Riversmith River Quiver: REVIEW

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Photos by Justin Pickett

By Justin Pickett

For more than two decades I’ve done it the exact same way. Rise before the sun, chuck my waders, boots, and gear in a big plastic tub, and then toss my rigged-up rods inside the cab of my vehicle.

The long, bumpy, unkempt roads of the southeast’s public lands wreaked havoc on my trucks. Those fragile fly rods that I haphazardly tossed through the back glass? Rod tips sliding across the dash. Blanks bouncing over the backseat. Most days I was just lucky they made it. There were plenty of unlucky days, though. Never did I think that I would find myself snapping off the tip of one of my fly rods because it got stuck between the windshield and the dashboard, but one morning I did just that so I could go fishing. And that sound… That awful sound of a fly rod screming as it is sent through the glass guillotine… my passenger window. Car doors. Rear tailgates. They have all caused their fair share of destruction. Not to mention the constant sliding around of fly rods and constantly moving them out of your face. And yes, I have tried a handful of interior rod racks, but none ever really solved any problems or worked well enough to keep around. So, until recently, I’ve just dealt with having fly rods running amuck in my vehicles.

About a year ago, I received a phone call from the folks at Riversmith. They had recently launched their new River Quiver rod rack and were generous enough to send one my way to test drive. After talking with Luke on the phone, and meeting John at IFTD, I can tell you from the get-go that these guys have the right ideas, methods, and goals in mind. They themselves were avid fly anglers and had used other rod racks on the market that left them with the desire to design a better one. Riversmith unturned every stone on this project. Aside from just being able to carry fly rods, they wanted the River Quiver to excel in areas where others fell short. Security. Durability. Design. Ease of use. They even focused on materials and design that would ensure road noise was kept to a minimum. Not only developing a solid product, Riversmith has also committed to excel in customer service and sharing their passion for fly fishing alongside their customers.

Riversmith offers four different models of the River Quiver that will accommodate most anglers’ needs, as well as two color options. The standard River Quiver is available as a “2-Banger” at $399.99 and a “4-Banger” at $599.99, allowing folks to carry either two or four rods up to 10’4” in length along on their journeys. If you’re needing to carry along some longer sticks, Riversmith also offers extended versions of both the “2-Banger” and “4-Banger” that allows enough space for rods up to 11’4” in length. Originally offered in unfinished aluminum (which we have), the River Quiver is now offered in a sleek, matte black for an extra $60 for the 2-Banger and $80 for the 4-Banger, and is currently only offered on the standard length models. The sturdy reel box is made of tough AES polymer and features a keyed lock with a beefy hinge and side-swinging door. The box has ample room for large saltwater reels and allows for larger fighting butts. A tongue-and-groove joint runs around the entire perimeter of the box and resists prying and tampering, keeping your rods and reels that much more secure. Each of the rod tubes are lined with a non-marking polymer/plastic to prevent damage to rod blanks and allow plenty of room for larger stripping guides. 

The Install

The River Quiver arrives in a neatly packed box with easy to follow instructions, making this a fairly easy project. From start to finish, this install took me about an hour, but can certainly be done a little quicker without interruptions. The only thing that will make this process a little more difficult is if you decide to go at it alone. I will say this… If you have a lifted truck or SUV, coax a buddy into helping you. I own a Toyota FJ that doesn’t currently have any suspension mods just yet, which made doing this on my own fairly easy. I would venture to say installing a River Quiver on a smaller crossover, such as a Subaru Outback, would be very easily done solo. The only “roadblock” that some may encounter while completing this install alone is lifting the entire unit up onto the roof rack and getting it positioned. It isn’t that the unit is heavy, but the length makes it a little cumbersome when trying to lift it over your head. Aside from this one potential hurdle, the install itself is very straight forward. The River Quiver comes disassembled into two main sections that are bolted together with a coupler. After bolting the two sections together, you’re just left with installing the mounting feet to the bottom of the rack and bolting them onto your roof rack. The feet are adjustable and allow you to slide them forward and aft to ensure they will fit any rack you may have on your vehicle. All hardware is stainless and is secured using nylock nuts to ensure a snug fit that won’t loosen over time. The fit and finish of the components are spot on and do not require any additional “engineering”. Tip: A smaller, low-profile ratchet is a huge time saver when installing the mounting feet to your roof rack! Riversmith actually sells a small ratchet on their website for ten bucks with the appropriate sized hex bit, or you can pick one up at a local hardware store. 

Functionality

The actual functionality of any product, no matter the aesthetics or the company’s claims, is certainly the most important aspect of any product. If it doesn’t perform well, then you’re certainly not going to enjoy using it, if at all. The Riversmith River Quiver offers several features that make it easy to use and accommodates just about any rod-and-reel setup an angler could need. One of the features of this unit is the side-swinging door. Sounds like a fairly simple thing, but there are other rod carriers on the market that feature a door that must be flipped up in order to access your rods. This can be annoying when the rod carrier is mounted on a truck or SUV, and even more so if that vehicle is lifted. The rod tubes allow for some pretty large stripping guides, so most saltwater rods will fit just fine. I say “most” simply because some of the more extreme saltwater (14wts, 16wts, etc) have some beefier hardware that probably ain’t gonna fit. I do not own anything bigger than an 11-weight, so I was unable to test any rods heavier than that. The largest reel that I own is right at 4.5” in diameter and fits in the confines of the reel box just fine. The polyurethane inserts inside of the tubes surround your fly rods and do not mark the blanks or damage guides. These tubes are also where I find the single quirk… The entry to these rod tubes has a sharp, ninety-degree angle. The problem I have with this sharp angle is that when I have my rods stored strung-up, the fly line tends to get pinched between this sharp angle and the cork of my rod, leaving a nice kink. I was able to relieve this issue by sanding this area down to create a more rounded entry. Well before writing this article, I discussed this item with the folks at Riversmith and they are looking into solutions. The keyed, push-button lock works just like one should and comes with two keys so there is a spare. The side-swinging door is easy to open, but doesn’t swing too freely. One tiny feature that Riversmith added is a set of ramps that are designed into the hinge that helps keep the door to the reel box open, even when parked on a gentle side-slope, and will also resist being shut by wind. The River Quiver rides well and doesn’t seem to add much noise to the already noisy drive of my big box on wheels. Again, this was an area of focus for Riversmith and as long as it is installed properly, added road noise seems to be at a minimum. It certainly does what it’s supposed to do with a few added features to help keep your fly rods and reels safeguarded against damage and theft. 

Riversmith Warranty 

A solid warranty is important. Riversmith stands behind their products with a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner that purchased your unit from one of their dealers. So as long as you don’t use your River Quiver for road jousting, they’ll be happy to replace any defective parts.

River Quiver Locked & Loaded Warranty

Limited Lifetime Warranty

Riversmith takes pride in the products we manufacture and will warrant that all River Quiver Rooftop Fly Rod Holders will be free from defects in workmanship and materials for the life of the product to the original purchaser (“you”), subject to the below conditions:

River Quiver was purchased from a Riversmith authorized dealer;

You can provide proof of purchase from the Riversmith authorized dealer;

The product was used only as intended and in accordance with the River Quiver installation guide.

If a defect occurs during intended use (according to the installation guide), we will replace, at our discretion, the defective product or part. The warranty does not cover defects caused by misuse, overloading, modifications, or improper assembly. Cosmetic damage, loss, theft, normal wear and tear, and the natural breakdown of colors and materials over time and use are not warranted. If damage is deemed outside of the scope of this warranty, replacement parts will be available at discounted prices. 

Warranty Disclaimer:

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, WHETHER FOR BREACH OF WARRANTY, BREACH OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, OR OTHER TORT, OR ANY STRICT LIABILITY THEORY, WILL RIVERSMITH BE LIABLE FOR ANY INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES TO NON-RIVER QUIVER PRODUCTS USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH RIVER QUIVER PRODUCTS.

The warranty is only available in the United States. No Riversmith reseller, agent, or employee is authorized to make any modification, extension, or addition to this warranty.

Pros

Right out of the box, the River Quiver was easy to assemble and was easy to install. 

The fit and finish of the components is what you would expect from a high-end, quality product. 

Able to store longer rods and large reels

Lockable, strong, tamper-proof reel box

Options for 2-rod or 4-rod storage

Customer support and service

Lifetime Warranty

Will likely outlast your ‘07 Tacoma

Cons

Price will likely still be a con for many, but could pay for itself in avoiding rod repairs over time

Fly line pinch when storing rods strung-up

May require help to install on taller vehicles

Overall, I have to say that I am really happy with my River Quiver. Carrying rods around with me has become much simpler and I don’t have to worry about my rods being damaged by any of the various hazards that come with toting rods inside the cab of your truck or car. Having rods rigged and ready has also been extremely convenient and saves rigging time, putting me on the water faster. The Pros far outweigh any Cons, which are minimal. I would certainly recommend the Riversmith River Quiver as a solid option for anglers in the market for a rod carrying system.

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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4 thoughts on “Riversmith River Quiver: REVIEW

  1. Pingback: Riversmith River Quiver: REVIEW | Fly Fishing | Gink and Gasoline | How to Fly Fish | Trout Fishing | Fly Tying - FishingStore

    • Hey Philip, I’m honestly not too familiar with it. I’ve certainly seen it and read the specs but I don’t have any hands on experience with it. Maybe one of our readers can weigh in on this.

  2. Yes you are right about the price. For the last 10 years I have used a Berkely Vertical rod rack about $12 mounted to roof liner of my Jeep Commander using a small bungee cord to hold the reel & handle secure at rear. Can carry 9ft 6in rods this way & have had no problems. I also like having my rods inside the vehicle where no one can see them. But yes would not work for longer rods.

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