The Early Years:
When we started Badger Paddles in 2009, we immediately began looking for a more ecological transport and storage solution for the paddles we make.
Wanting to get away from single-use plastic for shipping, and tired of big bulky, highly priced paddle bags with features specific to only one paddle style, Mike decided it was time to produce a product that was stretchy, inexpensive, light weight, and compact. He also wanted quick and easy paddle protection that could be used with a number of different paddles and paddle styles. Thus, the first genuine Badger Paddle Sock was envisioned. Well, sort of. The first prototype was actually two of Poppa Badger’s old hockey socks just sewn together with one end sewn shut. But that’s another story….
The First Badger Paddle Sock:
In 2010 we looked for a knitter with manufacturing capablilities and made contact with a Toronto company (who were the producers of central vacuum hose covers) and a new product was born. It was also at this time the decision was made to include a paddle sock with every Badger Canoe Paddle (excluding our little Cubs and canoe paddles for youths). This helped to immediately cut back on the use of plastic bags by the hundreds each year. Instead of shipping out paddles in single-use a plastic sleeve, each paddle was shipped in its own re-usable Badger Paddle Sock.
The original Badger Paddle Sock of 2010 was a stretchable, knitted sleeve that was easy to slip over a canoe paddle. The open end was easily cinched tight with some cord and a plastic drawstring closure. The Badger logo was screened onto each sock and was made from 100% polyester.
Not completely satisfied with the design or the fact that the socks ended up being manufactured in China, Mike and Fiona kept looking for a Canadian-made, plastic-free solution.
Present Day Paddle Socks:
By the end of 2013, we were finally able to find a Canadian manufacturer for the project and the Badger Paddle Sock was given a redesign along with its packaging.
The differences between the updated Badger Paddle Sock and the new one were simple. The plastic closure and elastic drawstring cord was removed – as time had proven that they were not needed. Instead, the updated paddle sock fits by stretching the material over the blade and folding the sock back down, over itself, to hold it in place. Just a quick pull, twist, and flip – it’s that easy!
What hasn’t changed though, is the stretchiness of the material which still allows the sock to fit just about any traditional canoe paddle up to 66”.
From a thin solo paddle like the Sliver to a wide bladed paddle like the Digger and even some bent-shaft or 2 piece kayak paddles – Badger Paddle Socks will be sure to fit and protect your paddles for years to come.
While obviously the cost of our Canadian-made paddle socks are greater than the socks that were manufactured in China, we have long held the belief that cheaper is not better. As supporting Canadian manufactures and local companies is an important part of the Badger business plan.