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Sawyer MXS Oar Shaft Gear Review - Next Adventure

Sawyer MXS Oar Shaft Gear Review

Review of Sawyer MXS Oar Shafts

I’ve been rowing with Sawyer MXS oar shafts for over 5 years now. These are my go-to oars for rowing whitewater no matter which raft I’m in. These are made down in Southern Oregon so I’m proud to be supporting as local as I can. 

a woman in a raft on water

The MXS is a fiberglass shaft with longitudinal strands. What this means is you’ll get more strength and rigidity out of the MXS compared to the less expensive Polecat. This is helpful when pulling into eddies or pushing through rapids where you need to make quick moves. When an oar shaft has too much flex in it, you can lose energy transfer, and therefore waste energy. Where you’ll also notice this is during late afternoon winds. It’s a common occurrence on multi-day trips to find yourself rowing directly into the wind on flatwater sections. When that happens, I’m very grateful to be using the MXS.

The MXS shafts come standard with Sawyers “Rope Wrap and Stop” which is quite durable and gives a nice, controlled feel in the oar lock. I recommend placing your rubber oar stop in some boiling water before trying to secure it where you’d like it on the oar. This allows it to flex so you can move it around easier.

man in raft on water

Another thing I appreciate about the MXS is that I can easily change out my blades. I do have a cheaper pair of Duramax blades that I like to use on low mater just because I know they can take a beating. When I'm in deep water I use the DyneLite XD Blades since I can take advantage of the rigidity of the carbon and buoyancy of the wood core. The nice thing is with how durable the MXS’s are, they will surely outlast any blade. After years of use I’ve never had one break and have seen little signs of wear and tear.

man in raft on water

Overall the MXS oar blades are my go-to oar option for rowing whitewater of any kind. If you’re looking for something performance oriented, with a strong rigid feel, that will also last a long time, I’d give the MXS a try.

a man in a raft on water
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