How are bows stored?

Bows require special care and maintenance in order to keep them in optimal condition. Proper storage is a key aspect of caring for a bow. There are several important factors to consider when storing bows, including the bow material, string condition, temperature, humidity and keeping the bow free from dust and dirt.

What materials are bows made from?

Modern bows are typically made from materials like fiberglass, wood, and carbon. Each material has particular storage needs:

  • Fiberglass bows are durable and weather resistant. They can be stored in normal indoor temperatures and humidity.
  • Wooden bows are more sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. They should be stored in controlled, moderate conditions to prevent warping or cracking.
  • Carbon bows are also prone to warping and damage. They require temperature controlled storage as well.

Vintage bows may be made from more natural materials like wood, horn and sinew. These require specialized care and controlled conditions to prevent deterioration.

Why is string condition important?

The bow string is under constant tension when the bow is strung. Storing the bow when strung can lead to:

  • Loss of string tension and performance
  • String stretch and deformation
  • Limb warping due to prolonged tension

For these reasons, most experts recommend unstringing the bow before storage. The string should also be waxed periodically to protect it and maintain smooth performance.

What temperature and humidity are optimal?

For most bow materials, a temperature range of 15-20°C (59-68°F) and a relative humidity of 45-55% is recommended. More vulnerable materials like wood and carbon require tighter control closer to 18°C (64°F) and 50% humidity.

Heat and dryness can damage bows by drying out adhesives and causing materials to warp or crack. Excess humidity can cause swelling, stretching and mold growth. Temperature and humidity control helps avoid these problems.

How can bows be protected from dust and dirt?

Dust, dirt, oils and other contaminants can build up on the bow grip and limb surfaces over time, leading to decreased performance. Bows should be stored in a way that limits exposure to these elements.

Recommended storage methods to protect bows include:

  • Storing in an enclosed case or bag
  • Using a bow stand or wall-mounted rack
  • Covering with a lightweight cloth
  • Keeping in a closed cabinet or closet

Regular inspection and cleaning is also advised to remove any particulate accumulation on bows.

What are the best storage positions?

The ideal position for bow storage depends partly on the construction and materials. Some general guidelines include:

  • Wooden bows should be stored horizontally on shaped racks or stands to prevent warping. The limbs should not touch any surfaces.
  • Modern recurve, compound and takedown bows can be stored vertically on wall racks or stands.
  • Longbows are often stored horizontally but can lean vertically against walls if space is limited.
  • Unstrung bows should be stored with a slight relaxed string tension to avoid limb deformation.

Avoid hanging bows directly on pegs or hooks for long periods, as the weight can warp the shape over time.

Are there any other special considerations?

Here are some other tips for optimal bow storage:

  • Avoid direct sunlight exposure, which can damage materials and cause fading.
  • Do not leave strung bows hanging on racks for prolonged times.
  • Use bow cases or bags during transport to prevent accidental impacts or drops.
  • Inspect bows periodically for any signs of damage or wear while in storage.
  • Allow wood bows to acclimate when bringing them from cold to warm environments to prevent moisture issues.
  • Consider climate control or dehumidifiers if storing bows in humid environments.
  • Do not allow metal hardware to rest directly on bow limbs for extended times.

What are some recommended bow storage accessories?

Specialized accessories can help provide optimal protection and organization for stored bows. Recommended products include:

  • Bow cases – Provide a protective enclosure and portability.
  • Wall-mounted racks – Hold multiple bows securely while on display.
  • Bow stands – Cradle the bow in an upright free-standing position.
  • Bow hangers – Attach to walls or shelving to hang bows vertically.
  • Limb savers – Pad limb tips to prevent surface damage during storage.
  • Dehumidifiers – Regulate humidity levels in storage areas.
  • Bow strings & waxes – Allow for routine string maintenance.

Investing in quality storage accessories helps extend the life and performance of bows significantly.

What are some basic bow storage tips?

In summary, these are some key bow storage best practices:

  • Unstring bows before storage to extend string life.
  • Control temperature and humidity for ideal conditions.
  • Store bows horizontally or vertically on stands/racks to avoid deformation.
  • Keep bows in enclosed cases or cabinets to limit dust and dirt.
  • Periodically clean and wax bows to remove contaminants.
  • Avoid direct sunlight exposure over prolonged times.
  • Transport bows in protective cases.
  • Inspect bows regularly for any damage or issues.

Proper storage care helps maintain top performance and extends your bow’s usable life dramatically. Investing in quality storage accessories tailored to your bow design and environment is recommended.

What are common bow storage mistakes?

Some common bow storage errors to avoid include:

  • Leaving bows strung for weeks or months at a time.
  • Storing in unconditioned attics, garages or basements with temperature extremes.
  • Hanging bows for prolonged periods on basic pegs or hooks.
  • Leaning bows at angles against walls long-term.
  • Transporting without a bow case.
  • Neglecting to wax strings and clean limbs/grip periodically.
  • Exposing bows to direct sunlight or rain.
  • Storing horizontally on flat surfaces, causing limb warping.
  • Allowing accessories like sights or rests to press on limbs.

Catching and correcting any improper bow storage early helps prevent permanent damage or performance issues.

What are signs of improper bow storage?

Look for these signs that may indicate your bow storage needs improvement:

  • String fraying or peeling of wax finish
  • Limb warping such as twisting or taking on a recurve shape
  • Cracks or splits in wooden risers or limbs
  • Cloudy, faded or cracked fiberglass limbs
  • Rust on metal components like sights or stabilizers
  • Grip/limb surfaces appear dry, feel overly rough
  • Presence of mold or mildew
  • Dust, dirt buildup on limbs, string, arrows

Don’t ignore these warning signs! Evaluate your storage conditions and make adjustments to get your bow back into proper shape.

How should beginners approach bow storage?

For beginners new to archery equipment, here are some fundamental bow storage tips:

  • Ask the bow manufacturer or seller for recommended care/storage.
  • Err on the side of caution with temperature and humidity.
  • Invest in a basic case, wall hanger or rack for safe keeping.
  • Keep directions on hand for proper string removal and tuning.
  • Watch tutorial videos to learn maintenance techniques.
  • Join archery forums or clubs to learn from more experienced archers.
  • Take the bow to a pro shop annually for a tune-up and inspection.
  • Ask questions – proper storage maximizes enjoyment!

Don’t be afraid to request help from experts when first learning. Proper storage habits early on will pay dividends for years to come.

What bow storage mistakes cause the most damage?

Based on their potential for permanent damage, these are some of the most critical bow storage errors:

  • Excessive heat exposure – Can lead to limb/riser cracking and warping.
  • Storing while strung – Causes string and limb issues over time.
  • Direct sunlight – Fades and weakens materials.
  • Insufficient humidity – Dries out wood causing cracks.
  • Leaning bow at angle – Alters limb shape and alignment.
  • Not waxing string – Causes fraying and abrasion.
  • Exposing to rain/dampness – Risks mold, warping.
  • Not cleaning grip/limbs – Dust/dirt damages surfaces.
  • Transport without case – Leads to dings, chips and breaks.

Avoiding these common pitfalls helps ensure your bow maintains peak shooting performance and enjoys maximum lifespan.


Storing bows properly is an important aspect of ownership. Failing to provide adequate temperature, humidity and protection from dust and dirt will accelerate wear and tear. But bows stored carefully can last for many years and retain excellent shooting capabilities.

Following best practices like relaxing string tension, keeping in enclosed storage, maintaining string wax and cleaning periodically will maximize performance. Investing in quality storage accessories tailored for your climate and bow design demonstrates care for your equipment.

Make bow storage a priority to get the most out of your archery passion. Allowing time for routine maintenance demonstrates respect for your tools and helps uphold traditions passed down by generations of archers.

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