How To Choose The Right Bow Case

Aug 23, 2021Archery Basics, Archery Equipment

Selecting the right bow case for your specific situation is an important decision as an archer. Bow cases are specifically designed to protect your bow from damage. They’re also used to protect arrows and other pieces of archery gear, like tools, sights, stabilizers and more.

Before choosing a bow case, understanding all the different options available to you is a good first step. Every case comes with its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to understand what’s available so you know which features are right for you. Only once you completely understand your options can you make an informed purchasing decision.

Whether you’re looking for a new bow case for storage purposes or because you’re transporting your bow, this piece of archery equipment is a must. If you happen to be traveling across borders, know there are rules you must follow when transporting your archery gear. For example, you can’t take your bow on a plane as a carry-on item and instead must checked at baggage. Thankfully, archery equipment is seen as regular baggage and no special processing is required (like a firearm).

Bow Case Options

Bow case options include a soft bow case or a hard bow case. Have a compound or recurve bow? First, look into the options available for both types of bows. Some cases are specifically designed to hold recurves or compound bows, offering even more protection and convenience.

1. Soft Bow Case

Soft bow cases have a soft outer shell made with a strong cloth material. They look similar to a gym bag (only longer and more narrow) and include different storage areas to organize your archery gear. If you have concerns about how well the outer material of a soft case will protect your archery gear, rest assured that any materials used are extremely durable. Even though soft bow cases don’t offer the protection of a hard bow case, they’re lightweight, keep everything together, and easy to transport.

2. Hard Bow Case

Hard bow cases have a solid outer shell, making them a popular choice for travelers. The inside of a hard bow case also includes different sections specifically designed to hold your bow, arrows, and additional pieces of archery gear. When choosing a hard shell case for traveling reasons, make sure the weight and size adhere to any limits set by the airline, train station, or any other form of transportation.

Bow Case Features

Bow case features are abundant. Below, you’ll find details on some of the most popular features archers look for in a bow case.

Interior Cushioning

Cushioning includes both basic and high-density/plush foam options. While this form of padding works well, many archers choose to buy a bigger case so they can pack additional cushioning around their archery equipment, like clothes. This can help with more delicate parts like pins and arrow rests


A waterproof bow case prevents your bow and accessories from getting wet. Even though water doesn’t necessarily damage a bow and arrows, they must be dried in a matter of hours to prevent possible damage. Water seeping into a bow case has the potential to ruin some of your equipment.

Arrow Storage

Many of today’s soft and hard bow cases come with a way to secure your arrows. Some offer storage for 6 arrows while others offer storage space for 12 or more arrows. This helps keep your arrows organized and together with the rest of your equipment.

Extra Storage

How much storage do you need to keep your release, sights, stabilizers, etc.? The number of archery accessories you use will determine how much additional storage you’ll need. If you shoot an archery style that requires all the extra accessories, be sure to take that into account when looking for a bow case.


Many of today’s hard bow cases include wheels that make transporting much easier. This feature allows you to roll your archery equipment vs. lifting and carrying it around. This feature is especially beneficial for archers who often travel.

Shoulder Strap

Many of today’s soft bow cases include a shoulder strap. Carrying a bow case strictly by the handle can quickly become tiresome. The ability to carry a case using shoulder straps makes it much easier for archers to carry their bow from one location to another.


Bow cases come with either a soft or solid handle. Archers who plan on carrying their case often using handles should make sure the handles are comfortable and substantial enough to hold. A molded, rubber handle will be easier to hold for longer periods vs a simple strip of material.


Many archers choose to purchase a bow case that includes a lock. This feature helps to ensure no one can gain access to the gear inside of your case. TSA-approved locks are a great option when traveling. If you don’t have a TSA-friendly lock and the Transportation Security Administration needs to check it, they’ll cut off your current lock in order to do so.


Interior tie-downs help to keep your archery equipment from getting jostled around when being transported from one place to another. This is a must and common among soft and hard bow cases, so be sure you’re able to secure your equipment!

Pressure & Temperature Sealed

Pressure and temperature sealed bow cases benefit archers who often travel by air. Pressure equalization and temperature seal features protect your equipment from the elements, which help keep water and temperature swings from affecting your gear.


Always, look at the warranty that comes with any bow case you’re interested in purchasing. In case anything happens to your case, understanding your warranty helps you know what is covered and what isn’t covered.

Hard vs Soft Bow Case

Many new archers ask about the benefits of a soft vs. a hard shell bow case. Each has its pros and cons, so we’ve gathered some of the benefits of each, which we’ll dive into below.

Benefits Of A Hard Bow Case

The main benefit that comes with choosing a hard bow case is that it offers a hard protective shell. Whether it’s thinner plastic or a thick shell made of stronger and more durable materials, hard cases further protect your archery gear from becoming damaged. They’re stronger when compared to soft cases and easily lockable to protect your archery equipment. They also offer a few exceptional benefits to protect your archery gear, like water resistance.

  • Offers serious protection due to its hard outside shell
  • Can lock the case to prevent theft & isn’t easy to cut open
  • Water-resistant, heat resistant, and cold-resistant options are available

Benefits Of A Soft Bow Case

The main benefit that comes with choosing a soft bow case is that it offers an easy, simple way for you to carry around your archery gear. Soft cases are constructed using durable, tear-resistant materials and tend to be more compact when compared to a hard case. Even so, many soft bow cases offer a wide variety of storage options to carry additional archery gear. A soft case is more affordable when compared to a hard bow case, making this the more affordable option.

  • A lightweight option for carrying archery equipment
  • Uses very durable, tear-resistant materials
  • Offers a wide variety of storage options to carry extra archery equipment, i.e. arrows, sights, etc.

Bow Case Needs

The reason why you need a bow case helps you make the right decision. While your choice comes down to personal preference, understanding the type of case that’s best for any particular situation is necessary.


If you’re purchasing a bow case for storage reasons, you could choose either a soft or hard shell case, depending on where and how it’s stored. When choosing a case specifically for storage, keep in mind that it’s best to keep it in a climate controlled area. This will help keep your equipment in better shape for a longer period of time.

Local Travel

A soft shell bow case is a perfect choice for archers who carry their archery equipment around in their car or pickup truck. Whether it’s to an archery shop, local archery range, or tournament, a soft shell case works great!


Airlines are tough on baggage. Using a soft shell bow case in this scenario will create a high likelihood for damage. A heavy-duty hard shell bow case will protect your bow from impact and any crushing damage. If you’re flying, be sure to protect your equipment and use a hard bow case.

Personally, I recently picked up the Plano Bow Guard All Weather bow case for air travel and it’s an incredible bow case. It’s crush proof, has locks, airline approved, holds a dozen arrows, and has plenty of space for my bow and accessories. I can literally stand and jump on it without any concern. So, if you’re looking for a solid hard shell case, I recommend it!

Choosing The Right Bow Case

So which bow case should you choose to protect your archery equipment? Nobody can say what is right for you, but this article should help you make the best decision for you. Before making a final decision, make a list of everything you want to include in your case. This helps to ensure that your bow case choice is one that offers enough room to adequately support all of your archery gear.

Why Buy A Hard Bow Case?

Hard bow cases are a perfect option for archers who travel often or have lots of expensive archery gear. While a hard bow case does cost more, it does offer a lot more protection for your archery equipment. Hard cases tend to cost more because they offer more protection than soft cases offer.

Why Buy A Soft Bow Case?

Soft bow cases tend to be more flexible as they offer a little more room for carrying around your bow and gear. A soft case is more affordable and is a great option for archers who practice the sport locally.

Questions to help you determine which case option is right for you.

  • What type of bow do I need a case for?
  • How much gear do I want the case to hold?
  • Where will I store the case?
  • Am I only shooting locally or will I be traveling?
  • Which features do I need & want?
  • What’s my budget?


The information we’ve covered allows you to make a choice that’s right for you. Whether you’re looking for a high-end hard bow case that includes pinned hinges and spring-loaded latches or a simple soft bow case that can easily carry all of your archery gear, rest assured you’ll make the right decision following what we’ve covered.

Storage cases, travel cases, target cases, and hunting cases are all options for new archers. Know that you can choose as many cases as you need to protect your archery gear so it lasts for many years to come.


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