row2k Features
Rowing Hack: The Laundry Shoe Bag
July 30, 2020
John FX Flynn

Granted, we are - all of us - a long way fr from needing any hack that helps with that most glamorous of rowing coach duties, shoe carrying. With fewer and fewer fall races on the horizon, upgrading your shoe carrying game is certainly not a pressing issue, but all this extra time might mean that you can rethink your approach and maybe retire your well-worn plastic shoe bins and milk crates for a more stowable-when-not-in-use solution: The Laundry Shoe Bag.

Now, we will admit, this is not quite as clever a repurposing trick as the Boat Strap Bucket, where you just take a strap that is no longer holding a boat down and use that to ferry the crew's footwear from launch dock to landing float, but these big mesh bags have a lot more going for them than simply not taking up a trailer space when not in use like your standard shoe buckets might.

To start with, you can easily stow an eight's worth of shoes in a big laundry bag, and the mesh keeps the whole assortment of stinky sneakers from getting too ripe on a hot regatta day. The mesh even helps out when the shoes are a little muddy or sandy—and you do not have to worry about the bag ripping the way a garbage bag pressed into this duty might.

You can get different colors for different boats—not really an option available with those Hefty bags—and some even have tags or labels where you can write the name of your program and which boat the bag belongs to. (Well-labeled shoe bags can be a real boon when someone other than the shoe-gatherer is delivering the bag on the other end of the process, so your spares and other shoe-assisters will thank you.)

Now, we will admit that this hack falls down a bit on the job if it is a rainy regatta day. That is definitely a spot where a garbage bag or shoe bucket with a lid will have this beat—but even in that case, the shoes are ALREADY wet, so why not stick with the slicker hack?

We've even seen this hack become a full regatta appliance. Pre-race, it gets filled with racing shirts and laundered unis sized for the crew, then the coxswain brings it to the dock for shoe-duty, and then, post-race, it get used to collect, well, the laundry: all the dirty unis go in the bag to get washed so they are ready for the following week. You have to hand it to a hack so good it can do three things in one regatta—even your boat straps usually only manage two (unless you know that Boat Strap Hammock trick).

So, while you're waiting for everything to open and to restart and to un-cancel, why not start hunting down some laundry bags, buy one for each boat, and then you will never again have to garbage bag or plastic bucket your way through a regatta again.

Got a cool hack that helps you get the glamour jobs done? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

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07/30/2020  9:14:21 PM
It is certainly a mystery why bags are not the norm at races. The two=handed, trailer/boathouse space-hogging bins/tubs are everywhere. A great take on the bag is a bag made of coated/waterproof material. Nothing better than having dry clothes waiting for you on a rainy day. Another bonus to the non-mesh bag is the ability to silk screen team logos on them.

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