Mastering the skill of using a survival bow is a valuable asset for anyone venturing into the wilderness, as it serves dual purposes of hunting for food and providing a means of self-defence. Unlike firearms, bows operate in silence, allowing you to maintain a low profile and avoid attracting unwanted attention from predators or other threats. The ability to create and repair bows and arrows from natural materials also makes this skill particularly useful in long-term survival scenarios, where conventional ammunition may not be available.

Which Type Of Bow Is Best For Survival?

The recurve bow is often considered the best type of bow for survival situations. One key advantage is its simplicity; recurve bows have fewer moving parts than compound bows, making them less prone to mechanical failure. They are also generally lighter and easier to carry, which is an important factor in a survival scenario where mobility is crucial. Additionally, recurve bows are versatile and can be used for both hunting small and large game, as well as for self-defense if necessary. However, they do require more skill to use effectively compared to compound bows, so practice is essential for mastering this type of bow.

Other Types Of Survival Bows

  • Compound Bow
  • Longbow
  • Flatbow
  • Takedown Recurve Bow
  • Yumi Bow
  • Crossbow
  • Horsebow
Survival Bow With Arrows

Bow Construction Materials

The construction materials for bows have evolved over time, ranging from traditional materials like wood to modern synthetic materials like carbon fiber and fiberglass. Here are some common materials used in bow construction:


Traditional Materials:

  • Wood: The most traditional material, often used in longbows and flatbows. Woods like yew, hickory, and osage orange are popular choices.
  • Sinew: Animal tendons are sometimes used to reinforce wooden bows, especially in composite designs.
  • Horn: In composite bows, horn is often used on the belly side (the side facing the archer) to improve compression strength.
  • Bamboo: Light yet strong, bamboo is sometimes used in traditional Asian bows and as a backing material for other wooden bows.
  • Leather: Often used for grip wrapping and sometimes for limb covering.

Modern Materials:

  • Fiberglass: Commonly used for both recurve and longbows, it’s durable and affordable.
  • Carbon Fiber: Lightweight and strong, used in high-end bows like some compound and recurve models.
  • Aluminum: Often used for risers and some limb components in modern bows.
  • Plastics and Polymers: Used in some modern bows and crossbows, generally to reduce weight and production cost.
  • Composite Materials: Modern bows often use a combination of synthetic materials to optimize performance, durability, and weight.

Bow Maintenance

Maintaining your bow is crucial for ensuring its longevity and optimal performance, whether you’re using it for hunting, target shooting, or survival situations. Here are some key points to consider for bow maintenance:


  • Limbs and Riser: Regularly inspect the limbs for any signs of cracking, splitting, or warping. The riser should also be checked for any weaknesses or damage.

  • Strings and Cables: Look for signs of wear and tear, fraying, or unraveling. Replace them as needed, and consider waxing them periodically to prolong their life.

  • Hardware: Check all screws, bolts, and other hardware to make sure they’re tight and in good condition.


  • Dust and Debris: Use a soft cloth to wipe down the limbs, riser, and other surfaces to remove dust and debris.

  • Resin Buildup: Some wooden bows can have a resin buildup that may need to be removed. Use appropriate solvents and a soft cloth for this.

String Care:

  • String Waxing: Apply bowstring wax to the string and cables to prevent fraying and extend their lifespan. This is especially important if you’ve been out in rainy or damp conditions.

  • Nocking Points: Make sure the nocking points are tightly secured and in the correct position.

What is the best wood for a survival bow?

Yew wood has been used for centuries in bow-making due to its optimal combination of tensile and compressive strengths, making for a durable and efficient bow. The best wood for a survival bow often depends on what’s locally available, but a commonly recommended choice is yew. Another good option is osage orange, known for its resilience and strength, and often considered a top choice for bows in North America. Both of these woods are renowned for their ability to produce high-quality, long-lasting bows, but in a true survival situation, the best wood is the one you can find and work with to create a functional bow.

Preppers Arrow Bow

Which Wood Is Not Suitable To Make A Bow?

In woodworking and construction, some woods are more resistant to bowing (warping along the length of the board) than others, although no wood is entirely impervious to some degree of movement due to changes in moisture content. However, some hardwoods are more dimensionally stable than softwoods and are less likely to bow under stress or due to environmental changes. Examples include:

  • Teak: Often used in boat building because of its high resistance to water and dimensional stability.

  • White Oak: Known for its durability and resistance to moisture, making it less likely to bow.

  • Maple: Hard and dense, it is less prone to warping compared to softer woods, although it is not entirely immune.

  • Mahogany: Valued for its workability and dimensional stability, it is less likely to warp or bow.

What Are The Average Survival Bow Costs?

The cost of a survival bow can vary widely depending on various factors such as material, design, brand, and additional features.

Basic Survival Bows

A basic survival bow made of simple materials like wood or fiberglass may cost anywhere from £50 to £100. These bows are typically simple, one-piece designs without a lot of additional features.

Mid-Range Survival Bows

Mid-range survival bows may offer features like foldability, takedown designs, or better-quality materials such as carbon fiber. They could be priced between £100 and £200. These may also come with some basic accessories like arrows or a simple sight.

High-End Survival Bows

High-end survival bows are often crafted with the best materials and offer the most features, including customizable draw weights, advanced sights, and ergonomic designs. These could range from £200 to £500 or more. They may also come as part of a package that includes arrows, quivers, and other accessories.

Custom-Made Survival Bows

If you opt for a custom-made survival bow, the costs can go up substantially depending on your specifications. Prices can range from £500 to £1,000 or more.

Additional Costs

Don’t forget the costs of additional accessories like arrows, quivers, string wax, broadheads, arm guards, and finger tabs or releases. These can add another £50 to £200 or more to your overall cost.

Best 4 Survival Bow You Can Buy

Part of being well-prepared for unforeseen events is to have the ability to hunt and defend yourself. An important part of your survival gear is the survival bow. But do not get any bow. We have selected a shortlist of 4 really good bows, which come at different prices.

Mathews V3X

The V3X is a high-end bow, known for its compact design and top-of-the-line performance. It’s well-suited for both beginners and experts and is often praised for its accuracy and smooth draw cycle.

Bear Archery Divergent

Aimed at the mid-range market, the Bear Divergent is known for its forgiving nature and easy handling. It’s compact and lightweight, making it ideal for hunting in tight spaces like wooded areas.

Hoyt RX-5

Another premium option, the Hoyt RX-5 uses a carbon fiber riser to minimize weight while maximizing strength. This bow is also highly customizable and is known for its balance and smooth shooting experience.

Diamond Archery Infinite Edge Pro

This is a versatile, entry-level bow that is highly adjustable in terms of both draw length and draw weight. It’s a great option for beginners who are just getting into archery and hunting.

How To String A Bow?

The ability to adjust the beam angle in a headlamp is a crucial feature that enhances its versatility and usability in various situations, especially for preppers. An adjustable beam angle allows you to focus the light precisely where it’s needed, whether that’s on a distant object or spread out to illuminate a broader area. This adaptability is essential in different scenarios, such as navigating rough terrain, searching for items in your campsite, or even signalling for help.

It also allows you to avoid wasting battery power by using only the amount of light necessary for the task at hand. For medical or intricate tasks, the ability to direct light with precision can be invaluable, ensuring that you can see what you’re doing without having to adjust your head’s position continually. Overall, a headlamp with an adjustable beam angle adds an extra layer of functionality that can be critical in emergency or survival situations.

    Survival Bow with arrows

    What Is The Standard Survival Bow Lenght?

    A typical takedown recurve bow designed for survival might have a length ranging from 48 to 60 inches. However, survival bows are often designed to be more compact for easier transportation and manoeuvrability in tight spaces. 

    Takedown bows, which can be disassembled into smaller pieces, are particularly useful for survival situations, as they are easier to carry and can be stashed in a backpack. Traditional longbows, which are generally over 60 inches in length, might not be as practical for a survival scenario due to their size.

    So, while there’s no standard length, a more compact bow, typically in the range of 48-60 inches, is often preferred for survival applications due to its portability and ease of use in confined spaces.

      Survival Bow Accessories

      When it comes to survival situations, having the right accessories for your bow can make a significant difference in your effectiveness for both hunting and defence. Here are some essential and optional bow accessories you might consider:


      Essential Accessories

      • Arrows: Choose durable, versatile arrows suitable for both small and large game. Carrying a variety of broadheads can be useful.

      • Bowstring Wax: Helps to maintain the integrity of your bowstring, extending its life and ensuring smoother draws.

      • String Nocking Points: These help to consistently place the arrow on the string, improving accuracy.

      • Armguard: Protects your arm from the string slap, which can be painful and cause distraction.

      • Finger Tab or Glove: Helps protect your fingers from the friction of the bowstring.

      • String Silencers: Useful for hunting, as they dampen the noise made by the bowstring upon release.

      Survival Bow FAQs

      Should I hold my breath when shooting with a bow?

      Holding your breath while shooting a bow is generally not recommended. Doing so can create tension in your body and affect your stability, potentially leading to less accurate shots. Instead, many archers employ a technique called “respiratory pause,” where they exhale partially and then hold their breath for a moment as they aim and release, allowing for a more relaxed and focused shot.

      Do you need to oil a survival bow made out of wood?

      Oiling a wooden bow is not generally necessary, and in some cases, it could even be detrimental, affecting the bow’s performance or the adhesive qualities of any glued components. Wooden bows are often sealed with a protective finish such as varnish or shellac to protect them from moisture and environmental damage. However, some traditional archers do use natural oils like linseed oil or tung oil to treat unfinished wooden bows. If you choose to oil a wooden bow, make sure to research the type of wood and the specific needs of the bow, and consider consulting experts or the manufacturer for advice. Always test any treatment on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure that it won’t harm the bow.