Tri Tip Tuesday – Triathlon Check List

Howdy friends and faithful readers, and welcome to another fun filled yet information installment of Tri Tip Tuesday! 

Today we’ll be discussing gear. Specifically, all of it. Sort of. 

If you haven’t noticed yet, there is a metric crap ton of gear needed for a triathlon. Yes, that is a real unit of measurement, don’t question me. 

May you be more organized than me!


It is possible to complete your first triathlon with minimal gear; something to swim/bike/run in, a bike, goggles, running shoes. But honestly, there’s more to it then that. 

So, let’s break down your packing list!


The Swim- What you need
1. Swim suit or tri suit. Granted, you’ll put this on the morning of your race and wear it up until you finish.
2. Goggles. Preferably two pairs. You never know when a strap will break or if the sun is glaring hard making it difficult to see you might want something tinted. 
3. Swim cap. You should get this in your swim packet. Caps are color coded to your swim wave, so no trading if you get a frumpy color. 
4. Wet suit. If it’s a wet suit legal race and you’ve trained in it. Don’t test run a wet suit the day of a race. 
5. Flip flops or water socks. Some races will have a spot to stash your flip flops if you want to wear them down to the beach. Word to the wise, don’t put them back on once you’re out of the water and try to run to T1 in them. You’re much better off running barefoot. Also, if the water you’re swimming in is cold or has a bottom issue (I’m looking at you zebra mussel infestation at Iron Girl Cuse), water socks are a nice way to keep your feet warm and free of gashes. 

The Bike- What you need
1. Socks and bike shoes. IF you wear these things. I personally wear socks because I get really skeeved out about sockless feet in shoes. Better triathlete’s than I don’t wear socks. 
2. Sunglasses. It doesn’t matter if it’s not sunny; wear them. They protect your eyes from wind and debris and they keep contacts from drying out if you wear them. 
3. Bike gloves. I’ve worn mine for some races and not for others. If you’re on a road bike you’ll benefit from them as they keep your palms from going numb on pressure points. 
4. Helmet. DO NOT FORGET THIS. You will be disqualified without one. Period. 
5. C02 and tire change kit. If you get a flat you are required to change it yourself, which means not only knowing how, but having what you need to do so. Some races will have a bicycle company roaming the bike course to help you if you need it or take you and your DNF’ed bike back to transition should you not be prepared. 
6. Your bike. Seriously. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s happened before. Don’t be that person. 

The Run- What you need
1. Socks and shoes. The sock thing, again. And if you wore bike shoes you’ll have to yank those off and change into running shoes. 
2. Race belt/number. Don’t forget to put your race number on. You face a DQ or not getting your pictures back (the worst, clearly)
3. Hat/visor/sunglasses. You can opt to keep your sunglasses from your bike on. Or you can pull on a hat or visor to keep the sun off your face. 

Transition and Miscellaneous- What you need
1. Fuel and water. Yes you’ll have water bottles with your beverage of choice on your bike, but bring some to keep in transition too. Take a swig in each transition. Also, if you have food fuel like chews or gels you’ll grab those in T1/T2.
2. Sun screen. No need to burn, lather up.
3. Body glide/Tri slide/other lube. Tri Slide is used to lube you up before putting on your wetsuit for easy peel off. Body glide goes on your chaffy bits. Lube up. 
4. Towel. Not so much to dry off yourself with, you’ll dry on the bike. But to wipe your feet clean in T1. You want a water bottle or bucket to “wash” them in too. You’ll also want a towel or mat to lay on the ground to put your gear on. Especially if the ground is damp or wet. 
5. Plastic grocery bags, if it’s raining. Because no one wants to put on wet socks or shoes and sit on a wet bike seat. 
6. Bag or bucket. Something to carry this excessive amount of gear in. I prefer a bag, but I’ve seen others use milk crates or five gallon buckets that they then turn upside down to sit on. Although many races won’t allow you to leave these in transition, so don’t bank on it. 
7. Watch/Computer/HRM. You may not want to leave your bike computer on your bike if you have to rack it the day before. If you wear a HRM or watch put it on first thing in the morning so you don’t forget it. 

And don’t forget to buy yourself some of these gear goodies. Use code TRIGC14 for 15% off your purchase at!

What’s a must have for you on race day?
Favorite piece of gear you own?
Triathlon questions? Email me or comment anything you need to know!

4 Replies to “Tri Tip Tuesday – Triathlon Check List”

  1. Great reminders! I’m always frazzled especially for away triathlons that it’s a great idea to take this checklist with me next time.

  2. Holy guacamole! I want to compete in my first triathlon next year, and this just blew my mind! I had no how much goes into this! I’ve gotta make sure to do plenty of homework along the way.

    Question: What was the shortest triathlon in which you competed?

    1. You definitely don’t need all of this for a first triathlon! Things like wetsuits, HRM, bike computers, etc. are all unnecessary if you’re only beginning to invest in the sport.

      My shortest triathlon was the Mini Mussel Sprint with a 750m swim, 16 mile bike, and 5k run. Sprints vary in length. The swim will be anywhere from 400-800m, the bike anywhere between 12-20 miles, and the run is almost always a 5k. You can also look into super sprints which are usually a 200-300m swim, 6-10 mile bike, and 1-2 mile run.

      Stick around and feel free to email me if you have questions or need help with anything. My email is over on the right sidebar =)

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