Recurve bows have a unique design where the tips curve away from the archer when the bow is unstrung.
Like other pieces of archery equipment, it is important to take care of your recurve bow in order to maintain top performance. If you are newer to the world of archery, much of the advice for storage may seem contradictory – you can ask numerous people the same questions and be told something different by each one.
To help point you in the right direction, as well as address some of the apparent contradictions, here is your guide on how to store a recurve bow:
Recurve Bow Case & Backpacks
Hands down the safest way to protect your recurve bow when not in use is by storing it in a recurve bow case or a recurve backpack. There are cases out there specifically designed for protecting your bow’s limbs from scratches while also protecting the integrity of the string.
Also, if you plan on traveling with your recurve bow you’ll need this case to protect your bow on the go. Nothing is more likely to scratch up your bow than putting it in a car. Damaged limbs and string also mean a decrease in accuracy over time.
If you are interested in getting a recurve bow case or recurve bow backpack, check out these articles:
To String Or Not To String?
One of the most common questions when it comes to storing a recurve bow is whether or not the string should be left on the bow. The answer to this is often ‘it depends’ which can understandably leave new recurve bow owners a bit confused. To help sort out if the string is best left on or off your bow, consider the following questions:
- Is your bow made of fiberglass?
- Are you going to use your bow in the next few days?
- Is your bow relatively new?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, it is safe to say that you can leave your bow strung when you store it. Recurve bows made from fiberglass will hold their shape indefinitely against the pressure of the bowstring, so you can almost always leave the string on (although if you are not using for an extended period of time, best practice would dictate that you unstring the bow). Likewise, if you are using your bow every few days, you don’t need to unstring it. Lastly, if your recurve bow is newer, the materials are stiffer and less likely to ‘follow the string’ and impact the draw.
String On vs Restringing
There are times when you will unstring your bow to store it. If you are traveling and/or if you are a seasonal bow user, removing the string before you store your recurve bow is best.
If you find yourself on the fence about how often you unstring and restring your bow, however, know that leaving the string on for long periods of un-use can be just as damaging as consistently restringing your bow.
If you feel stuck between choosing one of the two, always go back to your bow. Trust your recurve bow’s material and your instincts. Newer bows can hold a string while older bows need some breathing time. When you are ready to restring, always use a bow stringer. Trust us – it’s worth the small investment for your bow!
Storing Your Recurve Bow
When it comes to actually storing your bow, the variety of responses is less contradictory. When asked ‘How to store a recurve bow?’ all bow owners agree that storing it horizontally is a must. NEVER store your bow by resting it vertically on its tips. Bow tips are a critical part of how a bow functions and for recurve bows, the tips need extra special care due to their unique design.
If you are looking to store a recurve bow that is still strung, the best method is to hang it horizontally from two pegs. The pegs should support the limbs of the bow, never the string (you are essentially hanging it ‘upside down’).
The next best storage method for a recurve bow (either strung or unstrung) is to lay your bow horizontally on a shelf where the weight is evenly distributed. Some archers use the bed in a spare room as a shelving alternative. The top of a flat piece of furniture (e.g. a dresser) may do the trick too, so long as the tips don’t hang over the edge. It would not hurt to invest in a bow sock as well – especially if you are storing an unstrung bow for long(er) periods of time (e.g. off season).
When storing your recurve bow, make sure to avoid the following:
- NEVER store your bow by setting it on its tips and leaning it in a corner – this is one of the fastest ways to damage your bow tips
- NEVER store your bow by hanging it from a single nail – this will cause the bowline to break over time
- NEVER store your bow in a place that is prone to moisture or temperature extremes (e.g. a basement that gets humid, or a garage during the winter) – temperature changes and moisture will damage your bow limbs and cause them to warp and/or grow soft.
Like most things, the better you take care of your bow, the longer it will last. Storing your recurve bow is one part of bow care where the best care takes very little effort; all you need are two pegs and a bow-stringer. It may seem simple, but proper storage can be what makes or breaks your recurve bow and if done properly, your bow will have a long, healthy life.
If you’re looking for a new bow, why not go ahead and check out our detailed list of the 5 best recurve bows?