I always have an extra paddle along on trips no matter what the length of time. Usually I bring a bent shaft and a straight shaft and switch off as necessary. I use bent on solo trips and while paddling in the bow tandem. I use a straight shaft stern in a tandem.
When I go with groups I usually do not feel a spare is necessary in each canoe but 1/2 the canoes should have one. Of course this assumes everyone is staying somewhat together and not seperated by large expanses. The spare is tied into the canoe with bungee cord dealy bobs on the gunwales or thwarts and stays there so it is easily managed on portages, and easily gotten to if needed for an emergency. I admit I have never lost or broke a paddle yet, but there is always a first time for everything. I look at it more for paddle flexibility than as a spare anyway.
"When a man is part of his canoe, he is part of all that canoes have ever known."
Sigurd F. Olson
I always carry an extra paddle, generally either a light weight wooden straight shaft or a light weight aluminum shaft plastic blade straight shaft. That is whether I am just canoeing for a day or a week I always carry an extra paddle... I guess I an paranoid about being up the creek or on the lake without a paddle... ha ha
Good Paddling, Great Fishing, and God Bless All...
I never used to bring an extra paddle. Last time I was in the BW I broke a paddle. We had one canoe and three people. It was rather interesting finishing up our trip. I will never canoe without an extra paddle again.
Always! Maybe it is because I spend a fair amount of time on rivers (though not enough time) but I never go out without a spare paddle. All I need is one bad stroke of luck and I am trying to make a new one on the fly. Not a good situation. Maybe I am carrying some weight I don't need to but for my peace of mind it is worth it.
We take an extra paddle per boat, we do mainly rivers also. We have seen wooden paddles snap (cheap) or drifted downstream after a canoe tip over. I have switched to aluminum paddles in my boat to eliminate the risk and maintenance of the paddles.
"I'm not a man who can't do anything wrong, if I see him I'll tell him you're waiting"
I trip solo most of the time - so I always carry two paddles. I have one relatively expensive paddle that I use in open water, and one cheap aluminum paddle that I use approaching and leaving the landings.
Not bringing an extra paddle to me is like not bringing a life jacket. Of course I paddle solo most of the time so it may be more of an issue. My main paddle is a Carolina Carver bent shaft and I carry a Bending Branches bent shaft as a back up. Nothing wrong with having a cheap paddle for a spare, but in my mind if I need to finish a trip using the back up, I would rather paddle with a good quality and comfortable paddle that won't compromise my ability to trip as I would like.
Well I guess I'm alone on this one but I havn't carried an extra paddle in the past. Maybe I'm asking for trouble but I've always figured that it's not very likely that I'd break one and if I did I could fix it good enough to finish my trip. I'm also careful with my paddles so that this doesn't happen. But maybe next trip...
I've always used a couple cheap wooden paddles and tied a plastic/aluminum spare to a thwart. Recently I purchased a nice bent shaft paddle for an August Quetico trip, I'll leave the plastic/aluminum at home and bring the old wooden paddle for a spare and for a fish cleaning platform. I'd prefer to have a wooden paddle in my hand over plastic.