What To Take To A Triathlon ….

Whether your heading to a sprint or a long course triathlon, the list of “what to take” can be daunting.  So daunting that I have in fact shied away from shorter races with the reasoning that the packing, traveling, hauling of gear is more of a PITA chore than the reward of the race itself.    Next year, that will change.  I will be delving back into the world of sprint and Olympic distance TRIs and it will be fun, Fun, FUN for me!  However, the list will be virtually the same for any race distance.  The single best piece of advice I can give for hauling the gear would be to invest in a transition pack.  I did it for years without one, which means I used a regular back pack, then carried whatever wouldn’t fit and also attempted to push my bike along to transition all while not dropping anything or crashing my bike.  This plan is a total FAIL though if you are at a location like Pleasant Prairie where you need to get on you bike after the race and ride it, along with your gear, back to the car. 

Transition packs are expensive in my opinion.  I waited until I had a coupon, found a discount, saw a special for free shipping, etc. then read a billion review and still didn’t know what to buy.  I basically decided that as long as my gear fit in the pack and it held up over the course of time, then I’d probably be happy.  I picked the DeSoto Transition Pack (retails for $119) because it has a specific spot to hold my wetsuit, bike pump & helmet.  Then it has a giant compartment & several zippered pouches  for whatever else I need but those 3 things were my biggest issue because they never fit into my regular backpack.  I think with all my discounts, I paid about $80 for this thing and I really do like it.  I have an older model but these are stock photos of the current DeSoto Transition Pack VI.  Love it!

 DeSoto Transition Pack    DeSoto Transition Pack 2



  • Directions to expo, hotel, race venue
  • $$ (cash) – you may need to pay to park at the expo or on race morning.
  • USAT card & ID
  • Confirmation to hotel & event
  • Snacks & Water – Stay hydrated and fueled leading up to the race.


  • Bright colored UNIQUE towel to help you identify your spot.
  • Transition pack (or backpack) to carry your gear.
  • Good attitude because it might be “a little” hectic in there.


  • Goggles
  • Swim Cap (not for the race but in case you want to test the water at check in)
  • TRI Kit (I like a 2 piece in case I need to hit the potty)
  • Wetsuit (optional but highly suggested)
  • Body Glide, TRI Slide or Mission Athletecare Anti-Chafe to put anywhere and everywhere the wetsuit or TRI kit might chafe.
  • Sunscreen (sport specific spray that is quick dry, like the Mission Athletecare Sun Defeated continuous spray)
  • Throw away flip flops – Hopefully you won’t need these but sometimes you get to a venue where you just can’t walk around without your shoes.  Or maybe you will have to walk a mile to the swim start and are you going to do that barefoot?  Are you going to go back after 6-7+ hours of racing and get your flip flops? 


  • Bike – Sound elementary but if we are making “the” list, don’t forget the bike.  Smile
  • Bike shoes
  • Socks (if you use them)
  • Tire pump
  • Fuel for on the bike
  • Water bottles (freeze your fluids if possible)
  • Sunglasses (with a fresh coat of anti-fog or Johnson Baby Shampoo to prevent fogging)
  • Helmet
  • Tire repair kit:  tools, tube, CO2 canister for tire inflation

CO2 canister


  • Running Shoes
  • Socks (if you use them)
  • Toe protectors (if you need them)
  • Fuel for on the run
  • Hat/Visor


  • Change of clothes
  • ShowerPill wipes to clean up
  • Flip Flops or Keen Bali Sandals (my favorites, the cushion & support is so nice on my feet!)
  • $$ – You are going to be hungry.  You will be stopping for food. 

That’s my list!  I take the above to every triathlon I run.  Do you have anything that you take that might not be on this list?  Tell us!!  We need all the help we can get and we value your input!

** Making A List & Checking It Twice ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **