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Thread: Composite oars vs aluminum oars

  1. #1

    Default Composite oars vs aluminum oars

    I currently have aluminum Carlisle oars with pins and clips, but am considering going to the composite oars with oarlocks. Any recommendations and observations? I know the composite are supposed to be lighter and as I get older, lighter is a good thing!

    Is the difference that noticeable and is it worth the cost?

  2. #2
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    Default my two cents

    I went from Carlisles to Cataracts several years ago and think they are a bit tougher. I've had SGG's and SGXs and prefer the latter -- but I think both will handle more stress than Carlisles, which tend to slightly bend over time if you bash enough rocks (which I've done, in part because I run a lot of low water trips on river studies below dams).

    The lighter weight of Cataracts is another feature, but the SGX is heavier than the SGG so you don't gain quite as much as you think you are going to. Likewise if you get the magnum blades, which I also have (they're tougher than the regular blades, and way tougher than the "razor" blade which is designed for non-whitewater set-ups).

    For my smallest cat that I keep in Oregon, I've recently switched to Sawyer half-composite/half-ash MXS-G and they seem pretty spectacular (only been on a couple of Rogue and North Umpqua trips), but I believe it is pretty spendy -- it was purchased for me after I lent out my boat and the old oars came back beat up.

    In any case, I think any composite will feel lighter and last longer than the Carlisles, but there is nothing terrible about the aluminum ones and they are cheaper. I still keep a set of break down Carlisles around for fly in trips where long oar space may be limited. I'm sure others make breakdowns too, but they will cost lots more.

    I've also always used oar rights, and the latest version of them allows you to flip them out of the way if you want to feather. I like wraps (quieter) but haven't always had the money to pay for them. Likewise with the thick Cobra oar locks -- really nice but more money.

  3. #3

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    Personally, I use the SAWYER POLE-CAT oars-- All glass, more flex than the graphite blend and have yet to break one over many years and miles . Just my opinion--
    Goo

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    Default

    I have both and prefer composite. They have a nice flex that feels more comfortable. But the biggest reason I bought the Cataracts was I kept breaking the aluminum Carlisles. As with Doug it mostly had to do with rocks, but the so far the Cataracts have proven to be more cost effective in the long run.

    Since I have them, I generally use pins & clips, and they do have some advantages for whitewater, but I still prefer oarlocks with rights. I should probably switch, as I don't do a lot of whitewater anymore.

  5. #5
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by goeaux View Post
    Personally, I use the SAWYER POLE-CAT oars-- All glass, more flex than the graphite blend and have yet to break one over many years and miles . Just my opinion--
    Goo

    As do I and glad I took Goo's suggestion a few years back. Sawyer custom made me some three piece 9.5' foot Polecats for my raft and they have held up well. Awesome product.



    -Dan
    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.

  6. #6
    Member AK Troutbum's Avatar
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    Default

    After using Carlisle's with pins and clips for the last 18 or so years, I just made the switch to Sawyer MXS-FG with counter balance handles and oarlocks/rights. I haven't had the raft out yet to try the new set up, hope I made the right choice.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks for the input. I think I will go forward and move up!

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