When you are going to the archery range you might wonder how warm you should dress for archery. Archery is not a cardio sport; therefore you wouldn’t wear sports clothing. But you are also not sitting all the time, so it’s also not comparable to fishing. The right clothing is very important. If you dress too cold, your muscles will start to cramp. If you dress too hot, you will feel uncomfortable and start to sweat. Therefore I will discuss in detail, how warm you should dress for archery. In a hurry? Below is a short answer to the question in the title.
To keep yourself warm enough for archery, you should dress like you are going on a hike. The amount of body heat you create with archery is quite similar to hiking. You should also bring enough layers, which keep you insulated and allow you to regulate your temperature by removing layers if necessary.
There are, however, a lot of caveats and nuances that I couldn’t fit into this answer. So, I would recommend reading the remainder of this article if you want to know more about how you keep yourself warm for archery. I will also discuss some other best practices and tips regarding your clothing.
A maxim for archery clothing
An easy rule of thumb to choose your clothing for archery is to dress yourself like you are hiking. The amount of heat you create while hiking is quite similar to the amount of heat while shooting a bow. Depending on the program you are following, it might be a good idea to take some extra warm clothing with you. When I joined an archery training a while ago, we first got some instructions for about an hour. It was quite a cold day and since we weren’t moving, it got cold very fast.
If you are going to shoot outdoors, it’s a good idea to check the weather before you go. When you are shooting in summertime weather, just a T-shirt with jeans or shorts will do just fine. It does get more difficult when it gets colder. When it gets colder you of course need to wear more clothing like a hoodie, jacket or coat. Don’t wear one thick piece of clothing, but use multiple layers. One often-used principle is the three-layer system:
You wear the base layer directly on your skin. This layer often consists of (thermal) underwear which transports moisture and sweat away from your skin. When your skin gets wet, it will feel colder, that is why we sweat in the first place. When it gets colder, it will start to feel very uncomfortable; therefore it’s important to have a good base layer that regulates the moisture.
This layer traps the bulk of your body heath, by isolation. This often consists of a (fleece) vest or hoodie. If you don’t have a sufficient thermo layer, you will lose a lot of body heat and therefore cool of very quickly. You don’t need a thermal layer for your legs since they are more resistant to cold weather.
The last layer is the outer layer. This layer has to protect you from the elements. Therefore it has to be water and wind-resistant. You should wear an outer layer at least if it rains freezes or if it’s windy. If the weather conditions allow it, you can also take your outer layer off when you feel too warm.
If you are not an outdoor person, you might not have (thermal) underwear and other outdoor clothing. Therefore, I will give you some quick tips to keep yourself comfortable.
- If you don’t have thermo underwear: wear a long-sleeved shirt with pajama pants or jogging pants as your first layer.
- If you don’t have a thermo layer: there are really high-quality thermo layers available, but they tend to be quite expensive. If it isn’t freezing, you can also use a hoodie, especially sports hoodies are an excellent choice.
I would recommend reading my in-depth article if you are shooting during cold conditions:
When you are shooting indoors for the first time, you might expect that the shooting hall is room temperature. I wouldn’t count on that, however, since most shooting halls tend to be quite cold. Some archery shooting halls are just a long shed, so depending on the exact hall it might be much colder than you think. Even if you are shooting in a gym, it can be quite cold, since they often lower the temperature for energetic sports. Since you are standing a lot with archery you should bring an extra insulated layer.
When you are shooting indoors and it’s quite a cold hall, you can often wear just the base layer and thermo layer for your upper body from the ‘’outdoor archery’’ section. If you don’t know the temperature, I would bring a standard T-shirt with you. A thermal shirt will be too warm if the hall is at room temperature, therefore it is good to have some options.
Archery tag and run/biathlon archery
I discussed that archery is quite a static sport, therefore you create less body heat than in more active sports like basketball, soccer, and running. This isn’t the case however for archery tag and biathlon archery. Although these archery disciplines are not often played, they require a completely different approach in regard to clothing. Let me first describe these two archery types:
- Archery tag: with this sport, you don’t aim at a target with field tips, but you shoot at each other with soft tips. In essence, it’s just a competitive Nerf battle. You will shoot with a lighter bow, wear a facemask and there are additional rules to make sure everything stays safe. Although it might seem scary at first, it’s absolutely safe if you abide by all the rules
- Biathlon archery: the principle of this discipline is very similar to the biathlon with rifles in the Olympic Games. Before you shoot, you run a certain trail to increase your heart rate. After finishing the trail, you shoot at standard targets, just like standard archery. When your heart rate increases it’s more difficult to aim, which makes for an extra challenge.
With both these sports, you are moving a lot. If you play a reasonably competitive game of archery tag, you will duck and run a lot. Since you have to run a trail in biathlon archery you will create a lot of body heath. Therefore normal sporting attire will be much more suitable, like running shorts and a sports shirt. If it’s a cold day, I would also bring jogging pants and a sports hoodie.
When you expect that it will be cold, you should make sure that you bring enough clothing with you. If your muscles are getting cold they will start to cramp. This will not only make it more difficult to shoot accurately you also have a higher chance of experiencing severe muscle strain. Therefore, most archery clubs teach their members to do a warming up before shooting. This includes twisting your arms
So bringing warm clothing is essential if you are shooting in a cold environment. You should, however, be aware that you are not wearing anything that may get tangled up in the string. When you are shooting a bow, you pull the string very close to your face. Therefore, the string will also get very close to your chest. For this exact reason, you should avoid jackets with large pockets or loose strings. If you really want to wear a hoodie with string, keep the strings on the inside of the hoodie. Loose strings or large pockets can not only damage your clothing or the bow, it can also be dangerous. Even large earrings and loose hair can get tangled up in the string. Therefore, long hair should always be tied up and all jewelry should be removed before shooting.
You should also be wary about the sleeves of your jacket/hoodie. If the sleeves are really loose they might catch on the string. This can be really annoying since it will affect your accuracy, but it can also damage your clothing. Therefore, I recommend wearing tight clothing without large pockets or loose strings.
Some extra tips
I couldn’t fit all my tips in the previous sections, since they weren’t directly tied to the main question. I think that they will make your archery trip a lot more pleasant, so I wanted to include them anyway.
- Bring gloves: when shooting outdoors, you might get cold fingers. Therefore you should bring gloves that you can at least wear between shooting sessions. If you bring thin gloves you can even wear them while shooting. Read this article for more information and recommendations.
If it snows, it is a good idea to bring sunglasses, since the sun reflects on the snow, which will create a blinding effect.
- Bring sunglasses: even if the sun is shining a little bit I would bring sunglasses since a long-hanging sun can really blind your eyes. Make sure that the sunglasses, however, do not interfere with the string. Read this article for more information and recommendations.
- Bring a hat: archers often use a hat to keep the sun out of their eyes. Some archers wear their hats backwards to keep the sun out of their necks.
- Bring sunscreen: archery is often practiced on a large open field; therefore you will probably be in the sun the entire time. Therefore you should bring sunscreen with you and regularly apply a new layer.
- Wear comfortable shoes: although you won’t be walking a whole lot, you will have to stand almost the entire time. Therefore I would recommend wearing hiking shoes, or other shoes that allow you to comfortably stand still for a long time.
Before I wrap up this article, I quickly want to summarize the most important tips to keep yourself warm enough for archery:
- Dress like you are going to hike
- Dress with layers
- Wear tight clothing
- Don’t wear clothing without pockets or hoodies with strings
Please leave any questions or comments in the comment section below. I will respond to any questions as soon as possible. If you are an experienced archer and you have any tips you would like to share, please do so. I am constantly working on improving the articles on this website, so any feedback is wholeheartedly appreciated.