It’s getting near Christmas time and we get a lot of questions about purchasing equipment either for themselves or their students. So here’s a short primer of what you need to know.
Where to buy?
There are a lot of fencing equipment providers in the US. Unfortunately, the closest one to us is in Elkin, NC (Triplette Competition Arms). Otherwise, there’s nowhere you can try on stuff. So you’ll have to purchase online. You can look on Amazon, I looked, you can’t find any sets with everything you need cheaper than what’s you’ll find at the suppliers. Even if you do, they don’t ask for the options like left or right handed. We’ve had people buy from Amazon and the wrong piece was sent.
We recommend Absolute Fencing Gear (www.absolutefencinggear.com). Most of our fencers purchase their sets and gear from Absolute. The equipment is good quality at a good price.
What should I buy?
If you want to go the bear minimum, as budget friendly as you can go, you need:
- Fencing Mask ($59.00)
- Fencing Jacket – Back zip ($44)
- Fencing Glove ($12)
- Fencing Weapon ($30)
All together, is about $145.
However, the starter set is $158 which comes with everything I mentioned above (mask, jacket, glove, weapon) and also includes a plastron (additional half jacket for protection), and a bag. If you were to buy everything in the starter set individually, it’s way more. So we recommend the starter set.
There are two starter sets you’ll see on Absolute for beginners. The Standard and the Advanced. The Advanced is the front zip jacket which is usually easier for the fencers. Absolute Fencing Gear says that you can purchase the Standard set and just upgrade the jacket to a front zip jacket, but you’ll have to ask for it in the comments when you purchase and also note what size front zip jacket you want. (Front zip and back zip jacket sizes are different…dunno why.)
We have a printable guide for the two beginner sets with a description how to select the options they provide for each piece. You can find it here:
What about sizes?
On all the product pages on Absolute Fencing Gear, there is a link for “Do you need sizing help?” It will tell you how to measure for the correct size. But here’s the direct link for sizing: https://www.absolutefencinggear.com/shopping/sizinghelp.php
The fencing equipment will be a surprise, how can I get the size without my child knowing?
Funny enough, we’re asked this quite often. So here are some suggestions:
Measuring for the mask:
- Before returning the mask they use in club, take a quick look at the size they use.
- “My friend said a COVID-19 face masks needs to fit the correct size of the head, let me measure your head to make sure you’re wearing the right mask.”
- “Your uncle/aunt looked exactly like you, I wonder how exact, let me measure your head.”
- “I’m decorating for work and making a board with a hold for people to put their head in and take pictures, I want to know how big to make the hole.”
Measuring for the jacket:
- “You’re getting new clothes for church, I need to measure for the right size.”
- Measure them while they’re sleeping. If they wake up, say you lost your phone or remote control.
- Give them a hug with a cleverly hidden string, then measure the string.
- “Grandma is sending you a hand knit scarf, she wants to get the neck and chest ratio correct….yes, of course that’s a thing.” (Make sure you have a knit scarf ready from Grandma.)
- “I saw on Twitter that slow growth may be a symptom of COVID-19, let me measure you to make sure you haven’t had COVID-19”
Measuring for the fencing glove and grip size:
- Help them grab a glove for class and make a note of what size you get.
- Do one of those turkey drawings from a hand and secretly also measure their hand.
- “Your new chore is washing dishes on Wednesdays, I need to get your hand size to get the correct dishwashing rubber gloves.”
- Go to Walmart and have them try on different gloves to get ready for winter.
- “Studies show that video game play and cell phone use increases hand size…I wonder if your hand has gotten bigger?”