Glance at any archery catalog and you’ll see dizzying varieties of arrows. Among these options are the perfect arrow for every archer. The better you understand their differences, the easier it is to pick the best arrow for you.
Carbon fiber’s strength and light weight make it a favorite arrow material for recreational and professional archers. Carbon is extremely durable, and returns to its original shape when bent. That means your arrows stay straight no matter how much you abuse them. Carbon is the most advanced arrow material available, but you don’t need to break the bank to buy carbon arrows. Manufacturers offer budget-friendly carbon arrows that are ideally suited to new archers. Pick some up at an archery store.
*Safety Tip: During a hard impact, carbon arrows can sustain small cracks that aren’t visible without close inspection. If you miss the target or hit something hard, carefully inspect your arrow for damage. Then flex it while listening for cracking noises. If your arrow makes noise or breaks, throw it out or turn it into an arrow pen.
Aluminum is an affordable material that doesn’t compromise cost for consistency. Aluminum arrows are as straight and consistent as carbon arrows, but cost less. Their biggest negative is that they aren’t as durable as carbon. Aluminum can bend from hard impacts or mishandling, but if you’re on a tight budget and take care of your arrows, aluminum is a great option.
Wooden arrows have been used for thousands of years. They’ve been used to hunt wooly mammoths and to wage wars, like the battle of Agincourt. There’s no denying the nostalgia of wooden arrows in a well-oiled back quiver. They embody archery’s romance and mystique.
Unfortunately, wooden arrows have some drawbacks. Wood can warp, it’s less consistent than other arrow materials, and it isn’t as durable as carbon or aluminum. But the traditional feel and look of wooden arrows outweighs the negatives for some archers. If you’re a purist or just want to step back in time, give wooden arrows a try.
Fletching stabilizes the arrow in flight, and comes in two basic materials: feathers and vanes.
Plastic fletchings are called vanes. Vanes are usually preferred for compound bows and modern recurve bows with an elevated arrow rest. Vanes are popular because they’re durable and waterproof.
Traditional archers prefer feather fletching. When an arrow launches from a recurve or longbow, its fletching contacts the bow. Feathers are supple, so they flatten out of the way when contacting the bow, and don’t disrupt the arrow’s flight. Feathers are not waterproof and must be handled with care.
The type of arrow you choose mostly involves preference, budget and end-use. Just make sure it matches your bow. Archery shops are the best place to buy arrows and get them fitted to you. Find the closest archery shop here.