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The ultimate triathlon gear list

All triathletes know race weekend is a whirlwind. From finding parking to navigating the race expo to checking into the hotel, what should be a calm leadup, oftentimes becomes rushed and hassled – leaving athletes frayed and tired once they toe the line.

While many factors on race weekend are ultimately outside your control, packing your race day gear is one aspect that’s completely manageable. To simplify this for you, we’ve created the ultimate triathlon gear list that covers all the basics you’ll need to successfully complete a triathlon. Obviously this list will differ between athletes based on their personal preferences, but this is a good launching point for most.

Weekend travel / expo

Many triathletes travel to destination races across the globe. No matter if you’re driving or flying, traveling for a race is taxing on the body and can throw you out of your natural rhythm due to altered diets and sleep schedule. The key here is to keep your gear simple, comfortable and familiar.

  • Comfortable travel clothes
  • Foam roller or massage stick
  • Supportive footwear
  • Familiar meals and snacks
  • Phone, camera and watch chargers
  • Scissors and zip ties
  • USAT license
  • Safety pins

Race morning

Race morning generally calls for an early wake up. Give yourself enough time to eat a complete meal and take care of your business in the bathroom. Don’t switch anything up now, rely on familiar, easily digestible food and gear you’ve trained with.


The swim gear is pretty minimal and straightforward. Depending on the race conditions, a wetsuit will be optional. You should always bring a spare pair of goggles (preferably different tints) in case of an issue. Also, there may be quite a walk from transition to the swim start, so don’t forget a pair of socks or cheap pair of flip flops to keep the bottom of your feet protected.

  • Swim cap
  • Tri suit or a tri top and tri shorts
  • Swim skin or wetsuit
  • Goggles
  • Body Glide
  • Socks or disposable flip flops
  • Ear plugs


The race is now underway which means you’re on the clock – keep your bike gear simple and organized. Your tires should be pumped the morning of the race, and afterwards leave your floor pump with a friend or family member for safekeeping. Also, don’t forget to have your bike professionally serviced before you leave for race weekend.

  • Bike
  • Race wheels
  • Aero helmet
  • Floor pump
  • Spare tubes, tire levers, multi-tool and CO2
  • Hydration system and water bottles
  • Sunglasses
  • Performance nutrition (gels, chews, salt, etc.)
  • Cycling shoes
  • Socks
  • Lip balm


No matter how tempted you may be, never race in a new pair of flashy running shoes you’ve picked up at the race expo. Like the bike leg, it’s important to keep your running gear organized. Many triathletes arrange their run gear in a head-to-toe fashion, so you don’t find yourself running out of T2 without a crucial piece of gear.

  • On running shoes
  • Elastic laces
  • Socks
  • Hat or visor
  • Sunglasses
  • Race bib and race belt
  • Performance nutrition (gels, chews, salt, etc.)


You’ve finished, now it’s time to recover and celebrate. Change out of your tri suit, clean up your transition area and consume a recovery beverage. Don’t forget to thank the volunteers and your support crew – triathlon is a team sport after all.

  • Duffel bag
  • Upload race data to TrainingPeaks or Strava
  • Recovery drink
  • Recovery meal
  • Warm change of clothes
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Cash
  • Cell phone

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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

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