5 Best Rafting Paddles

Author: AllAdventuresRafting | Updated on August 1, 2021

If you are looking for the best rafting paddles you can buy, you might be confused about where to start. The online space is so full of info on every type out there, it can be a little overwhelming trying to discern what the right one is for your needs. 

This is what we decided to do: Broke down all the common features found (materials, shapes/dimensions, etc.) and adopted strategies for narrowing down the selection process. There are several available for varying prices, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

While price alone isn't going to get you the one of your dreams, it is an important consideration as you narrow down your choices. 

In this article, we have selected five of the top products that you can buy. We shall look at all these products in-depth and try to analyze what are their strengths or their weaknesses. Hopefully, by the time you reach the end of the article, the best option for you will stand out based on what we teach you.

Material Used

The material used to make these products is essential because it allows you to determine how long the product will last you and in what waters you can use it.

When rafting, you will have to decide whether you want strength and control or a more relaxed inflexible paddle. Some of the list's pedals will have polypropylene material on the plate, which is much more corrosion resistant than several other plastic materials you can find on the list. The best option if you have a big budget is one made from carbon fiber.

When choosing a suitable material, you must be sure of what waters you want to use them in. if you are just a beginner and intend to buy a standard plastic paddle, you should expect that this will rust over time and breakdown. You should purchase something that will last for a more extended period while you grow your hobby, even if you are a beginner.

Length of Ideal Paddle

Many beginner rafters have no idea of the length they should be looking for when going through the buying process. This is quite understandable because many of the measurements advertised on various websites perform differently in distant waters. A long paddle can be useful for covering large distances quickly. It is centered around the paddler conserving their energy in a race setting. This is because, with a longer paddle, you can generate longer strides or sweeps.

If you are looking for acceleration, it is a better option to purchase a shorter paddle. This will require more physical effort to get moving but allows you to get from a standstill much faster. You can expect that when purchasing a longer version, you will handle calm waters better. They offer the user less control but more longevity, whereas these more petite pants are useful for putting the power back in your hands. If you intend to raft a dangerous and narrow stream, you should buy a smaller, shorter paddle.

Single- or Double-sided for Commercial Trips?

You will also have to decide whether you wish to use a single or double paddle. A double is connected in the middle and has two blades on either side. This means that when you are paddling, you have a sweep for each side of the boat. A single version is when you must service each side manually. It is more preferred for you to purchase a double-sided paddle if you are rafting alone. It will allow you to have more control in tighter situations. The single option is better off in calmer waters because it offers better speed.


There are different shapes when it comes to the blade. The shape you want depends on what you are doing while rafting and how comfortable you are. The 'diamond' shape is the most typical blade type you will find on any standard rafting paddle blade shapes.

Carlisle Standard Kayak Paddle

This is a 51-inch paddle that comes made from high-impact polypropylene material. This is one of the more durable materials that you will find on the market today. It will work hard to ensure that you do not feel intense vibrations from the water when you or paddling. Vibrations from the water paddling can end up causing wrist problems; therefore, it is better to avoid them. It weighs just over 34 ounces making it light and efficient.

The paddle that you choose may break if the currents are too strong. It is essential to choose a one that strikes a clean balance between strength and flexibility. To improve the comfort of the product, the manufacturers of added a tempered aluminum T grip handle. This handle is very sturdy and firm. This is important because it is not uncommon for people to lose their paddles while rafting in harsh waters. It is priced in the mid-range but offers the customer peace of mind for their investment. Since this is one paddle, it will require a lot more effort for you to pedal individually. Making use of a single type that does not have a blade on each side requires you to service each sign off the raft manually. Some people may or may not prefer this because it takes more time and is impractical.

Pros - Polypropylene Material - Impact-resistant - Aluminium T-Grip Cons Product Link Here

Intext 48"

This product is quite impressive for the money you would pay to purchase the product. Usually, you would buy one paddle for the price of this product. However, when you buy this product, you shall receive a pair.

This makes it an excellent option to consider if you wish to go rafting in teams. They are designed by the manufacturer called Intext, and they have made use of the French boat oars design to make this.

They are 48 inches long, and they can be easily assembled. This option connects at the middle point to form 1 long paddle. This would allow you to paddle individually with more precision and control. They can also be used as two different paddles, making them four in total, allowing you to navigate a river with ease. The blade's design is ribbed, enabling the user to more stability and control when they are on the waters. The material they have used to make this product is hardened plastic, meaning it is not very durable. They are not designed for heavyweight rafting waters but can be used in a more controlled and calm sitting.

Pros - Relatively affordable - Comes in a pack of four or two pairs.

- Ripped design for better control.

Cons - Lacking durability Product Link here

Virgen Kayak Paddle

This is one of the more professional and powerful options that you can purchase on the market today. The product comes as two 54-inch canoe bars that have seams in the middle to allow you to join them into big canoe paddles. This would form a double boat oar and therefore offer the user much more control in tricky whitewater to maneuver. It is not recommended for beginner paddlers, but rather this is for people who know what they are doing. This is a straightforward product to put together.

They have made the assembly quite streamlined as you only must assemble three pieces. You can argue that this is one of the most beautiful options that you can buy on the list. The metal used to make the handle is both stylish and durable, making it a top choice to consider. The metal is made from steel, meaning that it is less likely to bend or break in the event of a strong current. The blade itself is made from premium polypropylene plastic, meaning they will not rust or chip away very quickly.

They are also ribbed to allow for safety when rafting in narrow spaces. This gives you a more versatile option for the places where you can go rafting. Within the product, you shall also get retainer rings that allow you to lock the product and drip rings for an improved aesthetic.

Pros - Blades are made from durable polypropylene material.

- Rod is made from steel.

- Easy assembly Cons - Grip is weaker.

Product link here

Attwood Emergency Telescoping

This is a unique and exciting brand for this list.

It has been designed as an additional emergency paddle full of small boats out on the water. This does not mean, however, that it does not have real-life non-emergency capabilities. The product comes with a single paddle, but the ability should be stretched to the peddler's desired height. This is quite an advantageous feature because it caters to people of all different arm sizes. It also is beneficial because you can use this in any depth of water.

You should be able to go paddling with this in the ocean or just out in the calm rivers. That is the advantage here is the versatility and strength the product can offer. It is made from a corrosion-resistant aluminum material that guarantees that the product will last for more than a couple of years. A large majority of products in this range do not have such impressive materials.

The main disadvantage is that it does not have any connecting mechanism to make the pedal double-edged. Instead, if you intend on using this product, you can only use it manually, which means each side must be serviced as you raft. Another excellent benefit of this product is that it is one of the cheapest options you can buy on the list. Therefore, it is a serious contender for the first place.

Pros - Corrosion-resistant material - Extension mechanism - Relatively affordable Cons - Cannot connect to another paddle.

Product Link Here

Rafting Paddle 1 Pair

This is an excellent option to consider for people looking for a professional paddling product. It is one of the longest ones you can buy. It has a total length of up to 126cm when combined, and individually each paddle comes at 49cm. The product has been made with some firm aluminum detachable rings that allow you to stick the paddles together quickly and easily if you need to go rafting yourself. They have added this convenience to the customer because sometimes it is nice to use one or both, depending on whether you have guests. It has a non-slip canoe feature that allows you to tackle the water more aggressively than usual. You might consider this if you do professional kayaking or water sports. It can generate even more power since it can be turned into a double-headed pulp. The price of this product is quite well priced even though it is a premium product. The bar's material in the middle is also made from alloy, which makes it very tough against any elements you can face out on the water. The blades are made from a very durable plastic material that will see you using this product for many years to come.

Pros - Aluminium handle - Alloy bar - Long length Cons - Not rustproof.

Product link here


In conclusion, I would recommend the Vilgen Kayak Paddle because it checks all the boxes. It is advisable, in my opinion, for a beginner to buy a professional model because these often last longer.

You should not buy something cheap that will easily break and frustrate you from doing what you love. It is made from a durable polypropylene material that will prevent the blade from breaking or rusting.

It also has a double boat oar that gives the user better water stability than what you would find in other products. You can expect this water to handle rough patches much better than various products because the paddle's bar is made from steel. Once you receive this product, it will not even take you 5 minutes to get it assembled because they have made it a simple three-step procedure. This is the product I would recommend for virtually anyone who wants to take up rafting.

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