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The Basics

As a rower, it is important to dress not only for performance, but also for safety and health.  The key to dressing appropriately is choosing efficient, form-fitting clothing that will keep wetness off your skin, dry quickly, and keep you warm even when wet. Synthetic fabrics that are soft, stretchy, and breathable -- such as Polypro, CoolMax, or DriFit -- are ideal. Avoid cotton at all costs; if it gets wet, not only does it not keep you warm, it also takes longer to dry. Likewise, stay away from down, which tends to clump when wet and thus weigh you down.

What to Wear for Warm Weather Practices

  • Spandex Shorts -- These don't have to be specifically designed for rowing. However, do stay away from baggy, basketball-type shorts because they can get caught under the sliding seats in the rowing shell.
  • Relatively Close-Fitting T-Shirt or Tank-- Do avoid cotton.

What to Wear for Cold Weather Practices

  • Cold-gear Spandex Tights -- Refrain from wearing warm-up pants when rowing; they can get caught under the sliding seats in the rowing shell.
  • Long-Sleeve Spandex or Tech Shirts -- These are designed to wick away sweat. Avoid bulky sweatshirts and pockets, since they can snag the oar handles and cause disastrous consequences.
  • Dress in Layers in Really Cold Weather -- But not so many that they'll inhibit your rowing and eventually cause you to overheat if you're working hard enough.  Examples of layering include:
    1.  Base Layer -- This is the thinnest layer. Examples include a moisture-
         wicking long-sleeve spandex shirt and long tights.
    2.  Insulation Layer -- This is a little thicker than the base layer. It could
         include a Polartec or polar fleece pullover, and a rowing "Splash Vest."
    3.  Wind Block/Water Repellent Layer -- An example of this layer is a
         "breathable"  and fairly form-fitting jacket that repels water and blocks the
         wind (i.e. cycling jacket, rowing Splash Jacket, etc.). Avoid completely
         waterproof outer layers that have no ventilation; you will retain too much
         warmth, which can lead to overheating and condensation.

What to Bring to Every Practice

  • Water Bottle
  • Duffel Bag -- Include an extra shirt (long-sleeve poly is ideal), sweat pants, and socks (synthetic or wool), and sweat pants so that you have a dry change of clothes if needed after practice. Also include a raincoat and/or hat for rapidly changing weather.
  • Shoes/Socks -- Rubber sandals or crocs work well for slipping on and off when getting into the shell. Running shoes are required for dry-land training. Wool or wool-blend socks keep feet warm and comfortable, even if they get wet (which they will).
  • Chap-stick with SPF, and sunscreen -- Even on cloudy days, or days when it is not hot, you can get sunburned.
  • Hat and/or Sunglasses -- In the summer, a baseball-style cap or a visor will keep the sun out of your eyes.  In the cooler rowing months, a fleece-lined hat will help retain warmth.
  • Healthy Snack -- Bring an energy bar or other nutritious snack for post workout.