylene paddles may work well for you. The shape of the paper can be elongated symmetrically or asymmetrically. An aluminum or fiberglass shaft will work well for a recreational kayaker.

Tour Kayaking Oars

Touring kayakers will be in the narrowest of kayaks in between these three types of kayaks. If you are a touring kayaker, you are usually looking for a kayak paddle to help you contemplate the distance a bit.

Height RangeBoat Width
23″ and under23″ to 28″28′ to 32″Over 32″
Less than 5′210 cm220 cm230 cm240 cm
5′ to 5’6″215 cm220 cm230 cm240 cm
5’6″ to 6′220 cm220 cm230 cm250 cm
6′ and taller220 cm230 cm240 cm250 cm

Tour kayaks accept to select between a prominent or low arm angles in their paddling position.

If you choose a more upright and high position, stick to the shorter paddle of the suggested length of the touring kayak.

If you choose the more relaxed, lower horizontal position, stick to the longer radical of the suggested paddle length. Generally, touring paddles should be 82-90 inches [210-230 cm].

How to Stay Hot in your Kayak Camping Tips

One of the essential teachings I learned is that you don’t have to pack enough to be hot. It is truly worth investing in some well-selected items specifically designed to offer peace of mind when camping.

Don’t wait until you are freezing.

The thermal layers are enormous and intelligent.

It is ideal always to carry a hot water bottle.

If you place an uninsulated stainless steel hot water bottle in your sleeping bag overnight, it will radiate heat like a sauna stone.

Try to locate your makeshift heater with one of these critical surfaces: your core, inner thigh (near the femoral artery), and neck (near the jugular).

Not a fan of stainless steel? Opt for material without BPA. However, harmful chemicals leach into the water when a material is heated. For these reasons, the best option is the stainless steel bottle.

A warning:

Only some of the metal water bottles are stainless steel, so check the labels. Look for food-grade stainless steel #304 or 18/8.

Don’t go to bed cold:

If you get cold in your sleeping bag, even with added bedding, you may get out. Take a brisk walk or run to the bathroom, or do some star is hoping to raise your core temperature a little before curling up for the night.

Wear a wool cap to proceed to bed.

If you expose only your head to the cold, you should know that you will lose 40% to 50% of your body heat out there.

  • Resting bag liners can help.
  • Invest in down insulation
  • Insulate your store with a carpet or rugs.
  • Invest in some disposable heat packs
  • Don’t use a vast tent.
  • Portable heaters must be used with extreme caution!

Keep in mind that you are not 100% safe with any tent heater. They do not offer 100% safety. 

When you use a heating unit, a fire, poisonous gas, or another catastrophic failure mat, an electric heater is the safest.

Use the right kind of sleeping bag.

One season sleeping bags are usually very light. Therefore, they are unlikely to keep you warm in a tent. Ideally, look for a 3 or 4 season sleeping bag, and you’ll be safe. 

Carry extra blankets

Get rid of the double-height air bed.

  • Isolate your water bottles

At high altitudes and in extreme climates, there is a more significant commitment to dehydration. Frozen water not only lowers body temperature but also makes rehydration difficult. “I use Granite Gear’s air coolers (item H) to prevent water from freezing overnight.” This type of insulation reflects 95% of the radiant heat. Therefore, it will insulate everything that is hot drinks like soup. Get an electric blanket it will provide the best comfort to your camping.

Keep your core body temperature high and stay hydrated by drinking something hot.

How does your body lose heat?

Evaporation: The evaporation makes possible a refreshing sensation. This is because the body loses 85% of its heat. This is achieved through sweating during intense exercise. 

Wet clothes from sweat and increased breathing also cause body heating.

Radiation: Heat is removed from the body by radiation. This way, it can lose up to 50% of its heat in temperatures below 20°C (68°F). 

How to Choose Kayak Paddles: FAQ

What size paddle for kayak do I need?

Your kayak paddle’s length is the kayak’s height and width.

If you are in a Whitewater kayak, please refer to the following table. Keep in mind that quite a few people use a shorter paddle style for boating and freestyle. A larger paddle size is better used for running in rivers and streams.

What are the best paddles for kayaking?

  1. Werner Camano 2 PC Straight Paddle (better overall)
  2. Carlisle magic plus kayak paddle (best value paddle)
  3. Aqua-Bound Manta Ray Carbon Posi-Lok 2 Piece Kayak Paddle
  4. Bending Branches Angler Classic (the best palette for fishing kayak paddle)
  5. Carlisle Expedition Fiberglass Paddle (best for travel)
  6. Werner Kalliste Carbon 2-Piece Paddle (best-bent shaft)
  7. Advanced Elements Compact Touring Kayak Paddle
  8. Seattle Sports 060295 SeaWhisper Carbon Kayak Paddle
  9. SeaSense X-TREME1 Kayak Paddle (the best economic paddle)

Check our full guide on best kayak paddles.

Should I get a 10- or 12-foot kayak?

For day trips, the 10′ is simpler to transport and store. The 12′ can carry more gear for camping and more gear = more peace of mind. If you’re a little smaller than your husband, the width of the boat can make a huge difference in your tranquility.

Conclusion

When trying to select a kayak paddle, several of us have the possibility of getting complicated; occasionally, this seems to be a simple task. On the other hand, if you do not know how to select your paddle well, you could ruin your trip. It is substantial that you investigate before carrying it out. In this text, you will see some steps that will allow you to make a good selection.

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