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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Solo Tripping
      Best paddle for solo trip     

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Whatsit
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12/31/2016 09:39AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Hi
I was wondering what type of paddle most of you use when soloing? Meaning a wide blade, ottertail, beavertail, bent shaft?
Just wondering. I've been reading some books about soloing and many people soloing seems to recommend more of an ottertail paddle. I can't even find one for sale.
Thanks
Mike
 
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12/31/2016 10:30AM  
Opinions vary quite a bit on this. I've mostly stuck with a straight shaft paddle but plan to try some others this year and am interested in getting an ottertail for bigger water. The guy that carved my yoke also makes paddles and ships, and with the exchange rates it might be a deal. Tealpaddles.com
 
12/31/2016 11:03AM  
Personally, I use a double blade for soloing, but carry a straight as a spare paddle, which also sees use for maneuvering and tight spaces. You do plan to strap a spare in your canoe, don't you? As jaywalker said, preferences vary quite a bit among soloists.
 
Whatsit
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12/31/2016 11:29AM  
quote boonie: "Personally, I use a double blade for soloing, but carry a straight as a spare paddle, which also sees use for maneuvering and tight spaces. You do plan to strap a spare in your canoe, don't you? As jaywalker said, preferences vary quite a bit among soloists."
I was planning on taking my bentshft paddle. I'm renting a solo canoe from an outfitter and they will lend me a straight paddle with the canoe, so yes I plan on bringing two paddles. I've been experimenting with my bentshaft for solo canoeing and really like it.
Thanks Boonie
Mike
 
Whatsit
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12/31/2016 11:32AM  
quote Jaywalker: "Opinions vary quite a bit on this. I've mostly stuck with a straight shaft paddle but plan to try some others this year and am interested in getting an ottertail for bigger water. The guy that carved my yoke also makes paddles and ships, and with the exchange rates it might be a deal. Tealpaddles.com "
I sent the place an email requesting pricing for shipping. A 51 inch birch ottertail paddle is $40 Canadian. Which is currently $29 USD. So if shipping is reasonable that would be a nice deal. Thanks
Mike
 
12/31/2016 12:35PM  
Yup lots of personal choices. I tried yak double blades, long and short don't like them. Beaver and ottertail feel too long in my hands paddling my Advantage.
I've gone to ZRE, short paddles, 14 degree 8 inch Z Lite 48 inch, straight shaft Z Lite 50 inch 8 1/2 inch wide.
The choice is yours and your preferences will change over time, as I like to recommend, try a bunch, then think it over.

butthead
 
Whatsit
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12/31/2016 01:08PM  
quote butthead: "Yup lots of personal choices. I tried yak double blades, long and short don't like them. Beaver and ottertail feel too long in my hands paddling my Advantage.
I've gone to ZRE, short paddles, 14 degree 8 inch Z Lite 48 inch, straight shaft Z Lite 50 inch 8 1/2 inch wide.
The choice is yours and your preferences will change over time, as I like to recommend, try a bunch, then think it over.


butthead"

Thanks Butthead! I have used a straight shaft for a long time, but when I bought my bent shaft paddle this fall and tried it I really liked it. But towards the end of November I tried it and for what ever the reason didn't feel the same to me. I'm planning on going out today with my wife. I'm using the bent shart again. Hopefully it will be ok. My canoe came with two ore/paddles that are very close to ottertail paddles but they are both so long. Good to know you tried them and weren't overly excited about them.
Mike
 
12/31/2016 02:05PM  
Whatever you do decide, as others have stated, I would highly suggest bringing a spare. Learned that the hard way a few years back;-)

My paddle of preference now is a Zaveral bent shaft. I have a Sanborn that I bring along as a backup, but it is like paddling with a block of cement after using the carbon Zav. Thinking of making an ottertail at a local canoe building outfit.
 
Whatsit
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12/31/2016 03:42PM  
quote Frenchy19: "Thinking of making an ottertail at a local canoe building outfit."
Lucky o live in a spot that would offer such a thing
 
MacCamper
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12/31/2016 03:50PM  
Wouldn't trade my double blade for making good time, rough water and big lakes. That said, I always bring my Winona bent along for tight creeks, quick jaunts, pokey days and fishing. As mentioned, never leave home/camp without a back up. On a very pleasant October day calm morning and typical windy afternoon, I found myself battling a head wind a long lake back to camp with my bent shaft. While I was buffeted by the whipped waves and strong blasts, I pondered how screwed I would be if I broke/lost my paddle as on that one occasion I hadn't brought a spare. Although my paddle held fast, that brief scare set a good habit in motion.

Mac
 
12/31/2016 05:50PM  
quote Whatsit: "I sent the place an email requesting pricing for shipping. A 51 inch birch ottertail paddle is $40 Canadian. Which is currently $29 USD. So if shipping is reasonable that would be a nice deal. Thanks
Mike"

When I checked a few months back, they weren't too quick at getting back, but they told me it was about 40CD to ship a paddle to me in Minneapolis. I am no expert, but double check your paddle size. Perhaps someone else can help here, but aren't otter tails suppose to be a bit longer?
 
Whatsit
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12/31/2016 09:58PM  
quote Jaywalker: "quote Whatsit: "I sent the place an email requesting pricing for shipping. A 51 inch birch ottertail paddle is $40 Canadian. Which is currently $29 USD. So if shipping is reasonable that would be a nice deal. Thanks
Mike"

When I checked a few months back, they weren't too quick at getting back, but they told me it was about 40CD to ship a paddle to me in Minneapolis. I am no expert, but double check your paddle size. Perhaps someone else can help here, but aren't otter tails suppose to be a bit longer?"

Funny you'd say that about the length. I thought the same after I posted the length to him.
If anyone has any advise on this, that would be great
 
NotSoFast
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01/01/2017 07:46AM  
Whatsit, two things:

1. Your questions have started some really good threads during the past few weeks. Thank you for that.

2. I use a bent shaft as my main solo paddle, straight shaft as back-up. After many years of not needing the back-up, I used it in October when about half of my primary paddle's blade de-laminated and broke off. The back-up is an inexpensive, plastic-and-aluminum thing that's super sturdy, can be used to prop up my tarp, and just happens to have the perfect weight to balance my solo canoe in portage mode.

Dave
 
Whatsit
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01/01/2017 10:11AM  
quote NotSoFast: "Whatsit, two things:


1. Your questions have started some really good threads during the past few weeks. Thank you for that.


2. I use a bent shaft as my main solo paddle, straight shaft as back-up. After many years of not needing the back-up, I used it in October when about half of my primary paddle's blade de-laminated and broke off. The back-up is an inexpensive, plastic-and-aluminum thing that's super sturdy, can be used to prop up my tarp, and just happens to have the perfect weight to balance my solo canoe in portage mode.


Dave"

Thanks Dave :-)
I really appreciate that. Yes, my back up will be the same sort of paddle. I as of this point in the game figure I'll be taking my bent shaft paddle as my main paddle. I can't wait. This site is so good. What a great group of people.
Thanks all
Mike
 
01/01/2017 10:21AM  
quote NotSoFast: "Whatsit, two things:


1. Your questions have started some really good threads during the past few weeks. Thank you for that.



Dave"


+1 on that!!!!!!

I've only done 3 solos so I'm definitely still in novice stage on solo paddling. I brought my bent shaft as my backup and got a double blade w/ the canoe I rent from the outfitter. I can cover more ground using the double blade but enjoy paddling with my bent shaft more....... Last solo I thought about using the bent and taking a straight from the outfitter as my backup but brought the double instead. On travel days I used the double because I knew I'd cover more ground but wish I would have used my bent shaft and started wishing I didn't bring the double at all. BUT then on my second to last day while out exploring the wind kicked up during the middle of the day and I was really glad that I had a double blade. For my solo trip this year I want to be more disciplined and use my bent shaft and keep the double strapped in the canoe as my back up and only use it for windy conditions so I can get better at solo paddling with a single blade paddle.
 
Whatsit
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01/01/2017 11:59AM  
quote ducks: "+1 on that!!!!!!


I've only done 3 solos so I'm definitely still in novice stage on solo paddling. I brought my bent shaft as my backup and got a double blade w/ the canoe I rent from the outfitter. I can cover more ground using the double blade but enjoy paddling with my bent shaft more....... Last solo I thought about using the bent and taking a straight from the outfitter as my backup but brought the double instead. On travel days I used the double because I knew I'd cover more ground but wish I would have used my bent shaft and started wishing I didn't bring the double at all. BUT then on my second to last day while out exploring the wind kicked up during the middle of the day and I was really glad that I had a double blade. For my solo trip this year I want to be more disciplined and use my bent shaft and keep the double strapped in the canoe as my back up and only use it for windy conditions so I can get better at solo paddling with a single blade paddle."

Thanks Ducks!
I figure my back up will be the cheep aluminum/plastic paddle they supply with the canoe at the Outfitters. I'll use my bentshaft paddle most the time. Once I get the canoe going, I usually can move pretty fast with my bentshaft.
Mike
 
01/01/2017 01:49PM  
My favorite paddle is the Northstar carbon paddle. My last big trip with magicpaddler it was my main paddle with my bb expresso bent shaft as backup. The expresso was good for pushing off and such. I'm much faster and efficient with my double blade. But harder on shoulders and such.
 
gymcoachdon
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01/02/2017 01:52PM  
I rented from Piragis my first solo. I requested a double and a bent shaft, as I had never paddled a solo before. I used the double on Iron and LaCroix on a windy day, but didn't enjoy it. I used the bent shaft the rest of the trip, and my second trip I used a Wenonah bent shaft as the primary, and a grey owl bent shaft as a back-up. Didn't miss the double blade.

On a side note, Piragis gives out very nice equipment. CCS tarp, and offered me a carbon paddle. I took wood, because I was afraid I might damage the carbon fiber. The last outfitter we used gave a heavy urethane type tarp, and HEAVY metal/plastic paddles. I was glad I had my own equipment to use, the others on the trip didn't know any better.
 
01/02/2017 08:23PM  
quote boonie: "Personally, I use a double blade for soloing, but carry a straight as a spare paddle, which also sees use for maneuvering and tight spaces. You do plan to strap a spare in your canoe, don't you? As jaywalker said, preferences vary quite a bit among soloists."

+1. This is my system as well but it took me several seasons to sort out what worked best.
 
Whatsit
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01/02/2017 10:13PM  
quote HighnDry: "quote boonie: "Personally, I use a double blade for soloing, but carry a straight as a spare paddle, which also sees use for maneuvering and tight spaces. You do plan to strap a spare in your canoe, don't you? As jaywalker said, preferences vary quite a bit among soloists."


+1. This is my system as well but it took me several seasons to sort out what worked best."

I've never tried a double blade paddle. That's a benifit of using a bigger outfitter I guess. But I like the outfitter I currently use. They are good people and I figure as long as these guys and others like them are around there will never be a monopoly in ely.
Mike
 
Whatsit
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01/04/2017 09:44PM  
Heard back from the Canadian paddle and yoke makers. They said $40 CD for shipping. Said it takes around 2 to 4 weeks to build something (unless they have it in stock) I asked them if it should be longer then normal, but so far no reply
Mike
 
Tony
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01/09/2017 10:27AM  
I also have tried a double paddle and found I did not like it. I now use a Wenonah carbon bent shaft and take a wood staight blade for back up and when paddling in rocky waters. The carbon is nice and lite and when I switch to the wood paddle it like grabbing a 2x4.

I also have an ottertail that I use tandam but mostly for deep lakes.

tony
 
Whatsit
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01/09/2017 10:53AM  
I have an old paddle/ore that is shaped a lot like an ottertail. I plan on trying it as soon as the ice melts. We are going to be in the 70's on Wednesday.
Mike
 
paddlinjoe
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01/11/2017 03:48PM  
Like NotSoFast I bring a bent shaft/straight shaft combination. Primary is an old Wenonah bent shaft paddle which I use 80% of the time. My backup is an Expedition Plus that I use when rocks are nearby at landings, shallow streams etc. I also use it just for a change of pace.
 
01/12/2017 11:06AM  
quote Whatsit: "quote Frenchy19: "Thinking of making an ottertail at a local canoe building outfit."
Lucky o live in a spot that would offer such a thing "

Agree. Local place in St. Paul called Urban Boat builders. $99 for the class which is 2.5 hours one evening and the 6 hours on a Saturday. Pretty reasonable price, I think. 1/17 and 1/21 are the dates of my class, and I am quite excited!
 
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