While the shooting in the rain can feel like quite an adventure, keep in mind that rain is only water and everything you are shooting with or wearing can dry off later. Just like any other challenge on the archery field, with a little planning and practice you can get used to the rain and learn how to shoot your best.
What to wear when it rains
During inclement weather like rain or extreme temperatures, the dress code restrictions relax somewhat. Most archers dress in layers so they may adapt quickly to changing conditions, but it is just as important to bring clothing or outerwear to help you stay comfortable in the rain. Always try shooting in your wet weather gear in practice before relying on it in a tournament. If the temperature is nice and the rainfall isn’t heavy, you may decide you can shoot fine without extra covering.
Some kinds of wet weather gear will be better for archery than others. A major issue to consider is string clearance. For example, a baggy poncho might keep you dry as you walk to the target and back, but it would inevitably catch the string if you tried to wear it while shooting. Bulky waterproof raincoats often catch the string around the side of the torso, the shoulder, and along the arms, so you may be most successful with form-fitting jackets. Some archers solve the string clearance problem using clips, string, tape, or the Velcro strips that cyclists wear around their legs to keep clothing out of bicycle gears.
Hats can be especially helpful in keeping the rain out of your eyes. Head coverings with wide brims, such as baseball caps or cowboy hats, typically work best for compound archers. This is because the angle of the string on a recurve is much higher and a wide-brimmed hat can get in the way. For this reason, many recurve archers shoot with a bucket cap instead.
You will want rain boots or sturdy shoes to help you walk through puddles or mud. An umbrella will make scoring and pulling arrows easier. It may also help to keep a dry towel handy in the tent for drying off your finger tab, face, or glasses.
Archery equipment in the rain
As for the equipment itself, some things may just have to get wet. For most people, our instinct is to try and make sure everything stays as dry as possible. Yet as long as you plan on shooting it in the rain, your bow will get wet. The good news is that synthetic strings, modern-made bows, and arrows fletched with plastic vanes usually suffer no ill effects from a little water.
It is still a good idea to pluck or strum your bowstring once or twice before shooting to flick off excess water. Between ends, a bowstand will keep your bow up and out of the mud.
Archers shooting with fingers usually try to keep their finger tab or leather glove dry to prevent the leather from getting slippery or damaged. Compound shooters may try to keep the scope on their sight clear of water droplets.
You may want to take care to weigh down the tripod of your spotting scope and make sure that it does not become completely soaked, because humidity inside the scope can reduce visibility. Some people come prepared with small plastic bags and garbage bags, which can be useful in covering these pieces of equipment.
Wet weather gear to consider bringing:
- Waterproof form-fitting jacket and pants
- Hat with the right type of brim for your bow
- Stable shoes or rain boots to walk through puddles or mud
- Clips or Velcro strips to pin baggy clothing out of the way of your string
- Extra towels for during and after shooting
- Small plastic bags and garbage bags
- An umbrella