Equipment Buying Guide for Parents

The sport of fencing often seems to be full of strange equipment which hides, weighs down and overheats your child while they enjoy stabbing or slashing their friends. Inevitably, your child will want to have their own gear, and you may find that your domestic harmony is improved if you make the odd concession at Christmas and birthdays, or any time when you are willing to launch yourself into the confusing world of buying equipment.  It is for these times that we have prepared this guide to help reduce the confusion, or at least to help you to understand the choices you will be trying to make.  As everyone’s needs and circumstances differ, we can rarely give straightforward advice but hopefully we can explain the advantages and disadvantages to each choice.  However, your best bet when buying gear is still to shop around and see what is available at what prices, then speak to one of the club coaches or email to ask if what you have found would be appropriate.

Below is first a guide to what to get, or rather in which order you should look at buying equipment.  Most people buy one or a few items at a time, bit by bit, so that if their little fencer stays interested in the sport over a few years then they eventually acquire a full set of gear – this is our suggestion as to what comes first.  A detailed discussion of points to consider when buying each piece of equipment is after that, followed by full details of equipment requirements at different levels of competition.

All gear should be named! Coloured tape, cryptic markings and all the other things that enable you to tell which is your gear are useless to someone else who is trying to work out who owns the jacket on the floor.  It all looks the same, so name it as soon as you have tried it on (if you have to send it back, the manufacturer might not appreciate the personalization).  Write your name with indelible ink in the places described below, then "QLD".  This is because you might lose it at a national event where people from other states have no idea who you are – if it says QLD it will find its way to the QLD Fencing Association, and thence to you. Even if it is a national event hosted in QLD, interstate fencers might take it home with them by mistake and then have no idea where to send it. Write "QLD" rather than "QFA": even though you are hoping it will get sent to the QFA, the QFA owns some hire equipment which is marked "QFA" and you don't want your gear mistaken for it. If you can’t name it in the places listed, try to be as close as possible. Most fencers will look in these places for a name and might miss one written somewhere else.