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Having purchased a packraft a few years ago, I was looking for the best packrafting paddles which were in my budget and came across the Werner Shuna or its bigger brother the Powerhouse, Werner Pack-Tour M and the VE Creeker Glass Blades on a Straight Black Glass Shaft. All paddles come in 4 pieces and are super light to take with you on your packrafting trip. They can be used for recreational or for whitewater paddling. The Werner paddles are made in the US and the VE paddles are handmade in the UK.
There are a few features which I was looking for with my paddles. They should be lightweight, not too expensive, durable, portable to carry around with my backpack and of course also look nice.
Straight vs. cranked Shaft
When you plan to purchase a paddle you will probably come across paddles which have a cranked rather than a straight shaft. Paddlers who have wrist injuries usually take a cranked shaft. Moreover, the cranks shaft is also a bit heavier than the straight shaft.
Werner Pack-Tour M
The angle is adjustable as you can see on the left hand side of the paddle.
So far I have only tested the Werner Pack-Tour M, the Werner Shuna Paddles and paddles from VE (unfortunately, they are not producing paddles anymore).
I really like the design of the Werner Shuna Pack-Tour M paddles. They just look great and they are super light. If you have the money to buy a packraft then you should definitely not save on your paddles.
I have tested the Werner Shuna paddles on our trip in the Sarek National Park in Sweden and the Werner Pack-Tour M on the most recent trips. They are light, performed very well and they look nice too. One issue I had with those paddles was that I was not able to get the shaft apart after I was paddling in saltwater. However, this is more an issue of how you take care of your paddles rather than a production issue. I should have cleaned the paddles with fresh water after the trip.
I have used the Werner Shuna paddles for over 1.5 years and I was quite happy with them. They also helped me to get out when I got stuck between some rocks in the rapids and they didn’t break. They just have a few scratches on the surface so far. I would say that they are worth the money I have spent.
VE is also a great option if they would still produce paddles. I especially liked the locking mechanism to attach the paddle pieces.