Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Review of Upshot Archery's Side-Draw Quiver

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There are many styles of quiver out there, of them my favorite style is the side quiver or side-draw quiver (not to be confused with the hip or belt quiver, also known by the same name). Unlike most quivers that are drawn from the top, the side-draw quiver is similar to quivers that make use of a hood and separate arrow gripper like bow-quivers in that the arrow is drawn from the side of the quiver. It is something of a hybrid in this regard, as most designs still allow arrows to be drawn from the top of the quiver if the need arises.
I recently received a new quiver from Tommy Hard of Upshot Archery, one of his own takes on the side-draw quiver style. It has since become my daily use quiver as it has just about everything I look for in a good quiver and easily modified to be the perfect quiver for all situations.
Upshot Archery's side-draw quiver can hold up to a dozen field-tip arrows comfortably.

My first impression of the quiver is that it is very lightweight. I was actually surprised that it is completely unstructured, meaning that it simply falls limp without arrows to support it. At first I thought this was a bit strange, but the flexible nature of the quiver allows it to contour to the body better than a more rigid quiver. This also allows the quiver to be folded up for storage. It was actually shipped to me folded neatly and securely in a box.

The quiver folded up for storage. The arrow has 4 inch feathers to give an idea of scale.
The quiver is 24 inches long overall with a 16 inch long cut-out on the side and a 3-1/2 inch deep cup at the bottom. It has an inner diameter of around 2-1/2 inches which holds a dozen arrows with target or field points comfortably as well as about 4-6 arrows with broadheads. I can usually get about 4 Judo or similar blunts and 6 rubber blunts to fit comfortably.

The quiver's cup is deep enough to keep broadheads safely tucked away yet shallow enough to allow identification of points by feel. This is great when carrying both blunts and broadheads. The cup is deep enough to fit a cylinder of foam, a great way to prevent arrow rattling and to add extra safety when carrying broadheads.
The Upshot Archery quiver holds about 4-6 arrows with broadheads comfortably.
Made from thin upholstery leather, the main body of the quiver is very light. The strap is a canvas belt and is fully adjustable as well as easily removeable. The quiver features heavy steel rings for strap attachment as well as a spring clip for clipping the quiver to a belt or pocket as well as a way to keep the quiver secure in a treestand or at camp. It can also be used to hold an extra shooting glove or tab, or to keep items with the quiver when in storage.
Heavy steel rings offer a solid attachment point for straps. The spring clip is great for attaching the quiver to just about anything.
While meant to be used as a side quiver, this versatile quiver can also be worn on the back, under the bow arm, on the hip, over a shoulder, or slung to the side. While removing arrows is effortless, the unstructured nature of the quiver can make putting arrows back a little awkward at first. This gets easier with practice.
D-rings on the strap allows for easy adjustments while keeping those adjustments fairly well.
The strap is fully adjustable with two D-rings that can be moved easily to make quick adjustments. While they can sometimes slip if the quiver gets snagged, they still are fairly secure. The strap has two snap closures on one end, making removing the included strap easy if you wanted to replace it. One thing to note is that the strap is made to fit most archers. If you have a broad chest and shoulders like I do, you will need to request a longer strap for the quiver to fit comfortably.
The bottom of the strap has two snap closures for quick strap removal. This can be useful if the strap gets caught and the quiver needs to be dropped.
Overall, the quiver is constructed well. It is solid and made of upholstery leather and sewn with a thick nylon thread. The seams are all solid, though there are some minor aesthetic imperfections that do not take away from the usefulness of the quiver. The metal furniture is also solid and comes in a variety of finish options. The leather used also comes in a variety of colors and is available in both new and recycled leather. This particular quiver is made from recycled leather.

Tommy makes his quivers in both right and left hand models. The leather loops that hold the steel rings for the strap in place will be placed differently for right and left handed shooters. This points the cut-out in the direction of your arrow-holding hand, making drawing an arrow very comfortable. While not as versatile as a top-mounted strap design, this style is more comfortable, giving the quiver a better fit to the individual and a more custom feel.

While not padded, the soft suede interior helps to keep rattling down, though feathers and vanes still have a tendency to make some noise. This can easily be quieted by adding a strip of faux or real fur to the inside of the quiver's top opening.
This right handed quiver has the loops sewn off to one side. A left handed quiver would have the loops on the other side.
All-in-all this is a great quiver. A good side-draw quiver is often hard to find, especially at this price point. This handmade quiver is constructed well and feels very durable. In short, I recommend this quiver to anyone looking for a versatile and adjustable quiver. It's perfect for all kinds of shooting, especially where range of movement is limited. With a few tweaks it can make a perfect lightweight quiver for hunting as well.

The design is well-planned out and versatile, the construction is solid, the fit and finish is not perfect but still very good, and the price is very reasonable for a handmade quiver. Tommy also offers custom orders as well as pre-made quivers available. You can check them out here!

-Nick
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