If you’re like me, then before I travel anywhere that has an airport or security checkpoint, I always make sure I have packed my TSA-approved lockable bow case.
This way, if anyone decides they want to look through all of my personal belongings without asking first, it will be locked away from them for as long as the flight takes place.
It also allows people who are not familiar with bows to know that there is nothing dangerous being transported within your bag unless someone opens it up and starts rummaging around.
Whether this article may come across as too much paranoia or simply common sense, we’ll cover how to pack everything up so you can go about your day worry-free knowing your stuff is safe.
Keep in Mind
One thing to keep in mind when traveling with any kind of weapon is that you should never leave it unattended while going through security checkpoints.
In most situations where weapons are allowed into planes, you must pass through metal detectors and pat-down procedures.
These things put the responsibility of keeping these items out of harm’s way solely onto you. So, once again, don’t forget your TSA-approved lockable carry-on luggage.
How to Fly With a Bow Case
1. Get a Portable Bow Case
The first step to getting through security with a bow case is making sure it’s small enough to fit into the overhead bin space.
Or get a case that can fit under the seat in front of you (if flying United) or underneath your chair if you happen to be sitting in coach (most airlines).
2. Do Not Fill the Case Beyond Capacity
You do not need to fill it completely full because sometimes you might want to pull one item out and only use a small amount of space.
Also, remember to make room for the handle of the case as well.
3. Remove Unnessary Items
The best way to accomplish this is by removing whatever other items you may already have in your suitcase until you find something that fits right in between the handles.
Then just slide the rest of your items towards the back of your suitcase.
4. Organize Your Archery Equipment
Once you’ve got all those little spaces filled, take some extra time to organize your stuff so that each arrow sits neatly together.
Some cases include dividers that allow you to separate different types of arrows, but others require you to line them up however you see fit.
5. Ensure Your Fletching and Stringing Materials Are Kept Safely
Once you’ve done that, start packing your bow case with all of your accessories such as stabilizers, quivers, nocks, etc. Make sure that your fletching and stringing materials are tucked away safely somewhere else in the case.
Additionally, add the lid back on top and close the whole deal. When you’re finished, put your boarding passes and passport/ID in their designated spots and head over to the gate. Don’t forget your TSA-approved lockable carry-on luggage.
6. Be Prepared to Open Your Case if It Isn’t TSA Approved
Another note: even though you’re carrying a bow case, you still have to declare it and present it to agents in order to open it upon arrival.
They usually ask you to empty it out and walk through the entire process with them so that they can inspect everything, including the contents.
7. Have a Fail-Safe Plan
Please bear in mind that there are certain times during peak season when flights tend to become backed up and delayed due to increased passenger volume.
In these instances, waiting to unpack won’t be very pleasant. To avoid having to wait longer than necessary, consider bringing along another set of clothes and toiletries just in case.
That’s why it’s important to know exactly what your itinerary looks like ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.
Why Get a TSA-Approved Bow Case Locks
So now that you understand how easy it is to get through airport security with a bow case and how simple it really is, let’s talk a bit more about why you’d actually want to own one.
1. You Don’t Have to Worry About Losing Your Archery Equipment
One reason many people choose to buy a TSA-approved bow case is that they work great as a substitute for checked baggage.
Another advantage of using one instead of hand-carried bags is that you save yourself a lot of hassle trying to dig through piles of junk that end up accumulating throughout the course of a normal trip.
Most importantly, you no longer have to worry about losing your valuable gear every time you change planes.
2. Prevents Authorized Access
As mentioned earlier, TSA-approved locks are specifically designed to prevent unauthorized access to your possessions while traveling.
There are several benefits to owning a TSA-approved bow case versus rolling your own DIY version. For starters, TSA Approved Locks offer peace of mind knowing that your property is protected against theft or loss.
3. Protects Your Archery Equipment Against Damage
Also, TSA Approved Locks offer protection against damage caused by mishandling. Thirdly, TSA Approved Locks protect your valuables from harm.
Finally, TSA Approved Locks are lightweight and portable, allowing you to move from plane to plane quickly and easily.
How to Protect What Is Inside Your Bow Case
To ensure that your valuables remain undisturbed for as long as possible, you should try to minimize the number of steps needed to gain access to your belongings.
1. Store Fletchings and Broadheads Separately
Many bow owners opt to store their fletchings and broadheads separately from the rest of their equipment.
By doing this, you reduce the likelihood of damaging these parts when opening your case. However, putting them aside doesn’t eliminate the possibility altogether.
Since these pieces of equipment are made of high-quality material, they are often susceptible to breaking, especially after extended exposure to moisture.
Therefore, if you decide to pack them with the rest of your other supplies, you’ll probably want to carry them along with you in either your carry-on luggage or purse.
At least this way, you’ll be able to retrieve them immediately rather than wait hours for lost luggage to turn up.
2. Protect Delicate Components
As far as what goes in your box itself, you can certainly pack it however you prefer. Just remember to pay special attention to protecting delicate components such as your bow’s grip and riser.
Sometimes you may notice that your bow has been damaged prior to arriving at your destination.
While this could potentially mean a big inconvenience, it’s worth taking the extra precaution of leaving your bow intact until you reach home.
Not only does this keep you from worrying about replacing expensive replacements, but it also keeps your scope safe until you arrive back home.
3. Take Care of Your Scopes
Speaking of scopes, be aware that they are fragile pieces of glass that cannot withstand rough handling. Take care to treat them gently whenever you transport them.
Ultimately, make sure to avoid stuffing your bow case full of loose wires, cables, straps, and cords. Doing so will cause unnecessary wear and tear on your equipment, resulting in poor performance and potential breakage later on.
Keep your cables organized by tying off excess lengths and tucking them away inside the corners of your case. Be mindful of not touching the inner walls of your case since oils from your hands can stain surfaces.
And lastly, be careful when closing the lid of your case. Always apply pressure evenly to avoid crushing your precious cargo.