The rower's kit-bag is something of an enigma. Is there a secret formula, passed down through the generations, that sets you up for success? Are there everyday items that should be with you throughout the training calendar, and what do you add for that extra percentile point when preparing to compete?
To start with, you need to actually buy a kit-bag. No need to stay within the realms of rowing here – any robust training bag or backpack should suffice. The big sporting brands – Nike, Adidas, Puma, The North Face – all do them in spades. Go for something with plenty of storage space and, preferably, multiple compartments. You don’t want your soggy kit mixing with your electronics and dry clothes. If you can get something waterproof this could be a game-changer for keeping your off-water kit dry during the winter head racing season.
Jack Beaumont's Training Essentials
So, what makes up a top rowing kit-bag throughout your training? To piece it all together, we sought the advice of Olympic silver medallist and former Team GB international Jack Beaumont.
A pair of pogies
During the winter months these have been a game changer for me. Rowing is hard enough without having to suffer with cold hands! Buy pogies from Hot Pog
A spare all in one
You’ll often have a teammate who forgets something, and sometimes that teammate will be you! If you make bringing one a spare a habit, no one gets caught short.
I would always have one water bottle in the boat with me, and another within easy reach containing a protein rich drink for quick post session recovery.
Having the right kit is essential, and that's the basic ethos behind Square Blades. Our quality off-the-water kit is well known throughout the rowing world. With our Mizuno partnership we can privide for all your on-water club kit needs too. If you'd like to know more, drop us a line.
Leon Redman's Race Day Kit Bag Picks
To understand what a good race-day kit-bag looks like, we spoke with Leon Redman, Head of Rowing at Henley Rowing Club – one of the UK’s most consistently successful clubs.
In fact, any tools you need to rig your boat you should have in your kit bag. Rather than rely on your teammates or coach to bring them, make sure you have everything you need to set your boat up on race day.
Check out our Rigger Jiggers
Think about how many races you have and pack enough of the right pre and post race snacks and meals for the day, not forgetting the important fast-energy ones for in the boat. Packing some of your own food means you know you will get the right nutrition on the day, which is critical to good racing performance.
No one wants to be doing a cool down walk in soggy trainers so having a change of socks for after each race is always a good idea.
Square Blades Kit Bag
We whole-heartedly agree with Jack and Leon, but here's a few extras we have in our bag:
No matter how good your sculling or sweep is, your hands can get blistered up. After a washing our hands we spray a bit of disinfectant spray on any open wounds to keep them clean and to help speed up the healing process.
Extra base layers
You never know what the weather on the water is going to be like, so stock up on short and long sleeve base layers. It's easier to take them off in the boat, than not have them in the boat at all.
During the crisp winter low-sun mornings or keeping the reflection off the water during the summer, we always have a pair of sunglasses in our kit bag. Plus, they're renowned for free speed.
Your favourite Square Blades hoodie. Well, it'd be rude not to ;-)
Words by Square Blades and Junior Rowing News
Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash