Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle review

A friend suggested the Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle to me because “It is cheap and performs adequately.”

Performs adequately... How’s that for a ringing endorsement?!
Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle review

Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle review

The Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle is relatively light, durable, and a reasonable performer for a beginner. However, I’m not convinced that it is the best choice for every paddler. The big gripe that I have with the Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle is the blade shape. If I paddle with any enthusiasm at all, I feel a very disconcerting wobble or flutter in the blade. I can’t see what is happening to the blade, so I don’t know if the blade itself is deforming and causing the flutter, or if the balance of forces is different on the top and bottom half of the blade, making it wobble. What I do know, is that it bugs the mess out of me! I also feel a very slight movement in the joint where the two halves of the paddle shaft connect, but that is much less bothersome for me.

What baggage do I bring to this review? The same friend that recommended the Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle describes me as “rangey”… some folks might call me “lankey”. Regardless, I’m on the tall-ish side at 6’4” and light at 185 lb. I like to think that I’ve got an athletic build. I tend to have a predisposition for speed and a more power oriented, close to vertical paddle stroke with a slower rhythm than most paddlers I’ve met. I’m fairly new to kayaking, but canoed a fair bit in my youth. So consider my perspective when reading my reviews.

So, with that background your friendly reviewer in mind, I’ve tried paddling with a lighter stroke, with a lower angled stroke, and at varying degrees of stroke power. Anything but a very low power stroke produces the blade wobble described above. I can reduce the wobble by gripping the paddle shaft more tightly, but that tires my forearms more quickly.

I suspect that the wobble comes from the cupped shape with no natural relief path for pressure that builds on the face during each stroke. Carlisle describes the blade as having and asymmetrical design and dihedral shape. I get the asymmetrical part, but need some help understanding the dihedral. As a pilot, the concept of dihedral is not new to me. Aircraft have dihedral in the wings (generally, the slope of the wing from root to tip, in relation to the horizontal axis).  I see a cupping of the blade face on the Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle blades.  I would call that a concave shape, not a dihedral shape. The Werner Sprite kids paddle, on the other hand, does have what I would call a dihedral shape on the blade.

Still, Of the 3 types of paddles that I own, I tend to reach for the Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle more often than not.

Review of the Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle

A friend suggested the Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle to me because “It is cheap and performs adequately.”

Performs adequately… How’s that for a ringing endorsement?!

After using a 240 cm Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle for a couple of months, I think my friend is onto something.

Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle review

Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle review

Here are the specs from the Carlisle Paddles website:

  • Blade Material:
    glass reinforced polypropylene
  • Shaft Material:
    anodized aluminum
  • Lengths: (cm)
    1-piece: 220, 220-60°, 230
    2-piece: 220, 230, 240
  • Weight: 37 oz. (230 cm)
  • Blade Color:
    black
  • Shaft Color:
    silver/black
  • MSRP:
    1-piece: $42.00
    2-piece: $47.50

Jeff likes:

  • Price: more than the old-school flat, symmetrical bladed paddles, less than the composite shaft models.
  • The oval cross section of the paddle shaft at the right hand grip
  • Relatively light weight
  • Fairly good power transfer
  • Adjustable feathering with 60 degree right or left, as well as inline positions

Jeff doesn’t like:

  • Blade flutter on even low power strokes
  • Movement in the joint that connects the two halves of the paddle shaft
  • Lack of padding at the hand grips on the paddle shaft
  • Drip rings won’t stay in place on the shaft… slide around while paddling
Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle review

Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle shaft joint

Overall conclusion:

For my money, the Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle is a good economy paddle for beginners, or as a back-up paddle… which happens to be the way that Carlisle positions the paddle. It is a nice upgrade to a flat bladed paddle that I can loan out when guests want to try the kayaks, and it won’t break the bank if they lose or break it.

Jeff’s rating:

Gear Score
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The Carlisle Day Tripper kayak paddle is relatively inexpensive, and provides adequate performance for beginners or as a back-up paddle.

Please leave a comment to let me know if this review was helpful to you.

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits.

A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps http://MGECOM.com acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management.

Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.