Have you found that you need to move and aren’t sure you will have space to keep your rowing machine indoors? You certainly aren’t alone in this situation! It isn’t all doom and gloom, friends!
I think most people have found themselves in these straits at one time or another. Your living space is very limited, making it impossible to store your erg inside, so what do you do?!
I’ve had to move several times during my time on this earth, and I can tell you that by following a few procedures, you can safely store an indoor rower outside when limitations and situations call for it. It’s not the ideal setup, so make sure that this arrangement doesn’t go on for long periods.
No one wants to head out to do their morning (or evening) exercise routine and discover that mold is growing on the seat, the entire machine is fading from the sunlight, or worst of all, that parts are happily rusting away! Ugh!
If you’re one of those who like to row outdoors, more power to you! However, if you are planning on leaving your machine outside, I’ve got lots of reasons why you shouldn’t.
Today’s article is about how to safely store your rowing machine, no matter where you might be forced to do so.
Keep your chin up! I’ve got good news for you so keep reading.
How Do You Store a Rowing Machine?
Let me say right off the bat that it is far better for you to store your rower inside a room whenever possible.
Some things are designed for outdoor use, but others are best used indoors, and that is the case with your rowing machine. It may seem as though you could do a workout outside, so why not leave it in the same place overnight, but that’s not really a good idea.
Did you know that many rowers, such as Concept2 Model D or Model E, fold or separate to occupy a space half their size? For easier storage and much smaller footprint, some rowers can also be stored upright.
Most water rowers, such as Ergatta, allow you to fold down the monitor. It then sits upright with the water tank on the ground, so that it doesn’t really take up any more space than a dining room chair!
You should always check out how your rower is designed to be stored. Perhaps you DO have space indoors to store your rowing machine when not in use.
Even if you must store your machine in a basement or a shed, it’s better than leaving it outside.
I’ve made a list of the most popular rowing machines, and the amount of space you need to actually use and store them.
|Rowing Machine Model||Floor Space Required||Storage Space Required|
||86”L x 25”W x 47”H||25″W x 33”D x 86”H|
|Teeter Power10||62.75”L x 37.5”W x 43.25”H||37.5”W x 43.25”D x 62.75”H|
||86”L x 23”W x 40”H||23”W x 22.5”D x 86”H|
|Aviron||97”L x 22”W x 43”H||54“W x 22”D x 62“H|
|Concept2, Model D||96”L x 24”W x 14”Seat Height||25”L x 33”W x 54”H|
|Concept2, Model E||96”L x 24”W x 20”Seat Height||27”L x 47W x 54”H|
Hopefully, you will be able to find the room you need to protect your rowing machine investment. On a side note click here if you would like to read our list of best affordable rowing machines
Let’s talk about your other options.But here’s the worst case scenario. No matter how hard you have looked, you can’t store your rowing machine inside.
Can You Keep a Rowing Machine in the Garage?
For the most part, yes, you can.
Assuming that your garage is dry, no leaks from the room or floor, then your rowing machine should do just fine in the garage.
However, if you don’t have a dehumidifier in your garage and you live in a very humid part of the country, you might want to invest in a dehumidifier to help prevent rust from forming.
Most garages are dry enough so that your rowing machine should be protected from the elements, which is your main concern.
Can You Keep a Water Rower Outside?
Outside, like left to fend for itself against rain, UV rays, dust, sleet, hail, and snow? Poor rower! No, you should not do this!
No indoor rowing machine should be stored outside in the elements, not even with a cover.
Now you might be able to get away with this if you put the rower in a carport, for example, so that the rower is protected from the sun and rain, as long as you use a cover with it.
Any indoor rower that has a monitor cannot be left outside. The humidity, dust, and elements in the air will ruin the electronics. I suppose you could remove the monitor after each use, but what a pain!
Most water rowers also have wooden frames that can be damaged from the moisture in the air or metal that can rust.
If you need to store your rower outside, give it as much protection as possible, cover it as much as possible, and only do so in fair weather for a short time.
Basically, do not store your indoor rower, whether it is a water rower or not, outside for long periods, and NEVER store them outside when it is raining, foggy, or snowing.
- Check Out All the Features on the Ergatta
Can You Use a Concept 2 Indoor Rower Outside?
When it comes to fitness equipment, most of it is designed to be used inside, away from damp environments.
There are exceptions, of course, such as swimming pools, but we are talking about rowing machines in this article.
There is a great deal of difference between using your equipment and storing it.
As long as the weather is decent, you can use your Concept 2 Model C, Model D, or Model E outdoors without a problem.
However, storing one of these models outdoors is a big no-no.
Some people enjoy rowing in the sunshine, others like the cold, and your rowing machine won’t care for the most part, as long as it’s a temporary move.
Using your rowing machine outside makes for a nice change. Storing it outside is an invitation for damage.
Can a Rowing Machine Get Wet?
That depends on the rowing machine.
Some rowing machines have extensive electronics involved, such as Hydrow and the Ergatta. Imagine leaving your cell phone out in the rain. Will it be OK? Probably not, and the same is true for your rowing machine.
However, some rowing machines can take some rain, Concept2, for example. If you removed the erg, the rower itself is mostly plastic and aluminum, so it can be dried off. Even the flywheel can be dried to avoid rust, and it should be fine.
I hope that your indoor rower never gets left in the rain, but if it does, you may pay a big price to restore or repair it, unless you have a less expensive model that can be wiped dry.
How Do You Store a Rowing Machine?
First, make sure you store where it is not exposed to the elements – best to keep it indoors.
Second, if you must store your rowing machine outside, you need to follow these tips.
- Buy an erg cover. Not all covers fit every machine, but you can check out this one and this one for starters. These say that they are waterproof, but I still would not leave it out in the elements. If your rower is on a covered patio or in the garage, these are excellent choices that will add protection to your investment.
- Keep it out of direct sunlight. Sunlight fades almost everything and it can also damage certain types of plastic over time.
- Position your rower so that it has the most protection. Keep it against a wall, as far away from open spaces, and cover as much of the rower as possible.
- Consider putting it up off the ground. Sometimes, mice or insects find a nice home underneath the cover or the ground surface becomes very damp. A few blocks of wood underneath can help to give your erg a bit more protection.
- Always clean the rowing machine with a dry, soft cloth before using. If your rowing machine uses a chain, you might want to oil it a bit more often than recommended.
Most modern rowing machines are fairly lightweight and have wheels so that they can be easily moved, but don’t forget that indoor rowers are exactly that: made for the indoors.
Don’t count on a cover to keep your rowing machine fully protected. While an erg cover will offer some protection, it can’t stop moisture in the air from reaching your machine.
Winter is pretty brutal in most places, even if you don’t get snow. Just consider your car for a second – it is made to withstand some punishing from the elements, yet damp air, salty beach air, sand, snow, and water can damage it over time. Imagine what those elements can do to your rowing machine!
Can You Use Wax to Protect Rowing Machines?
Nearly anything plastic or wood can benefit from a coat of wax, but there is more to your rowing machine than just the frame.
While I can’t imagine that a coat of wax would hurt anything, I can’t expect it to be capable of protecting a machine that I leave outside day and night.
If you feel that waxing your machine will help protect your investment, maybe you can give it a good shine, but it will not take the place of indoor protection.
The Bottom Line
To sum things up, you should do everything you can to provide adequate shelter for your rowing machine. You shouldn’t leave it outdoors unless you have no other choice.
Be sure to check the chart I made and see if you can’t squeeze your erg in someplace indoors.
If you absolutely must store your machine outside, be sure to place it somewhere that offers as much protection as possible and cover it as much as you can.
Always dry your rower off ASAP if it should get wet and inspect it regularly to see if bugs have made a home inside or if rust has started eating on the frame, chain, or flywheel).
You can enjoy your workout outside, but don’t leave your rowing machine there. Even if sunny skies are forecast, always assume that it could rain, and take a few extra minutes to bring it indoors.
Good luck to everyone and happy rowing!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I keep my water rower outside?
Give your rower as much protection as you can. This means put it in a garage, basement, or some indoor room with four walls and a roof. If you can’t, store it at least where there is a roof and a few walls, such as a carport or covered patio. Buy it a cover or sheath to keep dust and moisture away.
2. Can you use WD40 on your indoor rowers?
I would never recommend using WD40 on anything but a chain, and I’m not even sure I can confidently recommend using it there, either. WD40 is not a lubricant. While it displaces moisture, it also attracts dust and dirt.
Written by Petra Amara – RowingCrazy.com
CEO & Founder of RowingCrazy, National Rower, Coxswain Womens Eight Team, Rowing Coach & Writer
Petra is a Mother of two and owner of Rowingcrazy.com. Petra lives and breathes rowing, she also has a passion for writing which lead her to start RowingCrazy.com to share her rowing experience and expertise with others.