Jan 232011
Triathlon Checklist

Most triathlon checklists seem to envisage that people have invested their entire life savings into tri-kit and have a huge vehicle to transport their kit to events.

Below is my tri-checklist which sets out what I take to triathlons. It is considerably shorter than other lists but is based on my experience and what I think I need for a triathlon.

Let me know if you think something should be added/deleted from the list?



You can hire tri-specific wetsuits for a season or try and buy a used wetsuit for less money. A tri-wetsuit will provide buoyancy, warmth and (because of the design) will be easier to swim in than a standard wetsuit.


Good goggles are essential. Probably best to buy a new pair as it is important they have a good seal. The best goggles give more visibility than standard swimming goggles.

Swim cap

You’ll be given this in the race pack at an event


You will need to decide what you want to wear under your wetsuit. One of the first bits of tri-clothing I bought was a pair of Sugoi tri-shorts. They have been great, can be worn for several sports and have lasted for ages. I did not buy a specific tri suit or top. A simple sleeveless shirt that dries quickly is adequate



Tri bike or adapted road bike (check out our blog on “Do I need to buy a tri-bike?”) are best. Whatever you ride you will be hampering your performance unless it is in good condition. I try to borrow aero bars and attach them to my road bike.

Bike helmet

Race rules require you to wear a helmet. Probably best to avoid an aero-helmet unless you are professional or don’t mind people pointing at you.

Bike shoes

Tri specific shoes have fewer straps (often one large Velcro strap) to speed up transition. Road bike shoes have always been fine for me.

Bike pump and spare tire kit

I always have these with me on the bike anyway

Water bottles

I always have water bottles on my bike so don’t need to think about this much.


The blisters are painful if you forget to take socks with you. Check out our review of Rapha and Solo cycling socks for an insight into the luxury sock market.


This is optional, but I like to cycle in sunglasses to protect my eyes from anything coming off the road as well as stopping other people see the pain in my eyes ;o)

Race belt with number attached

Often required by the event.


Running Shoes

Nothing fancy or clever involved here although you can buy some elastic laces which means you won’t waste time tying up your shoe laces in transition.

Race belt with number attached

For the run this usually is required to face forward, whereas on the bike it is required to be facing backwards.

Transition Area


Not strictly necessary but it is nice to stand on a towel and give yourself a quick dry after the swim.


To put all your kit in so that it does not disappear to the other end of the transition zone during the race.


I quite like a gel if I am doing a sprint triathlon and might try and have a banana or two if the race is a bit longer. Race nutrition is very personal and is something to be decided well in advance of an event.

You may also be interested in:

Fueling your endurance races: Part 1

Fueling your endurance races: Part 2

Do I need to buy a tri-bike or can I adapt my road bike for triathlons

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