Outdoor archery season is well underway, and the differences between shooting outdoors and indoors are probably becoming more apparent in the conditions on the field rather than the shooting itself. Making your outdoor tournaments more enjoyable comes with experience, but being prepared for the outdoor elements should help you maximize your abilities on the range. Prep with these things in mind.
The sun can drain a surprising amount of energy from you. Archers spend countless hours in the sun in both training and competition, and you must take steps to protect yourself from harmful rays. Applying sunscreen is the common thing to do, but extra clothing helps, too. Many of the world’s top archery teams consistently show up to competition wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants made of very thin, lightweight material. Physically shielding yourself from the sun with lightweight, light-colored material is a great way of keeping your skin cool and preventing overheating, while maintaining your energy levels for longer periods of time. Wearing a hat will not only keep your head and face protected, but it will also help you keep your eyes more relaxed, which is optimal for shooting.
Archery competitions never stop for rain, so being prepared to shoot in the rain is a must. Starting from the ground up, invest in a good pair of waterproof shoes that are comfortable to shoot in. Golf shoes in particular are great for archery because the vast majority are waterproof, and they are designed for another sport where the athlete is standing still. They also have a flatter sole (as compared to a running shoe) that offers stability for the archer. Next, a good pair of waterproof or water-resistant pants can keep your legs nice and dry while also keeping the rain out of the tops of your shoes. Try to find breathable pants so you’re not subjecting your legs to a portable steam room. A comfortable rain jacket is also key, especially if you can shoot in it; compound archers will have an easier time adapting to shooting in a rain jacket, whereas recurve archers will likely have to cinch loose fabric down around the sleeves, collar, etc. And don’t forget to bring an umbrella, just in case.
Every archer is bound to discover a personal favorite range food that they just feel happy having while spending the day outdoors on the range. Snacks like a variety of nuts, trail mix, jerky and sandwiches can elevate your stamina, mood and score by keeping your stomach comfortably full (but not family Sunday dinner full). You should also invest in a good insulated water bottle, such as a Yeti or Hydro Flask, so you can have ice-cold water all day long.
Shooting outdoors doesn’t always come with indoor comforts, which is why archers who are expecting to shoot regularly outdoors should get themselves a comfortable folding camp chair. If you’re more inclined to shoot field or 3D, several archery brands make backpacks that convert into handy stools you can easily bring along when you move from target to target. Inside that backpack (or any backpack), stash your tools and extra consumables such as fletching, nocks, etc. Being prepared for these parts to break — which will happen — will put your mind at ease, and you won’t have to scramble to find extra parts from somebody else.
As you shoot more outdoor competitions, your list of supplies will grow, but you will also become more efficient at putting together your “kit” when the outdoor competition season comes around. While you might have different needs than other archers, trying to figure out what other archers are doing and carrying can inspire a great idea of your own.