contributed by John FX Flynn, row2k
Granted, nothing keeps even the greatest rowing coach more grounded than having to bend down and gather up a heap of sweaty footwear in his or her arms, but there is a hack--or two--for even this most humbling of regatta chores.
The best, of course, is just the straight up shoe bucket: a plastic, or rubbermaid (!), bin that can easily fit an eights-worth of shoes, and be just as easily marked with the name of your club or school. (We can think of at least one program that goes all out on show bucket personalization, too: each crew has their own custom-decorated bin, complete with motivational slogans and nicknames…nice!)
These bins stack, too, to save room in the truck or trailer on the way, though plenty of regattas we've been too have started in the storage bin aisle of the local Home Depot--these are cheap enough to buy once you get there, and any four or five day regatta with a big enough team makes the investment well worth it.
The bucket version of this hack can take plenty of other forms, from milk crates to the plastic tubs that less-athletic folks might use to keep a keg cool. One of the neatest variations we ever saw were some folding file crates; they looked a bit small for eight pairs of shoes, but the idea of anything that folded flat and took up less trailer space was definitely a selling point.
The eternal quest to conserve trailer space no doubt led to the "hack-vention" of the Shoe Bag: big, mesh laundry bags do the trick just as well and "re-usably" and they take up next to no room when empty. If you can get a few in different colors, then each boat can have its own--which makes grabbing the right bag easier at the return dock. Also a nice answer to "need a big bag for this to work" issue? The sturdy nylon shopping bags you can get at Ikea or Home Depot--and, of course, a box of garbage bags will see you through most regattas as well, even if the bags might not last for more than one trip from launch dock to landing dock.
The best hack of all in this category might not be a bucket at all: we liked this suggestion at the end of the Oar Carry Hack for just using a boat strap to string all the shoes together--now that is putting a boat strap to good use while it is lying around waiting for the trip home!
Got a good shoe-carry trick? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.
Have a great rowing hack for future inclusion here? Send it to us!