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Rod vaults have come a long way since the original silvery tubes that took over the fly fishing world a few years ago. Now, there are different brands and models to help anglers keep their fly rods rigged up and ready to go. And one of the most popular designs is the Riversmith river quiver.
Riversmith makes standard rod quivers, shortcut quivers, and euro rod quivers—the most recent addition to my truck. I spent an afternoon at the Riversmith headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, to tour the warehouse and see how the river quivers are assembled. At the end of the day, the Riversmith team helped install my new euro river quiver on my truck, and I was off to hit my local streams.
After almost two months of testing the river quiver, and comparing it side by side with my other rod vault, I can confidently say this is my favorite rod vault, rack, or holder I’ve ever used. And if you spend as much time as I do on the water—whether it be chasing trout, redfish, steelhead, or tarpon—then you need something to protect your rods and reels on the road. The river quiver is the answer, and here’s every reason it should be the next addition to your rig.
- Type: Euro River Quiver
- Style: 2 rods
- Length: 11’4”
- Mount: Quick release (3.5” added height)
- Price: $599.99 (black powder coat)
What I Like About the River Quiver
When I moved to Colorado last summer to find better trout waters, I knew I’d want something to hold my fly rods as I explored the west. So I picked up one of the earliest rod vault designs from another manufacturer and mounted it to my truck. After a couple of off-roading adventures, the bracket holding the rod tubes in place came off, and the vault slammed into my roof. Luckily, my rods didn’t break.
After a few other mishaps—like the rod ports never staying properly aligned—I decided it was time for a new system. The most important thing I wanted out of my next rod vault was for it to work as advertised and protect my rods, not damage them.
I talked to a few different fly shops and landed on a river quiver. After visiting the Riversmith shop, it was clear they meticulously designed their fly rod holder so it wouldn’t make the same mistakes the other vaults did. Here’s what sets apart the RQ from other vaults:
Riversmith deviated from the traditional aluminum tubes used by many manufacturers and designed their own custom aluminum profile. The river quiver features a dual rod design made from one part to reduce the weight of the rack while adding rigidity. What’s even more unique is that the rod ports are separated by a center spine that includes a T-track on the top and bottom.
The T-tracks allow the rack to do two things:
- Maximize mounting versatility—you can mount other accessories to the rod rack itself
- Create a natural “I-Beam” structure that makes the RQ sleek, low profile, and extremely rigid
When Riversmith’s head of product design, Jason Thomas, explained this to me, my first thought was, “The rod ports on this rack won’t ever shift.” And unlike my other rod vault, which I have to straighten with an allen wrench at least once a month, the river quiver has remained rock solid, never moving an inch.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the RQ is that the reel box opens by swinging out, not up. This makes it easier to open and close, especially on taller vehicles. It also eliminates the possibility of the door slamming down on your rods. In fact, the reel box features a hinge detent that prevents wind or something else from the door closing on a rod tip. It’s like a speed bump for the door. It takes a little push to get past, but it prevents it from slamming shut on its own.
Another feature that I appreciate is the lid-to-box seal. On my other rod vault, the lid never closes properly. The plastic is warped, and I need to shimmy and push it in a particular way to close it. The RQ closes and seals perfectly every single time, and with a quick turn of the key, it’s locked. I know it doesn’t seem that impressive, but after fidgeting with my other vault every single time I use it, I am happy to see something that works as it should.
While the Riversmith rod vault offers three mounting options, the quick release mounts are my favorite. They work with almost any type of roof rack and they only take a matter of seconds to install. I also like the quick releases because I can easily take the river quiver off my truck without disassembling it. Come fall, when I trade my fly rod for my shotgun, I’ll pop the RQ off my roof and strap down a duck hunting canoe. And the lock on the releases makes sure I never have to worry about them being stolen.
Anglers also have the option of standard mounts that will work with almost any crossbar rack, or low profile T-track mounts that are compatible with T-track crossbars and platform racks.
Which River Quiver is Right for You?
I opted for the Euro RQ because my buddy recently sold me on the fact that euro-nymphing is the most effective way to catch trout and because I’ll be testing euro rods for Field & Stream this summer. But Riversmith offers two other models (for two or four rods) that come in three lengths.
- ShortCut RQ: Holds 10-foot rods taken down in half ($379.99)
- Standard RQ: Holds 10-foot rods fully rigged ($479.99)
- Euro RQ: Holds rods up to 11ft, 4in fully rigged ($559.99)
Most anglers are going to choose the standard RQ because most people fish with 9-foot fly rods. But if you plan to do any euro-nymphing or have a rod longer than 10 feet, I suggest you get the Euro RQ. I was nervous it would look weird on my truck because euro rods are lanky, but it doesn’t at all. I love the black powder coat of my RQ, but anglers also have the option of a gunmetal powder coat or an anodized silver. Riversmith is also currently offering an exclusive collaboration artist series with Derek DeYoung.
Final Thoughts on the River Quiver
As with any sort of outdoor gear, premium equipment is made for those dedicated to that pursuit. And that’s exactly how I would describe the Riversmith river quiver. It is made for hardcore fly anglers who want to keep their rods fully rigged up on their way to and from the river. And if you find yourself spending every weekend chasing fish with flies, then this rod rack is for you.