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Right after you acquire your first bow, you’re going to realize that you’re missing something: a case. If your new bow is a compound hunting bow — and you plan to go hunting — you’re going to need to protect your bow on the way to your hunting spot. You can’t expect to just toss the bow into the back of your pickup or trust your buddies not to throw their gear onto it in the backseat of your pickup.
If you don’t protect it, you can mess up your sights or fray your string or tweak your rest, all of which you might not notice before you have a deer or elk in your sights.
So you need a case for your bow, but how do you choose a bow case? And is there a best bow case out there for everybody?
Review: Plano Parallel Limb Hard Bow Case
For me, I wanted to get a simple padded soft-sided cloth case. I like the prices for soft-sided cases, but I started thinking my choice through: There was too much risk of it getting damaged in the back seat of my pickup. And what about when we’ve got four hunters in the pickup? If you’re like me, you probably want to be able to put your bow into the bed of your pickup. For that, you pretty much need a hard case.
I chose the Plano Parallel Limb Hard Bow Case for two core reasons: 1) I wanted a hard case, and 2) I wanted a hard case that would be large enough for me to leave my quiver on my bow, ideally with arrows, while it was in the case.
I have a Bear Attitude, which is a beginner, entry-level bow with an easily adjustable draw length, and it fits fine inside the Plano Parallel Limb Hard Bow Case. Based on the rectangular design, I expect that most every compound bow can fit in this case.
Some assembly required for supporting your bow in the case.
The location of the support pillars will be custom to fit your particular bow.
Pillars and straps located and installed. (Foam goes over the top.)
Pillars and straps installed to fit around my bow.
Fit looks good, foam reinstalled, strapped in and ready for travel.
The Plano Parallel Limb Bow Case is a mid-level quality case that is rugged enough for the back of the pickup.
The Bow Case Adjusts to Fit Your Bow
Another nice feature of the Plano case is that you can customize the layout of the included velcro straps, as well as the location of the support risers. You simply screw these into the top and bottom of the case, underneath the foam, after you’ve placed your bow inside the case and figured out where you want to place the straps and supports.
Because I wanted to be able to secure my bow inside the case with a quiver full of arrows, I had to move the support risers a bit off center in order to accommodate the quiver. (These pillar-like risers are designed to help keep the sides of the hard case from crushing in under pressure.) Installing these isn’t hard, but you do have to pay attention to the grid of screw holes and make sure that each support piece has its corresponding piece installed in a mirrored location so that when you close the case, the two support pillars line up with each other. So test your installation by looking through a small crack when the case is nearly closed.
As for the foam padding, it comes with half-cut squares that you can pull out to give you space for the support pillars and to feed the security straps through.
None of the customization is hard, but you do want to plan ahead. And to do it right, you’ll want to fit your bow to the case.
Hard Case Quality of Construction
This is a middle-of-the-road sort of bow case. It’s not as flimsy as many other hard cases — even some that are made by Plano — but it’s not as rugged as others (even some made by Plano).
When it’s closed up, it’s suitably solid for my purposes. I have put it into the back of my pickup and have driven on dirt roads with little worry. But would I fly with it and let the airline baggage guys throw it into the cargo hold of an airplane with a bunch of heavy suitcases? Probably not. As it is, I wouldn’t stand or sit on it, but with moderate awareness, it’ll do the job.
The Plano Parallel Limb Hard Bow Case has four latches, all of which seem strong and sturdy. No worries there. The biggest issue is the lack of rigidity of the two main plastic body panels — they can bend and twist when the case is open. This bending or torquing is most notable with the lid, so if you’re opening up the case and there is an oddly shaped something behind the lid — like a rock — the lid is going to twist and bend. Kind of makes a guy want to pay attention to that. Mine has not broken or cracked, but I’m not flipping the lid open against big rocks, either.
Best Bow Case for the Money?
All-in-all, the Plano Parallel Limb Hard Bow Case offers a great blend of customizable hard-side protection for your bow. Most bow hunters and even many target shooters will have plenty of space for their bows inside this case. If your hunting gear budget is always much lower than you’d like it to be (like mine), I can recommend this case, especially if you have an entry-level sort of bow. It should handle some reasonable abuse as long as you don’t throw it around.
If you plan on rugged travel, airline travel, or just want a rugged hard case, you should look elsewhere. In fact, check out the Plano All Weather Series Bow Case. It’s made of much thicker plastic, has built in locks for air travel, and it has a weather-tight gasket seal. In particular, like the Plano AW Bow Case Bone Collector Series. It lists for about $60 more than the Parallel Limb case, but on Amazon the difference is usually closer to $30. If you can swing it, upgrade to the AW by Plano (or get the Cabela’s branded version). When I end up handing down the Plano Parallel Limb Hard Bow Case to a friend or family member, I’ll like get the AW Bow Case.