Bowhunting is an expensive sport! The bow itself, the endless accessories, heaven forbid you lose or break an arrow during practice (when you start looking at cost-per-errant-shot, it’s a sobering reality). And while you can absolutely get up and running for a few hundred bucks, the deeper you get into the obsession, the more money you’re going to spend on newer and better gear.
Now, I’m a big believer in getting into the best archery equipment you can afford and that you shoot well. I’m amazed at how my shooting improved when I switched to the Elite Ritual this year (check out the full review here). But, of all the accessories to improve your bowhunting experience, I have never understood the price that a top of the line quiver retails for. No offense to Tight Spot Archery (or any other company that makes shockingly expensive quivers), but we’re talking about the thing that holds your arrows…that’s ALL it does! As long as it stays on your bow and holds onto your arrows, what on earth could possibly be worth the five-times as much you charge for your boutique arrow receptacle?
That being said, I’m now at a point in my archery journey where I have fairly top of the line everything in my setup…except the quiver. I have not been able to bring myself to drop $150 on such a “meh” piece of gear. What I have done is use three different budget-friendly quivers over the past couple years, and I figured other people in the same boat might like to know what is the best bang for the buck. All three of these are in the $30-45 range, and I have spent actual days in the field with each of them. So, here’s the breakdown…
Full disclosure, at the time of this writing, this is an older model that Trophy Ridge doesn’t make anymore. It appears that the 5-Spot is the updated version of this one (even though it’s a 5-arrow quiver instead of 6). This is a 6-arrow quiver that came stock on my ready-to-hunt bow package, and I put several seasons of hard use on this one. It has proven to be plenty durable (it’s still alive and kicking on my backup bow), and I’ve never noticed it creating a lot of noise or vibration during the shot.
I will give it two small strikes, however. First, it came loaded with foam in the hood of the quiver. It’s fairly common knowledge that over time this can dull your broadheads, but it can also inadvertently deploy mechanical broadheads (which I shoot). The foam is removable if you don’t like it, but the hood is not lined with a soft enough rubber to keep arrows from clicking when they make contact as you remove an arrow (which is generally a moment where you want to be extremely quiet). The second issue is only a problem if you shoot smaller diameter arrow shafts. For years I hunted with standard diameter arrows, and it gripped them tightly without any slippage. Now, that I’m shooting 5mm arrows, I found that it can’t hold them securely. They click in there like they’re supposed to, but it doesn’t take much to make them start to slide down. Not a risk worth running when you’re walking through the woods.
I purchased this quiver because it was inexpensive on Amazon and I had just picked up a used bow that didn’t come with one. It’s the Apex Gear Reactor LTE 5-arrow quiver and it had no trouble securely holding my smaller-diameter arrows. The first thing that drew me to it was that it didn’t have any foam in the hood, and they had intentionally lined it with an extremely soft silicone. It’s very easy to remove an arrow from this quiver in total silence.
The one issue I have comes down to durability. With only mild practice sessions and a total of four days in the field, the latching mechanism to mount it to the bow broke. One day I pulled it out of my case to put it on my bow, and found the pin that holds the little arm to lock it in place on the bow had fallen out. Of course, it was nowhere to be found, and being a big fan of redneck engineering, I MacGyvered it back on with a small screw. It still works, but come on…even a cheap quiver should last longer than 4 days of hunting.
The Bohning Bruin is another budget-friendly offering (the least expensive of the three at the time of this writing) in the quiver world from a company that specializes largely in archery accessories (fletchings, nocks, etc.). When I was setting up my new Elite, I knew I wasn’t going to re-use the Apex that failed, and decided to give the Bruin a try (not just because I secretly hope the name will help me connect on a bear in the near future).
One thing that sets the Bruin apart from the other two is it’s the only quiver with a built-in hook for tree-stand hunters. I’ve also been told by the company that they are replacing the plastic hook (that came on mine) with a rope to further reduce vibrations when shooting with it mounted to the bow. As for other features, the arrow grippers can accommodate the smallest of arrow diameters, but have plenty of flex to allow even standard diameter arrows to still be removed without excessive force. The hood is also lined with a quiet enough rubber to avoid alerting your prey that an arrow has been removed (it makes a very faint “click,” but nothing that I think would cause a problem).
As for issues with the Bruin, I really only have one gripe: The height of the quiver is adjustable, but it has a limited range. At my fairly average draw length (29.5), I have maxed out the height on the quiver, and my arrows still hang about two inches below my bottom limb. I would prefer to have the top of my quiver and the bottom of my arrows all fall within my two axles, just for added protection and so there’s no chance of my nocks or fletchings catching on anything. The other potential issue I noticed when first installing it is that the mount and latching mechanism appear to be a less rugged plastic than other offerings. I don’t know scientific plastic terms, but it’s that shinier thin-feeling plastic. However, it’s been on my bow for a couple-hundred shots and seven days in the field so far, and I’ve had zero issues (which is better than the Apex that looked sturdier, but failed quickly). Time will tell, but so far it’s performing extremely well for a quiver at this price-point.
And the winner is…
As stated at the beginning, all three of these are budget quivers, so there will certainly be some concessions made when you’re choosing one of these over the high-end options. However, based on the flexibility of arrow shaft diameter, optional hook for tree stand hunting, and the ability to remove an arrow quietly enough to still get the job done, I’d have to give the win to the Bohning Bruin. Yes, it’s only a 4-arrow capacity (which had me nervous at first), but I have yet to find myself in the field having gone through four arrows and cursing the fact that I don’t have one more with me. Obviously, you have to make the choice that’s right for you. But, based on the fact that it has the best overall performance of the three AND is the least expensive, I think you can’t go wrong checking out the Bohning Bruin for your next quiver.