If you’re anything like me, you pack to be prepared. I use a packing list which I recycle race after race, and have parts of it categorized.

So I have sub-lists for the swim, bike, and run. I have one for nutrition, one for electronics, one for tools.

You get the idea.

five ziplock bags full of tri gear
From top left, clockwise: Clothes, nutrition, wires, tri suits, misc bag with race tag and spare parts.

The logical next step is to create small but durable packs of related items. I like to put them in Ziplock bags. I have one bag which I packed about 5-6 races ago.

It has a few essential backup parts in it which I’ll need for every race.

It’s got a rear derailleur hanger (have had one break in the bike bag during transport, but it’s easy to replace), a lithium battery for my power meter, my VonDrais race number holder for the bike (see tip #36, Use an aero race tag), and a few hard-to-find Allen keys which I’ll rarely need, but if I do, I’ll have.

So I throw this backup hardware pack in my bag, then start assembling the others. All my charging wires for my watch, bike computer, heart rate monitor, and phone go in one Ziplock.

I put the correct number of scoops of whatever nutrition I need in a Tupperware container, lock it down with rubber bands and its own Ziplock, and then put it along with any gels or blister packs in yet another bag.

So it’s a bag in a bag, and it’s not going to pop open and spill or make a mess.

ziplock bag full of small bike parts
I never unpack this small bag and it comes with me to every race.

I even put my trisuit, swim speed suit, goggles, hats, socks, etc in one to two bags.

Then when I arrive in my hotel, it’s easy to get organized by spreading out the various bags around the room.

Then I’m unpacked but still organized, and I know where everything is.