The Best Canoe Paddles for Tackling Rapids and Eddies on River Trips

Are you planning a canoe trip down a river but unsure which paddle to choose? The right paddle can make all the difference in your experience on the water. In this article, we’ll cover the best canoe paddles for rivers and what to look for when making your selection.

Factors to Consider

When it comes to canoe paddles for rivers, there are a few key features to consider:

  • Durability: You want a paddle that can withstand the rough conditions of a river.
  • Comfort: Look for a paddle that’s comfortable to use for extended periods of time.
  • Efficiency: Choose a paddle that’s efficient in the water, allowing you to maneuver through rapids and eddies with ease.
  • Weight: Consider the weight of the paddle, as a lighter paddle can be more comfortable to use for longer periods.
  • Blade design: The design of the blade can impact the efficiency of your strokes, so look for a blade that’s specifically designed for river canoeing.
  • Shaft material: The material of the shaft can also impact the weight and durability of the paddle, so choose a material that fits your needs and budget.

Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Paddle: The Best Canoe Paddle for Rivers

One of the best canoe paddles for rivers is the Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Paddle. This paddle is made with a fiberglass blade and shaft, making it both lightweight and strong. The blade is designed with a slight dihedral angle, which provides a smooth and stable stroke through the water. The Camano also features Werner’s adjustable Smart-View Ferrule system, which allows you to adjust the paddle’s feather angle on the fly.


  • Lightweight and strong
  • Efficient blade design for smooth and stable strokes
  • Adjustable feather angle for customizable comfort
  • Double blade paddle – better for solo canoe or kayak


  • More expensive than some other options on the market
  • May not be as durable as some wooden paddles over time

Bending Branches Sunburst ST: A Classic Canoe Paddle

Another great option for a canoe paddle for rivers is the Bending Branches Sunburst ST. This paddle is made with a combination of basswood, roasted basswood, and red alder, giving it a unique and eye-catching look. The Sunburst ST also features a comfortable grip and a blade designed for efficient and powerful strokes. This paddle is both durable and lightweight, making it a great choice for longer river trips. It’s a single blade with t-handle, so may not be as nimble if you’re canoeing on rapids or at a quick pace.  


  • Unique and eye-catching design
  • Comfortable grip for extended use
  • Efficient and powerful blade design


  • More expensive than some budget options
  • Single Blade paddle
  • won’t work as well with a kayak 

Carlisle Standard Canoe Paddle: A Budget-Friendly Option

If you’re on a budget but still want a high-quality paddle for river canoeing, the Carlisle Standard Canoe Paddle is a solid choice. This paddle is made with a durable aluminum shaft and single polyethylene blade. While it may not be as lightweight or efficient as some of the higher-end paddles, it gets the job done and is a great option for beginners or those who don’t plan on canoeing frequently. 


  • Budget-friendly option for beginners or infrequent canoeists (under $50!)
  • Durable aluminum shaft
  • Lightweight and easy to use (thought not as light as more expensive models)


  • May not be as efficient in the water as some higher-end paddles
  • May not be as comfortable for extended use as some other options

How to Choose the Right Canoe Paddle for Your Needs and Preferences

When choosing a canoe paddle for rivers, it’s important to consider your own needs and preferences. You want a paddle that’s comfortable and efficient, but also one that fits your budget. By doing your research and trying out different paddles, you can find the perfect one for your next river canoe trip.

In conclusion, the best canoe paddle for rivers will depend on your specific needs and preferences. The Werner Camano Premium Fiberglass Paddle, Bending Branches Sunburst ST, and Carlisle Standard Canoe Paddle are all great options to consider. With the right paddle in hand, you’ll be able to navigate through the rapids and eddies of a river with ease and confidence.