Paddling Gear

Whether it’s an afternoon relaxing on the lake or a whitewater river expedition, you’ll find the best paddling gear, essentials, and apparel right here for your next kayak, canoe, or packraft trip.

We’ve got reviews, ratings, and price comparisons on the boats, paddles, and accessories to outfit you safely, plus, apparel, PFDs, and waterproof storage to protect your valuable gear.

See our top paddling gear picks in any product category below. Or browse independent equipment reviews and ratings by real canoeists and kayakers to select appropriate, dependable, real world-tested gear for your next paddle.

Recent Paddling Product Reviews

Bending Branches BB Special

rated 5 of 5 stars This is the only paddle I’d recommend for flat water and lake paddling. This paddle provides you more power more efficiently with each of your strokes. You can easily spend much more on a paddle, but you’ll not really gain much in performance. (Note the grip and oval shaft) Finish is excellent. After more than two decades of use, my paddle looks much newer.  Firstly, in the interest of full disclosure, openness, and honesty, I’m biased toward wood paddles. I neither want nor need any high… Full review

Outdoor Products Smartphone Watertight Case

rated 2 of 5 stars Storage case to protect your cell phone from water and damage while backpacking. This was purchased for me as a gift. The idea behind it is great, however, it's bulky and hard to open and close. I clipped it to my pack and found it to slam back and forth all over the place while hiking. It added more weight than I wanted for a protective cover. The two closures are not easy to open up or snap closed. Full review

Mad River Explorer 16

rated 4.5 of 5 stars One of the great all around boats, especially for those who lean towards rivers over lakes. I have not had a chance to use this as much as I have the Old Town Tripper and the Old Town Pathfinder (Camper). It was purchased for river camping and as a boat that could handle larger rapids than my other boat the Old town Pathfinder. It has mainly been used in the rivers of North Carolina.  Although friends have been very happy with it paddling most years of their lives across Canada with or without… Full review

Old Town Pathfinder

rated 5 of 5 stars Strong and long lasting canoe for two people to camp or a small family to cruise in. Very durable, but don't count on doing very well on any river that has more than class II rapids. This boat is great. It was a craiglist purchase in great condition. I think someone at Old Town actually told me it is the same boat as the Camper but just a different name from several years ago. I think they just started making two sizes of the Camper instead of keeping the Pathfinder name. Oh it is also less then… Full review

Old Town Tripper 172

rated 5 of 5 stars Most durable and long lasting canoe I have ever experienced or heard of. The Old Town Tripper after 40+ years of hard use and still going. Durability I grew up in this canoe. My dad purchased it before I was born. It is over 40 years old and has only been kept outside in the elements on the shores of Lake Superior. Harsh conditions to say the least (plenty of sun and sub zero temps). It has been run up on the cobblestone and bed rock basalt coasts all its life and yes the outer layer on one of the… Full review

ZRE Power Surge FW-Z Light

rated 5 of 5 stars Hand made in the USA carbon fiber work of art that makes heavier paddles obsolete IMHO We purchased two ZRE Power Surge Light paddles a year ago and they still make us smile every time we use them or even just pick them up. At near 8 1/2 ounces (varies slightly by length), they allow two Medicare-age paddlers to paddle for four hours without even having our arms get tired. My wife has arthritis in her hands, so I phoned Mr. Zaveral himself for advice. He told us what measurements to take and then… Full review

Dagger Katana 10.4

rated 5 of 5 stars The plastic device on the front cockpit coaming is useful to bungie your paddle to the kayak for brief periods of time. Lay your paddle down 90 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the boat and then hook the bow bungie chord into the plastic device to lock in your paddle. The Katana is easy to outfit and the fitting can be dialed-in pretty tight because of all the pads and shims Dagger provides. I have a longer rec/touring 13 footer to use when I want to go fast in the lake or on swift moving water. Full review