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What to Wear

Its best to layer.

This is important for maintaining the right temperature, which will change frequently, depending on the weather and how hard you are rowing.

First Layer (closest to your skin)

Your base layer should keep you as dry as possible which means getting the sweat off of your skin and away from your body so that it can evaporate at the surface.

This layer is normally THIN AND SNUG, made of fabric that will perform this “wicking” action.

Examples: Tights,  Shorts- biking Style, synthetic shirts.

Second Layer

This should be FAIRLY LOOSE SO AS TO KEEP THE AIR WARM AROUND YOUR BODY while letting the moisture out.   You mainly want to keep your core warm here.  And you want your arms to be fairly free.

Examples: lightweight fleece vests and lightweight wool.

Top Layer

This should be lightweight, water resistant and windproof, and breathable.  This is usually worn when it’s raining or in rough water or if you have a lot of splashers in your boat.

Examples: Sweat shirt (without pockets unless the zippered kind), close fitting rain jacket, windbreaker.

Head and Hand Wear

Hats! – you can lose a lot of body heat through your head.  On cold days, wear a snug-fitting heat – lined wool or polar fleece to keep warm.  On sunny days, wear a cap with a bill so you can cut out the glare.

Gloves – hands can get cold while rowing.  Some people row with gloves – others prefer not to.  But there’s no denying that you feel your oar better when there’s nothing between it and your skin.



Shoes – generally you want to wear shoes either for inside workouts or for carrying the boats and oars down to the water.  Make sure they are shoes that will stay on and not trip you while carrying heavy boats.   Generally you will not be wearing your shoes in the boats.   Your shoes will be stored in a tube that goes with the launch craft while you row.  Some rowers wear watershoes while rowing.

Socks – rowers generally wear thick socks or bare feet when rowing.   Socks should be synthetic or wool to help ensure that feet stay warm while wet.  You can also keep a second pair on land. Sunglasses, sunscreen and a bottle of water on hot days.

Important Extras

Sunglasses, sunscreen and WATER  – make sure that you have water whenever you row.  Bring sunglasses and sunscreen for those sunny days.

Really waterproof pants or jackets tend not to breathe.   This makes it this makes it difficult to regulate your temperature.   Plus it holds in perspiration and you get wet inside when you row. Avoid cotton – when it gets wet, it doesn’t keep you warm – just the opposite.  It also doesn’t wick moisture away from the skin. No down – When down gets wet, it will clump, get very heavy and is not insulating. Avoid open pockets as your oar handles can get caught in them.   Also avoid loose tops, bulky jackets or really bulky pants.