Paddling Education

The Best Canoe Trip Portage Packs
Choosing canoe packs will be a one-time purchase for most people if done correctly. Quality packs that are well-cared-for will do their job and last many, many years—even decades.
How to Properly Use a Bent-Shaft Canoe Paddle [Video]

Bent shaft canoe paddles have been around for a long time now, but many novice and recreational canoeists don’t know how their performance is different from a straight shaft paddle, or how to use one properly.

Ocean Kayak Fishing Safety
Bending Branches’ Ambassador Moo Lee takes us through several important safety tips for kayak fishing on the ocean, especially on cold water like in his native northern California.
Kayak or Canoe: Which Option Suits You Best?
Recreational paddlers might wonder whether they should invest in a kayak or canoe, at least as a first boat. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to make the best choice for you…
Adapting with Age: How to Load and Launch Your Small Boat by Yourself
Aging doesn’t have to slow you down or stop your days of enjoying a boat trip either solo or with your friends and family. The key is to find ways to continue doing what you love without compromising health, safety, or comfort.
How to Size a Straight & Bent Shaft Canoe Paddle
Straight shaft and bent shaft canoe paddles are sized differently. Be sure you choose the size paddle that’s right for you, with help from our friends at Happy Paddlin.
Kayak vs Canoe vs Paddleboard: What’s the Best?
So, you’re trying to decide between a kayak, canoe or paddleboard. How do you know which one is best for you? Recreational paddling on any of these watercraft is lots of fun, great exercise and an ideal way to enjoy the lakes, rivers or oceans around you. And they each have their own set of pros and cons.
Re-Enter a Capsized Fishing Kayak
Active kayak anglers know there’s a chance, however slight, they may end up in the water for one reason or another. The best way to prepare for that is to practice flipping your kayak back over from the water and getting back on.
Gear Strategy for River Canoe Camping
Canoe camping trips on rivers are somewhat different than in flatwater environments like the Boundary Waters or Quetico. Bending Branches’ long-time President and owner, Ed Vater, takes us through his gear list for river canoe camping.
Handling Paddling Emergencies: One Man's Dry Bag
How do you deal with the unplanned things that can arise during a paddle? My solution is to always carry what I call “contingency supplies.” Find out what's in my dry bag!
Bent vs. Straight Shaft Paddle
Are you confused abut whether to buy a bent-shaft or straight-shaft canoe paddle?
How to Transport a Canoe on Your Vehicle
It’s important you learn how to transport a canoe properly to avoid damaging either your canoe or your vehicle…or risk damaging other vehicles while you’re on the road.
Canoe Camping with Kids: Top Tips from Parents
Starting a family doesn’t mean you have to stop canoe camping. And it doesn’t mean you can’t start canoe camping if you haven’t done it yet. But there are some different ways of thinking that will make canoe camping more successful with kids—especially very young kids.
Gear Review: Old Town Discovery Solo Canoe
Bending Branches Regional Ambassador, Bill Sikora—aka The Florida Bass Paddler—reviews his Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman hybrid canoe for anglers.
How to Paddle Your Fishing Kayak
It’s not uncommon for kayak anglers to dismiss the need to learn proper paddling technique. But kayak fishing veteran and Bending Branches ProStaffer, Chad Hoover, learned that learning paddling skills makes you a better angler.
Kayaking an Adirondack Guideboat
From tough beginnings with the technical canoeing J-Stroke, Mike found rowing to be his shining glory. In this article Mike talks about his journey to find the perfect pairing of boat and propulsion aids.
Stay Healthy on Long Canoe Trips
Whether your definition of a “long canoe trip” is a weekend, a week, a month or six months, you want to stay healthy throughout your trip. The longer the trip, the more important it is that you’re aware of and practice those things that will keep you healthy.
Do these 4 Things to Maintain Your Wood Paddle

Your paddle won’t need any special care except to protect it from the elements between trips. If the finish of the paddle does become scratched or worn through, you can repair it. Here's how:

Is Canoeing Harder than Kayaking?
If you’re a new paddler, the short answer is: yes, canoeing is harder than kayaking. In no way does that mean you shouldn’t give canoeing a try, though…and learn to kayak, too! But if you must choose between the two, most beginners find kayaking easier to learn.
What’s the Best Fishing Kayak for the Money?
In this video, Bending Branches ProStaff team member Chad Hoover gives us his opinion on the 10 best fishing kayaks for the money. These are boats that were on the market in 2021, covered in his early 2022 video.
The Golden Rules of Portage Etiquette
With another season of increased interest in canoe camping, Mikaela Ferguson shares the Golden Rules of Portage Etiquette to get through any portage without incident.