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Some things in archery are pretty self-explanatory. They are just like they sound. A quiver is clearly not one of them. Besides, you wouldn’t be here today if not. But what are they, what do they do and what function do they serve? Let’s find out.
So, what is a quiver in archery? A quiver is a holder used to store and transport arrows. They are primarily carried on the archer’s body, although some quivers can be carried on a bow or even placed on the ground depending on the archer’s preferences. Quivers typically hold between 25-30 arrows, on average – though they do range in size.
In other words, and put simply, a quiver is an ‘arrow holder’.
That’s an easier way of remembering it, right.
And that’s quite topical because quivers make things much easier for archers too.
Imagine physically carrying 25-30 arrows without one.
It would be a disaster.
A quiver essentially provides an archer with access to all their arrows in one place. Storing, and protecting them is another neat feature.
Let us now take a closer look at this simple, yet essential piece of equipment so that you are fully prepared in the instance, you do decide you need one!
Why Is An Arrow Holder Called A Quiver?
It is believed that an arrow holder is called a quiver due to the motion used when pulling out arrows from one. The term is also commonly used figuratively to mean “repository, resources or collection” – which is primary function of this container.
Of course, there is a lot of history and etymology (the study the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history) involved here.
Besides, quivers have been used for centuries.
It’s no surprise that the first usage of the term quiver therefore dates back to the 14th Century.
And interestingly, the first documented use case of the term is almost a literal translation to how we understand it today: ‘a case, usually tubular, for holding arrows.’
How Many Arrows Are In A Quiver?
Your average quiver will fit between 3-25 arrows, when full and depending on the design. Equally, how many arrows an archer carry on their person will primarily depend on what they are shooting and how many are considered necessary. Generally, archers carry twice as many they will be expected to shoot.
For this reason, most modern-day archers do not actually carry that many arrows.
Besides, times have certainly changed.
In centuries gone by, hunters or bowman would have needed considerably more arrows on their person at any one time.
But today, the average archer will probably carry between 3-10 arrows.
And depending on the quiver, this is not usually at full capacity.
Why; because arrows can get heavy and there is no need to take out more than is required.
It just becomes impractical.
And then you have to consider the type of arrows being used to, any bow specifications (such as draw weight, length) and personal preferences for shooting.
Are you looking for speed, penetration or accuracy?
Of course, the more arrows you shoot the more tired you become.
But a quiver that holds more arrows does offer more opportunity if and when desired.
But just because a quiver can carry arrows does not mean they all need to be shot.
In, reality, its all about striking the balance.
Do All Quivers Fit All Bows?
Not all quivers will fit all bows, so its essential that you research into the different options before making any purchase.
In fact, some quivers are made specifically for certain models of bows.
And taking it one step further.
Some bow manufacturers will even have their own range of quivers designed for their particular bows.
Of course, you can find bows that are designed to fit with most brands of bows. But its important to do your research and due diligence ahead of time – particularly if you are buying online.
When it comes to quiver sizes, there are generally two different ones to consider:
- 1 Piece Quiver – often detachable and mount to the sight. The downside to 1 piece quivers is they often produce quite a lot of vibration as arrows hang. Sometimes arrows have also known to be lost.
- 2 Piece Quiver – mount to the bow. Less room for sticks/items getting caught and lower risk of losing arrows. 2 Piece quivers are typically heavier than 1 piece, although some manufacturers are making these lighter. Moving them out to the side can help offset the additional weight.
How Do I Choose A Quiver?
When it comes to choosing your quiver, you want to consider portability, weight, detachability and how many arrows you are looking for it to hold.
Generally, there are three different types of quivers to get, and then you have different sizes as mentioned above.
The different types are:
Now what you decide to go for will have a lot to do with personal preferences. All of them can be useful, all of them are actively used today.
So, let us now quickly run through the different options to help you decide, if you were looking to make a purchase.
As the name suggests, these are worn on the back. They’re perhaps the most classic and tend to hold around 12 arrows or more.
They are very versatile, and can provide quick access to arrows as and when required.
As such, they are often used by hunters – as they enable the quick drawing of an arrow.
One downside is that they can be quite noisy – particularly if they knock onto anything in the environment. Arrows have been known to fall out too.
They are easy to walk with however, and can accommodate both left and right handed shooters.
Here is an example of a back quiver on Amazon.
Again as the name suggests, these quivers attach and sit on the hip; providing quick and easy access to bows.
These are often attached in place – but the mechanism differs by model or brand. Some leverage belts, others latches.
Side/hip quivers are a popular choice with target archers as arrows are so accessible while also sufficiently out of the way.
They are also generally more comfortable to wear too, and still provide a hands-free option.
Some of the better side and hip quivers may also provide pockets to store accessories and gloves, or dividers to help sort arrows for different uses.
Side/hip quivers are considered a little easier to use than a back quiver; which pulling an arrow overhead from can be a little challenging at first.
Bow-mounted quivers attach to the bow, and are relatively fixed in place. You’ll need some tools to remove them completely.
The better bow-mounted quivers will help provide balance while shooting; but they do take a while to get used to as you do need to learn to account for their additional weight.
Bow-hunted quivers do allow a much more silent approach; which is why they are the most preferable for hunters who need to equip an arrow quickly and quietly.
The major downside is that bow-mounted quivers do not hold many arrows; they are quite limited in this regard.
Quivers hold arrows. That’s what they do and that’s why archers have them.
In fact, it is the quiver that archers are often recognized by. Along with their bows, and arrows, of course.
But while quivers are simple in explanation, there are actually many different types and uses for them.
Not all quivers suit all archers.
Not all quivers are appropriate for all bows.
Like any piece of equipment; quivers are available in different materials, shapes and sizes.
This is why it is essential to do your research ahead of time to find the one that is going to most useful, and practical, to you.
Have other questions about the sport of archery or archery terms? Then my following guides may be of help:
- What Is Archery Tag?
- What Was The Name Of The First Archery Club In America?
- What Is An Anchor Point In Archery?
- What Is A Nock In Archery?
- What Is A Robin Hood In Archery?
- What Is IBO In Archery?
I live in Alberta, Canada where I enjoy indoor and 3D archery with traditional bows and compound bows. On this site, I share everything I’ve learned about archery along the way.