Most Buoyant / Durable Paddle Float?

Trying to find the most buoyant, inflatable paddle float. If it’s durable, that would be good too.

Not seeing any displacement ratings for the various floats… wondering if someone knows of a chart somewhere with various types/brands compared.

For buoyancy one needs to go for a

– Last Updated: Sep-10-16 10:39 AM EST –

two chambered paddle float.

Personally I have found this one to works the best. It's durable and easily rolls up to store behind you backband.

I believe it is made by GAIA, but mine happens to have the "Dinghy Shop" logo.

You really need to practice with these and even if you have good technique a paddle float self-rescue will often fail in high winds and or rough water.

durable is foam but I just use it in the colder months.

I don’t disagree, but…

– Last Updated: Sep-10-16 12:05 PM EST –

a foam paddle float takes up quite a bit of deck space. Also it always seems to be in-the-way when assisting another paddler with a reentry or doing a cowboy scramble self-rescue.

As an instructor I've seen many novices struggle with deploying a foam float when doing rescue drills. It lacks the buoyancy of a dual chambered device, which eats into their confidence.

A couple of years ago I lent a student my dual-chamber because they really had trouble with using their Northwater foam float. They then successfully did a re-entry on the first try and then a second.

Of course YMMV.

Foam vs inflatable
I tend to carry my foam one when I paddle in winter, which is not much these days as long as I can find snow for snowshoes. But mine is older and less wide than some of current ones.

As far as inflatables, I recently had to replace my dual chamber one when I got to Maine and discovered it had died. Paddling solo it is on my list of things I won’t launch without. I couldn’t find but a single chamber unit, and it works. But before I return to Maine I will be getting another dual chamber float. They are a whole lot less fuss to secure than the single chamber ones.

…all of this I experienced with a foam float. It did not have enough buoyancy, I was able to fully submerge it without trying hard. It was not very helpful and got in the way a lot. A double-chamber inflatable is the way to go.

I use the NRS paddle float…

It’s very durable, has two chambers that give lots of flotation and rolls up nicely to store under a deck bungee.

The only negative I would say is that as two chamber floats don’t have an open mesh side, they do trap water much more than single chambered ones making them just a little more difficult to drain.

I also have the NRS in my kit

– Last Updated: Sep-10-16 7:46 PM EST –

It's not a bad float. It would be my second choice. As you indicate it provides great buoyancy.

In comparing the NRS directly to the Dinghy/GAIA paddle float: both floats are dual chambered with a nice quick-clip retaining strap. I prefer the GAIA because it: costs less; takes up less space; dries more quickly and retains less water.

Fwiw, the dual chambers help 'pinch' and 'trap' the paddle blade, however, the user should still employ the retaining strap. I seen an number of owners of single chambered units have the float simply slip off their paddle unless they really tighten down the retaining strap. Even then it sometimes is still not enough to retain the float.

Dual-chambered Inflatable
Thanks for the comments. I have done a few rescue classes and used the dual-chamber float…so that’s what I’m thinking… I just know there are a number of brands, and made out of different materials.

If I could find the dang displacements that might make this easier.

Would measurements help?

– Last Updated: Sep-11-16 9:54 PM EST –

I use a dual chambered float from Seattle Sports. The inflatable section measures 21" x 12". It's quite buoyant.

The NRS website states both chambers displace 14 liters, or seven liters each. Seattle Sports doesn't give that information, nor does The Dinghy Shop.

The NRS float is large, 15" by a little over 24". In fact, I think it’s almost overkill but by the time it’s rolled up it doesn’t really matter and I think even the widest high angle paddle blades would fit into it easily.

It provides a lot of flotation. I’m 6’0" and 190lbs and I can use it easily with just one chamber inflated.