Packing for a triathlon means preparing gear for three different disciplines. Thus, having a system to stay organized on race day can make packing before the race and race morning itself much less stressful. I like to organize my gear ordered in the way that I will use it. This means that my race bag actually consists of three different bags (even plain plastic bags will do) which I then put in my main bag.
Race Bag #1: Transition Zone
My first bag is the one for the transition zone. When checking in the transition zone, I just take out this bag and set everything up right there without having to search for the individual items all over my bag. Here’s what I pack for transition:
Race Bag #2: Swim Start
In a second bag, I put everything that I need for the time around the swim start. This bag I will take with me to the swim start and have it with me for the time shortly before race start. The rest of my gear I usually leave at the athlete’s area or give it to somebody who came with me for support. Here’s what I take with me at the start of the race:
swim glasses (goggles)
wetsuit (if required)
a TheraBand (for a land warmup in case the water is really cold)
Race Bag #3: Miscellaneous
Lastly, I have a miscellaneous bag. This bag might not seem too important while preparing it, because technically it is not helping you in the race, but believe me, you will thank yourself a lot after the race for packing it. My miscellaneous bag usually contains:
replacement gear, such as an extra pair of goggles and extra gels
clothes for changing
Figuring out what you want and need in your race bag requires some trial and error and will vary based on circumstances, such as the weather. Don’t be afraid to try different things; add and remove items as you feel fit or organize yourself differently. Just have some sort of organization, so that on race morning you can focus your precious energy on the race itself and not searching for essential items in a messy bag.