Tournament Checklist: What to Bring

Ensuring that you have everything you need at an archery competition can be overwhelming, and inevitably there will be something you’ve forgotten or overlooked. Of course, each archer will have a slightly different checklist, but there are a few staples that everyone needs to consider when traveling to a tournament away from home, from archery equipment to nutrition and clothing.

Archery Supplies

With the new rules regarding equipment failures (where you get no extra time to fix any problems), traveling with a complete second setup is going to be key. Being able to afford an identical second setup might not be in everyone’s budget, but just having a second bow will give you peace of mind. 

On top of a spare bow, having spare supplies will be the next most important thing. This means consumables such as nocks and fletching, as well as extra arrows. A complete set of 12 arrows will ensure that you can swap out any broken ones during competition and fix them when you get a break. Other pieces of archery equipment that are likely to cause issues are bowstrings, nock points, and sight pins. Switching out the bowstring on a recurve bow is an easy task, but not so easy on a compound bow. Extra nock points, nock point thread, and D-loop material (for compound archers) should also go into your kit of spare supplies; it’s not uncommon for a nock point to come loose during competition. An extra sight pin can be a valuable piece of kit to take with you — all it takes is for someone else’s bow to fall onto yours, or a strong wind gust to blow your bow over while you’re retrieving your arrows, and your sight pin could be toast. Having a backup finger tab or release aid is very important as well.

It’s smart to build a small fishing tackle box of things and tools that you use regularly that you can bring with you to competitions. It should contain the essentials of fixing any problem you have with your bow or arrows, and you should know what is in that box in case you need to help a fellow archer as well.

As a traveling archer, you should also know exactly what equipment you are using in case you have an equipment failure and your only option is to buy a replacement. You may not remember all of the equipment brands, models, and sizes, so taking pictures of the packaging with your phone and saving those pictures to a separate folder will help you find exactly what you need.

Non-Archery Supplies

Every archer has undoubtedly been caught off guard by a sudden rainstorm at an outdoor tournament. Bring rain gear that you know you can shoot in. This might take a while to find, but once you figure out the gear that is comfortable for you to shoot in, it should pretty much live in your bow case or travel luggage. A good pair of waterproof shoes is also a must-have for the outdoor archer.

For both indoor and outdoor competition, here are more items that many archers will find essential:

  • water bottle
  • snacks
  • hydration/electrolyte powder (Nuun tablets, Gatorade, etc.)
  • small clipboard and pen
  • extra clothing (in case you get too hot or cold during competition)
  • optics (spotting scope or binoculars)
  • some form of entertainment (book, crossword puzzle, Sudoku, etc.)

After years of going to competitions, you’ll know what your packing list should look like based on your personal experience. Some archers will always need to bring their cellphone to the range, while others love the disconnect from technology that archery can offer. It’s completely individualized for each person, but the essentials remain: Be ready for equipment problems, stay well fed and hydrated, and stay comfortable and dry.

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