33 essential items to pack for a triathlon

Packing these 33 items for a triathlon will ensure a smoother event day so you can focus on giving it your all and coming out with a personal best.

All the training is done and it’s almost event day, but keeping check of all the bits of equipment you need for a triathlon is difficult. Writing a list of all the items and splitting them into the different disciplines of a triathlon is an easy way to keep track and be prepared for event day. The following list of 33 essential items will help you pack for your next triathlon.


1. Wetsuit — check whether your triathlon requires you to wear a wetsuit, is wetsuit optional, or requires no wetsuit to make sure you’re meeting any race demands. On top of that, your wetsuit needs to properly fit you, and be comfortable so check out the different options before you buy

2. Goggles — try on a few types to find what works for you as dealing with leaky goggles throughout your swim will really throw you off. Once you have your perfect pair, it’s a good idea to buy a second pair in a different tint so that you have something for all conditions

3. Tri shorts, swimsuit or tri suit — A basic pair of tri shorts with a little bit of padding will make your bike leg much more enjoyable, but if you’re doing multiple triathlons or decide this sport is for you, it might be worth investing in a tri suit

4. Swim cap — this can either be used for the actual event or just for your warm up swims

5. Lube/Vaseline — this helps to stop any chafing

6. A towel — for the transition between swim and bike


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

7. Bike — If you’re new to triathlons any bike will do but if the tri bug hits you, then you can start thinking about getting a more appropriate bike. Try and get it checked out at your local shop before an event to make sure everything is running smoothly.

8. Helmet — this is obligatory for all triathlon events. Make sure it fits properly and the strap is on tight

9. Sunglasses— these will help prevent any glare from the sun, but will also protect your eyes from any insects or dirt flying around

10. Cycling shoes — if you’re new to the triathlon scene, mountain bike clips are a good starting point for cycling shoes, as they clip in and out more easily

11. Socks — there’s a lot of debate about whether to wear socks on the bike as it takes up a lot of transition time. This is completely down to your personal preference

12. Tool kit — floor pump, spare inner tubes, multi-tool, CO2 (make sure you practise with this beforehand if you’re planning on using these during the event)

13. Technical equipment — for example, if you want to wear a technical watch, heart rate monitor, GPS, bike watch/computer

14. Bottle(s) — pre-filled with your choice of drink, make sure that the water or electrolyte is fresh that day.

15. Number belt — in case you’re not using safety pins. If you aren’t using a number belt you should have your race number pinned to your tritop, ready to put on in the swim to bike transition

16. Jacket — this is totally dependent on the weather and the time of year that your event is happening

17. Energy gels — this can also include any bars or other nutrition that you want for during the actual event. Normally people choose to have some during the bike discipline and in the bike to run transition.


Photo by ben stern on Unsplash

18. Running shoes — taketwopairs if you have a late start time. One to leave in transition and one to warm up in. Just make sure they’re comfortable and well worn in

19. Hat/visor — useful for keeping your hair out of your face, and preventing against sunstroke if you’re running in the heat

20. Socks — again this is where some people choose to wear socks and others don’t, but if you know you blister you could also carry plasters to put on in the transition

21. Plasters — this is in case you’re running sockless or for using after the event

Additional Items

22. Event registration paperwork and ID

23. Any pre-event drinks or snacks

24. Warm clothes for pre- and post-event

25. Comfortable footwear — to change into after the event

26. Safety pins — this is for your event number if you are not wearing a number belt

27. Roll of duct tape — this is always useful to have on hand

28. Post-event food

29. Money — try and take cash as there may not be a cash machine nearby

30. Bin liner — to help keep things dry

31. Toilet roll

32. Waterproof sunscreen

33. Any medication — for example, asthma inhalers

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