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As with most lessons, the importance of having excellent bow cases was one I learned the hard way. In my twenties, some friends and I were camping in our trucks and hunting elk during the day. On the second night of the hunt, the heavens unleashed buckets of rain, and it didn’t stop for two days. My bow was in a sub-par case I purchased at a yard sale and was sitting in the open. When I cracked my case to go hunting after the monsoon ended, my bow was sitting in water, and rust was already showing.
Then there was the time I opted to fly to a 3-D shoot, and the sight housing on my target bow was cracked and bent when I landed. Something heavy had been dropped on the top of the cheapest bow case I could fly with at the time, dented it, and smashed into my sight.
I’ve learned the value of a good bow case the hard way, and I promise, it’s a piece of gear you want to pay attention to. I rounded up some of the best bow cases—hard and soft—available to hunters right now, so your bow is ready to go no matter where you take it.
How We Made Our Picks
I spend over 150 days hunting every year, and that’s not counting the time I spend flying or driving to and from my hunts. Having a dependable bow case is an absolute necessity for me, and over the years, I’ve let TSA abuse the best cases the industry could dish out. Of course, I’ve also given all my bow cases a thorough test. If the case claims to be waterproof, I put it under the sprinkler for two hours. If the case promises durability, I put a bow in it and roll it out of a tailgate onto an asphalt road going 55 mph.
I don’t take case testing lightly, and whether you’re heading to your backwoods in a UTV or jumping on a Delta flight to your next hunt, I recommend you take advantage of what I’ve discovered and pick one of the following cases that meets your needs.
Best Bow Cases: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Plano Field Locker Element Compound Bow Case
- Length: 44″
- Width: 15″
- Weight: 21 pounds
- Dri-Loc seal
- Drop and shock resistant
- Double-Density Foam
- Pressure Equalizer
I’ve flown thousands of miles with this bow case, and I’ve dropped it (accidentally) off my tailgate as well as watched a luggage loader toss it into the air, where it then smashed to the ground. Even after all of that wear and tear, my bow is always safely secure when I arrive at my destination, and I never worry about something inside the case being broken.
The rollers and handle allow you to breeze through the airport to catch connections. I applaud the built-in pressure valve, which equalizes pressure inside the case caused by altitude or temperature change. The customizable (you cut it out) double-density foam means a custom fit for your bow, and I love the addition of the inside-the-top-hood quiver. Designed with rugged, industrial-strength construction, and sporting stainless steel reinforced padlock gates, this bow case is a warrior.
Best Hard Case: SKB iSeries REV2 Plush Large Parallel Limb Bow Case
- Length: 41.25″
- Width: 16″
- Weight: 23 pounds
- Quiver storage in the lid
- Accessory box storage
- Cushion grip handles
- Molded-in hinge for extra protection
- Lifetime warranty
The steep price tag kept this remarkable hard case from being voted best overall. Still, it’s a brilliantly designed case that is tough as nails. I like the ultra-high-strength polypropylene copolymer resin build, which features a gasket-sealed water and dust-tight design to handle full submersion. The automatic ambient pressure equalization means the case is resistant to UV, solvents, and corrosion. The included straps make sure your bow always stays tight to the foam, and the padlock holes include stainless steel protector clips. It also sports a trio of snap-down cushion grip handles for easy lifting. Plus, this case allows for the addition of storage boxes (sold separately) that attach to the top lid.
Best Soft Case: Easton BowTruk Travel Bow Case GEN 2
- Length: 36″, 40″, 47″
- Width: 16″, 17″
- Weight: Varies depending on model
- TPU-coated 1680D ballistic nylon outer shell
- YKK woven-in main zipper
- Holds two bows
- Sealed-bearing skate wheels
- 3 outside-in pockets
- No camo or color options
- Not fully waterproof
The BowTruk is one of my favorite cases because I can tote a single bow and all my necessary gear or two bows and some gear. This is also the most durable soft case available due to the TPU-coated 1680D ballistic nylon outer shell—the same material used to craft military body armor. The zippers are heavy-duty, and I like how easily the case’s twin oversized wheels pull. Three outside pockets allow right-now access to key compartments inside the case, and the trailer-hitch strap means you can latch additional luggage to this case and roll it through the airport. The inside is extremely roomy, and 360-degree padding equals quality protection for your bow. I prefer a total hard case for airline travel, but this rig is my go-to when I’m driving across the country to chase Whitetails in November.
Best Budget Hard Case: Plano Protector Series Single Bow Case
- Length: 49″
- Width: 19.5″
- Weight: 10 pounds
- Great for home storage and truck transportation
- Will fit almost any bow
- Patented PillarLock
- Won’t withstand heavy abuse
- Won’t keep severe weather out
Plano’s Protector hard case is perfect to toss in the bed of your truck or to store your vertical rig at your house. You can’t beat the $70 price tag, and the case is reasonably durable—the thick-wall construction and high-density foam provide solid support. You can even leave your quiver attached in the case for most compund bows. The velcro straps pull your bow tightly to the foam, and the lid features rubber strips that hold a dozen arrows in place. Although, these strips will fail over time, and they don’t hold micro-diameter arrows well. The case also isn’t airline suitable, and you need to cover it up if you plan to leave it out in inclement weather.
Best Double Bow Hard Case: SKB ATA Double Bow Case
- Length: 41.5″ (interior)
- Width: 14.25″ (interior)
- Weight: 20.96 pounds
- Holds two bows and some gear
- Heavy-duty field latches
- Molded protection
- Quiet-glide wheels
- Tie-down loops for ATV/UTV transport
- Won’t fit all bows
Some find it hard to justify a double bow case, but when I travel to hunt in far away locations, I want a backup bow with me, and this heavy-duty case makes that possible. I also recommend the case whenever you travel with your vehicle to hunt. It’s always a good idea to have a second bow with you. It is airline approved and made from the same material specified by the U.S. military for their cases and containers. The case can also fit a bow and a rifle instead of two bows. I like the tie-down brackets for ATV/UTV transport, and in true SKB fashion, everything from the roller wheels to the carry handles were designed for comfort, ease of use, and maximum functionality. The case also has an unconditional lifetime warranty and a $1,500 content coverage warranty.
Best Crossbow Case: Plano Spire Compact Crossbow Case
- Length: 41.25″
- Width: 27.5″
- Weight:10 pounds
- Fits all major crossbow brands
- High-density foam
- Excellent functionality & durability
- Scope can stay on crossbow
- Holds quiver and arrows
Plano’s Spire is a fortress for your favorite horizontal hunting companion, which ensures a custom fit and provides the necessary protection your crossbow needs. Lashing straps hold the crossbow tightly to the foam, and three heavy-duty security latches protect the crossbow and all inner contents during transport. The case design is such that you can lay it flat or on its side, which is essential when space is an issue. Made in the USA, the Spire keeps the weather out and will make an excellent case for any crossbow enthusiast.
Best Haul It All Bow Case: Pelican 1745 Bow Case
- Length: 44″ (interior)
- Width: 16.8″ (interior)
- Weight: 23.15 pounds
- Ready for the truck or the airplane
- Integrated TSA Lock
- Arrow Tube Straps
Pelican has a history of making great totes and the 1745 Bow Case only adds to the legacy. It is lightweight for such a spacious and well-put-together bow case, and it includes a padded divider that separates the bow from the accessories which ride inside the top of the lid. I appreciate the addition of arow tube straps, bungee cords, Molle straps, and an accessory pouch as well.
I can personally attest that this case is dustproof, crushproof, and watertight. It is Fort Knox for your bow and fitted with six push-button latches that make getting in and out of the case super simple. With the modular storage system, you can set up this case to your liking and know your bow and all the inside accessories will be protected and easily accessible.
Things to Consider When Buying a Bow Case
The most important thing to consider when looking for the right bow case is to match the case to your needs. For instance, if you plan to stay on the back 40, a budget-friendly hard or soft case will serve your needs for life. On the flip side, if you plan to hunt the back 40 and different states and possibly other countries, you want the best-of-the-best hard case that ensures total bow protection, room for your accessories, and additional gear like clothing.
Q: How much do bow cases cost?
You’ll be pressed to find a bow case for under $50, but several soft and hard cases fall between the $60 and $80 mark. Most quality, airline-ready hard cases will wear price tags over $300.
Q: Can I take a bow on an airplane?
Flying with a bow is a breeze. Let the person at baggage check know your case holds a bow, and most of the time, they will say, “OK,” and the case will go on the conveyer to your destination.
Q: Can I pack extra gear in my bow case?
Keep it under 50 pounds or you’ll pay a heavy baggage fee. But when traveling to bowhunt, I pack camo pants, shirts, coats, gloves, etc. in my bow case. Not only does it allow me to take more gear, but extra clothing means extra padding for your bow and accessories.
Q: Can I leave my sight, stabilizer, and quiver on bow in the case?
It depends on the case, but in most instances, the answer is no. You can often leave your sight on the bow unless it is fully extended on a dovetail rail. If this is the case, you need to mark its position and remove it. Stabilizers longer than three or four inches will also need to come off. As for the quiver, it depends on the design of the case, but I typically remove my quiver.
Best Bow Cases: Final Thoughts
A quality bow case is a must-have gear item for a dedicated bowhunter. A flagship bow outfitted with top-tier accessories is expensive, and you’ll want top-end protection. If you skimp on a bow case, you’ll regret it, and I’ve seen hunts end before they begin because the hunter wanted to protect his $2K-plus rig (counting accessories and arrows) with a $50 case. Don’t be that bowhunter.
Why Trust Us
For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.