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Ask A Gear Guru: What Are The Best Christmas Gifts For Triathletes This Year?

Our editors have scoured the multisport world to bring you the triathlon gifts that even we’d want this year.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Triathletes are a tricky bunch to shop for: New swimming wetsuit? Awesome. New surfing wetsuit? Devastation. The good news is the Triathlete crew gets to check out a lot (A LOT) of cool gear throughout the year, and we know, from experience, what separates an OK gift for a triathlete from the best gift for a triathlete.

To make things a little bit easier, we not only broke it down into categories for swim, bike, run, recover, train, and gifts under $75, but we also suggested what kind of athlete each gift could be for (and explained why it’s such a great choice). Read on for 19 of the best triathlete gifts this year.

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Best Gifts For Triathletes: Swim

Roka Maverick Wetsuit


Who this is for: Beginner triathletes who have done a few races, but are looking for their first swim wetsuit without breaking the bank

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: For years, Roka has made some of the best (and most expensive) premium triathlon wetsuits, but finally, with the release of the Maverick, triathletes on a budget can get in on the party. Using the same “arms-up” design as their wetsuits that cost literally quadruple the price, this trickle-down neoprene tech means that you’ll spend under $300 for a wetsuit that acts more like a $400 one. What exactly does that mean? Think: chafe-free neckline (rare on a budget suit), great seals to prevent water entry, easy on/off, and durable material that’ll last for more than just a couple of seasons. – Chris Foster, executive editor

RELATED: Reviewed: Roka Maverick Wetsuit

Sharkbanz 2


Who this is for: Triathletes who swim in the open water where sea life can make their workout or race a little…spooky

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: Obviously no one wants to have an encounter with a shark, and while you’re more likely to get into a car accident on the way to the beach than to get bitten by a shark, there’s valuable peace of mind knowing that you’ve further decreased your chances—particularly if you train or race in an active shark area. For most triathletes, the lack of open-water training has to do more with the mental side of getting away from the walls and lane lines, so eliminating one more source of tension while out in the ocean is almost priceless. The band itself uses powerful, battery-free magnets to repel sharks and has a ton of science to back it up. Better yet, it’s about as intrusive as a timing chip. –CF

Soul Cap

$20 and up,

Who this is for: Those with Afros, extensions, and voluminous hair

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: Soul Cap’s swim caps come in various sizes, from junior to XXL, and are fast filling a much-needed gap in the market. The wide range of sizes allows you to pick which cap best suits your needs, with plenty of room for voluminous hair. The cap material is extremely well made, and feels very durable (which is good when constantly pulling at caps to fit them over thick hair). It’s high-quality, comfortable, and forms a tight seal around the head with plenty of room for ears. These caps are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to be more active in the water, but is concerned about protecting their hair or feeling comfortable using a cap in the pool. –Mariel Calloway, age-group triathlete, writer, and photographer

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Best Gifts For Triathletes: Bike

Roka Matador Air


Who this is for: Triathletes who want a high-coverage pair of sunglasses that still vents well enough for hot days or for running

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: When we reviewed Roka’s Matador sunglasses last spring, we loved the coverage, the clarity, and the style, but we didn’t love how hot they made our faces. While they worked well for moderate days in the saddle, we became a sweaty mess on hot climbs or if we tried running with them. Fortunately, Roka listened, and released an updated version of the popular eyewear with an added ventilation port to help with airflow. The result is a pair of sunglasses that works in all but the chilliest of conditions and can even be worn while you run. As a result, the value of this not-cheap eyewear increased as you could easily wear these during both of the non-swimming legs of your next tri. –CF

Pedro’s Master T-Handle Set II


Who this is for: Any triathlete who adjust, works on, or does really anything with their bike

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: If you’re a triathlete, you have a bike. If you have a bike, you need allen wrenches. There’s literally no way around it: From simple saddle adjustments, to stem tightening, to replacing parts, to prepping it for travel, the modern triathlete needs a set of wrenches, and the better they are, the less likely you are to screw up your precious tri bits. This set is an heirloom-level set of allen wrenches, color coded, with the awesome added feature of sliding barrels to make tightening and loosening long bolts substantially easier. It includes 10 wrenches from 2mm to 10mm (with T10, T25, and T30 torx as well), with color bands and markings to quickly identify them. –CF

4iiii Precision Power Meter

$300 and up,

Who this is for: A triathlete looking to get into cycling with power but doesn’t want to spend a ton of money on the tech

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: Training with power on the bike is literally a life-changer for triathletes. No longer are you tied to heart rate—with its drifting readings that are tough to decipher from one day (or hour) to the next—and you’ll have a fully objective way to measure effort and output while riding. Not only does this make your training more accurate, but it’ll actually save you time and make your training more efficient as well. In terms of budget power meters that actually work (and have basically zero weight/aero/swap-out downside), 4iiii’s Precision is a no-brainer. The device is roughly the size of a quarter, weighs 9g, has an accuracy of +/-1%, lasts 100+ hours on a CR2032 battery, and includes the left-side crank arm you can easily install. –CF

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Best Gifts For Triathletes: Run

Coros Vertix 2


Who this is for: The triathlete who loves gadgets, loves doing more than just swim, bike, run, and who hates having to charge his or her smartwatch…like ever

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: No, it’s not cheap, but this is the granddaddy of all multisport smartwatches. It has all of the basic tri sport profiles like open-water swim, pool swim, cycling, running, triathlon, and much more, but it also has killer features built-in, included offline mapping and navigation, a cool combo touchscreen/spinning bevel, built-in running with power, onboard music storage, and a groundbreaking five-satellite GPS tracking system. So you have a watch that can literally do it all, but the big selling point here is the staggering battery life—140 hours of GPS and 60 days of normal use. For most triathletes, this means well over a month of daily workouts without even having to think about charging it. The biggest downside to this ridiculous spec is going so long between charges that you lose the cable. –CF

RELATED: Reviewed: The New Coros Vertix 2 Smartwatch

Satisfy Running Trail 3” Men’s Shorts


Who this is for: The triathlete who struggles to find a nice pair of running shorts and likes (really) nice things

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: First off, Satisfy’s clothing is a great gift because it literally defines the “thing you want but you’d probably never buy for yourself” ethos. The Paris-designed brand takes premium to a new level with their insanely luxurious (and expensive) running gear, but it’s also not all show with no go. Are there more comfortable shorts than their 3-inch trail shorts? No. Is the material completely unlike everything else that’s out there? Yes. Is the price obscene? Also, yes. The good news is that this ultra lightweight pair of shorts with included super-silky leg-length liner and six pockets of varying composition truly is a unique pair of shorts that your giftee will have a hard time not wearing. The only downside? These shorts only come in men’s cuts. –CF

Maloja GOLDSTERNM. 1/1 Women’s Tights


Who this is for: The triathlete who has a hard time finding the perfect pair of chafe-free running tights

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: Though not as ridiculously priced as the Satisfy shorts above, these tights are a worthy competitor when it comes to quality and construction. The material has a similarly silky feel to the liner of the Satisfy shorts with a similar ability to dry quickly. Flatlock seams ensure a chafe-free experience, and the secure key pocket pairs well with a thigh-placed phone pocket for larger items (bonus, things actually stay put while you run). The styling is still decidedly European, and the tech features of the fabric itself are still super advanced. Testers also loved the wide-yet-secure waistband. -Karli Foster, former collegiate runner and age-group triathlete

Nathan Stealth Jacket


Who this is for: Triathletes who run out in unpredictable weather but don’t want to be burdened by a pack for extra gear

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: This is literally one of those you-might-not-need-it-until-you-need-it items that pretty much every runner and triathlete should have. Because running is typically a pretty high-output activity, it doesn’t make sense that you’d want a heavy running jacket in the shoulder seasons (or if you live in a mild climate year round), but there’s something to be said for a lightweight windbreaker that can help keep body heat in and wind and elements out. The Stealth jacket is not only surprisingly priced, but this crazy packable jacket is somehow windproof, has a DWR coating, and still sounds perfectly silent as you run. It’s the holy grail of running jackets: a piece of outerwear that doesn’t make that annoying “swish” sound. Even if your giftee doesn’t end up needing this for every run, the novelty of such a lightweight jacket that basically takes up no space (yes, you could put it in a pair of shorts’ pocket, it’s that small) but still boasts features like a ventilated back and ninja sleeves is pretty incredible. –CF

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Best Gifts For Triathletes: Train



Who this is for: Triathletes who want virtual cycling options, but also want training advice in swimming, biking, running, strength, and the mental side of multisport

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: Indoor cycling platforms are all the rage right now—just check out our guide to nine different options that triathletes have available. There’s Zwift with its expansive community and gamified virtual world and there’s TrainerRoad’s mind-boggling library of workouts, but in terms of the latest-and-greatest, Wahoo’s big rebrand of the Sufferfest platform is the most complete. Not only does it have a library of workouts, virtual rides, and visuals on strength training moves, but it also has a comprehensive training plan section that coordinates with FTP zones for precise workouts and targets. If you know a triathlete looking to move past the basic online training plan, this does it all. –CF

RELATED: We Review Sufferfest’s New Replacement, Wahoo SYSTM

Outside+ Membership


Who this is for: The triathlete who’s also interested in the outdoors, running, biking, yoga, skiing, or hiking

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: OK, yes, we’re biased: a Triathlete membership is a great gift for anyone. (And, if you’re a USAT member you get a membership to Triathlete for free.) But, upgrading to an Outside+ account makes an even better gift for the outdoors or multisport athlete. You’ll get access to all our content, plus all the content on all of our sister sites—Outside, Backpacker, VeloNews, Yoga Journal, and more . You get training plans on Today’s Plan (customizable to your goals) and online courses, like our 10 Weeks to Your Best 70.3 course or yoga courses from Yoga Journal and meal plans from Better Nutrition. You also get an additional magazine subscription—in addition to Triathlete, access to Gaia GPS and Trailforks, discounts on events on TriReg or AthleteReg, discounts on gear, and (and we know this is a big one for triathletes) a free FinisherPix photo package every year. Basically, everything a triathlete needs. A annual membership is also on sale right now—and you can give it as a gift to your favorite athlete. – Kelly O’Mara, editor-in-chief

Core Body Temperature Monitor


Who this is for: Triathletes who anticipate either training daily in extremely warm conditions or who are focusing on a race in a hot place

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: If you’re either training or racing in a place with high temperatures, it’s important that you add another dimension to your training portfolio: heat. Core is the only accurate (and practical) way to get wireless body temperature readings that you can use in real time to make adjustments to your training or racing. The ANT+ and Bluetooth-compatible device can either be stuck (using adhesive) or worn on the body with a heart-rate monitor strap and works with an iOS, Android, or Garmin device. Not only can you tell if you’re getting close to blowing up, heat wise, but you can also use Core’s protocols to do heat acclimatization workouts in order to prepare for hot events. If your giftee races in the heat or has tendencies to overheat, this little device will be a game changer. -CF

RELATED: Reviewed: Core Body Temperature Monitor

Rinsekit Pro


Who this is for: Triathletes who get in the open water or who want to rinse off after a race or messy trail run session

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: We work out a lot, and typically that means we’re often a big, sweaty mess. And some of us do a lot of open-water swimming, sometimes in areas that don’t have access to public showers. Either way, there’s nothing like that fresh feeling of getting into your car, knowing you haven’t dragged the trail or the sea in along with you. Rinsekit’s latest version of the portable shower is about the size of a small suitcase, fills from any water source (it doesn’t have to be pressurized, like a hose), and works with a small electric, rechargeable motor to dispense 3.5 gallons of pressurized water (around six minutes of shower time, depending on the spray pattern). Not only does it provide you with a refreshing spray, but the latest version also allows for charging external devices on the go. –CF

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Best Gifts For Triathletes: Recover

Muscle Rehab Bath Bombs


Who this is for: The triathlete who needs to recover (that’s all of us), but doesn’t typically take the time to actually rest (probably most of us)

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: This may be the least tech-y gift on the list by far, but it’s also one that could be the most valuable. Triathletes are OK at recovery—using rollers and percussive devices, and other gadgets—but too often we skip over the “completely passive recovery” for the “(hyper)active recovery.” These bath bombs use a combination of essential oils, epsom salt, and arnica extract to create a soothing stew to rest those weary bones and actually forces triathletes to stop…triathlete-ing…long enough to get some downtime. Other calming and soothing ingredients in Muscle Rehab’s bath bombs include eucalyptus, sage, and vetiver to create a spa-like scent and therapeutic experience. –CF

Roll R8+


Who this is for: Anyone looking to maximize their at-home or on-the-go recovery options

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: This deep tissue massage gadget is perfect for the triathlete who is always looking to squeeze (quite literally) just that little bit extra out of their recovery time. The adjustable dial allows you to increase or decrease the force, so you can tailor your self-massage to your comfort level and needs—and really it takes the hard work out of foam rolling. Great on quads, hamstrings, and calves, but can be a little too much on tight IT bands. Compact and lightweight, you can pack it easily for travel or simply add it to your at-home recovery arsenal. -Emma-Kate Lidbury, managing editor

Hyperice Hypervolt 2


Who this is for: Any triathletes who like to really dig into their own personal bodywork without tons of noise or guesswork

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: Pretty much every triathlete needs some type of muscular massage, and percussive massagers are not only an effective option, but they’re a lot cheaper than physical therapy or massage from a massage therapist. Hyperice has been known as one of the quietest percussive massagers on the market—an incredibly important designation if you’ve ever tried to use one while watching TV, near other people, or with thin walls. The latest version of their Hypervolt is lighter, more ergonomic, and has Bluetooth connectivity to help guide not only how you use the device, but also controls it across pre programmed routines. If you’ve been waiting on percussive devices to get better and less expensive, now is the time to jump in. -CF

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Best Gifts For Triathletes: Fun Under $75

Janji Multipass Sling Bag


Who this is for: Triathletes who like to run with an extra layer or a phone and/or triathletes who like to ride with just a little more than a jersey pocket can handle

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: Even though it’s pretty unconventional looking, this fanny pack/small side-slung backpack is actually pretty ingenious. Rarely do triathletes need to run with a full hydration pack, but more often than not, we need to carry a little more than what we can fit in our hands. Rather than have a floppy hydration pack that covers our backs in sweat, this small, 2-liter pack sits securely across your back with a stabilization strap that keeps it from spinning, shifting, or bouncing. The best part is that the main, water-resistent compartment can easily be slung around from back to front to grab things on the go, without stopping to remove the bag, and a host of bungees help keep everything where it should be. Pair this with a small soft flask (which fits easily), and you’re all set for even the longest training runs. –CF

Velo Canteen Coffee Bottle


Who this is for: Bike commuters who like to take their coffee to go, early-bird swimmers

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: This is one of those gifts you buy because you’re paying attention to the person who receives it. Maybe you’ve noticed your training buddy likes to have something warm to drink on the pool deck before early-morning Masters swim, or perhaps you’ve noticed your colleague likes to swing through Starbucks in the middle of the bike commute. Or maybe your coffee-ride buddies joke they wish they could take their cappuccino to go—if only a coffee cup could fit in the bottle cage on your bike! This very niche, yet very cool product, checks a lot of boxes. The stainless steel bottle does indeed fit in a standard bottle cage, and two lid options—one sealed for transport, one with a flip top for sipping—make this a versatile way to carry your cup ‘o joe everywhere. –Susan Lacke, digital editor

Zoot Transition Poncho


Who this is for: Anyone who needs to change into (or out of) their workout clothing out in public

Why it’s a great triathlete gift: Triathletes (obviously) work out a ton, and when you train that much, you often end up changing in places where there isn’t an appropriate spot. Enter the transition poncho. This super-soft, super-absorbent, poncho is made of a warm towel material, has two super-wide arms, a hood, and a dress-like cut so you can slip into or out of your clothes without the need for a changing area. This is great for post open-water swims, before or after a race, or really any time you need to make like Superman and go from Clark Kent to the man (or woman) of steel. Even if you’re not using the poncho to change (though you should), it also doubles as a super-warm layer to throw on before or after a chilly workout or race. –CF

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