Gear Up: The Ultimate Triathlon Checklist

The fourth leg of a triathlon is gear. The right gear can make a big difference in your performance. We’ve researched and compiled a list of everything you need to finish the race successfully.

The Must-Have Triathlon List

Wear your triathlon clothing and shoes

The recommended attire for many people is to wear your tri shorts and shirt to the race. You will also need your running shoes and socks. Speed laces are preferable, but nothing new should be worn on race day. You will likely receive a shirt at the race which can be worn after you’re done racing.

Bike

We recommend taking your bike for a short, one-block test ride the night before the race to make sure everything is in working order. This includes pumping up the tyres to the desired pressure. Additionally, check to see that the seat stem is secure and that there are no leaks in the bike tyres. Finally, if you want more information on triathlon bikes, we suggest reading our comprehensive guide on the subject.

Bike Carrier

If you don’t have a way to put your bike in the back of your car, you might use a bike rack. Make sure you know where it is and that all the parts are there before the race. There have been mornings when people have got very frantic trying to find a small part for the rack.

Bike Shoes

TFNYCT Cycling Shoes Mens Road Bike MTB Bicycle Shoes with Cleats Luminous Mountain Indoor Road Bike Cycling Shoes

If you have shoes that clip into the pedals or SPD shoes, don’t forget them when you leave for your bike ride. Helmets are the most common item to forget, but shoes are a close second.

Swim Goggles

Adult Swimming Goggles,Polarized Open Water Goggles Swimming Anti Fog UV Protection No Leakage Clear Vision Easy to Adjust for Adults Men Women Teenagers

We suggest that you use a brand-new pair of goggles for your race. New swim goggles will help reduce glare if the sun is out. But, be sure that you buy a model that you have used before and test it out before the race.

Wetsuit

Huub Kinetic Mens Wetsuit Swimming Triathlon Training Open Water Swim

Make sure you pack your wetsuit if you plan on using one for your triathlon race. It’s important to get familiar with the feel of wearing a wetsuit before race day so you’re comfortable swimming in one. Most races don’t require wetsuits, but if the water is too warm, they may not be allowed.

Bike helmet

Most races that use ITU rules in the UK and USAT rules in the USA require riders to wear bike helmets. It is not optional and is smart to do so.

Sunglasses

best sunglasses for triathlon reviewed

For safety, you should wear shades while riding to protect your eyes from bugs or debris, even if it is not sunny. Keep the sunglasses inside your bike helmet so you remember to put them on during T1. You should wear cycling glasses, preferably not just regular sunglasses.

ID

If your race requires an ID, make sure to bring it with you to avoid any issues.

Water

You will want the extra electrolytes. Hello, it is advised that you bring water with you to training as you never know how long you will have to wait for your turn. If you usually train with Gatorade or another sports drink, it is advised that you bring that as well for the extra electrolytes.

Nutrition

It’s a good idea to bring Cliff bars and bananas to races in case you need them. You should also bring along gel shots and sport drink powders or capsules to mix with water.

Race packet

Assuming that check-in the day before the race is an option, checking in on the day of the race is not necessary.

Phone

While you’re racing, you can leave your phone in your car. Most transition areas are safe, so you don’t need to worry about your phone being stolen. It can be helpful to have your phone with you in case you want to take pictures. If there is a chance of rain, put your phone in a ziplock bag to keep it from getting wet. You’ll probably need your phone to get directions to the race, anyway.

Race Address or Directions

Having the exact location of the race is probably less important in the age of smartphones.

Transition Bag

2023 Zone3 Transition 40L Back Pack RA18TRAN - Navy / Orange

You have probably realized by now that you will need a bag to store all of your triathlon gear. You can buy a special triathlon transition bag designed for the sport, or you can clear out your gym bag to use for triathlon gear if you are on a budget. It all depends on what is most important to you.

Spare Tube, CO2, and Tyre Changing Supplies

The best way to be prepared for this race is to carry whatever supplies you would normally carry on a ride. This way, if you get a flat tyre, you can fix it and only lose a few minutes instead of having to stop the race entirely. You don’t need to bring your entire gear kit, just what you would bring on a regular training ride.

Nice-to-Have Triathlon List

Towel 

Some racers use a towel during their transitions to help dry their feet off after the swim. Others use a bright-coloured towel so it is easy to spot their transition spot.

Sunscreen

If you’re going to be racing after 10 a.m., you should put on some sunscreen, especially if you’re going to be swimming. Make sure the sunscreen is waterproof so it won’t come off while you’re swimming.

GPS Watch

Many triathletes choose to use a watch made specifically for triathlons, which can be worn during all three legs of the race. If you rely on your Fitbit for key pacing information, make sure to bring it with you.

Bike tyre pump

We like to have a bike tyre pump in the car in case of surprises. It is also nice to use the pump that you are familiar with, especially on race day.

Bike spanner

It is a good idea to keep some basic bike repair equipment with you. You will not need to take this equipment on the ride with you, but it will be there for any pre-race adjustments. If you forget to bring it, don’t worry – at many races, there will be staff from a local bike or tri shop who can help you with last-minute adjustments.

Sport Guard

This roll-on product helps prevent chafing, which can be critical in longer races. Applying the product to your ankles before the swim can also help your wetsuit come off more easily.

Best Triathlon Gears

FORM Smart Swim Goggles

The FORM Smart Swim Goggles are a new type of goggles that are connected to the FORM app. The app has hundreds of different workouts that swimmers can choose from, based on factors such as distance, time, or category. Up to five different workouts can be synced to the goggles, which then provide instructions to the swimmer in real-time, lap-by-lap, through the lens of the goggles. The goggles can also be used in the open water swimming, to provide structure to the swim.

Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex Long John Wetsuit ( men )

The environmentally friendly suit is made with Yulex rubber, which has similar warmth and buoyancy properties as neoprene, but with 80% less carbon dioxide emissions during manufacturing. The suit is also lined with recycled polyester, which is flexible and dries quickly. The long John style allows for freedom of movement in the upper body, and the back zipper makes it easy to take on and off.

Patagonia R1 Lite Yulex Long Jane Wetsuit ( women )

W's R1 Lite Yulex Long JaneW's R1 Lite Yulex Long JanePatagonia R1 Lite Yulex 2mm Womens Long Jane Wetsuit - Black - Front

The suit is very stretchy and comfortable, has flatlock seams to prevent chafing, and is made with eco-friendly materials and methods. It has a lifetime warranty, so it will last a long time.

Cervelo P-Series Ultegra Road Bike

This bike is a good choice for cyclists who want a mix of speed, function, and affordability. The frame is made of carbon, which makes it lightweight and aerodynamic. The bike is also easy to handle on turns and climbs thanks to increased torsional stiffness and a strong bottom bracket.

Lazer Z1 MIPS Helmet

Lazer’s premium helmet is made of four different protection components. The outer polycarbonate shell and inner EPS foam lining protect against initial impact. The Lazer Z1 also includes an extension of the shell to protect the vulnerable temple area and a final layer of MIPS technology to protect against rotational impact.

OneUp Carbon Handlebar

The OneUp Carbon Handlebar is made of carbon fibre, which makes it more durable and allows you to ride for a longer period. The flattened oval shape of the handlebar makes it more comfortable to ride on and also increases steering responsiveness.

Pearl iZumi Tri Fly Pro

Pearl Izumi Women's Tri Fly Elite V6

If you’re looking for a shoe that will help you ride better and faster, this premium option might be worth the investment. The lightweight and quick-drying upper is made of mesh and synthetic leather, while the sole is made of carbon. The shoe also features the BOA Fit System to minimize blisters and discomfort while riding.

Argo Tempo R3 Saddle

The Argo Tempo R3 Saddle is built for performance and comfort. Its short-nosed design allows you to shift your weight forward without putting pressure on any sensitive tissues and the wide ischial (sit bone) support keeps your back end comfortable. The saddle’s unique design keeps riders in a more stable position, meaning better weight distribution and less pressure.

Salomon Ultra Glide

Salomon Ultra Glide Men's Shoes 1

The Contagrip outsole on this shoe provides good traction in wet or dry conditions and on different types of terrain, so you can feel confident running on different surfaces. The energy surge midsole and rocker shape help you run faster, while the SensiFit wings give you a secure, comfortable fit.

Garmin ForeRunner 745

This watch is special because it uses data about your recent activities, sleep history, and heart rate to give you suggestions for future workouts. It also takes into account how hard you’re working out and how long you’ve been working out to calculate things like how much recovery time you need or how fast you could run a race.

Zoot Ultra Tri Bag

Zoot Ultra Tri Backpack Backpack

The Zoot Ultra Tri Bag is a great option for those transitioning into triathlons. Its durable and lightweight nylon construction makes it ideal for carrying everything you need for training and race day. There’s plenty of storage space, including an EVA moulded helmet compartment, wet clothing bag, and water bottle holders.

The bag comes with thoughtful extras like an ID holder and a printout of a checklist of what you need for race day.

TYR Wrinkle-Free Silicone Cap

TYR Wrinkle Free Silicone Swim Caps - Red

This swimming cap is good for both recreational and competitive swimmers and comes in many colours. It won’t irritate your skin and the interior won’t pull your hair. The durable material is also UV-resistant and won’t tear easily.

GU Energy

As well as being composed of maltodextrin and fructose, GU energy gels also contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). This help reduces the effects of muscle damage. Some flavours also include caffeine, which provides an extra boost of energy.

Nathan Hydration Running Belt Trail Mix Plus

TrailMix Plus Insulated Hydration Belt 3.0

 

This is a belt that is ergonomically designed with multi-dimensional stretch to keep the person wearing it comfortable. It is also reflective so that the person will be safe if they are running in low visibility areas. The pocket on the belt is large enough to hold most phone models (not on race day) or other essentials.

Pearl iZumi Quest Short

pearl izumi quest bike short review

These shorts are made with Transfer fabric, which gives light compression to your muscles while you ride and also wicks away sweat. The fabric is stretchy and supportive without being too tight, and the Levitate chamois protects sensitive areas so you can stay comfortable on long rides.

Pearl iZumi Quest Short

This short is designed to have a stretchy, yoga-inspired waistband, an 8.5-inch inseam, Levitate chamois, compressive and moisture-wicking fabric, and silicone leg grippers.

FORM Swim Smart Goggles

 

The FORM goggles are an innovative new product that can significantly improve your performance in a triathlon. The goggles can connect to the FORM app, which provides you with real-time workout data. In addition, the app also offers guided workouts and training plans that can help you train more effectively.

Woman wearing smart swim goggles

Souke Sports Cycling Gloves

Souke Sports Road Cycling Gloves Half Finger Road Biking Gloves,Shock-Absorbing Anti-Slip Breathable Bike Gloves for Men Women

This glove’s breathable, four-way stretch fabric has many features that you might want in a glove. They can wick away moisture and are water resistant. There is also a microsuede on the thumb for wiping. The foam padding is 5mm and it minimizes vibrations. The fingers also have to pull tips to make removing the gloves easier.

Amphipod Hydraform Thermal-Lite Handheld

The 20-ounce bottle size of this handheld water bottle allows you to drink more water without needing to refill as often. The ergonomic design lets you hold the bottle more comfortably and relaxed, and the quick-adjust no-slip strap helps keep it in place.

Conclusion

Now you have the list, keep it in a safe place, but please use it EVERY TIME, it leaves your head clear for the task ahead, and be assured that if you don’t, you WILL forget certain items for race day.

A triathlon is a physically and mentally demanding sport that requires a lot of gear. Ensure you’re prepared for race day by stocking up on equipment and training both your body and mind.

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