By Tracy Breen

Let’s face it: there are many arrow vanes on the market. Most of them look the same.  Most vanes are short with a high profile.  Typically the best selling vane is the vane that gets marketed the most but that doesn’t always mean the most marketed vane is the best vane for bowhunting.  Pine Ridge Archery recently threw their hat into the vane market with the new Nitro Vane. It is safe to say the archery world needed a new vane like we need a new politician, but it appears Pine Ridge Archery may have made a vane that is better than many of them that are currently on the market.

For starters, they designed their Nitro Vane to have a more rounded leading edge than most vanes. The rounded edge makes the vane more aerodynamic which is said to make the vane more accurate down range.  The reason the vane is supposed to be more accurate down range is because the rounded leading edge produces less wind drag.  The rounded leading edge is also supposed to reduce the chances of the vane lifting up off the arrow shaft after repeated shooting.

Another unique thing about the Nitro Vane is the glue pockets that are built into the bottom side of the vane. One complaint many bowhunters (including myself) have about arrow vanes is the fact that many of them can’t take much abuse before they start falling off the shaft. Extra glue can be added, the arrow shaft can be repeatedly cleaned to make sure the vanes stick and often it makes no difference; the vanes still fall off. The Micro Glue Pockets on the Nitro Vane add surface area to the vane and add a solid connection between the vane and the arrow shaft. This neat little advancement really makes a difference in the durability of the vane and its ability to stay put on the shaft.

Pine Ridge Archery hired Bob Donahoe from Full Flight Technology to independently test the vane against a wide array of vanes currently on the market. Full Flight Technology makes a computerized arrow tip called the Velocitip which can be used to determine all kinds of data including arrow speed, wind drag, and down range kinetic energy. Many magazines including Outdoor Life, Petersen Bowhunting and Field and Stream use the Velocitip System when testing new bows and arrows. “The NITRO had over one hundred milli-g less drag than the closest competitor and over 200 milli-g less drag than some vanes we tested. To put these results in context, an additional 200 milli-g of drag will result in approximately an inch of additional arrow drop at 50+ yards,” said Bob Donahoe of Full Flight Technology. Furthermore, “The NITRO is the only vane tested to retain greater than 91% of its kinetic energy at twenty yards. Not only did the NITRO retain a higher percentage of kinetic energy, the NITRO provided the greatest kinetic energy in absolute terms – maximum foot-pounds delivered to the target. The ability to retain energy downrange is beneficial to any bowhunter but can be most important to women, youth or any archer shooting a low draw weight.”

Many Western bowhunters take shots all the time at fifty yards in the field. Some of you probably take shots at sixty yards and beyond. The greater the distance, the more wind drag will come in to play, especially if you are shooting in windy conditions in wide open terrain.

There are several great arrow vanes on the market today.  If you are currently looking for a new vane or are looking for a way to shrink your groups, try the Nitro Vane. It looks a lot like all the other vanes on the market but looks can be deceiving.

About the Author: Tracy Breen is a full-time outdoor writer and marketing consultant in the outdoor industry. Learn more about him at