row2k Features
Race Day Hacks
Rowing Hack: The Humble Trash Bag
February 2, 2023
John FX Flynn

As we near stake-boating season again, here's a cheers to the Rowing Hack 'tool' that comes in a roll, ready for anything you throw into it: The Trash Bag.

Rowing Hackers know: having a stash of trash bags at hand--whether in the bottom of your tool box, the door of your truck, or even in the back pocket of your Race Day pants--makes a lot of regatta tasks easier, rain or shine...and doubly so when it does get wet out there.

What makes this humble accessory a cool Hacker's trick is, of course, just how versatile trash bags are: anything that needs to be gathered up, handed off, put away, or just kept dry in case of a sudden shower can get bagged with no more planning ahead than remembering the trash bags in the first place.

We spot the trash bags in action all the time at early spring races, when athletes launch all bundled up in cold conditions, and then pull up to the stakeboats with a massive bag of laundry and no-longer-needed water bottles.

Trash bags do some pretty useful work away from the start line, too--after all, not every race lets you drop stuff in the stakeboats and, if they do, it is worth putting something in or on the bags you use so that you can sort the stuff out after the races (and yes, there's a hack for that.)

Back on shore, trash bags are probably the easiest way to corral your crew's shoes on the dock, and to keep them from getting wet in the process. As much as we love a good set of shoe buckets, they don't keep shoes dry without a lid, while your roll of garbage bags will take up zero room in your trailer and is a lot easier to carry around until needed.

Heck, even the Boat Strap Bucket Hack was probably dreamt up by someone who just forgot to pack the trash bags.

Then, when it is time to head home, trash bags give you a quick way to road-proof all the stuff in the bed of the trailer that shouldn't get wet, from extra bags that might not fit in the truck, to less-than-waterproof tool boxes, and even the fans on your travel ergs, if your team has picked up a 'take the ergs everywhere' habit.

We haven't even gotten to how handy your trash bags will be for leak-proofing your coxswain's sandbag, becoming your emergency rain poncho, or doing what trash bags do best: getting tied to the jack at the front of the trailer to collect, you know, trash, all Race Day long.

Could've used an extra trash bag here, folks.
Could've used an extra trash bag here, folks.

So, pack your shoes buckets by all means, but keep your roll of trash bags ever at the ready, so you can hack your way through your next regatta, whatever the weather throws your way.

Do you have great Hacker tool that you pack on every trip? If so, share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

If you have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion, then please send it to us and we will feature your idea in a future column.

Travel ergs...trash-bagged!
Travel ergs...trash-bagged!

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