BEST KAYAK PADDLE GRIP TAPE: INTRO
Getting a grip on your kayak fishing paddle can be difficult when the shaft is too smooth or even uncomfortably hard. This KFC post details the Best Kayak Paddle Grip Tape to use for avoiding this problem and for making you a more efficient paddler. Let’s get started!
Best Kayak Paddle Grip Tape – Overview:
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In this guide, I discuss the importance of using the best kayak paddle grip tape if you are truly interested in avoiding the blisters that are otherwise certain to follow in periods of heavy paddling. I’ve included a link to my favorite kayak paddle grip tape, but I also want you to understand why its so important.
To make this guide easy to read, I have divided it into easy to follow sections. The first section informs you about the basics of grip tapes (including those found in the Best Kayak Paddle Grip Tape), what they are, how they work, and why we use them.
Next, I’ve gone over a step-by-step process of applying the grip tape to your kayak paddles. I’ve also included a section to highlight all the important considerations before buying a grip tape. Pay close attention here, as the information will help you decide on a purchase – you’ll be able to separate the “good” from the “bas” with ease and thus make a better purchase decision.
I’ve also provided a link to what I am certain is the best kayak paddle grip tape on the market. By no means is it the ONLY high quality paddle grip tape, but it fits everything I covered in the buying guide while staying within a budget! Finally, I’ve concluded my experience in the “My Experience” section – hopefully you learn a thing or two from my own thoughts prior to making a purchase decision. It is here that I’ve jotted down the benefits and drawbacks of using grip tape on your kayak paddle.
Side Note: If you don’t want to navigate your fishing kayak with kayak paddles, you should look into whether a Minn Kota Terrova (a type of kayak trolling motor) could be right for you. Just make sure you get a good trolling motor battery (we have linked to the best trolling motor battery, here). You will want to keep it in a trolling motor battery box.
Best Kayak Paddle Grip Tape – Basics
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Grip tapes are made to be wrapped around the kayak paddle shafts to improve grip and friction. They usually go over the part that you grip (which is more often than not the outer ends of the shaft).
Wrapping a grip tape is as simple as anything, so there is no need to be intimidated. But there’s a lot you need to consider about them. For instance, how long does a grip tape last? Since they will come into contact with water (no matter how tightly you bind them), grip tapes should be changed every month or so.
The lifespan of a grip tapes falls squarely on how well you maintain it. Most people can’t be bothered to maintain grip tapes, so they just keep refreshing the wrap after every month. Many manufactures recommend wrapping two layers of tape instead of one, to improve strength and tightness.
When picking out the best grip tape, you need to check a few things. The material, for instance, is the most important consideration. Most of the good grip tapes use silicone (as opposed to rubber). It is not only weatherproof but also prevents blisters and burning of the hands – it also has a much “softer” feel”. Some grip tapes also feature UV protection and heat resistance. Many are brightly colored which may increase your safety and visibility on the water!
Ok, so now you know some of the basics, but this won’t do you much good unless you know how to use and install a grip tape similar to the one we’ve designated as the best kayak paddle grip tape (below). Let’s take a closer look:
How to Use the Best Kayak Paddle Grip Tape:
Using a kayak paddle grip tape takes a lot more precautions than wrapping on regular tape. In order to be an effective grip, you need to make the proper installation. Here’s an easy to follow checklist detailing how to use the best kayak paddle grip tape:
- Unbox the tape.
- When using the tape, remove the clear film as you unravel it.
- This film is there to protect the tape from adhering to itself.
- As you remove the film, be careful not to let the tape touch itself.
- Stretch the tape as you remove the film to activate the chemical compounds.
- Hold the tape down on the shaft of the paddle using your thumb.
- Gently wrap the tape around it as you hold it.
- Repeat this process a few times on the same spot to ensure a firm start.
- Now gently spiral the tape down the shaft.
- One 5 foot tape should be enough for one layer on one side of the paddle.
- Apply at least 2 layers for extra precaution.
Best Kayak Paddle Grip Tape – Important Features:
Grip Tape Material:
Firstly, consider the material of the grip tape. Most grip tapes nowadays are made of silicone. Silicone is by far the best material to use for grip tapes that allow for maximum grip while keeping your hands blister-free.
Silicone is also quite durable and weatherproof. It is especially useful for kayaking, as the water and debris tend to abrade regular adhesive tape.
You also need to consider the grit of the silicone. Some tapes will have more grit or “texture” than others. More grit can cause blisters on your hand, so choose a grit in moderation.
Grip Tape Size:
The size of the grip tape is an important consideration, especially the length and the width. Generally speaking, anywhere between 3 to 5 feet of grip tape should be sufficient. I recommend trying out a 5 feet roll of grip tape.
Most grip tapes are short and only made for one layer on one side of the paddle. So whichever tape you buy, you’ll be needing at least 4 of them for a decent grip. Two layers are sufficient to invalidate any air pockets.
When buying a grip tape, it’s not just the water you need to worry about. Grip tapes, much like other plastic products, are prone to overheating and UV damage. Grip tapes made from silicone are naturally UV resistant. However, not all types of silicone have this property. If your grip tape does have it, the manufacturers will have likely mentioned it.
Aside from that, the heat can harm certain plastic products. Some silicone tapes can have a very high-temperature threshold. It means they won’t get hot and melt. And you can grip them without worrying about the metal underneath getting hot.
Grip Tape Alternatives:
If you find that investing in grip tape is unaffordable, then consider some alternatives. You can use regular adhesive tape (a lot of them are made from a similar silicone material).
However, the adhesive under the tape is not meant to last forever. And excessive use in the water can expose the glue to the elements.
Another alternative to adhesive tape is waxing the paddle’s shaft. Some special waxes are used to provide a sticky surface. However, they tend to begin deteriorating at just 160 F, and are prone to washing away.
Buy the Best Kayak Paddle Grip Tape:
The most resilient and the best kayak paddle grip tape is the one that I have showcased above. What I love about this particular grip tape is that it’s perhaps the most durable silicone grip tape out there. It’s got everything from UV protection to a high-temperature threshold and a non-abrasive texture.
It is a 60 inch (5 feet) long roll of silicone tape that can work on any diameter handle. It’s designed to work on just about any surface. So you can use it for more than just kayaking. If you’re a frequent kayak fisher, then you can use the tape on your fishing rod as well!
Let me begin with the protection level on this tape. This tape is protected from UV light, which is known to harm many materials. If it’s not the tape you’re worried about, then the UV light would’ve damaged the paddle shaft.
Along with that, this grip tape can handle high amounts of heat and cold. It can handle temperatures from -65 F to +500 F. This means that the tape won’t get hot or start to melt, as is the case with most plastics.
The insulation protects not only the tape but the material underneath as well. If you’re using an aluminum shaft, it reduces the need to wear gloves. If the shaft is made of plastic, you can wrap it all around to protect it from the sun. Although you’ll be needing a longer roll.
What’s so unique about this grip tape is that it doesn’t use an adhesive. Instead, the tape adheres to itself via a very complicated chemical reaction. In this way, all you need to worry about the tape is being tight. No need to worry about the adhesive losing its stickiness, as there is none.
You’ll love that the tape doesn’t leave any “sticky” residue when it is peeled off and replaced. This is because it is self adhering, meaning that it only sticks to itself. Pretty cool huh?
I was so tired of my hands becoming blistered after using my kayak paddle during my fishing outings that I knew I had to make a change.
Luckily, a friend of mine suggested the grip tape that you see above. It has everything you would want in grip tape. It’s got the UV resistance and the temperature threshold. And it doesn’t use a traditional adhesive method (no sticky residue is a HUGE plus).
As for the grip itself, the tackiness is not too high nor too low. When I used it, I found that, as the manufactures wanted to reduce blisters, the grit was smoother than expected. It led to a few slips here and there. But I just used the gloves I already had, and the grip was fine. I actually felt like I kept a much greater hold on my paddle, but didn’t have to squeeze nearly as hard (which is important, because I don’t have a floating kayak paddle).
This product uses a special chemical reaction to bind the silicone. And as such, while wrapping is easy, unwrapping is not too difficult. You might find yourself using a knife or a blade to cut apart the tape. It can be considered as a good sign for some people, but for others, they might prefer easier unwrapping.
Also, I must say that this, as a silicone product, will leave an odor. Since you’re using it outdoors, you won’t notice it much. And the odor will go away after 48 hours. But if you’re using it on other tools, then you will most likely notice the odor. Putting all that aside, this is simply the best kayak grip tape for its high durability and quality. Here are my thoughts summarized:
- Protects from blisters and burns (easier to “squeeze”).
- High-temperature threshold.
- Moderate grit for better grip.
- Protects shaft material from heat.
- Weather-resistant (won’t deteriorate when wet).
- Made for all kinds of kayaking.
- Harder to unwrap (bring a pocket knife and cut down the middle).
- Off-gasses to some extent.
So that concludes the guide! I highly hope you found it useful. I went through all the important points that you need to know about the best kayak paddle grip tape and why it is an absolute necessity in terms of avoiding blisters and keeping a good hold on your kayak paddle!
I pointed out the key things to consider before you buy your grip tape – you are know an educated consumer! And I even provided a link to my favorite grip tape, the one shown above. This tape is one of the best for its high threshold and weather-resistance. And the best part is that it doesn’t cut or blister your hand!
Side Note: Don’t worry that the tape will “weigh down” your kayak paddle, even if you are using a lightweight kayak paddle. The tape does not weigh very much and it won’t throw off your strokes either.
Did you know that kayak paddle grip tape existed before you came across this article? It makes sense, right? Kayak fishermen are sometimes paddling for hours on end, its only fair that their paddle is comfortable on the hands and easy to hold on to! What kind of grip do you put on your kayak fishing paddle? Have you had any experience wit the kayak paddle grip tape that we showcase in this article? Be sure to share your experiences and opinions with us! We read and reply to every comment and love interacting with the kayak fishing community!