Hip Quiver vs Back Quiver: Choosing The Right Style

Jeff
| Last Updated May 24, 2021

Are you having trouble deciding between a hip quiver or a back quiver in which to carry your arrows on your next archery adventure? 

You’re not the only one. We’ve found that one works better for hot days and target archers, and the other for people who love a traditional style. 

So, which is better for your needs? Read on to find out!

TL;DR: Hip Quiver vs Back Quiver

For readers in a hurry, here’s a quick summary of what we’ll cover: 

Hip Quiver

Back Quiver

PROS

PROS

  • Extra storage for accessories

  • More comfortable

  • Easier to grab arrows
  • Holds more arrows

  • Fast reload

  • Traditional look

CONS

CONS

  • Holds fewer arrows

  • Slower to reload
  • No storage for accessories

  • Challenging to grab arrows

  • Uncomfortable on hot days

BEST FOR

BEST FOR

Target archers and hunters in warmer climates

Archers who prefer a traditional style or lengthy practice sessions

What is a Hip Quiver?

As the name suggests, this quiver hangs on your hip. Most are made from leather or synthetic fabrics and attach with a clip or belt. There are two types of hip quivers: target and field. 

Field quivers are the more traditional style. They lean the fletching backward and facing down. These products are popular with hunters because arrows are less likely to catch on branches this way. 

However, if you have numbered arrows, you’ll have to turn around to see which one you’re grabbing. 

Target quivers lean the fletching forward with the point downwards. Target archers prefer these products because it's easier to see, sort, and grab your arrows. They also offer plenty of storage space. However, this type does sway and hit your side more. 

Hip (left) and back quiver (right) (Photo credit: bowhunting360.com)

What is a Back Quiver?

Traditional archers often prefer back quivers, which hang diagonally on your back. When you see archers depicted in media, this will probably be the carrier they use. For example, Robin Hood and Katniss Everdeen carry their arrows this way. 

Back quivers hold a lot of arrows. However, they usually don’t have any additional storage. Typically they have a more traditional design and are made from leather. 

Relevant Characteristics Between a Hip Quiver and a Back Quiver

Now let’s quickly compare the relevant characteristics of these two products:

Hip Quiver

Back Quiver

12-24 

Capacity

12-30

High- good control and secure

Ease of Carry

Medium- arrows can shift or fall out

Easy to pull out

Arrow Removal

Must reach over your shoulder to pull out

Lightweight

Weight

Slightly heavier

Leather or Synthetic Fabrics

Style

Traditional Leather

Similarities and Differences

Now you know what hip and back quivers are. But how are they different? Read below to find out.

Hip Quiver and Back Quiver Differences

There are some general differences between hip and back quivers. Let’s look at some of them.

Ease of Carry

The fact that both of these products are hands-free makes carrying them much more manageable. However, some archers find carrying the hip quiver more manageable. 

Back quivers tend to shift your arrows around when you walk. Plus, you’ll have a challenging time bending over without your arrows falling out. You can combat this issue by buying a side strap attachment. However, going for a hip quiver will avoid the problem altogether. 

Arrow Removal

A carrier for your arrows won’t be very helpful if they’re difficult to pull back out. To remove one from a back quiver, you must reach over your shoulder and feel for it. Many people find this process troublesome.  

With practice, removing arrows from your back will get easier. However, retrieving arrows from your hip is effortless from the get-go. 

Weight

While some archers may find them heavy, hip carriers typically weigh less than back carriers. Beginners who choose the latter will need time to adjust to the weight. 

Hip Quiver and Back Quiver Similarities

We’ve covered how the two types differ, but how are they similar? Let’s look into it: 

Capacity

Many people will tell you hip quivers have a higher capacity. However, this statement can be a bit misleading. True, this type has extra storage for your other equipment, so you can also use them to carry things like gloves or scorecards. 

However, this storage comes at a price: fewer arrows. Hunters or archers who don’t have any additional items to carry may prefer back quivers because they can hold many more arrows. 

Style

Typically, back carriers will have a more traditional style than hip ones. Think plain leather with no intricate designs versus synthetic fabrics with patterns and bright colors. 

However, you can find plenty of back quivers that have patterns and colors. Many come in camouflage designs to target hunters. You can also find hip quivers that look more traditional. 

Advantages of Hip Quivers

Now that you’ve seen the similarities and differences, let’s analyze the pros of hip quivers.

Holds Arrows and Equipment

Hip quivers are fantastic if you have additional equipment to carry. The extra storage means you can take both your arrows and accessories with one product. 

Sure, they can’t hold quite as many arrows as other alternatives, but they may still contain a decent amount. Some can hold up to 20 at a time. That’s plenty of arrows for your average archer. 

More Comfortable

Many people find hip quivers more comfortable, especially when it’s hot out. When temperatures rise, your body tries to stay cool by sweating. One of the most common places for sweat is your back. 

Photo credit: stephanierustad.com

Heat can get trapped between your skin and anything you carry on your back, making you uncomfortable. Having your arrows on your hip instead can prevent this problem. 

Easier to Grab Arrows

With a hip quiver, your arrows are directly at your side. You can see and grab them with ease; you don’t have to reach your arm way over your back and blindly feel around for your arrow, as you would with other quiver types. 

Take-Away

If you’re a target archer, go with a hip quiver. Your arrows will be out of the way but accessible. You’ll have plenty of pockets for gloves, scorecards, and other equipment, or maybe even a snack in case you get hungry. 

You should also consider this style if you're a hunter in a hot climate. Keeping your arrows off your back will keep you cool and comfortable on extended hunts in the scorching heat. 

Advantages of Back Quivers

But what about back quivers? What are their advantages?

Hold More Arrows

You can’t pack a ton of accessories with a back quiver, but you can have more arrows. Some products will hold more than 30. That’s a lot of arrows! 

Quick Reload

Sure, getting the hang of reaching over your shoulder to grab an arrow can take some time, but once you get it down you’ll be able to shoot with incredible speed. With your hand already near your quiver after release, reloading is a breeze. 

Looks Awesome

Let’s face it: carrying a traditional leather quiver looks fantastic. Your confidence will skyrocket wearing this product, with images of your favorite TV and movie archers dancing in your head. 

Photo credit: tradbow.com

Take-Away

If you’re an archer who wants to take a trip back in time with traditional equipment, get yourself a leather back quiver. Were you attracted to archery because of the captivating characters you saw shooting arrows in various media? Well, this product is the one for you! 

This carrier also works when you want a long day of practicing your shooting. Improving as an archer can mean taking 80 to 100 shots a day. If you can carry 30 or more arrows at a time, you can spend less time retrieving and more time shooting. So go with this product!

What About Field Quivers?

Field quivers are a type of hip quiver where the fletching of your arrow leans back and points down. Hunters who don’t want to carry anything on their back often prefer this alternative because it doesn’t catch on branches as often. 

This product also works well if you’re standing on a tight shooting line. Your arrow won't hit the person behind you with this carrier, which is a common problem at indoor tournaments. 

With a field quiver, you have to look behind you to see your arrows. Some people find this factor frustrating. In that case, you would probably prefer another type of hip quiver. 

Photo credit: archery360.com

Bottom Line

If you’re a target archer or hunt in the heat, consider going with a hip quiver. This product is more comfortable, has more storage, and makes grabbing arrows straightforward. 

On the other hand, back quivers are quick to reload and hold more arrows. Plus, they look incredible! You should use this product if you prefer a traditional style or plan to make many shots on a practice trip. 

Whether you choose a back or hip quiver, your arrows will be held securely and will be ready to fire. So head out and shoot to your heart’s content! 

People Also Ask

If you have more questions, we hope to answer them below!

Which Side Do You Wear a Hip Quiver?

Ultimately, you should wear your hip quiver however it’s comfortable. If you shoot with your right hand, you’ll probably want it on the right side, and vice versa. 

Photo credit: archerytalk.com

Are Back Quivers Practical?

Back quivers are practical, as long as you take the time to practice with them. Reaching behind you for arrows will seem strange and unnatural at first. But after a while, the motion will come effortlessly. 

How Do You Wear a Back Quiver?

Back quivers hang diagonally on your back. Slip the strap on one shoulder and under the opposite arm, like you would with a crossbody bag. Adjust as needed. 

How Long is a Quiver?

Most back quivers are between 20 and 22 inches long. This length gives you plenty of room for your arrows but leaves enough sticking out for you to grab them from the carrier. 

How Do You Wear a Quiver Over a Cloak?

With cloaks that have sleeves or resemble a poncho, leaving your arms free to move, wear a quiver over it like you would with regular clothing. Other options include cutting holes for the carrier’s straps to slide through or, if the cloak is large enough, placing it entirely over your quiver, with the arrows sticking out of the neck hole.

Jeff

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.