Option Archery Quivalizer Review
UPDATED 5/18/2020: Below YouTube Video Review Added.
I struggled to write this review. I took three tries at it over the past year and every time it just did not come out right. It felt forced, my words were clunky and I failed to do the product or my experiences any justice. In short my first attempts lacked poetry. I came to realize that is actually pretty symbolic of the Quivalizer itself. There is no superfluous appeal to it, it is a hunting implement whose beauty is in its utility and function. You either love how it looks or hate it but regardless you must admit it is striking in appearance and ingenious in design.
The first time I saw a Quivalizer was on social media and I honestly thought it looked kind of gimmicky. Suffice it to say I was wrong. From top to bottom the Quivalizer is a high end piece of gear with quality components and tight tolerances that aid in its legitimate application in the field. The mounting hardware is crafted from machined aluminum. The hood is a dense injection molded plastic which features a rubber insert for silent broadhead retention. And the stabilizer arm is constructed from a woven carbon fiber.
The Quivalizer comes with two quick detach mounts so it can either be mounted in the standard quiver location via a dovetailed mounting bracket that bolts directly to the bow’s sight, or the stabilizer position which will give the bow the famous Quivalizer silhouette. Both mounts are included out of the box and are easily installed and effortless to switch between. The stabilizer receiver mount screws into the standard point on the bow’s riser and serves as the female for the machined aluminum end cap at the end of the stabilizer.
The arrow retention arm can be unscrewed and reversed allowing the arrows to be draped on either side of the bow when in the stabilizer position. This gives the archer the option to utilize the weight of their arrows to offset that of their rest and sight and create a more balanced feel or drape them on the traditional side of the bow which allows for faster and more intuitive reloading.There are pros and cons to both setups but either way one of the intrinsic advantages of running the Quivalizer is that it combines two accessories into one, thus saving weight. The value of that weight savings can vary substantially, but based on my very unscientific analysis of the KOTA crew’s setups the average weight savings was about a pound.
Besides the weight savings the Quivalizer also balances the bow so that it is easier to carry around the woods. I will typically hold my bow in my left hand with the Quivalizer pointing up so that the weight at the top of my bow naturally rocks it forward and the hood of the Quivalizer settles comfortably behind my arm. This actually makes top heavy bows like the Mathews more pleasurable to carry. If my bow isn’t in my hand I will throw it over my shoulders or pack so that the Quivalizer sits on my shoulder pointed out in front of me. In this position I can either balance the bow on my shoulders and/or pack and if I am in more demanding terrain I can comfortably grab the hood owith my hand to maintain balance as I navigate.
In terms of its application in the field, I have really enjoyed running the Quivalizer when hunting on the ground. There is a reason it seems like every single Australian rocks one. Aussies do a lot of spot and stalk hunting in extremely demanding environments. When you are moving through thick vegetation in 90+ degree heat every ounce you can shed translates into more energy you can put into your stalk. Spot and stalk or ambush hunting in Florida is like a water downed version of that. The environment here is very flat but the surroundings vary between thick overgrowth and wide open expanses of grass and swamp. Rather than getting up in a tree I typically prefer to setup in an ambush position near game trails or feeders and use the natural foliage as my blind. With a set of bow feet on my limbs the Quivalizer triples as a kickstand and I can leave my bow resting on the ground but still ready to grab and pull back at a moment’s notice.
I’ve heard a lot of comments that the length of the Quivalizer looks like it would be an issue moving through the woods and that it would likely get caught up on branches. I have not found this to be the case. It does stick out beyond your bow a few inches more than your typical hunting stabilizer but it is still shorter than a nocked arrow so it doesn’t pose any additional hindrance.
Now leaving it in the stabilizer position when hunting out of a ground blind or even certain tree stands might prove problematic. You can always remove the Quivalizer in those scenarios once you get into the blind or stand and hunt without it. But if you feel you need a stabilizer on your bow than a more traditional setup is going to be a better option for you and you can still utilize the Quivalizer as a traditional quiver.
As much as I love this piece of gear I will concede loading the bow with the arrows draped on the bow arm side is a bit awkward. You get used to it but even after a year it is still not as fast or intuitive as loading arrows from the right side of the bow (left side if you are left handed). Now I don’t think this is a deal breaker by any means. The advantages of the Quivalizer far outweigh a slightly slower reload time but it is something to take into account. I have seen a few hunters set up their Quivalizers with the arrows on the rest side of the bow and a back bar on the right to offset the weight. This is definitely a setup worth exploring and allows you to gain all of the advantages with none of the drawbacks. It is for sure a heavier rig but still lighter than if you were to run a quiver, stabilizer, and side rod.
Overall the advantages gained by the Quivalizer will depend on the rest of your setup. I genuinely love this piece of kit but the reason you don’t see me running one on my Mathews Vertix (other than in these photos) is simply because I don’t find the bow benefits from it as much as my previous rig. I really tried to convince myself otherwise but bias aside I am more accurate with this bow when running a 12” Flatline stabilizer and 10 degree QD mount than I am with a Quivalizer. Now when I was shooting a Hoyt Pro Defiant with fixed blade broadheads, AAE Pro Drop rest, and Spot Hog Fast Eddie, the Quivalizer did a phenomenal job of stabilizing the bow at full draw by adding weight to the opposite side of my rest and sight. But the Hoyt was also very well balanced top to bottom. Conversely, my Mathews is front and top heavy but is better balanced left to right and I find the Quivalizer does less to stabilize the bow and I need to add weight either behind or directly below my hand in order to balance it out to my liking. An answer to this would be the combination of Quivalizer and back bar I described in the paragraph before. This is a setup I have noticed a few Mathews shooters running and I think it makes perfect sense. I may try this in the future but for right now I am gearing up for a Total Archery Challenge in Vermont in a few weeks so I will wait until after that to start experimenting with my setup again.
My only gripe with the Quivalizer is that the hood does not capture mechanical broadheads as securely as it does fixed blades. Insert your arrows too shallow and they will fall out. Push to deep and you run the risk of deploying them unintentionally. Also the position of the hood in front of the bow subjects it to a lot of vibration which can shake arrows loose. Even with field points and fixed blade heads I have experienced arrows shaking loose over the course of a practice session. A fix, and one I hope Option Archery offers in the future, would be a double gripper add on to secure arrows from a third point closer to the broadhead
As with any bow accessory the benefits of the Quivalizer is dependent on a myriad of other factors and the personal preferences of the shooter. So if you are someone looking to shave weight from your setup or are in the market for either a new quiver or stabilizer the Quivalizer is definitely worth a look. Check them out on their website.