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What We’re Loving This Week: Gaiters, Garmins, Socks, and A Waterproof Bike Adventure Pack

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

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Here at Triathlete, we’re part of Pocket Outdoor Media, and the staff here—which includes the team at VeloNews, Women’s Running, PodiumRunner, and more—is constantly out testing gear, exploring new routes, trying workouts, and just plain living the lifestyle. So every week there are things we’re loving in our regular triathlon lives (and things we’re hating). This week, our writers and editors are getting out on the trails and dirty and we even commissioned our friends at VeloNews to geek out over their favorite fitness tracker. Here’s what we’re using IRL right now.

Dirty Girl Gaiters

I’ve been enjoying long trail runs with a focus on the view more than the pace. My favorite trail accessory was a gift from my mom a couple years ago: Dirty Girl Gaiters—super brightly colored lightweight trail running gaiters to keep the rocks and sand on the outside of my shoes. (Turns out they work for guys too.) Mine are bright red flame patterned and they make me smile whenever I put them on. That’s a good way to start a trail run.

– Ben Collins, contributor

Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire

My Garmin Fenix 6 is on my wrist all of the time (even while sleeping) to track my training and recovery. With default apps and metrics for swim-bike-run, as well as nearly four dozen other types of activities like yoga and rowing, it’s been my best, most consistent—and most honest—training partner. The optical heart rate measurement allowed me to go without a chest strap when racing (remember that?) and training, but I still don one on occasion for the most accurate measurement. Since I’m a data geek, I really like that all my data is uploaded in the background to Strava, through Garmin Connect, and is waiting for me when I was ready to view it. Although this Garmin wearable is without a photovoltaic charger (a transparent solar panel!) on the crystal like the models recently introduced, the battery life is still amazing: I went more than three weeks between charges when used conservatively, and for more than two weeks under normal use.

– Greg Kaplan, digital editor at VeloNews

Swiftwick Aspire Zero Socks

These have been my go-to socks for some epic hikes and runs this past week or so—and they’ve continued to impress me: super comfortable, breathable, quick-drying (even after you encounter the odd water crossing or two), and zero blisters. They have a slightly compressive fit, but comfortably so, and come in some funky colors, including Lagoon Blue and the popping Fuschia. If you’re someone who prefers more of a cuff, then they’re also available with one-, two-, four- or seven-inch cuffs—and I must admit, I’m a fan of the four- and seven-inch options for cycling. I know it’s hard to get excited about socks sometimes (most of the time?!), but these have earned their place in my Ultimate Sock Drawer.

– Emma-Kate Lidbury, managing editor

Rapha Waterproof Rear Pack

While this may look like a piece of gravel/bikepacking gear, it actually serves triathletes super well. If you’re riding to run or to swim during right now, you know it’s annoying to carry everything in a backpack and then even tougher to find a spot to secure that bag while you head out on your swim or run. The beauty of this giant 15L waterproof rear seat pack is that it doesn’t require any special hardware (but you can’t have rear hydration, of course); it fits stuff like shoes, a wetsuit, etc., all very easily; and it innocuously stays put while you’re gone. I’ve been using this to store stuff when I swim at the beach, run on the trails, and even when doing my own DIY tri.

– Chris Foster, senior editor