In the archery world it is pretty hard to go shoot without some kind of travel involved. Canada is a very large country and you can travel several hours even to a local tournament. For example going to the Canadian National Championships, which can be anywhere in Canada, often will require flying, and/or driving. So, while traveling you need some form of protection for your bow, enter the bow case.
There are basically two kinds of bow cases, soft or hard shell and they are available in many shapes, sizes, and materials for every type of bow including traditional, take-down recurve, compound or crossbow.
Typically manufactured from nylon, often they are just one big pocket to wrap up your equipment with additional smaller pockets for some smaller items. Soft-shell cases are typically lighter therefore great for carrying distances as they are typically lighter than hard-shell cases however because they are made from flexible material, you can not stack anything on them otherwise you will damage the bow or equipment inside. Although not as durable as hard shells they are typically less costly and therefore great on the budget.
Typically manufactured from hard-plastics and/or light metals, hard-shell cases provide more protection for your bow and allow you to stack them without worry of damage to the contents. Most hard-shell cases offer many compartments, Velcro latches, and even formed foam to securely hold your bow in place during transportation. Most offer a place to store your arrows, lockable latches, and some cases even provide handles and wheels for trekking through the airport. Typically, hard-shell cases are more expensive than soft-shell cases however usually they are far more durable and offer far more protection, especially for those who are traveling abroad where others are handling your cases.
Since, there are no take-down compound bows, either soft-shell or hard shell for compound bow cases are typically designed the same way because the shape is fairly consistent and the same can be said about crossbows. With recurve bows there can be greater variances such as traditional bows and take-down bows and the need to transport additional equipment such as larger stabilizer systems. There are three basic types of cases for recurve bows, a bow sock, a single bow case and a double bow case.
Typically used for by non-take-down recurve bows, they are usually made from cloth or nylon. Designed to slip-over and cover the entire bow while unstrung and a great option for traditional bows.
Single bow Case
Single bow cases can be either soft-shelled or hard-shelled and typically designed to host a single Olympic bow. Most hard-shelled versions and some soft-shelled cases provide various pockets and areas for all the associated equipment including stabilizer system, sight, stand and even arrows.
Double Bow Case
Similar to a single bow case however typically only available in hard-shell, are usually much larger and provide space for two complete Olympic bows and accessories. This is a must for any competitive archers participating in international events since it is recommended that you have two identical bows for competitions.
Which case is right for you? This will depend on your equipment, your shooting style, the tournaments you plan to attend and your budget. If you are planning to travel to tournaments where someone else may be touching your bow case such as porter or flight attendant, you may want to invest in a hard-shell case. Personally, I have two hard-shell cases, one for short trips to local tournaments and one for long trips that can handle two bows.