What’s in your kit bag?

Tamsyn's bike and bag

One of the aspects of triathlon that can be off-putting for beginners is the sheer amount of kit that is required as this can represent quite an outlay for many people in comparison with running, for example, which just requires a pair of trainers (and a decent sports bra for some of us).

I’ve been training for triathlons for 4 years now and have amassed a quantity of kit. Some of it is still very much entry-level basics whilst other items are more expensive.

I thought it might be helpful to share what I have in my kit bag…

First up is the kit bag itself. I use a fantastically spacious StoPro sports bag – it’s got a brilliant waterproof compartment as well as storage cubes and plenty of pockets.

My bag in front of St Michael's Mount

Really, any bag will do, but it’s helpful to have somewhere that you keep the items you need to take to swim training and other things that are race-specific.


  • Hat. I know some people like to wear hats that they’ve got from races, but I’m kind of picky. Latex hats have an unpleasant texture, so I usually wear silicon hats. I tend to rotate between 3:
    • shark hat (a gift from my husband)
    • bright pink Ironman Dublin 70.3 hat
    • blue hat (birthday gift from Teri – chosen to match my SOAS kit!)
  • Goggles. Now that I don’t need to wear prescription goggles, I can wear any goggles I like. My current favourites are Zoggs Predator Flex Reactor goggles. They are photochromatic, so I can use them in the pool and for open water swimming.
  • Swimming costume. I have quite a few… but many are reaching the end of their useful life :-S I prefer swimsuits that have modest legs as I find them more flattering. Aquasphere make quite a few in this style in a range of colours. They are always comfy.
  • Fins, hand paddles and pull buoy. The coach insists that we bring all of our toys to every training session!
  • Earplugs. These were a new discovery for me last year. They make swimming much more pleasant!
  • Towels. I usually use microfibre towels from Decathlon as they are lightweight and don’t take up much space.
  • Wetsuit. I bought a new wetsuit in 2015. I now have a Zone 3 Aspire.
  • Flipflops. These are especially important for open water swimming when I have to walk across pebbles to the lake. I love my SOAS flipflops, although I’ve recently been trying Oofos, which seem really comfortable.
  • Body glide. This is another essential for open water swimming to guard against chafing.
  • Talc. I put some talcum powder in my shoes if I’m doing a duathlon or triathlon as it helps to soak up the excess moisture, which can lead to blisters.
  • Chip holder. I’ve not used this a lot, but occasionally I’ve been to races that have very uncomfortable chip straps, so having my own has been preferable.


  • Helmet. This goes without saying.
  • Headband. I don’t like wearing my helmet without a headband. It keeps my ears warm 🙂
  • Bike shoes. If you’ve not invested in cleats yet, why not make the leap this year?
  • Bike gloves. Some people don’t bother with them to save time, but I’d rather not risk my hands!
  • Clear glasses/sunglasses. No-one wants to get a fly in their eye.
  • Water bottle x 2. For a sprint race, 1 bottle should be enough, but for longer rides and races, it’s best to take two.
  • Pump/gas, spare tubes and tyre levers. You need to be able to use these – don’t rely on others.
  • Race belt. This makes it easy to wear your number on your back when cycling and on your front when running.
  • Gel sweets/chocolate. I like shotbloks, but dark chocolate can also be a great pick-me-up.
  • Arm warmers, leg warmers and a buff. All of these items of clothing can easily be added or removed, depending on the temperature.
  • Waterproof jacket. I have a lightweight Castelli jacket that packs very small, so I can stow it in a pocket.
  • Inhaler. I don’t want to risk an asthma attack when racing. It happened during my first time trial and was a scary experience.
  • Bento box. To help stash all of my snacks!
  • Lipsyl. This helps if I’ve swum somewhere less pleasant before cycling.


  • Cap/visor. I usually wear a SOAS visor.
  • trainers with elastic laces. I’m currently trying Phoenix Fit elastic laces.
  • sunglasses. I wear these if it’s too windy for a visor.

Depending on what I’ve worn to training/a race, I may also pack some clothes for afterwards, which will probably include a SOAS hoodie, and maybe a beanie if it’s cold outside. (Having a cute and cosy hat makes such a difference when doing a lake swim early in the year!) Having spare socks is also good 🙂

Post race/training:

  • Shower stuff
  • Underwear
  • Warm clothes
  • Inhalers
  • Wet wipes
  • Hairbrush

What are your kitbag essentials?





5 Responses

  1. I like how you say running by itself is simple and cheap. LOL! Okay . . compared to triathlon . . sure. But I remember when I first started running and thought the same thing. Then you realize you need more than one pair of running shoes, running clothing for the different seasons, Garmin, etc. 🙂

    • That’s true… although I tend to stick with shorts whatever the weather, I have plenty of pairs of trainers and various accessories. I admire anyone who can just pull on whatever clothes they already own and feels no need to record their data!

  2. Nose clip- cant swim without it.
    And a running belt with two small water bottles. I get shoulder ache when holding a water bottle.

    • Good suggestions! I have a nose clip, but have never used it… however, if my coach were to suggest that we had to practice tumble turns then it would come out!

      I made the mistake of trying to run a 10k with a bottle in my hand last week as I was worried that the weather might be too hot for me, but the bottle annoyed me so much that I abandoned it at the 5k drinks station. I used to use a running belt with bottles when I was training for marathons and have found that I can fit the small bottles into the side pockets of my Ronhill Trail Fuel Twin shorts.

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