When you go to see an archery tournament featuring modern competitive archers you would expect them to be carrying their arrows on their back in a quiver, just like what you’d probably see in a Robin Hood film. That’s not how it actually works in today’s modern competitions, such quivers like that are not allowed. When I showed off my archery equipment for the first time to my friends they were rather miffed about the type of quiver that I was using. It looked like a holster that resembled a lady’s handbag. One of my friends suggested that I should get a back quiver and be like Robin Hood. Well as much as I would like to have a quiver like that it’s not allowed on archery competitions. This is because back quivers and side quivers were designed for different types of archery in mind.
Now when it comes to buying your first quiver you need to consider what type of archery you are doing and what quiver you need. Now Robin Hood inspired back quivers were designed to be used by archers in the middle ages when they were soldiers in the army. Archers like the longbow men from the Middle Ages used quivers that could make them very mobile and capable of making pincer movements to attack their enemies. A back quiver allows them to move around and run and shoot to kill on the spot from a fixed position. I suppose you could think of them as medieval ammunition cartridges.
As a modern archer I don’t need to move from target spontaneously shooting like a battle hungry soldier. I’m a target archer, I shoot at paper targets on bosses from a fixed distance behind a shooting line. Longbow archers now shoot at paper targets as well alongside modern archers who use recurve and compound bows. Now as we all know compound and recurve bows are fitted with a wide array of gadgets to enhance the archer’s shot, accuracy and balance. These gadgets are components that can turn a barebow into a modern instrument of sport and science in a magnificent way. I’m a recurve archer and I carry a side quiver because of the attention and care that my bow needs and recording my scoring and accuracy measurements. So whereas the soldiering archers need quivers that work like ammunition cartridges, target and field archers need quivers that act like ammunition holders and toolboxes.
I currently have just one quiver, a Legend Archery Eagle-I, and it suits me greatly as a basic beginners quiver with it’s large side pocket and 3 arrow tubes (below, with my own accessories). It’s got a nice top pocket with enough room to hold my finger tab after doing a few shots with enough room leftover to substitute as my right trouser pocket. One of the most amazing things about side quivers and in particular Legend Archery quivers is their beautiful colourful appearance. Many archery companies make their quivers stand out as items of fashion as well as function. There’s a trend amongst archers who use this to their advantage by decorating their quivers with lucky charms and accessories like badges, pins, flags hanging out of the arrow tubes, etc. This assortment of bits and pieces is known as ‘quiver candy’, and it gives the archers their own individual style.
The kind of equipment you would probably be expected to carry in your side quiver is minimal but it’s essential for you. It’s just for your bow and your technique. In my quiver I keep a finger tab, a notebook, a pen, a scorecard, an armguard and in a separate pocket attached to the belt a pair of binoculars. There are some other bits of equipment that are useful for more advanced archers with bigger quivers. What you can carry in your quiver depends on how much room you can fit into it. These can also be a wrench key, arrow pullers, release aids, spare nuts and bolts and even a shaft gauge. You can also extend the number of pockets on your quiver’s belt with pouches. However I wouldn’t recommend overloading your quiver with excessive pieces of equipment. Just a few basic essentials will do. The rest can be stored on your bow backpack behind the shooting line.
There’s also two other quivers used by bowhunters, which are designed for surviving in the wilderness in the outback of nature. These are bow quivers which are mounted to the bow where the rattling of arrows in a quiver can disturb the prey of the archer. The other is a backpack quiver, not to be confused with back quivers, these ones are basically backpacks fitted with holder for your arrows so that you can load your arrows onto your bow from the backpack or use it to hold a loaded bow quiver until you want to attach to your bow. These are ideal if you are cut off from society and need to carry an army style supply of food, water, aid kits, radio, maps, etc. Basically a one man survival kit to keep you going as you hunt for live targets.
With all these choices available to archers worldwide as long as you know what type of archery you do then you should know what type of quiver you will need. It’s so easy to understand what kind of thing you are going to need to carry your arrows, just as long as it can work like an ammunition cartridge, a toolbox or a survival kit.