Love them or hate them, you simply can’t afford to ignore paddle floats. Paddle floats have come an integral part of kayaking and without them you will find it very hard to do a self-rescue in case your boat gets capsized in the middle of nowhere. Paddle boats makes it super easy to make a reentry into the boat if it gets upturned somehow. Majority of the paddle floats are made from foam like material and thus making them ideal for cold weather condition. Without paddle floats, you will have a hard time getting into the cockpit if your kayak somehow gets swamped. This is the reason why it is essential for all kayakers to have a proper understanding of paddle floats.
8 Best Paddle Floats
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Wisemen Trading Paddle Float is a highly reliable kayak paddle float that comes standard with Dual Air Chambers to give its buoyancy a shot in the arm. Don’t forget to this Wisemen Trading Paddle Float with you whenever you plan to paddle on open water. This paddle float will make re-entry as easy and effortless as possible. Available in red and yellow colors, Wisemen Trading Paddle Float is known for its high visibility. You can easily inflate this Wisemen Trading Paddle Float without breaking a sweat. To keep the paddle secure, this kayak paddle float has got quick release buckle.
Seattle Sports Dual-Chambered Paddle Float is a pure beast when it comes to performance. On each side of this Seattle Sports Dual-Chambered Paddle Float an inflatable chamber is included that helps maximizing buoyancy. Each inflatable chamber contains an inflation tube. One end of the paddle has to be put into this paddle float and then you need to blow air into the tubes to inflate both the chambers.
Basically Seattle Sports Dual-Chambered Paddle Float makes re-entry hundreds times simpler. To make it easier for kayakers to to attach one end of the paddle to this paddle float, quick release buckles are included in it.
To further increase the visibility of Seattle Sports Dual-Chambered Paddle Float, the company has added Reflective Binding.
Seattle Sports Paddle Float is a no-nonsense paddle float that offers a decent level of performance and makes it super easy to re-enter a boat once it gets upturned. Setting up Seattle Sports Paddle Float is as simple as ABC and inflating this paddle would not make you feel exhausted at all.
You can use this Seattle Sports Paddle Float to stabilize your kayak while empty out the water. It is a must-have kayaking gear for most paddlers and it can prove a life-saver if you know how to use it while kayaking solo. At $25 (approx), it is a complete steal.
Once of the most amazing features of Seattle Sports Paddle Float is that it has dual air bladders. Compared to other paddle floats available in the market, Seattle Sports Paddle Float is easy to inflate. Its bright yellow color adds to its extreme visibility even in dim light. Since Seattle Sports Paddle Float is a bit large in size, you need to attach it to the deck rail otherwise it might get blown away by strong wind.
- Clip-on safety tether
- Quick-release buckle
Riverstones Paddle Float looks impressive and pulls no punches when it comes to its performance. It might pleasantly surprise with its decent performance. It makes it super easy for solo kayakers to make a reentry to the kayak. At the end of Riverstones Paddle Float is a buckle that help attaching the paddle float to the kayak. two air compartments are included in this paddle float that adds to its improved improvement.
The design of this paddle float makes a departure from the traditional design. The water can easily pass through this paddle float thanks to the inclusion of mesh screen. Unlike other paddle floats that displace water because of their curvature, Riverstones Paddle Float can grab the water firmly by utilizing its mesh screen and thus making it ideal for solo kayak rescuing.
No matter how big the blade of your paddle is, Riverstones Paddle Float can easily accommodate it. Riverstones Paddle Float also enjoy high visibility as it is made from highly reflective yellow nylon. Also the price of this paddle is not that much.
NRS Sea Kayak Paddle Float has successfully carved out a niche for itself by offering superior performance and allowing kayakers to make a reentry to the capsized kayak without making a scene out of it. To increase the buoyancy of this paddle float, NRS has included dual air chambers.
NRS Sea Kayak Paddle is excellent for kayaking on open seas but that does not mean, you can’t use it on river. A clever new technology has been inducted into the paddle and that is – inclusion of mesh material at the bottom of the kayak. This makes it easier for paddlers to drain the water out from the Paddle float.
NRS Sea Kayak Paddle is just perfect for wet exit. Thanks to the extra-large cover area of NRS Sea Kayak Paddle, you don’t have to worry about blade size.
It is made from highly durable nylon outer shell that adds to its strength and superior performance. Induction of dual air chamber is certainly an added advantage. Its reflective tape certainly makes it super easy to locate this paddle float in low light condition. Word of caution – you are required to keep the air chamber valves closed otherwise water might sip in unnoticed.
- Extremely Durable
- Larger in size
- Reflective tape
NRS is unarguably an industry leader when it comes to paddle floats. They are known for maintaining quality in throughout the entire manufacturing process of Paddle floats. In case, you are looking for an alternative to traditional inflatable paddle floats, NRS Foam Paddle Float could be the best choice for you. Sporting an impressive 400-denier nylon outer shell, NRS Foam Paddle Floats is made from EPE foam that adds to its extreme durability. It can stand the test of time and it is known for resisting water.
Its orange shell adds to its visibility and a reflective 3M tape is used to further scale up its visibility. Unlike inflatable paddle floats, NRS Foam Paddle Float does not require any effort from the kayaker. It is ready to go and that means, it will save your precious time in case your boats get capsized and you have to make a fast reentry to the kayak.
Since NRS Foam Paddle Float is a bit small in size, you need to check the width and height of your paddle blade to ensure that it can be snuggled easily into the paddle float.
- 18 inches long and 8.5 inches in width
- Extremely durable
- Visible in low-light conditions
Harmony Blade Aid Paddle Float is extremely easy to use. Its revolutionary auto-valve feature frees up the hands of the kayaks so that they can concentrate on more important things like – paddling or maneuvering the boat through choppy water. The best thing about Harmony Blade Aid Paddle Float is that it can be easily be inflated with just one hand. Deploying this inflatable paddle float does not take too much time as it has a unique auto-valve feature. Made from high quality fabrics that extends its lifespan significantly.
- Simple and easy to use
- Easily inflatable
Beluga Outdoor Gear Microcell Standard Paddle Float is a standard paddle float that facilitates kayak reentry. It is made from high quality nylon and PVC mesh is used to drain the water fast. Unlike other paddle floats that get unstable on even still water, Beluga Outdoor Gear Microcell Standard Paddle Float stays firm and stable on water and thus making it easier for kayaker to make a fast and quick reentry. Weighs just 10 ounces, Beluga Outdoor Gear Microcell Standard Paddle Float is easy to carry around.
Types of Paddle Floats
Paddle floats can be broadly categorized into two types based on the material used in the production process –
1. Inflatable Paddle Floats
The very best thing about inflatable paddle floats is that they don’t eat up much space. When deflated, these inflatable paddle floats can be squeezed into small compartments without making your kayak heavy. The blade of the paddle is placed between the two compartments of these inflatable paddle floats but you need to inflate the paddle first.
This could be an issue for those paddlers who tend to panic when their boats get capsized. They need to stay calm in such events and try to inflate the paddle floats first before trying to reenter the kayak. Vinyl and Nylon are two popular materials that are widely used for making inflatable paddle kayaks. Nylon is an inexpensive option but it gets worn out easily. This is the reason why it makes sense to opt for Vinyl as it makes the paddle floats extremely expensive.
2. Foam Paddle Floats
The biggest advantage of using Foam Paddle Floats is that they are ready to use. No need to inflate them. All you have to do is to take them out from the compartment and there you go, they are instantly useable. These Foam Paddle Floats can be used for assisted emptying as well. But the problem with these Foam Paddle Floats is that they don’t offer much buoyancy. Moreover, they eat up more space of the tiny compartments.
Where to Keep Paddle Floats
Paddle Floats should be kept in a convenient and easily accessible area of the kayak. You would definitely not like the idea of searching for hours in cold water when your boat is upside-down on water. Tuck it into the back of the seat if you want to have easy access to paddle floats in time of need. Also, you need to practice a lot with the paddle floats otherwise you will end up finding yourself fumbling while trying to make a reentry to the kayak.
Always keep in mind the size of your paddle while purchasing a paddle float. Make sure that the paddle float can cover the entire width of the paddle blades otherwise, it will just be a disaster. However, by default all paddle floats are supposed to accommodate paddle blades but it would be a smart move if you can check the dimension beforehand. There should be some sort of mechanism to secure the paddle float to the paddle blades. Most paddle floats tend to have clasps that enable the paddles floats to secure the throat of the paddle.
Why You Need Paddle Floats in The First Place
Now, you must be wondering why you need a paddle float at all. You have years of experience as a kayaker and have paddled many miles but that does not mean that you will ever meet an unexpected situation later. In fact, accidental capsizing is quite common in the world of kayaking and therefore, it makes sense that you should add this item in your checklist of kayaking gears. Below are some reasons why you need to have a paddle float –
Some kayak experts are of the opinion that kayak floats do help increase the stability of a kayak. However, we are not just making a reference to the reentry after a boat gets capsized. Nope paddle boats can be attached to the side of a boat as it can further improve the stability of a kayak in choppy water or windy weather condition. No need to spend money on tandem tow if you know how to use paddle floats to your advantages.
It is high time, we should start treating paddle floats as safety gears because without them, it will be virtually impossible for even an experienced kayaker to make a safe reentry to the kayak once it gets capsized. If you have a thing for – Re-entry and Roll or Cowboy Scramble, you need to invest some money on paddle floats. There is no two ways about it.
3. Volume Displacement
If you wish to stop excess water from entering the kayak, you need to invest a good amount of money on a float bag. But thankfully, paddle floats can be used as a temporary float bags but in order to do that you need to inflate it hard first.
Paddle floats can be used for multiple purposes. You can use them to make your kayak seat more comfortable and cushier. Use them as backrest or use them as makeshift seat around a nice campfire. What else you could want from your life?
Arthur G. Moore is a veteran paddler. He has over 10 years of whitewater kayaking experience in his kitty. When he was young, he used to love kayaking in rapid III and rapid IV but as time went on, he decided to concentrate mainly on covering long distances on a standard touring kayak. He is currently working as a senior editor for Kayak Manual.