If your faithful touring paddle performs like a glorified egg beater, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. The best kayak touring paddles are marvels of design and engineering, precision-crafted for paddle-powered adventures big and small. Read on for seven of the top touring blades for 2023, with our selection of slick sticks to take you every distance.
Available lengths: 200–255 cm | Weight: 27 oz
MSRP: $408 CAD | nimbuspaddles.com
The Kiska is Nimbus Paddles’ most popular design for paddlers of every level and waters of every type. The asymmetrical dihedral powerfaces provide a smooth, flutterless stroke. This Kiska Elite model pairs fiberglass blades with an ovalized carbon fiber shaft for comfort and indexing. The ferrule is a simple three-hole snap-button design, allowing the paddler to easily switch from flat to feathered (60 degrees right or left)—there are no moving parts to clog or fuss with. Also available in a four-piece breakdown design and as a full carbon paddle.
Camano 2 Piece Straight Shaft
Available lengths: 205–260 cm | Weight: 27 oz
MSRP: $299 USD | wernerpaddles.com
Lightweight, strong and providing an excellent slice, it’s no surprise the agile Camano is one of Werner Paddles’ most popular designs. The fiberglass blade construction provides power and control in your stroke, and the beautiful translucent blades glow when they catch the sunlight. The Smart-View Adjustable Ferrule System allows intuitive adjustment of feathering angle from zero to 60 degrees, right or left, in 15-degree increments. The Camano is available in a standard diameter carbon blend shaft, and a version with a smaller diameter shaft for smaller hands. Also available in a straight one-piece, two-piece or four-piece design, and a bent one-piece or two-piece design.
Swing Low Angle Touring Paddle
Available lengths: 220–230 cm and 230–240 cm | Weight: 30 oz
MSRP: $299 USD | stellarkayaks.com
The Swing Low Angle Touring Paddle from Stellar Kayaks offers paddlers an energetic, capable and quiet paddle. Tough and attractive fiberglass blades are available in blue or red in the Hybrid option, pictured here. The oval carbon shaft reduces stress on fingers as it contours to the shape of your hand. The Swing Low Angle Touring Paddle features an aluminum cam collar and adjustable length within 10 centimeters and feather. Also available in a fully carbon design.
Tango Fiberglass 2-Piece Straight Shaft
Available lengths: 210–250 cm | Weight: 26 oz
MSRP: $324 USD | aquabound.com
The enigmatic northern lights are one of the most sought-after natural phenomena in the world—they’re also the inspiration for Aqua Bound’s newest colorway. Last fall, with its new eye-catching look, the bestselling Tango took home the coveted Best New Kayak Paddle award at the Paddling Magazine Industry Awards. This low-angle performance paddle offers a smooth stroke for maximum results with minimal effort, weighing in at just 26 ounces. Its Posi-Lok ferrule system features robust and corrosion-free construction, convenient dual-button release, and infinite feathering angles.
Sea Feather V-Lam Straight Shaft Touring Kayak Paddle
Available lengths: 220–250 cm | Weight: 27 oz
MSRP: $429 USD | paddlesandoars.com
With its classic low-angle paddling profile, the Sea Feather V-Lam from Sawyer Paddles and Oars is a lightweight companion for all-day cruising and relaxing day tours. Carbon fiber makes up the Sea Feather’s strong and flexible oval shaft, which can extend up to 10 centimeters and offers 0 to 80 degrees of feather angle. The Sea Feather’s long blades are crafted with an eye-catching V of laminated western red cedar. They are reinforced with durable fiberglass and Dynel ToughEdge, promising to keep them beautiful and resistant to damage while maintaining the lightweight build.
Available sizes: 210–230 cm | Weight: 24 oz
MSRP: $438 USD | gearlaboutdoors.com
The Kalleq is a working piece of art from Gearlab Outdoors designed for endurance. The Greenland-inspired carbon Kalleq’s edge measures 1.1 millimeters at its thinnest point. The smooth edge slices the water and offers comfort and efficiency on long days. Gearlab’s signature ProTek tip fortifies either end of the paddle with an easily replaceable tip made from a durable polyamide material. This gives the paddler confidence in rocky or shallow waters and allows the option to swap colored tips. The innovative, metal-free carbon spring joint on this two-piece paddle snaps securely together, ensuring a firm connection between blades.
Touring Full Carbon 4-Part Paddle
Available lengths: 230 cm | Weight: 30 oz
MSRP: $262 | advancedelements.com
Light, rigid and ultra-packable, the Touring Full Carbon 4-Part Paddle from Advanced Elements is a four-piece paddle breaking down to a svelte 27.5-inch-long package. Not only is a full-carbon four-piece paddle a rarity, but at just 30 ounces, Advanced Elements’ is perhaps the lightest four-piece paddle on the market. Adjust for a 60-degree right-hand or left-hand feather or flat option via three stainless steel locking snaps. This touring paddle’s carbon fiber shaft and blades offer fantastic handling on the water and excellent strength and durability.
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. —T. S. Eliot | Feature photo: Patrycja Hyrsz