spare kayak paddle advice

I’ve never carried a spare paddle, since I usually drive my kayak upriver, and paddle down to my front door, right on the river bank, so if I lost or broke my paddle, I could just float back. But for some kayak camping trips I’m planning in other areas, I might need a spare paddle. Even with a paddle leash, is it a must to bring a spare? I don’t have much storage space, so what do you all suggest? One half of a full paddle?

You could float right back?
What if you have to turn…and don’t and miss your door and float on by?

Cheap. Kids canoe paddle.

I know some kayakers who use a short cut down Zaveral carbon fiber bent shaft paddle. Stows easily.

Like a spare tire
it is only essential if you happen to need it.

Just get a el cheapo canoe paddle
I was carrying around a two piece Epic touring paddle as my spare, and then it dawned on me that a canoe paddle would be much lighter and less baggage.

I am now using one of my old Black Bart paddles.

When we are in a group I always make sure at least one of us has a spare, and if I am by myself I don’t leave home without a spare.

I watched a canoe paddle float away from a group of us on a 15 day wilderness canoe trip in the arctic circle, and it was a very comforting feeling to know we had extras when we couldn’t get it with a throw bag/rope.

Jack L

so far…
I’ve used my spare to:

  1. give to a raft full of kids blown into the lake by wind.
  2. given to a friend when she shattered her blade on a rock
  3. loaned to someone who forgot theirs
  4. given to someone who felt that leashes were dangerous
  5. traded with someone who hatewdtheir borrowed paddle.
  6. etc…


    a) borrowed an extra from a buddy when I forgot to bring one.

kids canoe paddle
I recently picked up a really nice FoxWorx 42" bent shaft, for $40.

weighs only 14 oz. :slight_smile:

It’s Not Just a Spare
It’s another gear. When the wind and/or current pick up speed it’s nice to be able to adjust to it. Two paddles with significantly different surface areas give you two cadences to choose from. A full sized paddle can be tucked under your bungies/perimeter line on your front deck.

Yep, a full size . . .
. . . and a wind.

Why ?
You’re probably paddling with friends anyway. Let them tow you. Most likely they tell their friends they paddle for exercise. Give 'em some.

If your paddle breaks…
what would you want to use for the rest of your trip?

If the answer is a jury rig alternative, then that can be your spare. But if you would want a paddle that was as kind to your torso and wrists as the one you are using now, then the spare should be something decent.

What kind of boat do you plan of camping out of that you couldn’t get it under bungies on the deck?

“storm” GP
some of us carry a short wooden Greenland style paddle – about 6’ long and skinny so it tucks under the deck bungees without taking up much room. It can be useful for a lot of things besides backup or alternative paddling (I’ve used mine for poling through gravel bars and even for forcibly deflecting an overwrought and overweight Labrador Retriever that was trying to clamber into my boat). You can carve one yourself pretty easily out of a pine stud and slap on some varnish for around $20 total cost.

Trying to get to shore without some kind of paddle is a headache in the best of situations and a nightmare in the worst.

as said before…
…it isn’t necessary until you need it.

In the 8 years or so I have been padding, I have only broken a paddle once and never lost one. Have lent a spare to others a few times when they forgot theirs.

Guess it isn’t necessary, but I still carry one. Likely not needed day to day, but sure would be welcome if I do need it.

If kayaking, you can strap it under the bungees on you deck.

I use an older paddle after I upgrade to a newer one as my spare. Before that, I used a very cheap one I bought used.

I broke one on Juniper Springs in Florida. It broke very early and I was glad I had a quality spare to get me to the end.

I would not worry about the quality as much for a short trip but if I was self supported on a long trip I would want a quality extra paddle. Going from a nice paddle to an iron pipe is no fun.

real paddle
Get a decent kayak paddle

Are you going to practice using the canoe paddle, half a paddle, heavy aluminum paddle? Do you really want to paddle any distance using any of them?

I broke a paddle on the second day of a week long trip, my spare was a nice paddle, a Werner Camano, but it was 10cm longer than my paddle and it was heavier than my carbon paddle. That might not seem like that big a difference but it was.

A bent shaft Zav weighs less than
most half kayak paddles.

A canoe paddle is not necessarily a ugly clunker thing. Master hit and switch and will keep up with your double bladed brethren in a pinch.

Of course 7.5 to 10 oz comes at a price. You can sometimes find one used.

Different type
I agree that the spare is an opportunity to have not only a different ‘gear’ (i.e. surface area and length), but a chance to get used to a totally different type of paddle.

I take a light-weight, foam-core carbon Euro and a one-piece cedar GP, and use whichever I’m in the mood for. After a few hours, I’ll switch, which gives a different feel and workout. They’re both nice to use, even though one cost 20 times more.

Soon, I’d like to get an Aleut paddle to see what they’re like.

ret603 made me a sweet Aleut
paddle. I can’t get over how fast it powers the boat. But its one piece…

Been paddling…
For over 11 years now & never bought or needed a spre paddle. Do have a paddle leash, though…

Well, I guess you can call it that? It is a length of 550 cord tied to the paddle on one end & to the boat on the other.

It isn’t expensive or have a cool tag on it or anything, but it does the same thing.

Forget the paddle. You won’t need it. Spares are for the “sea going type”. If you are on a river, chances are if, IF (!), you loose or break your paddle (highly unlikely), you just pull over to shore & walk your way out easier than anything.

Paddle easy,


Go up and read the last sentence…
of my post above.

Kind of tough to walk your way out of there !

jack L

Come to think of it
I’ve never truly needed a spare, although I definitely enjoy switching paddles during a trip.

The day I didn’t bring a spare would be the day I tripped over my paddle and broke it at the put-in, resulting in a long drive home with no paddling at all. I wouldn’t tempt fate by not bringing a spare, so I guess I’m superstitious…