This 2013 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide simple gear list includes the bare necessities you’ll need to get through the swim and transition, along with some examples. If you’re just getting started, be sure to also check out the beginner kits for the bike and run in the Buyer’s Guide, on newsstands or online now.
Nutrition experts recommend eating breakfast as early as three hours before the start of a race, which means you may get hungry again before the start. Keep a snack, like a Clif Mojo Bar (Clifbar.com, $15/box), handy in transition for a bite of last-minute fuel.
Anti-chafe agents like Body Glide (Bodyglide.com, $8) will protect sensitive areas like your neck, while also making wetsuit removal easier. Steer clear of petroleum-based products that can harm wetsuits.
Like bikes, wetsuits have a vast price range. Sleeveless versions aren’t as warm and offer more range of motion, while full- sleeve wetsuits are more buoyant and generally a little faster. The Profile Design Wahoo Sleeveless wetsuit (learn more on page 24 of the Buyer’s Guide) is an affordable option that offers comfort and a precise fit. Try on wetsuits before you make a purchase and remember that tight is good—it’ll loosen in the water.
Make visibility and comfort your main priorities, while also keeping performance in mind. A pair like the Aqua Sphere Kayenne (learn more on page 16 of the Buyer’s Guide) provides a clear view with a sleek, low- profile design. For swims into the sun, opt for a metallized or smoked lens, and always come to the race with a backup pair.
Race porta-poties often run out. Better to have it than want it, and you’ll be the hero of the transition area if you share.
Consider the durability and how your equipment will be organized. The Timbuk2 Race Duffel (Timbuk2.com, $125) has the space you’ll need and can be broken down when empty to accommodate the equally tiny space you’re allocated in transition.
Looking for a beginner-friendly triathlon? Check out the eight races offered across the country by our partner, the TriRock Series.