Archery tournaments are fun, challenging, and exciting. They give you the chance to see old friends and make new ones, while shooting your bow. But they can become downright stressful if you forget important items that should have been on your packing list. The archers who have the most fun at tournaments are the ones who have practiced and are well-prepared for anything that might come up unexpectedly. A major part of being well-prepared is packing for the tournament list, and remembering these 10 items is a great start.
1. Your Quiver
I know you’re rolling your eyes right now: “I’d never forget that!” Hang on, though. If your quiver isn’t stashed in your bow case, you could forget it, and that will make for a very long tournament day - or prevent you from competing at all, if you forget the arrows and accessories that are usually in your quiver, too. Make absolutely certain you have a good plan for packing and bringing your quiver with you.
2. Allen Wrenches
This invaluable little tool set is used for everything from tightening down limb bolts on bows to adjusting the shelf on your finger tab. When something loosens in competition and you need to lock it down quickly, you’ll wish you had these wrenches. Do yourself a favor and order them as a single set with multiple wrenches, rather than three or four individual tools that can easily be lost.
3. Arrow Lubricant
Ever tried to remove your arrow from a recently re-cored target, only to have your arrow dangerously bend in the process? Make your life easier (and prolong the life of your arrows) by investing in a good arrow lubricant, sold inexpensively at archery stores everywhere. Be sure to use it on your arrows, about 2” from the points, every 3-4 ends of shooting (depending on how dense the target is).
4. Arrow Puller
See above, under “terrible things to do to your arrows.” Seriously, yanking your arrows out of a target, even with two hands, is less than ideal without an arrow puller. Not only will your hands become uncomfortable, but you can do major damage to your arrows - and hurt your shoulder or back by pulling improperly. Save yourself some pain and frustration, and remember to pack your arrow puller.
5. Backup Arrow Rest
Ever had an arrow rest break during competition? It’s the worst feeling, and let’s face it: it’s pretty much impossible to finish your competition without one. But never fear: before your tournament, mark the outline of your rest (or its position) on your riser, and be sure to pack a backup. Bonus points: if it’s an adjustable rest, be sure it’s set exactly the same as your number one.
6. Bowstring Repair Kit
Bowstrings break. More specifically: servings unravel, nocking points loosen, and it can affect everything from nock height to your ability to shoot. The ultimate bowstring repair kit should include a spare string (for recurve archers), dental floss for nocking point repair, spare nocksets and pliers if you use the brass kind, extra loop material (for compound archers), spare serving thread with a serving tool, and a lighter.
7. Secondary Release Aid or Finger Tab
As a coach, I’ve seen lots of things break on the archery field, but the top three are definitely bowstrings, arrow rests and release aids/finger tabs. On tabs, we often see spacers loosen up, ledges move, and in extreme weather conditions, leather can become gummy and catch on the string. For release aids, if a mechanism is going to fail or a trigger is going to loosen up, you could have bigger groups in the best case scenario, or punch yourself in the face (worst case scenario). To avoid these unpleasant possibilities, ALWAYS have a secondary tab or release aid that you’ve set up like your primary, that you’ve used in practice and broken in as needed.
All archers know there are lots of things you can forget that will cause frustration during a tournament, but if you start packing the day before, and use a packing list, you’ll be far less likely to run into this problem. Also, packing the day before and knowing you have what you need sets you up for success, allowing you to get the good night’s sleep you need for a great day of archery.