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Thread: Oar recommendations for fly-in float hunts?

  1. #1

    Default Oar recommendations for fly-in float hunts?

    I recently purchased a 14' self bailer raft for use on float hunts, and I am now in the process of choosing oars. With that I'm soliciting recommendations regarding the best oars and oar blades. It seems to me that Carlisle oars would likely be indistructable since they have aluminum shafts (perhaps they'l bend), but it appears they are heavier than Cataracts? Sawyer appears to make a fine oar, but I'm concerned that a wood blade may not be overly durable? I am thinking that a two-piece oar would be the way to go? Lastly weight is a factor, but durability is paramount.

    As a side question: Are most folks using oar rights?

    Thanks for your recommendations.

    WhiteFish

  2. #2
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default Personal Preference

    Some people are Sawyer Fans, some people are Carlisle Fans and Some people are Cataract Fans.

    If you wish your oars to last spend a couple of extra bucks and purchase the Cataracts problem is one piece oar but for the most part if your not putting them the trunk of your car you will be fine. Little Spendy but worth the extra bucks if your looking to abuse some gear. This is what I use on my boat but then again I am spoiled :-)

    Commercially we run two piece Carlisle's yes once and a while they bend however they are a reasonable oar for the money and they do give you options being one or two piece.

    I am not a huge fan of Sawyers that being said they are still a quality oar and some people get years of use from them.

    Pins and Clips vs Oar Rights and Sleeves. Ease of use IMO Rights and Sleeves, durability would go to Pins and Clips. All our boats with the exception of one have been converted to Rights and Sleeves if that helps.

    Bottom Line is how much your willing to spend if you are looking for quality and ease of use IMO Cataracts, Sleeves and Rights.

    If your looking for a reasonable Value that will meet your applications then go With Carlisle with Pns and Clips.

    Blue Moose

  3. #3

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    Blue Moose;

    Obviously you've got a wealth of oar knowledge, and I appreciate your sharing of it.

    So, a 7.5 foot oar shaft (ten foot minus the blade) is not too long for air flights? Also, and FYI I have no plans to engage class III, IV, and V rapids, which Cataract shaft do you recommend...the SGG or the stiffer SGX?

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

    WhiteFish

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    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
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    Default SGG will work

    Good Oar! You might want to ask around and borrow from some friends and feel the difference between the Carlisle and Cataract. The one piece in Carlisle are nice and stiff as well I compare it to fly rods less pieces less trouble in the long run but again it comes down IMO to application and value.

    Shooting you a PM as well.

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    Default

    I've never had a problem flying with one piece oar shafts, but this has all been on small airplanes, not commercial flights with checked baggage. Even very small airplanes can take one piece oars. Also, the joint is Carlisle's weakest point. I've broken several.

    I prefer 9' oars on a 14' raft, so that brings the shaft down to about 6.5'. I can't see any use for 10' oars until the boat gets to 16'. Unless you overextend the frame width substantially, with longer oars you *loose* leverage. Not something I want unless my boat is packed very light.

    As far as blades go, I know that Carlisle's plastic blades are easily chipped, and it's not hard at all to snap the end off one. I can't count the number of them I have had to replace over the years. I think a wooden blade would be an improvement, but I've never used Sawyers. I've also never used Cataract's blades, but am determined to cough up the extra cash for a couple the next time I have to replace mine.

    No doubt about Cataract composite shafts being stronger and more durable than Carlisle aluminum shafts. They are also lighter and flex better. Much easier to use for long rowing days. I'm not going back to aluminum for long trips.

    I prefer to use uprights & sleeves in oarlocks, but all of my boats are equipped with pins & clips, and I'm too cheap to change. There are also some advantages to pins & clips, like being able to quickly adjust their height, and more security in rough conditions, but if you're not doing extreme water, oarlocks are easier and more comfortable.

    There are purists out there using oarlocks & sleeves without uprights, but any real advantages are lost on me. I just don't get it. They talk about "feathering the blade" but what on earth is that really going to accomplish?

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    I got a 14.5' raft recently and am in the market for some break down oars. I will be flying my outfit up to Alaska from North Carolina each year and I need something that will fly well. I contacted Cataract and they said they would make some custom three piece oars for me. I have yet to purchase, but plan to do so. You may want to contact them and see what suggestions they have for you.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    I got a 14.5' raft recently and am in the market for some break down oars. I will be flying my outfit up to Alaska from North Carolina each year and I need something that will fly well. I contacted Cataract and they said they would make some custom three piece oars for me. I have yet to purchase, but plan to do so. You may want to contact them and see what suggestions they have for you.
    I wasn't aware that Cataract would make multi-piece oars, so I appreciate the info. I am concerned, as Jim pointed out, that joints in oars can be a weak point. Per BlueMoose's info and Jim's info I'll likely get Cataract's, and I'll give Cataract a call to at least discuss a multi-piece oar possiblility as well as the pro and cons.

    WhiteFish

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I have the same concerns about strength, but I need something compact to fly with. Definitely something to give some thought to.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Cadillac Cataracts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    ...Cataract composite shafts ... stronger and more durable than Carlisle aluminum shafts... also lighter and flex better. Much easier to use for long rowing days. I'm not going back to aluminum for long trips.
    Attention is influenced by experience. After experiencing air cargo/bush flight prices this summer, the word "LIGHTER" in Jim's post leapt from the page upon rereading this short, informative thread.

    Probably not worth regearing because the weight savings is no doubt small, but for new purchase situation like Whitefish's inquiry, maybe worth keeping the whole outfit weight in mind. Looks like approx $120 to $145 for the 9' Cataract shaft (each) plus $70 to $140 for the blade (http://alaskaraftandkayak.com/store/oars-c-15.html), roughly double the Carlisle oars. Didn't find oar weights on the Cataract website.

  10. #10
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Default

    I have two sets of breakdown cataract oars I have used for the last 4 years and not an ounce of trouble and have been on many fly in float hunts.
    Some of the mountain drainages I have put them through gave them a great strength test with a few chips taken out of the bottom edge of the blades.
    I really like them and would not hesitate one bittobuy another set.

    RR
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    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Break-down oars

    You can probably get those 7.5' shafts into most any Bush plane, including a Super Cub. The real rub comes when you have to ship them as cargo out to the Bush. Say you're flying out of McGrath. You ship your gear from Anchorage to McGrath on Northern Air Cargo. All your gear goes on a pallet, but your oar shafts are way too long to fit on the pallet, so you tape them together and ship them separately. More opportunity for them to get lost or damaged.

    I use break-down oars for all my fly-out trips for this reason. I can wrap the shafts together with my break-down frame components, and they are reasonably protected from chipping and breakage against other cargo.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default The best wrap?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    ...I use break-down oars for all my fly-out trips for this reason. I can wrap the shafts together with my break-down frame components, and they are reasonably protected from chipping and breakage against other cargo. -Mike
    As for wrapping the shafts together...
    I used duct tape, plus cam straps to hold frame and oar components together, but neither was perfect. They worked alright, but tape sometimes broke and the straps sometimes slipped.

    Any other ideas for wrapping oar shafts or frame parts together?

  13. #13
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Bundling frame and oar parts for shipping

    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    As for wrapping the shafts together...
    I used duct tape, plus cam straps to hold frame and oar components together, but neither was perfect. They worked alright, but tape sometimes broke and the straps sometimes slipped.

    Any other ideas for wrapping oar shafts or frame parts together?
    Leech,

    You might try both together. I strap my frame components together for shipping, but I usually wrap the strap around the bundle several times before cinching it tight at the buckle. So far I haven't had any trouble with slippage that way. Of course the part of the oar shaft that has the Oar Rights or clips on it isn't slipping out anyway. At any rate, if you're still getting slippage, you might duct tape around the strap after it's secured. At that point the tape isn't likely to break because it's really not carrying the stress; the straps are. The tape is just there to keep the strap from slipping.

    Might be worth a try.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  14. #14

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    or just make it easy on yourself and throw them in a double ski bag and ship it that way.

    i can fit a basic nrs raft frame and 3 breakdown oars in one of these bags. it's padded and you can lock it as well. no need for duct tape or worry about it slipping/ falling apart/ lost parts. throw a couple short cam straps around the outside of the bag for support but it's not required.

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    Any particular break down oar better than another?

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    Chasing, Carlisle aluminum oar shafts are usually the only ones you can readily find as breakdown oars. But if you are willing to special order them and pay the extra cost for the better product, Cataract composite oars are superior. I know that Sawyer also makes very good oars, but the local prices have always discouraged me from trying them. I don't know if they offer a breakdown option.

    An oar splice either adds weight or reduces strength, and often both. I would only get breakdown oars if you thought they were going to be needed. I don't ship my boats, and the longer shafts fit small planes, so I have no use for them.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Old post here I see. My earlier comments were when I "thought" Cataract was making some custom oars for me. Later in the game, they bailed on me. That led me to Sawyer who luckily was willing to help. I had Sawyer make some custom three piece Pole Cats. I have used them several times now and I am impressed so far. No play or any signs of weakness. Had Sotar make a custom dry bag that holds my break down frame and the oars together. I strap the items together and pad them a bit with the life vest and some clothing. Raft in one bag, frame/oars in the other. That is about as simple as it gets when flying with a raft.




    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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