Can you store a bow vertically?

Whether you can store a bow vertically is a common question for archers and bow hunters. The short answer is yes, you can store many bows vertically with no issue. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind depending on the type of bow.

Why Might You Want to Store a Bow Vertically?

There are a few reasons why storing a bow vertically can be desirable:

  • Saves floor/wall space – Storing bows vertically takes up less floor space than laying them flat. This can help keep your gear room, closet or other storage area neat and organized.
  • Easy access – Vertical storage makes it fast and convenient to grab your bow when needed. You don’t have to move other gear out of the way.
  • Protects limbs – Keeping the limbs vertical takes pressure off the limbs that could cause warping or twisting over time when stored horizontally.

Is It OK to Store a Recurve Bow Vertically?

In most cases, it is perfectly fine to store a recurve bow vertically. The recurve design is very stable and can handle being stored upright without any issues. Here are a few tips for storing recurve bows vertically:

  • Use a bow stand or hang it from a wall mounted rack by the upper limb. This takes pressure off the riser and limbs.
  • Make sure it is fully assembled – do not store a takedown recurve with the limbs detached.
  • Do not lean it in a corner or rest it at an angle. Store it fully vertical.
  • Store it braced with the bowstring in place, but not under tension.

As long as it is stored securely vertical and not hanging at an angle, a recurve bow can safely stay in an upright position without risk of twisting or warping.

Can You Store a Longbow Vertically?

Longbows can also generally be stored vertically, but there are a couple extra precautions to take:

  • Use a bow rack or stand to hold it fully upright. Do not lean it.
  • Some longbows may take set if stored braced vertically for very long periods. Periodically unstring and re-string if storing vertical long term.
  • Watch for any signs of twisting or warping along the limbs or handle and adjust storage method if needed.

The straight limbs and gentle curves of a longbow are stressed less by vertical storage than extremely recurved limbs. But any bow can develop issues over time, so periodically check that it looks straight and true.

Is Vertical Storage OK for Compound Bows?

Compound bows are usually fine to store vertically, but there are some extra considerations:

  • Never store a compound bow upright while strung. Always unstring it first.
  • Use a quality bow stand to hold it fully vertical. Do not lean it or hang from the cams.
  • The cams and cables/strings hold a lot of tension – letting it rest upright takes pressure off those parts to maintain accuracy.
  • Inspect cables occasionally for any fraying or damage from vertical storage over many months.

Because compound bows have many tightly strung moving parts, special care should be taken to store them properly on a stand. But storing vertical is generally recommended to extend the life of the strings and cams.

Tips for Storing Bows Vertically

No matter what type of bow, here are some general tips for safe vertical storage:

  • Invest in a dedicated bow stand or wall/ceiling mounted rack for the bow type.
  • Never lean it – always keep fully upright and secured.
  • Store unstrung whenever possible, especially for compounds.
  • Inspect recurve limbs and compound cams/limbs periodically for any warping.
  • Hang compounds from the riser upper, not the cams or strings.
  • Keep strings waxed and maintained during storage.

Is It Bad to Store a Bow Horizontally?

Storing a bow horizontally on its side isn’t necessarily bad for short periods. But longer horizontal storage can lead to some issues:

  • Warping or twisting limbs when stored strung for months.
  • Excess pressure on a single point rather than dispersing along the limb.
  • Peep rotation on compounds from cables/strings settling.
  • Takes up more space laying down.

For prolongued storage, most manufacturers recommend vertical over horizontal if possible. But the occasional night horizontal after a late hunt won’t damage a well-made bow.

Storing at an Angle?

Storing a bow at an angle by leaning it against a wall or tree should be avoided. Angle storage concentrates force in one area of the limb/riser and can cause damage over time. It also increases the risk of falling or being knocked over. For both safety and bow health, keep storage fully vertical or flat when possible.

Storing on a Bow Case

Bows stored on top of a case or bag is another scenario to avoid. While easier than setting up a rack, the rounded case puts pressure on small contact points along the limbs or riser. Soft case materials can also allow the bow to shift or slide around, concentrating forces unevenly. Use a proper stand or rack for long term limb health.

Can Bows be Stored Strung?

Opinions vary on storing bows while strung. Some key factors to consider are:

  • Recurve and longbows are generally fine left strung at brace height for storage. But unstringing regularly can extend string life.
  • Never store a compound strung long term due to extreme cam/limb tension.
  • Examine the bow for limb/riser warping periodically if storing strung.
  • If storing horizontal, always unstring the bow first.

For many traditional archers, storing recurves strung is standard practice with no issues. But err on the side of caution and unstring if storing more than a few weeks, especially compounds.

Storing Bows in High Heat/Humidity

Extreme temperatures and humidity can damage bows in storage. Avoid storing bows long term in conditions like:

  • Attics – prone to extreme heat in summer.
  • Garcages – humidity and temperature fluctuations.
  • Storage sheds – heat, moisture and pests.

Ideally, store bows at controlled room temperature and average humidity levels. Excessive heat/humidity can warp limbs and degrade strings over time.

Preparing a Bow for Long Term Storage

For storing a bow more than 1-2 months, especially during the offseason, take these extra steps:

  1. Loosen or remove string to take tension off limbs and prevent stretching or peep rotation.
  2. Thoroughly wax string and cables and check for any fraying.
  3. Clean bow with a surface protectant to prevent corrosion on mountings/risers.
  4. Inspect carefully for any cracks or warping in limbs, cams or riser.
  5. Store in a secure stand or rack away from sun/humidity.

Taking the tension off the limbs and protecting the strings/cables will help extend the bow’s life in storage. Periodically check on it during the storage period.


Storing bows vertically is usually recommended, with some precautions depending on the bow type. Recurves and longbows can generally be safely stored upright when braced and in a secure stand. Compounds should always be unstrung prior to vertical storage to remove limb tension. No matter the bow, avoid leaning at an angle and protect from heat/humidity for best results. With proper storage habits, most bows can be happily stored upright between seasons.

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