OP did not state or imply use of bow as self defense weapon. OP did not ask for a firepower and terminal ballistic comparison to firearms. OP didn't state or imply replacing guns or other gear/supplies with a bow.
Each of my bows, including sights (for those with sights) and all normally mounted accessories, weighs less than a Colt 6920. Most of my compound bows are within a few inches of the length of a Colt 6920 but still would not be considered comparatively compact.
I rarely kill big game with firearms any more. I kill turkeys, small game, and even various birds with bows. I bowfish. I kill alligators with bows. I kill predators and nuisance animals with bows.
I carry a bow into the woods quite often. A bow might take some time to become familiar with carrying, but I find it natural whether slung, on/in a pack, or in my hand(s).
Handy thing? I say it's up to the OP. IMO, "handy" is not the appropriate word. Bows are great.
Then again I don't carry MREs on my various outdoor adventures or in a "bob/ghb".
Last edited by OMDonald; 04-29-2013 at 22:46..