Paddle length for packrafting?

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Paddle length for packrafting?

Post by Mudskipper » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:16 pm

I am reasonably new to packrafting but have spent plenty of years WW kayaking so am excited about the new opportunities for different trips it opens up. I am used to boating with a paddle about 192cm long, and my default paddle for packrafting at the moment is a 3 piece one 200cm long which I find workable but possibly slightly too short (I am 178cm tall).

What would be an ideal paddle length for an Alpacka raft? 205-210cm?

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Location: Bega, NSW, Australia

Re: Paddle length for packrafting?

Post by Fishdejour » Tue May 08, 2012 3:06 am

I now use a 230cm carbon splat, love the longer paddle, started with a 210cm but found it a little short.

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Re: Paddle length for packrafting?

Post by undersound » Fri May 11, 2012 3:20 am

I've tried both 236cm and 210cm paddles and found them equally useful.
2011 green Yak (open)
2012 red Alpaca (ww-decked w/ Cargo Fly)

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Re: Paddle length for packrafting?

Post by pgonski » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:31 pm

I ve done a lot of teaching up here in Ak with our packraft safety class: here's what I ve determined:
never longer than 210; and 200 is better

Whitewater class III : short paddle 200 cm or less. I m 6 ft and I like my 196. Power is the important factor, and good vertical paddle angle. We get lots of students with 210, we give them 200 - 196, and it takes about 10 min for them to say, "wow, this is so much easier".

Flat water and splashy: 200 cm to 210. Power not the big issue, trying not to get too wet from water on the blade is more the determining factor. Short paddles require one to be farily vertical, so lots of dripping on the arm and the lap.

If you have a 4 part break down that is too long: One can cut the blade end of the shaft down; redrill the hole for the paddle blade. We have done this on Auqabound yellow and black blade paddles, as well as Werner Powerhouse.

so, if I m paddling lakes, or very easy class II where no real demanding rapid, and I really do not want to be in a dry top or suit I go long; 200 +

like all equipment choice, need to decide which you do more of:
adventure treking with lake, class I and II - being dry
blood pumping: class III IV where control, power, are most important

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Re: Paddle length for packrafting?

Post by binturongbeanie » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:06 pm

Thanks to the OP for this useful question and to pgonski for the helpful reply.

Up until now I have been using a 210cm paddle length for packrafting. Need to get a new paddle (my sawyer jammed) and considering a werner sherpa/lendal/aquabound carbon. Trying to figure out the best length. I am only 165cm (5'4) tall so in theory have less reach: should I be going for 197/200cm or something a bit longer ? Don't mind getting wet and intend to use paddle for water up to grade III+/IV- (although I also need it for work for long flatwater paddles). Any advice appreciated.

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