The Pros and Cons of 3 Types of Bow Cases

Cases to consider when traveling with your hunting compound

We pay all kinds of attention to the bows we carry afield—their cams, accessories, strings. We spend hours tuning and fussing and refining. We affix high-dollar sights and stabilizers and quivers to them. We revere the finished product as a tool of performance and precision. Then we toss it in the back seat of a truck and go bouncing along to the woods. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

A utilitarian tool and the first line of defense (in many instances, the only line) against snapped sight pins, crushed quivers, and other hazards, a case is also one of the most overlooked pieces of gear in a bowhunter’s arsenal. Don’t make that mistake. Here’s a primer on case options and the features to look for in each.

Soft Cases

When most bowhunters think of a bow case, it’s this type that comes to mind. The most basic of all cases, these offer a lower level of protection than more rigid models, but they’re generally less expensive.

Cabela's Supreme soft bow case
Cabela's SupremeCabela's

Look For:

  • An outer shell of cordura or a similar durable, tear-resistant material.
  • Padding thick enough to protect your bow from dings and bumps.
  • Separate compartments for quivers and gear. Some models place pressure on the arrow shafts and long-term storage can result in misshapen vanes and feathers.

Best Use:

Short-term transport on close-to-home hunts.

Consider: Cabela's Supreme soft case ($90; cabelas.com)

Hard Cases

Stepping up in level of protection, hard-sided models come in many sizes and configurations. They cost a bit more than soft cases but give you more utility.

Plano Field Locker Hard Bow Case
Plano Field LockerPlano

Look For:

  • Thick material. Thin-walled cases might seem to provide ample protection but they are more easily damaged than those constructed with thicker plastics.
  • Customizable padding. Pull-and-pluck foam allows you to configure your case to your bow and accessory setup.
  • A separate space for a quiver to protect vanes and feathers.

Best Use:

Serious protection for long hauls—think airline travel and road trips.

Consider: Plano Field Locker ($260)

Hybrid Cases

Blending features of molded and soft-sided cases, a hybrid system provides rugged protection like a hard case with the increased modularity and storage options of a soft case.

Lakewood Products Bow Hunting Case
Lakewood Products Bow CaseLakewood Products

Look For:

  • Durability at key stress points. Corners should be reinforced and the outer shell, as with soft cases, should be abrasion-resistant.

Best Use:

Versatility is the key selling point here. Top-end hybrid cases are pricey but should be the only case you need, whether it’s for a simple evening hunt on the neighbor’s farm or a cross-country trip by plane.