Spare paddle suggestions?

I feel as if I’m paddling on “borrrowed time”–I have no spare paddle, and I don’t particularly like a paddle leash. Sooner or later, though, I know I’ll probably lose my paddle, even if only temporarily. I really do not want to put a lot of money into something I’ll rarely use (I hope), but I also don’t want to lug around unnecessary weight. Any suggestions for a good spare that’s neither very expensive or very heavy? Thanks.

what is your main paddle?
There is usually a range of prices for lines of paddles. I prefer to either get a lower priced version of my main paddle, or a paddle to compliment the main one.

If you are looking for an affordable paddle that is very nice check out the AT T4E Straight Shaft, or the AT Columbia line.

Just make a GP
from a white wood 2X4 (about $2.00)

Spare paddle?
What an excellant opportunity to try out a GP, assuming you’re not already using one. A really good one doesn’t cost any more than an inexpensive euro. Be interesting to see which one becomes your spare! Ken…

Expensive spare
My spare is a spiffy carbon AT crankshaft - it used to be my primary until I got a GP. I suggest buying your first GP - the one I made is not nearly as nice as the one a pro made. I’m slowly carving mine down to match the good one, it’ll get there someday.

Once you try it you’ll like it. 52 inches is right for most canoes and 48 is right for most kayaks. You can start longer if you want and cut it down an inch at a time and then use permanent glue.

For absolute rock bashing I’d get a white water paddle.

REI has a nice bending branches paddle made out of the best stuff available - wood with a rock resistant resin tip and it comes in all sizes from 48 to 56.

What Eric Said

– Last Updated: Apr-18-09 5:42 AM EST –

It's not a spare. It's another gear. It's the small chainring.

I use 2 Greenland paddles. Smaller one for upwind and the larger one is for downwind.

Greenland paddles are so inexpensive that I have 2 sets of 'gears'... a 'closely spaced' set for calm weather and a 'widely spaced' set for very windy days.

Morning Rex
How about that perfect NC paddling weather yesterday.

Got out on Lake James, in the yaks with “the Bride”, oldest daughter and Red Cross Randy for a wonderful ten miler.

Going again today, only with the canoe instead of the yak.

On the way to the put in we saw a guy climbing a steep hill on a road bike. At the end of the day, when we were coming home, we saw the same guy still peddling. - figured it was one of those crazies that must be training for Mt Mitchell



Rub it in, Would Ya?
I was in the factory yesterday. But I’m off today! I’ll be pumping up my tires in a few minutes. I keep hinting to my “friends” that we should go to Marion and pedal up and down the mountain some weekend. I get no feedback. The local club keeps talking about buying a helmet camera for members to use. I’d like to get at the back of a group descending the mountain and video it. Ahhh… beautiful.

Has your drought let up? The radio said they were doing a controlled burn in the Smoky Nat Park.

An inexpensive canoe paddle
makes a handy, easy to carry spare. Bass Pro Shops has one for 10-12 dollars. I often carry a 48" one and use it in mangrove tunnels and shallow spots, rather than struggle with my GP. I wouldn’t want to paddle too far with it, but with your skeg down, paddling on the windward side, it’s not too bad. If you have a reliable roll,you will have no trouble rolling with it, either. It’s really kinda’ fun and carries nicely on the back deck. Ken…

Spare paddle, not extra paddle
I think the question is regarding a paddle that can be stowed if the primary paddle is lost while on the water. Correct? A GP would be rather tough to stash inside the cockpit or hatch.

It really just comes down to how much you’d pay for a paddle that you could potentially never use. Werner will make some of their paddles in a 4-piece breakdown which also works well as a travel paddle. The ferrules tend to be a weak point so not the best as a primary paddle.

Maybe consider a set of whitewater hand paddles. Take up very little space but definitely not ideal for daily use.

Inside a hatch?
Maybe I’m missing something here, but I want my spare paddle where I can reach it!

emergency paddle
For most day trips I use a bright orange emergency telescoping paddle. The only time I’ve needed a spare was when I lost my paddle launching off a rock ledge, and was surprised how quick it got away from me. One of these is enough to get you over to where your main is floating. Or get you home if you really had to.

For longer trips I bring a four piece aquabound. I wouldn’t want to have to rely on the orange emergency paddle for any kind of long distance.


canoe paddle
I also take the canoe paddle option. On long trips the paddle can be used for muscle relief, and it’s easy to stow on deck. Of course, this depends on what kind of paddling you do (obviously, it may not be the right choices for many situations), and if you are competent with a single blade.

Today on the Cartecay River my paddle buddy needed his a couple of times to paddle down and retrieve his kayak paddle.

I don’t buy “spares”, but carry them
What I mean by that is I would never shop for a spare/part time paddle. I would use it as an excuse to upgrade and or add variety.

Be careful with that last bit though. Variety is great, and highly recommended, with the following caution: You need to be comfortable and proficient with your “spare” in poor conditions/situations when you’re most likely to break or lose the other one! That’s why one you have had a while is a good choice.

Times when you need the spare is no time to be getting to know something new or putting up with something not up to the task.

It’s not always bad conditions at fault either. Most paddles are broken on shore. This could stop your trip, or leave you with a long way to go that even in mild conditions could be a real bear with the wrong paddle.

For most kayakers that rules out single blades, or even Greenland Storms, as both require a lot of practice/use to get to a comfort/familiarity/proficiency level where they’d get you through serious slop or long distances. Even full size GPs can be a bad choice if you’re new to them.

Anyway. My first paddle became my spare when I upgraded (boat and blade). It was clunky/heavy (Harmony - metal/plastic) but had a lot of miles on it and was familiar. Better paddle that replaced it (Werner - FG) as primary later became backup when I switched to GP (Superior Kayak CF GP). GP is now mostly serving as backup to Aleut, Hybrid, and Wing paddles (but hard to call a Superior carbon fiber GP with a few thousand miles on it a backup or spare - though it’s bomber in that role). I often take 3, and none are really “spares”, more like options (with spare/backup function being a nice side bonus).

That, and I don’t buy stuff I don’t use.
Makes no sense to pay for some cheapo POS paddle that only bakes in the sun, and that you’ll hate having to rely on if needed.

If you are upgrading the primary and have a less that great paddle now, OK - use that as backup. Otherwise, get another decent primary.

Real backup should be as good as primary - a bit different makes it an even better use of funds. May not need to be as expensive, but should be tolerable and familiar enough for use all day anywhere you might find yourself with it in hand.

Repeating myself, as usual…

Anything will do, knock yourself out…

I seldom carry a spare canoe paddle
on easy day trips, because I never seem to lose or break them. On more serious or unfamiliar whitewater, I do carry a spare, and the spare is high quality like my regular paddle.

When kayaking, I have never carried a spare. There is no place on the deck of a whitewater boat for a spare. I use an unusually substantial paddle that is quite unlikely to break. No carbon shaft or thin blades.

As I edge slowly into touring kayaking, I’ll have to confront the issue all over again. I’ve tried using a short canoe paddle for short periods, and maybe one tied on the deck could serve for emergencies. I think I’ll die of old age before getting into open ocean crossings.

yr basic $150 Aquabound paddle. It’s better than the beat up Sawyer wood paddle I had to use after I broke my Current Designs paddle.