Archery biathlon equipment can be divided into two main categories: skiing and shooting.
Most archery biathletes make use of the “skating” technique, which is generally considered faster than the traditional diagnol stride (“classic”) style of skiing. Skating, however, does involve a bit more strength and balance than classic skiing. Boots, skis and poles are specific to the style of skiing. Skating boots have a much stiffer sole and a high, stiff ankle cuff. Skating skis have a more uniform, stiffer flex, and are shorter in length than classic skis. Skating poles are also longer, reaching above the skier’s chin and sometimes as high as the nose. Any good cross-country ski shop can help you select the gear that’s right for you.
The first consideration is the bow and arrows. While some recreational races allow compound bows, official races only permit recurve bows rated for 35 pounds or less. Stabilizers and sights, while permitted, cannot extend more than 5 centimeters (approximately 2 inches) beyond the face (front) of the bow. Since official races use “knock-down” style targets, hemispherical points are required. Many recreation races use standard archery target matts, which are designed for standard points.
In addition to a bow and arrows, archery biathletes must also use either a pack or harness to carry their equipment during the race. Some athletes prefer to attach a harness directly to the bow, along with a hunting-style bow quiver for arrows. Most prefer a specialized pack with a quiver tube for holding arrows.
Targets are also an important component. While some recreational style races in the US use familiar “bullseye” targets with concentric rings, standard targets are “knock-down” style paddles 15cm in diameter. Most biathletes practice on paper targets of the same size and shape.