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Best Tips for Canoe and Kayak Storage

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We were compelled to write these tips after seeing canoes and kayaks outside, on the ground, unprotected, and covered with snow. Storage is often the key to your boat’s longevity. Storage Techniques • Store Suspended – Use a pulley system in a garage with a high ceiling, or suspend your boat in a basement space. Both of these methods will get your boat up and out of the way. • Store with L Hooks on a Wall – Make or buy L shaped brackets to store your canoe or kayak. Make sure the racks are positioned to provide the best support and distribute the weight of your vessel. • Store Upside Down – Store your boat off the ground, with the weight evenly distributed. Additionally, make sure there is no bowing – saw horses work great for this. If storing outside, place in a shaded spot that is hidden and covered. Canoe Storage Tips • Winterize wooden gunwales by letting them dry and then applying a coat of gunwale guard oil. • Wipe down vinyl gunwales with a household cleaner and apply a UV protectant. • Make sure your thwart and seats are free from cracks and are not loose. • Store canoes upside down. • When storing, make sure you are evenly supporting the weight of your canoe. • If you have float tank plugs in your canoe’s stern and bow, remove them. Kayak Storage Tips • Wash, clean, and check for any needed repairs. • Remove neoprene and hatch covers and allow time for drying. • Store off the ground. • Store plastic kayaks on their side and store composite kayaks with their hull up or on their sides. • For inflatable kayaks, deflate and store indoors when not in use for longer periods of time. Tips for Both Canoes and Kayaks • Clean before storing. • If you use your boat in salt water, clean thoroughly to remove all salt before storing. • Check for cracks and repair any problem areas. • Protect with a sun protection UV spray. • Cover and protect with a thick and durable tarp and tie the tarp down, protecting the boat yet allowing for some air flow. • Deter theft by storing inside if possible. If you must store your boat outside, keep it hidden, covered, and secured with a sturdy cable lock. • If storing outside in a snowy area, regularly remove snow during the winter to prevent damage from excessive pressure.

How Important is the Tape Measure?

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For the majority of kayak anglers that fish for fun, the tape measure on their Bending Branches paddles offers a quick and convenient way to determine the legitimacy of their catch. Anglers who fish competitively will likely use a tournament approved measuring device as opposed to the tape measure on their paddle, but these serious anglers continue to use Angler series paddles in fishing tournaments due to their power, durability, and lightweight performance. The tape measure is an important and valuable feature to many kayak anglers. It provides them with a tool to quickly measure their catch so that they can brag to their friends, and what is more important than bragging about your catch? Having a ruler available right on the shaft of the paddle saves time and the space and weight of carrying more gear. The ruler adds another useful function to Angler series paddles, which are designed specifically for kayak anglers who value performance. As the first manufacture to put a tape measure on a kayak paddle shaft, we pride ourselves on providing kayak anglers with the tools they desire to help them enjoy what they love best – catching fish.

Snow Flies Up North, Kayak Fishing Tournaments Begin Down South

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As the snow flies and the temperatures dip below zero below in the northern part of the country our eyes turn south to the warm temperatures and the start of the 2016 Kayak Fishing Tournaments. Grab your kayak, gear, and gas up the car, here is a list of some of some upcoming tournaments. KAYAK BASS FISHING (KBF) (http://kayakbassfishing.com/events/) 2016 KBF HOW Big Bass Brawl - Kentucky Lake Paris, TN March 17th 2016 KBF Open - Kentucky Lake Paris, TN March 18th 2016 KBF National Championship - Kentucky Lake Paris, TN March 19 - March 20 KAYAK ANGLER TOURNAMENT SERIES (http://fishkats.com/) 1/16 – Lake Bastrop, Texas 78602 2/6 – Houston County Lake, Texas 2/20 – Oak Thicket Park On Lake Fayette, Texas 159, Fayetteville, TX 3/12 – Coleto Creek Reservoir & Park HARDCORE KAYAK ANGLERS CLUB http://www.hckaclub.com/) Event #1 - March 5th Event #2 - April 9th Event #3 - May 14th NORTH ALABAMA KAYAK ANGLERS (http://www.northalabamakayakanglers.com/) March – Month Long #NAKABIGSTRIPE March 11 & 12 – Guntersville, AL - The Open April – Month Long #NAKABIGBASS April 16 – Wheeler, AL

16 Perfect Holiday Gift Ideas for the Outdoor Enthusiast

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It’s not too late to get that ideal gift you know outdoor enthusiast will use and enjoy. So be the hero this year and pick up one of these popular handpicked gifts. FOR THE KAYAKER 1. Sunrise Glass Paddle – Our best recreational paddle and a big step-up from what most kayakers are using https://bendingbranches.com/kayak-paddles/recreational/sunrise-glass 2. Keep them safe with a PFD lifejacket from Stohlquist http://www.stohlquist.com/life-jackets.html 3. Yakgrips give your kayak paddle the cushiest feel and follow the actual curve of your hands to reduce fatigue and prevent blisters. http://www.austinkayak.com/products/700/Yakgrips-Kayak-Paddle-Grips.html 4. Level Six Neoprene Mitts – Keep your hands warm in cold water! http://www.levelsix.com/products/mitts-neoprene-mitts?variant=388877426 FOR THE STAND-UP PADDLER 5. Stand tall on your board with the comfortable, yet grippy W’s Loyak from Astral – http://astraldesigns.com/footwear/loyak-women/ 6. Give big this year with a new Pau Hana SUP board http://pauhanasurfco.com/ 7. Suspenz SUP Racks – For storage of your SUP board or transport http://www.suspenzkayakstorage.com/page/481489602 8. The Amp Paddle – A beautifully hand-crafted USA made paddle https://bendingbranches.com/stand-up-paddles/surf/amp FOR THE CANOER 9. Java Canoe Paddle – A premium paddle with a modern looking “pinstripe” lay-up and dark roasted basswood. This paddle is sure to be a holiday hit! https://bendingbranches.com/canoe-paddles/premium/java 10. Be safe with a MTI PFD - Life jackets are a great gift pick. https://www.mtiadventurewear.com/performance/touring 11. A Duluth Pack – A canoe trip staple since 1882. https://www.duluthpack.com/canoe-packs 12. Don’t you hate it when your back aches after a couple hours of canoeing? Solution: The Super Seat from Wenonah: https://www.wenonah.com/Items.aspx?id=49 FOR THE KAYAK FISHERMAN 13. Cooler – Yup, let’s cut to the chase, it’s what they want and we love Orion Coolers http://orioncoolers.com/ 14. Line Cutterz – We love this little gadget and it makes a great stocking stuffer http://www.linecutterz.com 15. Angler Optimus – This paddle gets 5 stars, literally https://bendingbranches.com/kayak-paddles/fishing/angler-optimus 16. Ram Kayak Mounts – Ram has a complete line of rust resistant mounting solutions for kayaks which allow you to mount items where you need them the most. http://www.rammount.com/activity/kayak_mounts

Paddling to Winter

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Julie Buckles is the author of "Paddling to Winter: A Couple's Wilderness Journey from Lake Superior to Northern Canada,” a memoir about her 1,700-mile canoe honeymoon to Wollaston Lake, Saskatchewan, where she spent a winter on an isolated island cabin. The book has been short listed for several awards including the Foreword Book of the Year in adventure, the Midwest Booksellers Choice Awards, and the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards. Along their journey, Julie and her husband met a gentleman named Gib, a world-class paddler and pilot. Gib, it turned out, had paddled across Canada during their Centennial, for the winning Manitoba team. He happened to be out for an evening paddle when the Buckles arrived. He looked at their paddles and said, “ those aren’t paddles, those are pushing sticks.” He then got to work, finding them worthy paddles. Julie and her husband then decided to take a much needed break in The Pas and spent five days camping, checking out town (an Inuit singing Elvis at karaoke was only one of the highlights), and hanging out with Gib. Gib worked out all the logistics of ordering the paddles and having them flown in. He sent them off five days later with Bending Branches paddles, which the couple still used to this day. If you're a true canoeing enthusiast, do yourself a favor and buy her book. Or buy it for the canoeist in your life. It will change your entire perspective on the tranquil nature of the outdoors. Find more information on her book here: http://www.juliebuckles.com/p/appearances.html

Choosing the Right Length Kayak Fishing Paddle

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Choosing the Right Length Kayak Fishing Paddle
When choosing a kayak fishing paddle, finding the right length paddle is critically important. If the paddle is too short, you’ll either bang your hands or the paddle shaft against the side of the kayak with each stroke. Or, you'll burn yourself out extending your upper-body enough to get the blade in the water. If your paddle is too long, your kayak will zigzag in the water, wasting your energy and the efficiency of the kayak. Additionally, high-angle stokes (used when more power is needed) will be more cumbersome and it becomes more difficult to use your torso. Your torso is where the most power is in your upper body. So when you have a paddle that's too long, you're forced to use more arms, resulting in more fatigue. It's not difficult to find information online about what length kayak paddle a person should use. The most “official” determination is based off torso length (height) and width of your kayak. Through this process most kayak anglers will find that the 240cm standard length should do the trick. However, there are a few things that could change that. If you're an athletic/active paddler, have an open water (ocean) fishing kayak, or a narrower kayak, it's best to size down 10cm to 230cm. If you're a more relaxed angler, frequently use the high-seat option in your kayak, or over-load your kayak with gear, it's common to size up 10cm to 250cm. If you're in a really wide kayak, like the Jackson Big Rig, just jump right into a 260cm paddle. Check out more sizing information here: Kayak Paddle Sizing Guide. One of the benefits of the kayak paddle evolution is the introduction of adjustable length shafts. Many of the best paddles on the market will come with the ability to adjust the paddle length, allowing you to extend the paddle length 15cm and adjust the feathering angle. Our Angler Pro, Angler Ace, and Angler Classic kayak paddles are all available with the adjustable (PLUS) ferrule option, giving you both precision and versatility. Happy Paddling!

How to Choose the Right Canoe Paddle

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Choosing  A Wood Canoe Paddle
Choosing the right canoe paddle should not be an intimidating task, in fact, by asking a few questions and understanding some basic concepts, you will find the best paddle for you and enjoy yourself in the process. The first and most important question is -- what kind of paddling will you most likely be doing? Flat water (lakes and rivers), Rough water (rivers and expedition), or White water? Based on your answer, the journey to your new paddle can be more focused or customized. The first choice we will touch on involves deciding between a straight shaft or bent shaft. In short, bent shaft paddles are best for flat water where it’s most important to maximize stroke efficiency. When paddling in water where paddle control and stroke versatility are paramount, a straight shaft paddle would be the better choice. Check out the Bending Branches Java for an illustration of both shaft styles. For even further explanation regarding the difference between these two shaft types, check out the Bent vs Straight shaft video below. Next, let’s briefly touch on blade shape. Just like with shaft type, the type of blade for you also depends on the type of paddling you’re most likely to do. Long skinny blades (often called Beaver tail or Otter tail) are great for flat water like lake cruising, while shorter, wider blades (often called Sugar Island or Squired Tipped) are more ideal for the technical paddling on moving water like rivers. The importance of a paddle's grip is often overlooked, but is a critical part of making sure a paddle feels right for you and helps make control strokes easier. There are two main types of grips. Palm grips and T-grips. The palm grip is more ergonomic and a good choice for casual paddling or for longer trips, where the T-grip gives you more control over your paddle and are better for expedition type paddling when tighter control of your boat is more important. The T-grip is also a great choice for kid’s paddles. For more about paddle grips watch the second video below. What materials should my paddle be made of? While most canoe paddles are constructed entirely of wood, you can find paddles where high-tech materials like carbon are used to reduce weight without reducing strength (like in our Sunburst premium canoe paddles). On the other end of the spectrum, you can find paddles constructed of plastic- although if you’re taking time to research your purchase, I wouldn’t think that would be an option you’d be happy with. Here is a further breakdown of each material: Wood: For the traditionalist, an all wood paddle is attractive, responsive and warm to the touch. It is by far the most popular material for canoe paddles. In order to add strength and durability, wood paddles will often consist of laminates- combining the best characteristics of different soft and hard woods. Many also have a layer of fiberglass over the blade for added strength or possibly even a tip guard to improve durability and to protect the most vulnerable part of your paddle. Plastic/aluminum: Durable and affordable, these aluminum shafts with plastic blades are a bit less comfortable and responsive than wood. They make great spare paddles and can be a good choice for beginners. Fiberglass: This material is not often used by itself for canoe paddles except for those paddles who are likely to go through the most abuse. Whitewater paddlers, expedition paddlers and stand-up paddlers will often look to see if this material has been added for protection. Carbon- For the serious paddler who sees their paddle as an investment into their hobby, carbon can be found in some canoe paddles. The reason is that carbon is extremely strong, yet light and agile, allowing for rugged and extended use with less muscle fatigue. The material used in a paddle also plays a large factor into paddle cost. Aluminum/plastic are the least expensive materials, followed by wood, fiberglass and carbon at the top. You truly get what you pay for. Once you’ve clarified the type of paddling you’re likely to do, have chosen a bent or straight shaft profile and have looked at what material options are available for those combinations, it’s time to fit your paddle to you. You can check our paddle sizing guide for details or use the following tips, depending where you are: If you’re in your canoe on the water- sit inside the canoe and measure the vertical distance from your nose to the waterline. This measurement should match the distance from a paddle's grip to the throat, where the paddle shaft meets the blade. If you’re in a store trying out a paddle- kneel down with your bottom about 6" off the floor, as if sitting in a canoe. Hold the paddle upside down, with the grip on the floor. The throat of the paddle should be between your chin and your nose. If you’re at home without a paddle - kneel down with your bottom about 6" off the floor, as if sitting in a canoe. Measure from the floor to your nose. Add this measurement to the blade length (commonly 19") for the correct overall length. Here are couple additional tidbits to consider. First, for bent-shaft paddles, deduct 4" from the length you've determined above. Also, if you paddle a wider canoes or will be doing a lot of paddling from the stern (rear seat), consider adding 2" to the paddle length so you can reach the water without excessive leaning and to avoid banging your paddle against the side of the boat. Lastly, if you’re buying a paddle for a child, look for kid specific paddles as they offer shorter lengths and narrower shafts. These paddles are often designed with T-grips which will help them control the paddle more easily. A great choice for the little paddler is our Twig Kid’s Canoe paddle. Finally, weight, comfort and price come into play. The main difference in weight between two paddles of the same size and style will be the material(s) your paddle is made out of. Aluminum/plastic paddles will be the heaviest, carbon/fiberglass the lightest, and wood will be a nice balance of weight and durability. The lighter the paddle, the less fatigue you’ll feel after a long day of paddling. But the best paddles will balance weight with strength and flexibility. Again, you need to consider the type of paddling your most likely to do to help determine how important weight will be. For example, whitewater paddlers are most concerned with a strong stiff blade and less concerned about a super light paddle that may handle the abuse they put their paddles through. Price point: Whether you start with price as your highest priority or not, it’s important to remember that the right paddle can make a big difference in your level of enjoyment. You also need to decide how often you'll want to purchase a new paddle. Do not underestimate the value of owning and using a well made paddle. To conclude: Remember to think about the type of paddling you are most likely to do. Use the information discussed here along with any other research you want to do to truly enjoy the experience. Before you know it, you’ll have the paddle of your dreams in your hands and you’ll be ready to put it into action! As always, if you have more questions, feel free to call our customer service number at 715-755-3405. Happy Paddling!

How to Choose a Kayak Fishing Paddle

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Choosing A Kayak Fishing Paddle
Choosing a kayak fishing paddle isn’t as technical as some may think. Here are a few pointers to help you get a quality kayak paddle at a reasonable price point without sacrificing performance. Because you are on the Bending Branches site and we are the world’s largest manufacturer of kayak fishing paddles, we are going to use our Angler paddle line to explain the differences and features to look for when choosing a kayak fishing paddle. First off, you want a paddle with a bigger blade size to move your gear through the water (95 sq. inches or bigger). All of our angler kayak paddles meet or exceed this criteria. In traditional kayaking terms, we call these blades “high-angle” because they’re best for a more aggressive paddling stroke. Next you will need to decide on your budget. Our angler kayak paddles range in price from $100 to $350. A rule of thumb with kayak paddles, the more you pay the lighter the paddle and more features that are included. While this is true, we know everyone has to start somewhere, so we’ve included our trademark features on our entry level paddles as well. The Angler Scout is our lowest price point at $100 and weighing in at 36 oz. It has an aluminum shaft and epX engineered polymer blades - What does that mean? The blades are fiberglass reinforced with nylon, so extremely durable and even come with a hook retrieval system. The aluminum shaft is a little heavier than fiberglass or carbon, but still features the trademark BB tape measure on the shaft and multiple feathering angles. Great for beginners and those that just want to play around a bit. Available in sage green and orange. The Angler Classic is our next step up starting at $150 and weighing in at 34 oz, with the weight savings coming from the fiberglass shaft. The Classic is similar to the Scout with the BB quality blades, tape measure, 2 color options, feather-ability, and hook retrieval system. However, this angler paddle is also available with the Bending Branches’ PLUS ferrule system. The PLUS ferrule allows you to adjust your paddle 15cm in length, for example from 240 to 255 cm with infinite feathering angles. The PLUS ferrule really comes into play when using a kayak with an adjustable high-low seat. The Angler Classic is also compatible with the new Angler Optimus by Bending Branches which allows you to convert your kayak paddle to a SUP paddle, stake-out pole, or push pole. The Angler Ace brings you a little closer to the kayak fishing elites - or at least those that are on the water all day and need a light yet durable kayak paddle they can trust. The Ace starts at $215 and weighs in at just 31 oz. It comes complete with a 100% carbon shaft, carbon reinforced nylon blades, hook retrieval system, tape measure on shaft, feather-ability, PLUS ferrule option, and is Optimus compatible. Last but not least is the Angler Pro. Nope, it’s not a clever name. However, it’s tried and true, and proven to be the professional kayak anglers paddle of choice. This baby is smooth and beautiful. The Angle Pro has a slightly larger blade than our other angler paddles (104 sq. inches compared to 95). It weighs in at 30 oz and features a T-700 carbon shaft, multi-laminate fiberglass blades, 3 color options (RealTree® Max-5, Sea Green, and Camo), tape measure on shaft, PLUS ferrule option, Optimus compatible, and starts at $330. So, when shopping for a kayak fishing paddle the main factors to consider are durability/quality, blade size, weight, price and lastly any additional features to fit your personal style such as color, tape measure, hook retrieval, ferrule system, and feathering options. Good luck and happy fishing. Contact us if you have any questions! Check out our full Kayak Fishing Paddle line here.

Border Route 200 -- It's a race!

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Border Route 200 - Record
Two women set the canoeing speed record for a 200+ mile Voyageur Route. Bending Branches sponsored Claire Jencks and Ann Raiho as they canoed and portaged their way from Voyageur National Park to the Grand Portage, an 8.5 mile hike, to Lake Superior. They made their goal by accomplishing 212 miles (including 40 portages) in 100 hours! Read about their journey here. They are looking for challengers as well... so perhaps, good luck!

95 Days, 1300 Miles, 2 Brothers, 1 Canoe

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95 days, 1300 miles, and one canoe that two brothers took from Great Slave Lake to the Beaufort Sea. If you haven’t heard the story about Ben and Same Orkin yet, you’re missing out. They used their Bending Branches canoe paddles (the Espresso and Viper) the entire way! Check it out: http://www.canoekayak.com/canoe/into-the-arctic-95-days-of-bs/#tGlXBwwwK1Tdmo6E.97 Their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Arcticexpedtion2015

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