Tested: Anfibio Vertex Multi Tour paddle review

See also: Packraft Paddles

In a Line
Four-piece paddle 890g in kayak format with 15cm of length adjustment, fully variable feathering and includes T-handles to make a pair of canoe paddles, a long SUP paddle, a tarp pole or even an MYO packstaff.

Where used?
Paddles on the Thames, Dorset coast, Wey and in northwest Scotland in my Sigma TXL.

What they say
Revised, redesigned paddle combination for two-person packrafts, usable alone or in pairs. The very light fiberglass double paddle can be transformed into two paddles and even into a SUP paddle using two extenders. Continuously adjustable in angle and length (210cm to 225cm).
Price: €175

Good value, light 4-parter
Variable length and feathering
Two canoe or a SUP paddle included
Max 63cm length
29mm shaft will suit smaller hands
Get a Vertex Tour for €125 if you just want a packraft paddle

Blades a bit loose; fixed with bits of tape
No index mark to set feathering angle
29mm shaft narrower than the 32mm I’m used to
Smoothish fibreglass surface is a bit slipperier than my other paddles

This paddle was supplied free in exchange for editorial work on the Anfibio website

Review
A quality two-piece like my ageing Werners is usually my first choice for a day out, but for travelling with a packraft, especially on public transport, a 4-piece paddle makes sense. You won’t go any slower or get more tired; it just won’t feel as efficient and solid as a good two-parter – and feeling efficient can give you confidence, even if there’s nothing in it. Now sold, my Aqua Bound Manta Ray carbon shaft was at least ten years old and still hanging in there, and that was my second one after selling the first to an envious mate. It wasn’t as stiff as my Werner but it got me across the water all over the world, while doubling up as a packstaff.

Anfibio’s Vertex Multi Tour really does try to cover everything: kayak paddle, two canoe paddles and even a SUP board paddle – if you own all those it could be what you need. I don’t, so used the canoe handle extenders to make a Mk2 packstaff. Did I mention packstaffs yet?
I did notice the spring-button blade connection was a little slack; a matter of a fraction of millimeter clearance and fixed by a bit of tape, easily removed. Maybe the paddle will swell into a tighter fit once repeatedly wetted? (The Manta Ray blades tightened up over the years).
It took a while to notice the Vertex also has a slightly thinner 29mm shaft – less comfortable to grip for me. Smaller handed persons will prefer this. It’s also smoother which makes me think a little texture aids grip without raising blisters on long outings.

Length adjustment is something new on me and I like to think is not a gimmick. On our windy Dorset paddle I ran the paddle short (210cm) into the wind, and longer (220 or so) downwind; a bit like low and high gearing, using a higher cadence on the short length when working into the wind. I need to try this a few more times to see if it really makes a difference, or I just think it does. With the lever clamp, you can adjust in a couple of seconds.

Like most paddlers I am right handed and paddle with the left blade rotated forward: 45° R. But unlike my Werners (below left), there is no sticker or other index alignment marker to set your feathering angle on the Vertex. It seems this was a production oversight and current Vertex paddles have an alignment marker – make sure yours has.

I also realised it matters which blade you attach to which shaft for your shaft feathering alignment sticker to have consistency. After sticking on some yellow alignment arrows (as I’ve done to my older Werner’s where stickers peeled off), I added more tape on the left blade and the section of shaft with the lever clamp. Match yellow to yellow and you are good to go.

The Vertex’s blade looks like a fairly standard 650cm2 and should take the usual beating of being pushed off rocks and so on. Once you’re paddling the finer points of paddle response fall by the wayside; if you’re moving into the wind and waves and current at the end of a long or hard session you will feel tired. But once you add some stickers, for the price and weight and versatility the Vertex Multi Tour does it all, and is in stock in Europe right now, unlike many American-branded paddles.

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