What to wear
Rowing is a dynamic sport and what you wear while training needs to both protect you from the prevailing weather conditions and allow you free unhindered movement. When starting out you do not need to invest in a lot of expensive sports kit but if you do decide that rowing is for you, then you will benefit from investing in some quality technical layers that will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer, but above all, dry.
On the Water
You lose a third of your heat through your head so in the colder months you need to keep it warm with a woolly hat. In warmer conditions, a baseball cap can protect you from the sun.
An all-in-one is a lycra suit generally used for racing, but could become part of your regular training kit as they are made from good wicking fabric and allow you to move easily. In summer this might be all that you wear and in winter it can make a good base layer.
Tracksuit trousers are good in the winter to keep your legs warm, particularly when you’re off the water, rigging boats or trailering at a regatta.
Leggings and shorts
Any type of leggings are good for rowing because they won’t catch on the boat. Long leggings are great in cold weather whereas close fitting shorts work well in the summer months. Avoid garments that have a heavy stitching (rugby shorts) as they have tendency to 'rub' during outings resulting in blisters in embarassing areas!!
Non cotton 'tech top' t-shirts are great for all weather – worn on their own in hot weather or built up in layers in colder weather. In the cold it’s better to have lots of thin layers rather than one thick one!
Body warmers or gillets are a good option for cold weather as they keep your trunk warm whilst not impeding your arms.
In wet weather it’s a great idea to wear a waterproof breathable top layer. When you are starting out a normal waterproof close fitting traing top (hockey, rugby) will suffice but a splash top is designed specifically for rowing.
A technical top (or tech top) is rather like a tight t-shirt and will keep you warm and dry as they are generally made from breathable fabric. Often you will see rowers using this combination with an all in one.
Gloves are not ideal for rowing as they do not allow you to feel and hold the blade handle correctly. However “Pogies” are specifically designed to keep hands warm when rowing! Gloves are essential if you’re coxing in cold weather!
It’s a good idea to wear socks when you’re rowing as chances are you’ll be putting your feet into the shoes in the boat. Football style socks are particularly good as you can pull them up to your knees and keep your legs warm if it’s cold!
The basic principles for what to wear rowing indoors are the same, except that you don’t have to worry about the weather.
You will want close fitting clothing that won’t get caught in the handle or the runners. Regular gym kit fits the bill. It’s generally made out of technical fabric that allows you to move, and keeps you dry.
You’ll be securing your feet in the foot stretcher so wearing trainers is a good idea.