Review and Analysis of Anfibio Vertex Tour Paddle
A lightweight yet strong paddle is a holy grail of packrafting expeditions. A packraft can be fixed in the field relatively easy. With a paddle, the story is different. Once your paddle goes into pieces, there’s not much you can do about it – unless the damage is very specific or related to the pole. You can easily find robust paddles, but they’re usually quite heavy, around 1.5 kg or more. On the other hand, extremely light models such as Anfibio Fly are great for easy lake or river crossings, but not a good fit for long journeys on rivers with class II or III. Here is where Anfibio Vertex Tour comes in.
The first impression is related to its weight: it’s really lightweight. At 890 grams of a listed weight, it does feel so light. Overall, its size-power-price-weight tradeoff is outstanding. On top of that, its robustness is also adequate. Specifically, I used this paddle during the 2022 expedition to the extremely remote Anabar Plateau. The expedition goal was to cross the plateau from East to West, solo, and a big part was to float down the famous Kotuykan river. I covered more than 400 km on this river, and there were many rapids of difficulty III. The paddle made me flow safely through all of them, and I did paddle hard many times. One of the rapids was completely unexpected: the river was rushing like crazy, there was a sharp turn, and suddenly I found myself in the middle of whitewater craziness*. I had to react very quickly not to get thrown into the river. The paddle never let me down in those situations.
*To those who may think that my planning was bad, because I did not know about the rapid before – Kotuykan is an extremely remote river, I was paddling a very long stretch, which was maybe done several times before – it’s very hard and often impossible to find information about such rivers beforehand. Well, that’s one of the characteristics of exploratory mountaineering, which makes it so interesting :-).
The paddle is very comfortable to use – its large diameter enables secure grip and enough comfort for long paddling. My expedition days are almost always long. During one of the days, I used it for 17 hours, nearly non stop. I never got any issues beyond the usual tiredness.
Despite very low weight, it has several useful features, such as variable length (adjustable from 210cm to 225cm), drip rings, and is collapsible into four parts. These parts fit nicely inside a medium and large size backpacks, so if you prefer to have all your gear packed inside a backpack, it’s completely doable with Vertex Tour. Adjusting the paddle is very easy and comfortable, which is important out in the field. Finally, similarly to the Fly paddle, you can use it as a backup tent pole, if your trekking pole breaks down 😉
In summary, Anfibio Vertex Tour is an amazing lightweight paddle that I fully recommend for any expedition or trip that is weight conscious and included paddling rivers with up to III rapids.