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What We’re Loving: Child Carriers, Pull Buoys, and $600 Watches

Our favorite triathlon-related things—old, new, and random—right now.

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Here at Triathlete, we’re part of a much larger outdoor lifestyle company, Pocket Outdoor Media, and recently Pocket also acquired three divisions of Active Interest Media, which includes publications like Backpacker, Yoga Journal, and SKI. That means our staff and editors and colleagues cover a wide spectrum of outdoors sports now—and we all spend a lot of time doing outdoors and triathlon-related things. So this week, we asked our colleagues at Backpacker to share what they’re loving right now too—since so many of us are heading out into the woods these days.

Early Morning Workouts

I’ve been loving getting up super early, at like 4:30 a.m. and driving to beautiful Pine Valley, which is up at 4,000 feet. During a three-hour ride I’ll see maybe five cars total and there is not one stop sign. Empty pristine roads, and it’s just me and my bike surrounded by nothing but nature. Then it’s back to beautiful Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach, where the ocean has been 70 degrees for a huge chunk of the summer. By 9 a.m., I’ve already had the best day ever!

– Bob Babbitt, contributing writer

Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite

My one-year-old son goes almost everywhere with me these days, and the Kelty Journey PerfectFit Elite has gone a long way towards getting us on the trail together regularly. It’s padded and supportive (really important when your day-hiking gear includes a 25-pound toddler) and includes stirrups to keep him comfortable on long hauls in the mountains. In addition to the zippered gear pouch, which usually holds snacks, our first-aid kit, and a couple of emergency toys, a wipe-clean zippered pocket helps keep dirty diapers out of sight. My favorite feature is the aluminum kickstand, which lets me set the pack on the ground and get my son situated without another person’s help. We’ve been putting it to good use: Last weekend, we beat the heat in Colorado’s Indian Peaks by trekking up a forest road to a broad open meadow, where we basked in the views and he taste-tested the local rocks. It was pure summer paradise.

– Adam Roy, senior digital editor, Backpacker

Eney Buoy

It’s no secret that triathletes love their pull buoys—it’s probably our go-to item in our swim bag—but in my opinion not all pull buoys are created equal. There are the “regular” foam ones and then there’s the Eney Buoy, which is made from two plastic chambers that can be filled with water to adjust their buoyancy. Designed by open-water swim champ Eney Jones here in Boulder, Colorado, they have become increasingly popular over the past few years as triathletes use them to help build swim power, strength, and speed. When I was swim training “properly” I would often use the Eney Buoy with both chambers full of water (spoiler alert: it’s hard, but it makes you strong!), but these days I tend to use it empty. It helps lift your legs and really helps your body position in the water, and after a heavier week of running I’ve found this to be just what I’ve needed in the pool. (For more details on how to incorporate the Eney Buoy into your swim training, check out Triathlon Swimming, the book I co-authored with tri swim coach Gerry Rodrigues.)

– Emma-Kate Lidbury, managing editor

Coros VERTIX

OK, I know it’s probably not that hard to love a $600 watch, but as someone who has actually tried a lot of smartwatches in that price range, this one really stands out. It’s not because it has 100+ sport modes (it has 20), it’s not because it does everything a computer does (it doesn’t even play or control music!), it’s because it does precisely the things I need it to and then it gets out of my way. First, the battery life is truly ridiculous—45 days in smartwatch mode, and I’ve probably gone about a month training almost every day in tough GPS areas, open-water swimming, whatever, without having to even worry about plugging it in. The only downside is I can never find the charging cable because I go so long between charges. It also syncs up perfectly every time to my phone for Bluetooth connections (messages, etc.) and for uploading workouts without any hassle. The data screens are simple and not all-consuming, and the data analysis is robust without driving me insane with detail. This thing also looks like it could take a bomb blast, which encourages me to do more adventurous things—for better or for worse.

– Chris Foster, senior editor