Single blading a pack boat

Lack of tumblehome is what lessens it’s
appeal to me and it’s friendliness to vertical stroke, whether with single or double blade paddles. I think max beam is only 28".

I have read where it used to be popular to hang seats from the rails and use the Bucktail for deadfish polo. I don’t think I want to work that hard, since I have a Flashfire. I’m hoping one of my family members will make use of it.

Full disclosure, please, Alan & Yanoer
So you liked to paddle a kayak or SOB canoe with a short single blade.

How many boats have you had?

How many do you have now?

If you were buying your first canoe or if you had only one canoe, and you wanted only to single blade that canoe “in its default configuration”, which I believe is the OP’s situation, would your first choice for this single blade vessel be a SOB pack canoe or a kayak?

I’ve paddled thousands of miles in an outrigger canoe, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a newbie as his first or only canoe.

Depends on the pack canoe.
I didn’t like single blading the Bucktail because of lack of tumblehome and difficulty reaching the water comfortably. I Also didn’t like single blading my wife’s woodstrip Wee Lassie for the same reasons. I haven’t paddled any other pack canoes. Touring kayaks are a whole 'nother matter - very easy to reach the water and I get good mechanics with the right size paddle.

II own about 25 solo canoes and kayaks and experiment all the time.

The OP expressed no obligation to paddle his 1st solo canoe in it’s native configuration.

There are many reasons not to recommend an outrigger canoe to a newbie as a first canoe for paddling Michigan streams/

I quoted the OP, Yanoer
There’s always a lot of topic drift on this site.

The OP is starting threads to help him decide on his first single blade canoe. In this thread he’s essentially inquiring whether a pack canoe “in the default configuration” would be a reasonable choice.

The topic isn’t whether some of us experienced paddlers have single bladed SOBs in our multi-boat canoe and kayak lives for some reason.

I stand by my experiential claim that it is very rare for a canoeist to choose a pack canoe for his or her first, or only, SINGLE BLADING hull. Among other reasons, that’s because the SOB position is very sub-optimal for single blade power and efficiency, and also because a narrow SOB hull is very sub-optimal for newbie stability with a high COG kneeling seat.

As for the video linked in the OP, I’d put that guy’s preferences in a niche category. He starts out saying that he chooses the pack canoe because the waters he’s in are small streams and ponds. That makes sense. Why does he use a single blade? Probably because that’s what he prefers and because single blades are less clumsy on congested narrow streams. However, I’ve never seen a serious overnight tripper or day exercise paddler sitting cross-legged on the bottom of a pack canoe with a single blade. That could work for lily dipping, but it isn’t an efficient way to travel long distances or on eclectic waters with a single blade. But, of course, you could do it if you wanted to.

Finally, as to pack canoes used with a double blade, I would buy one as my first hull only if my primary paddling interest involved a substantial amount of portaging or if I had some physical limitation that required a super light canoe. Most are slow, except for the one’s costing $3000+.

Yes I have owned, and still own, quite a few different boats.

I would not recommend single blading a solo pack canoe mainly because I don’t have any experience with them and it doesn’t look like much fun. But maybe it’s not so bad, I don’t know.

Nor would I recommend an outrigger canoe to a new paddler or anyone else that wanted to paddle the waters he mentioned.

But I would recommend single blading a kayak if someone wanted to learn some single blading skills but only had a kayak available.

Why not? The low shear makes them quite pleasurable to single blade and the width of a rec kayak is about that of a solo canoe. The low seating position of a kayak doesn’t make for the best paddle angle but with a short shaft it’s not too bad. No reason you couldn’t raise the seat a few inches in a fat kayak while still retaining plenty of stability. The hull shape won’t be as refined as a fine solo canoe but most paddlers, myself included, aren’t very refined either.

Kayaks seem to breed like rabbits so the OP should have no problem finding a large selection both new or used at reasonable prices.

The worst part of the idea is having to try and explain to everyone why you’re paddling a kayak with a single blade, which, to many “paddlers”, seems only slightly more confusing than why anyone would paddle a canoe instead of a kayak.


Recommendations come from people who have actually tried aomething

Will consider
honing single blade skills in a cheap rec-kayak if I can’t manage to find a good solo hull by mid-summer.

Especially if it’s really feasible to raise the seat up.

If there are any suggestions on what to keep an eye out for design-wise with regard to a kayak for single blading, fire away.

Here in the Adirondacks alders often close over small streams. The double blade paddle’s footprint is too wide and we have to use a short, 46-47" single blade.

Actually, we’ve compared attaining in shallow water with double and single blades and the single blade won because the double was restricted to horizontal strokes in the shallows. That said a couple things help.

Pack canoes are easier to enter and exit when the seat is 2-3" off the bottom; this allows the paddler to get a foot under his Sitz-Bones to stand, and the resultant height increases paddler reach which is important with a short shafted single.

A second design feature that aids reach and employing an efficient vertical paddleshaft with the single is tumblehome, the tuck under the rails to considered equally important in traditional solo canoes.

Few pack canoe builders include tumblehome in their designs because the two piece mold required increased both mold making costs and time to cycle hulls out of the mold. MRC’s Serenade, OT’s Next and Swift’s Kee 14 are individual pack canoes with tumblehome. Placid’s entire line includes the design feature.

So it goes

Off topic but wierd enough to mention

– Last Updated: Mar-26-15 6:50 PM EST –

Many years ago I ran across a guy who was doing a daytrip on the Wisconsin river in what I seem to recall was a high-quality folding kayak (though my memory about the boat could be wrong). What caught my eye about him was that he was using a double-blade paddle, but only paddling on one side. I watched him travel for about a mile downstream, toward where I was sitting on the shore, and that whole time he only dipped the paddle on one side of the boat. As he got closer, he saw me sitting there and pulled up next to me and got out. At this point I saw the foot-controlled rudder, but had already expected that since I'd noticed that the boat would veer a quite a lot to the offside during each power stroke, then veer back to the onside during each recovery stroke. I asked him why he was paddling on just one side, and he said he always paddled that way. He said as long as he could use a rudder to keep the boat going straight, he had never felt any need to use both blades. To each his own, huh?

To label canoe technique as unorthodox
tells me that you’ve kayaked more, or haven’t been on the water much. As mentioned…a canoe paddle you can fit in quite a small area and once you learn how to use it…can give you much more control of your boat for the space used…than any double blade. Of course you have to learn how to use it…which requires more than blogging physics…thing is to try a few for both degree of denseness and shaft diameter…in addition to length = what’ll work with your physical dimensions…