In recent years there has been a sudden growth in archers who have chosen to use arrow wraps on their arrows.
While they are low impact pieces of equipment that are not necessarily essential for the success or failure of the hunt, people who use them swear by them while people who don’t use them feel there is no difference in the performance of their arrows.
Let’s examine the pros and cons of arrow wraps as discussed by bow hunters, 3d shooters and competition archers.
But first we’ll answer a couple of basic questions: what are arrow wraps and why should we use them?
What are Arrow Wraps?
Arrow wraps are self-adhesive strips of vinyl that are wrapped around the rear portion of the arrow. They effectively coat the arrow with a low-weight sleeve.
They are available in a range of colors, designs and finishes which makes it possible to personalize your arrows.
It is also possible to have the arrow wraps custom-made with your name, your club or a personal identifying logo put on there.
Many people like to use them because it makes their arrows look flashier and easier to spot.
It is possible to buy them in a range of widths and lengths so they will suit all types from small diameter arrows to fat arrows and in between.
The different lengths mean you can get them from as small as 3 inches to as long as 9 inches.
Why Use Arrow Wraps?
The primary purpose of arrow wraps is that they create a surface area on the arrow that makes the process of fletching the arrow easier. The wrap surface helps the adherence of the vane to the arrow.
For some people the desire to personalize their arrows or give them a distinctive look is a big reason for using them.
Certainly, being able to quickly and easily spot your arrow in flight and beyond is one of the reasons a lot of hunters cite when explaining why they put them on their arrows.
Pros and Cons of Arrow Wraps - The Summary
Easier to Fletch Your Arrow
This is the main reason why arrow wraps were created and used. The surface of the wrap better accepts the fletching glue and holds the vanes more firmly than the surface of a carbon arrow.
The process of fletching the bow is cleaner because the glue will hold better and the wrap will also protect the surface of the arrow from excess glue which can be difficult to remove.
For some people, ease of fletching is a big selling point and is worth the expense of buying the wraps.
Easier to Remove Fletching
When the vanes of the arrow have been damaged and need to be removed the process is made a lot quicker and easier with wraps. Removing the vanes that sit on a wrap avoids potentially scraping and damaging the surface of the arrow.
It is just a matter of peeling off the wraps and taking the entire fletching with it. The result is a neat clean removal without any need to scrape off the leftover glue that would otherwise be stuck to the arrow surface.
When you use a device such as an arrow stripper scraper the process can be very quick and the result is a clean shaft in no time. That being said, the removal of an arrow wrap is as simple as plunging it into boiling water and then simply peeling it off.
Higher Arrow Visibility
It is very instructive to clearly see the arrows in flight. It gives you a better idea of the performance of their bow and also helps to locate the arrow should it miss the target.
Not only that, it also makes it clear where you have hit your target so you know whether the wound is fatal or not.
Reflective arrow wraps are quite popular with hunters because it makes it very easy to spot the arrow if it has landed in undergrowth. All you need to do is shine a light on the area where you think your arrow went and it should shine like a beacon for you.
Many hunters like to use white arrow wraps to enable them to more clearly pick up the blood on the arrow. This can be an important piece of information if you are not sure where you’ve hit the animal and need the blood texture to help you.
Can Customize Your Arrows
The ability to create your own masterpiece to place on the ends of your arrows appeals to a lot of people.
Not only will it create the exact look for your arrows, it will give them a much more consistent appearance.
There are a number of companies that offer you the option of choosing your own customization so you can create wraps specific to your desire. Companies such as Onestringer help make the process very easy and it doesn't cost the earth.
The final pro that is often cited by hunters who use wraps is for the ascetic qualities it adds to the arrow.
Due to the bright nature of some wraps or the fact you can personalize your arrows, some hunters take great pleasure in using them.
The fact that you can have the wraps customized makes this an even more attractive option. It personalizes the arrows and makes them easily distinguishable from other people’s arrows.
For some, it adds some fun to the sport and helps the more eccentric to make a bigger statement with their equipment.
Replace One Fletch Replace Them All
Should you damage one of the fletchings on the arrow you are obliged to remove all of them and replace them all.
This is because it is very difficult to remove a vane without removing the wrap on which it has been stuck.
The way to replace the fletch is to peel off the wrap and this means the other fletchings will also have to be replaced.
As a number of people have pointed out, however, damaging the fletching is an uncommon occurrence and shouldn’t happen often enough that it becomes a major issue.
Adds Weight to the Back of the Arrow
In the desire to get the greatest amount of penetration with your arrows, hunters are hoping to have the weight distributed towards the front. This is where the term Front of Center (FOC) is mentioned.
It is ideal to have around 20% more weight at the front of the arrow compared to the rear to maximize the arrow’s accuracy, its ability to fly fast and to get the most penetration possible.
By adding just the wrap to the back of the arrow, some people are concerned that you are adding unnecessary weight to the rear.
The counter argument to this is that there is not enough weight added to the arrow to cause any noticeable difference to its characteristics.
So the answer to the question of whether a wrap will affect the flight of the arrow is that yes, it will but it will be so negligible you won't be able to tell the difference.
Slows Down the Arrow
Further on the point of changing the weight balance of the bow, some people have also pointed out that adding a wrap can also slow the arrow down.
The loss of arrow speed would be minimal (around 1 grain per inch of wrap cover) but to some hunters who are looking to get every ounce out of their bows, the idea of losing speed is not a welcome one.
Hides Cracks in the Arrow
It has been pointed out that by placing a wrap on a carbon arrow you could be hiding a crack that could have formed when the arrow has struck a hard object (stone, branch, bone).
This then becomes a dangerous situation in which you could now be drawing back an arrow that has the possibility of shattering.
As ever, there is a cost aspect to the use of wraps. Wrapping every one of your arrows can get expensive, particularly if you regularly find the need to refletch them.
Although it is possible to find wraps very cheaply and you can even make them yourself, the cost can quickly mount up as you continue to build up your collection of arrows.
For some hunters this is an expense that could be better off spent on other more important (to them) equipment.
As with everything, you need to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons which will determine whether you believe the cost justifies the wraps.
So as we can see, there are pros and cons to using arrow wraps but the pros appear to outweigh the cons depending on what you find important.
If you fletch your own bows and you want a method that makes the whole process a lot easier, you will probably fall on the side of using arrow wraps.
They are functional and they look good, they can brighten up your quiver and help you improve your accuracy.