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What Our Editors Used and Loved in July

Win one of our editors' favorites.

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

Every month our editors and staff spend hours and hours doing triathlon type things. We test the newest gear—but we also spend a lot of time in our old favorites. And we all spend our free time on our own swim-bike-run adventures too. So we know what we like, what works, and what definitely doesn’t. Each month, we share our favorite things getting us through the tri-life right now and Triathlete members can enter to win one of editors’ picks.

This month, members can enter to win a Katadyn filter water bottleEnter by Aug. 15 and check back next month for new picks.

Katadyn BeFree

You know you’ve signed yourself up for some epic adventures when you realize you’re not going to be able to carry enough water for the duration of your antics. Enter the Katadyn BeFree, which is possibly one of the coolest outdoors inventions I’ve enjoyed using. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a collapsible water bottle that doubles as a water filter, removing any bugs and bacteria. You simply take the cap off and fill it up from a stream, river, or lake, put the cap back on (which contains the filter), and voila, you’ve got yourself some drinking water. Granted, I was definitely a little nervous the first time I used it, but when you’re 15 miles into a 25-mile run and this is your only shot at some H2O, you realize you’ve got to trust the science. Trust it, I did. And despite thinking “ooh, will it really work?” I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, yes, it does really work and 99% of the time the water tastes a whole lot better than anything you get out of the tap. It folds up neatly so it’s easy to stow away and weighs in at just over two ounces, so you’ll barely notice you’re carrying it. A must-have item for anyone heading out on longer expeditions and adventures.

– Emma-Kate Lidbury, managing editor

Members can win one of these water bottles by entering here.

Endurance Shield Sunscreen

So it’s July, and the sun has gone from hot to hotter to straight-up abusive. Here in Southern California, you can get sunburned just walking from your house to the car, so I’ve been laying on the sunscreen thick, literally. From what I can tell sunscreen falls into two main categories: First, the kind that protects you from everything and won’t leech carcinogens into your skin, but also makes you look like a one-color art project; or the other kind that blends in great, protects OK, but is just a month or two from a total product recall, due to horrifying chemicals. Me? I’d almost rather look like frosty the snowman, all covered in pasty white—rather than put radioactive compounds on my skin.

But it’s fortunate that I’ve gotten my hands on a sunscreen created by two former triathletes, Jarrod Shoemaker and Alicia Kaye, that feels good, smells good, and isn’t packed with more chemicals than an oil refinery. It goes on quickly, rubs in easily, and smells like a fancy spa. I look forward to putting it on, so I’m more likely to remember it, so I wear it more often. And of course it works. The only (slight) downside is that it’s not cheap, and as a by-product of it smelling and feeling so nice, I actually go through it much faster than the paste-in-a-tube. But I guess that’s the point of sunscreen—to wear it, right?

– Chris Foster, executive editor

TRX & kettlebells

I’ll be honest: The only thing related to triathlon I’ve been loving lately is watching the Olympics. Since finishing Ironman Coeur d’Alene in one billion degrees at the end of June, I’ve been very unmotivated. I was tired going in and more tired coming out. Add in life, buying a house, moving, and work, and you know how it goes—all of a sudden it’s been weeks since you did any real working out. There are a few things I always tap into to get myself moving again (because I like them, they’re fun, and they kickstart the mojo): track practice, Masters swim workouts, or (my all-time go-to) throwing heavy stuff around a gym.

Normally, when I’m dragging my feet this much I’d make my semi-annual appearance at the local Crossfit gym. But the challenge with Crossfit is how much the coaches vary. Since my favorite coach’s gym shut down during the pandemic and he does a virtual run training program now, I’ve had to resort more to my back-up: at-home gym circuits. You only need three things for endless workouts: a TRX, a box, and a slightly heavy kettlebell. The TRX, in my opinion, should be a staple of any triathlete’s at-home strength work. (Yes, you can make your own if you’re cheap.) The benefits of plyometrics are pretty well-established—and box jumps are my standard for explosiveness. And, there are endless things you can do with a kettlebell. I make up circuits and repeat. If you need a kick-in-the-pants, remember-how-to-do-this, highlight-your-weaknesses, and get-moving-again workout, then I highly recommend.

– Kelly O’Mara, editor-in-chief

Don’t forget: Triathlete members can win one of our editors’ favorite things.