Once you get your first bow, you’ll soon wonder what to do with it – besides shooting, of course. Common questions: How do I store it? Must I unstring it every time? How do I drive around with it? Can I feed it after midnight? (Well, maybe not the last one). Caring for archery equipment isn’t complicated; it just requires a way to store it and some care in transporting it.
Compound bows always remain strung, so your bow case must accommodate the shape of a strung compound. In contrast, takedown recurve bows must be unstrung after each shooting session.
Thankfully, you have several options for storing and transporting bows. One important consideration: When traveling with your bow, regardless of which bow case you get, NEVER leave it inside a hot car or in a damp are, such as a shed, garage or basement). Extreme temperatures and persistent moisture can warp limbs and permanently damage any bow. Plan so your bow is always stored somewhere safe and secure.
These cases, usually made of heavy duty fabrics and lined with foam, are made for compound, recurve and takedown bows. The case’s shape depends on the type of bow you own, and what else you want to store while traveling. Most archers buy an arrow tube for storage, and pack that alongside the bow if there’s room in the case. Otherwise they carry the tube separately.
If you shoot a takedown recurve, you’ll probably want one of these. They’re the essence of portability, letting you pack the limbs, riser, sight, arrow tube and all of your accessories. The pluses: portable, durable and wearable. They’re great for public transportation. Just remember they can’t travel on airplanes because they offer no hard protection for the bow, should something crush against them.
This is a great option for recurve and compound shooters who want to ensure their bow and all of its accessories are well-protected. Most hard cases are made from high-density plastics that can withstand fair amounts of dropping and stacking as other items pile atop them. Think suitcases on an airplane. Just be sure to consider your archery aspirations. If you’re purely a recreational shooter, you might not need a hard case, or one hard case will suffice. But if you plan to compete regularly, you might consider a double case that accommodates a primary and backup bow.
Other Storage Considerations
Most hard cases have foam inserts that you can cut and customize to accommodate your gear, such as your sight. However, as you buy higher-quality equipment, you’ll notice some accessories come with their own cases. You must decide whether to tote extra cases or squeeze everything into one bow case. Our advice? Keep everything together. It’s too easy to misplace or leave behind a small box that holds your sight or the tube with your arrows.
Also, you’ll want room for a compartmentalized “tackle box” that holds wrenches, nocks, screws, glue, serving thread and other tools that archers keep with them. A small, well-packed tackle box can also go in your case. The bottom line: When choosing a bow case for road trips, be sure you have room to pack ALL of your equipment.