If this was a perfect world every paddle would weigh one ounce, be able to sustain repeated pile-drivers from a Mack truck and cost two nickels and a helping of pocket lint. Since we can only dream about that reality we've come up with a simple class rating system so you can get a feel for what our different paddle models are capable of handling.
CABIN CRUISER CLASS
While not recommended for the rigors of extended wilderness trips, since they don't have fiberglass reinforced blades or epoxy tip guards, they are great for cruising around the lake on day trips or gracing your cabin's wall. These paddles are a combination of hardwood and Western Red Cedar laminated together and have a smooth oil finish.
WILDERNESS CLASS I
The defining feature of this class is that all the paddles are extremely lightweight. Every paddle in this class is made entirely of Western Red Cedar. Each blade is fiber-glassed and attached with an epoxy blade tip to ward off inadvertent rock swipes. While these are cream-of-the-crop in the weight department, they are mid-level wilderness paddles as far as durability goes. While hearty enough for any wilderness trip, some care while prying/twisting on rocks is recommended. And cedar is a soft wood so keep rubbing along the gunwales to a minimum. The moral of the story is this - lightweight and quite durable, but some care while paddling is required.
WILDERNESS CLASS II
The paddles in this class are destined to be paddled deep into canoe country on extended wilderness canoe trips. Each is a combination of Western Red Cedar with various hardwoods added for extra strength and durability. Each shaft is edged in hardwood to protect against damage from rubbing along the gunwales. The blades are reinforced with fiber-glass and attached with an epoxy blade tip to ward off inadvertent rock swipes. In other words, these are on the top shelf in our library, filed under durable.