Sanborn Canoe - Gunflint Paddle Review

The sheer number of choices you have when choosing outdoor gear has grown to staggering heights. In a time where science and technology have invaded every facet of our lives, there is something refreshing about handling a product made from natural materials. Carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass all promise increased strength and durability while reducing weight. These are all good things, but they seem remarkably alien when against the rugged backdrop of canoe country.

The guys over at Sanborn Canoe get this, while yet taking advantage of the advances available today, when appropriate. I had the opportunity to try out their Gunflint paddle this summer and it did not disappoint. This 14 degree bent-shaft paddle, designed to provide powerful strokes, helped me battle through some of the nastiest weather I have seen from inside a canoe.

When you first pick up the Gunflint you can’t help but notice how light it is. At just 18 ounces, it’s nearly 20% lighter than similar paddles from the major competitors. Strength was not an issue for this stick either. I banged it off of rocks and logs, pushed off boulders in the Horse River and used it as a third leg while trying to drag myself up a muddy rocky portage, all without any significant damage. An Epoxy blade tip, 4oz. fiberglass wrap and sparing use of epoxy add toughness without weight.

More importantly it still looks and feels like a wood paddle. It is not drenched in epoxy or marine varnish, allowing it to keep a warm natural feel. Made from red and white cedar, the color contrast in the laminates is great. Every inch of this paddle has been worked by hand and you can tell.

Not in love with the Gunflint design? Choose from any of Sanborn’s four other designs, or for a little extra you can get a custom paddle made just for you. They even have one for the kids…

MSRP: $125.00

Length: 48", 50”, 52", 54"(Custom lengths available upon request)
Average Weight: Avg. 18oz.
Blade Dimensions: 8 1/2" x 18"
Blade Thickness: 3/16”
Shaft Style: Bent Shaft: 14 Degree bend Indexed: 1 ¼” x 1 1/8”
Grip Style: Dedicated T-Grip
Grip Width: 3 1/2”
Wood Type: Western Red and White Cedar Laminated blade, 5-piece laminated shaft
Extra 1/4" epoxy blade tip
Blade is sheathed in 4oz. fiberglass and has three coats of epoxy
Entire paddle is coated in epoxy
Finished with SPARurethane to entire paddle
'Sanborn Canoe Co.' is branded onto one face of blade

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