The 2015 Swim/Bike/Run Gear I Use List


It’s that time of year again – the “Swim/Bike/Run Gear I use List!”.  Well, ok, it was that time of year like 8 months ago, but life got in the way.  Thankfully, enough of you kept reminding me each week that eventually I couldn’t hit the snooze button any longer.

Like previous years, most of the items haven’t changed or shifted a ton.  But, I went through and updated everything that has been tweaked.  I suppose I’m kinda simple when it comes to most of my gear.

I’ve divided it up into the three main sports, plus a random section at the end.  Obviously, I don’t use all this gear at the same time.  For example, cold-weather swim booties are reserved for those hideous cold weather triathlons that I’ve succeeded in avoiding in the past year or two.

As anyone will tell you – there’s a lot of gear to be had for triathlon, and there’s unfortunately simply no getting around that.  I’m typically not one to buy the most expensive piece of fashionable stuff – and brands don’t tend to mean a lot to me.  I just buy what works for me.  None of these brands sponsor me or anything here.  It’s just what I’ve bought myself and use day to day.

Note: This is NOT my usual Gadget Recommendations post, that’s different. This is simply the gear I use.



Perhaps the easiest category, simply due to the least amount of stuff on one’s body.  At least most of the time.  I start off with the three basics, and then the drill stuff – and then the open water swimming pieces.

Swimsuit: Nike Team Core Jammer: I know, I do dabble in the shorter square leg ones as well, but this is mostly my go-to suit.
Goggles: Speedo Vanquisher:  For the most part, it’s whatever I haven’t lost recently.  At present, this is what I bought the last time I bought three pairs, down to one left. Goggles are like socks in the dryer around here.
Swim Cap: Random Race Caps – Essentially whatever I pull from the massive Ziploc bag of past race caps.
Pool Swim Watch: Garmin Fenix3– From a slimness standpoint I still prefer the Garmin Swim, but for simplicity in sync via my phone/WiFi, I’ve been using the Fenix3 most of the time.
Drills – Pool buoy: Speedo Pull Buoy – Really, it’s a pull buoy, just ensure it’s big enough to fit.
Drills – Swimmer Snorkel: FINIS Swimmer’s Snorkel – This is useful for balance drills primarily, allowing me to focus on position (looking at hands, etc…) without having to come up for air
Drills – Paddles: TYR Mentor Hand Paddles – Various drills.
Drills – Fins: TYR Split Fins –  Note these are longer fins, primarily used for balance drills and not at all used for extensive propulsion.
Openwater – Wetsuit: Blueseventy Helix – Though, my only complaint is that I don’t like as much the zip-down wetsuits (to close), because I find them a pain to get closed up when solo (compared to traditional zip-up to close).
Openwater – Booties: Blueseventy Swim Socks – For 60°F and below water, I use these booties to keep my toes warm.
Openwater – Swim Cap: Bluesventy Skull cap – Again, for super-cold water (looking at you, Boise 70.3), I use this swim cap – but I cut off the annoying chin strap (most people do).
Openwater – Anti-chaff: BodyGlide – To prevent any wrong rubbing of the wetsuit near my neck.  Works well, every triathlete should have it in their swim bag.
Openwater – Visibility Buoy: Safer Swimmer – When swimming in openwater by myself, I use this to be seen by boats and the like, for example, during these swims.  I take this all around the world with me on virtually all my openwater swims.
Swim bag: Just one of those generic purse-string type swim bags you get at most races these days.
Openwater Swim Watch: Garmin Fenix3 – There’s really only a handful of options here, but I’ve mostly been using the Fenix3 lately.  I’ll sometimes use the FR920XT, really just depends on what I have in my bag.

Invariably, a strictly pool swimmer will say that’s a lot of gear – but if you divide it up (normal, drills, openwater), it’s really not that much stuff…especially compared to cycling.  Plus, swimming in the overcrowded pools of Paris, I rarely do drills anymore with pool toys, just no way to have any real technical work there.

Blueseventy Helix Wetsuit
$800 (I have an older/cheaper model)
Blueseventy Skull Cap
Blueseventy Swim Socks
FINIS Swimmer's Snorkel
Garmin Fenix3
Nike Team Core Jammer
Openwater Swim Buoy
Always openwater swim with a swim buoy. Always. First, it makes it so boats see me. Second, it provides a place to stash my phone/keys/clothes and even sandles. No, you don't feel it behind you. Works great!
Speedo Pull Buoy
Speedo Vanquisher Swim Goggle
TYR Mentor Hand Paddles
TYR Split Fins



Triathlon Bike: Cervelo P3C – This just happened to be the bike that fit me best.  I use all the stock components, minus adding Shimano Di2 shifting last summer (purely for product testing/compatibility – I wouldn’t otherwise bother).
Road Bike #1: Giant Defy Advanced – Ok, this category grew a bit this year, mostly because I’ve been testing so many power meters it was getting tough to keep swapping them around. Also, I really wouldn’t over-think either of my road bike choices. Seriously, I walked into a local bike shop at 6PM in Vegas the night before Interbike and this was the bike that fit my requirements for what I needed that week.  I got a good deal on it, and kept it.  Do enjoy it though.
Road Bike #2: Trek 1.2 – This was very similar to the other road bike. I got a sweet deal from a local bike shop on it, as I needed a road bike for various products that weren’t tri-bike friendly.  I ride this bike somewhat rarely, especially now with the other road bike.
The Commuter Bike: Trek Belleville: Here’s the whole backstory on that bicycle.  Though, I could also probably put the Paris Velib bike in this category too, I ride that more often actually.
Power Meter: Garmin Vector pedals & PowerTap G3: I actually own a lot of power meters, but these are the two that are on my bike pretty much all the time (I have two sets of each).  But I also have a Quarq Riken and Stages too. Ultimately, I’ve got a lot of power meters – so this category is somewhat dictated by what product I need on my bike to compliment whatever I’m actually testing (as a baseline/comparison).
Race Wheels: PowerTap G3 Carbon 46mm Wheelset: I’ve been riding variants of these for a while.  I also still own a pair of HED 3’s Tubular.  And, should I veer back to long-course racing, I suspect the HED’s would have better aerodynamics, but for the shorter-course stuff, I’m more than happy with the integrated PowerTap wheelset.
Bike Pedals: Garmin Vector Pedals – Though, if testing something else I’ll just use generic/cheap pedals.
Water bottle cages: Elite Custom Race Cages – Honestly, I’ve tried a number of them, and my only goal in life is that they don’t pop bottles, nor snap easily.  These ones mostly work (for my triathlon bike primarily).
Rear rack system: Beaker Concepts Hydrotail H.5 – This is to mount said water bottle cages on, as well as where I place my CO2 Kit.
Front hydration system: At present, I’m not using any – and am just doing the bottle thing.
CO2 Kit: This little kit from Performance fits right into my rack system so perfectly you’d thought they were made for each other.
Regular Helmet:  Giro Aeon (Matte Black)Nice and light, love it.  Though I know there are far lighter ones, I’m simple and this works.
Aero Helmet: Giro Advantage 2 Helmet – Some of the newer helmets have better ventilation designs – so I probably wouldn’t choose this particular model again.
Bike jerseys: It’s really whatever’s around.  No particular brand, plenty from races/events/cities that I select from.
Bike shorts/bib: Louis Garneau Pro Bib Shorts – I love this bib, but I only have one pair from them.  So I also mix in some random bike shorts that I picked up, including the old school Garmin-Chipotle ones with a big chili on the back that says ‘Hot’…on my ass.  Last month I also picked up a Pearl Izumi Elite Bib that I’m already loving as well.
Bike Shoes #1: Shimano SH-TR31 Triathlon Shoes – These have served me well over the years.  Not as pretty as new shoes, but, they keep on ticking.  I have the slightly older model of these.
Bike Shoes #2: Louis Garneau Men’s Tri X-Speed Triathlon Cycling Shoes – I recently got these back in April during one of my trips to the US. The store had them on sale and thus far I quite like them.
Cold Weather Long Sleeve Jersey: Pearl Izumi Long Sleeve Jersey: This is for in-between days.
Cold Weather Bike Top: Gore Men’s Contest SO Jacket – I layer this over a long sleeve bike jersey.
Cold Weather Bike Tights: Gore Bike Wear Vista Tights – These work well, and are windproof and reasonably water-resistant – which is sorta the basic requirement for me.
Bike Case: Aerus Biospeed Bike Case – Here’s a bit more in-detail on the case, and how I use it while travelling.  Unfortunately, the Biospeed model isn’t made anymore, but, a new case that appears to be exactly the same is now out (links in that post).
Bike Trainer: Wahoo Fitness KICKR: This is the trainer that I’d ride if it were my choice anyway.  Currently The Girl has pushed forward an “Occupy KICKR” movement that has left me back on the CompuTrainer.  Though, that’s also in part because the CompuTrainer gives me a bit more flexibility when doing power meter testing (since I don’t have to remove the back wheel, allowing me to keep the PowerTap on there too).  If you’re buying a trainer, look at my 2014-2015 trainer recommendations guide.
Bike Computer/GPS: Garmin Edge 810/Edge 1000: Most of the time I’m using the Edge 810, but I occasionally use the Edge 1000. Though, I deeply love the massive sensor pool on the Edge 1000 due to all the products I’m swapping around and testing.  I seriously wish that concept would be available on the Edge 510/810 (like it is on the FR920XT).  Or, I just wish I could get a nice small Edge 500-sized unit that supported all of the advanced aspects that the Edge 1000 does…minus maps.
Speed/Cadence Sensor: Wahoo BlueSCv2– This quick-release version pops on and off the bike in two seconds, making it awesome for moving between bikes should you need to.  Plus, it does dual ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart.  I also use both the Garmin magnetless ones too on my road bikes, because they’re simple to attach.
Heart Rate Strap: Scosche Rhythm+ Optical HR band – Love love love this strap. It’s what I use when I’m not stuck using something else for product testing. Plus, it’s dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, so works with anything.
Garmin Mount: Barfly TT mount – for my triathlon bike. I love that I can swap between the Forerunner’s and the Edge units without a screwdriver. Oh, and I use a heck of a lot of the standard rubber band mounts from Garmin for all the other bikes.

I should mention that I rarely wear arm warmers, and they are just a pair that I picked up at some random demo day somewhere.  In my little mind, if it’s cold enough for arm warmers, it’s cold enough for a long sleeve jersey.  And vice versa.

Aerus Biospeed Bike Case
Barfly Tate Labs Timetrial/Triathlon Bike Mount
Beaker Concepts Hydrotail H.5
Cervelo P3C Triathlon Bike
Elite Custom Race Water Bottle Cage
Garmin Edge 1000
Garmin Edge 810
Garmin Vector
Giro Advantage 2 Aero Helmet
Giro Aeon Road Bike Helmet
Gore Bike Wear Vista Tights
Gore Men’s Contest SO Jacket
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Aside from my running gloves, this is probably the oldest piece of gear I have - from perhaps 2008-2009 I think. Still works fine-ish.
Hed 3 Tubular Wheels
Innovations CO2 Kit
Louis Garneau Men's Tri X-Speed Triathlon Cycling Shoes
Louis Garneau Pro Bib Shorts
Pearl Izumi Elite Bib
Pearl Izumi Long Sleeve Jersey
PowerTap G3 ANT+ Power Meter (Hub)
$790 (hub only)
Scosche RHYTHM+
Shimano SH-TR31 Triathlon Shoes
Trek 1.2 Road Bike
Trek Belleville Commuter Bike
Wahoo Blue SCv2 - Bluetooth Smart/ANT+ Speed/Cadence Sensor
Wahoo Fitness KICKR V1/2013



Running Shoes: Asics Gel-DS Trainer 19: I switched this up again this year from the 17 to the 19, just a minor change over the previous version.
Running T-Shirt: Whatever technical t-shirt I grab out of the massive drawer of dozens of them.  If you don’t have any running t-shirts, you’re not doing enough races. ;)
Running Shorts: Nike Dri-FIT running shorts: I pick these up at the Nike outlet stores when I go, but they last forever.  I haven’t bought new pairs in 4-5 years.  I’m sure at some point they’ll die…but today is not that point.
Running Socks: Balega – No questions, these socks…forever.  So soft, just love them.  I’ve never had blisters with them.  Ever.
Running Watch: Garmin Fenix3: I had been using the FR620 for a long while, but I find I use the Fenix3 more and more and I haven’t used the FR620 since last fall sometime as a result.  For the activities that I do, I’m pretty happy with the tracks/accuracy I get.  When indoors I connect it to a standard Garmin ANT+ footpod for accurate pace/distance (currently I have the Suunto ANT+ pod, but any of them will do, whatever is cheapest that day).
Long Run Hydration: CamelBak Marathoner – I switched this up this year because I wanted more pockets to carry gear on my long runs.  I use this to hold all that and enough water for all but the very hottest and longest training runs (22 miles), and even then – I can usually refill along the way around mile 18 or so.
Place to stick stuff on runs: Spibelt – Most runs, I don’t bother with anything.  But for some random runs while travelling, this works as a great place to stick house/car keys, credit cards, or even gels.  I’ve tried a few brands, this one just works the best for me.
Cold Weather Running Top: Quarter-Zip North Face fleece (can’t find it anymore).  Sometimes I’ll layer it on top of a long-sleeve technical shirt from a running race.  In general though, you’re pretty much set for any DC or Paris weather with that combo.  You don’t need to bulk up too much as you’ll get warm pretty easily.  Here’s a post on all my cold weather running thoughts.
Cold Weather Running Tights: Sugoi Midzero tights – These are my favorite.  I’ve only got one pair, and use them religiously in cold weather (below about 42°F).
Cold Weather Running Gloves: $1.00 race expo gloves – That’s it.  It’s easy.  I almost never throw them away, I feel guilty.  So I use a few rotating pairs, all from expos – some even free!  I’ve got a pair of no-brand mittens that I toss on if the weather is super-cold, but like running tops in cold weather, you’d be surprised what your body is fine with once it’s up to speed.  All you folks in Minnesota though shouldn’t adhere to this section.  Just go to the Artic section of REI instead.
Ice Running: Yaktrax – There’s no better way to run on compact snow and ice, albeit not much of that in Paris (I did use them about three times last year though).  Deeper snow though, not as useful/necessary.

Asics Gel-DS Trainer 19
Balega Comfort socks
I've used these socks for at least 10-12 years now. I mean, not the same pair, but new pairs. Love them, won't change ever. Probably.
CamelBak MarathonerI've used this for a decade as well (seems to be the general theme here). Albeit, I did have to buy some random Decathlon one recently for a trip when I forgot this one. Either way, they no longer make the Marathoner, but the linked one is near identical.
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)
Garmin Fenix3
Nike Dri-FIT running shorts
Sugoi MidZero Tights



Here’s a few random things that didn’t fit above.

Bike/Run Nutrition: PowerBar Energy Blasts – I continue to import into France these little things for my nutrition.  I was thinking last night that I like that if I don’t finish a packet I just wrap it up and save it for later  But, I’m kinda finicky when it comes to nutrition.  I move around a lot as my body tends to get sick of things easily, especially on race day.  Btw, I like the Strawberry & Raspberry ones, The Girl likes Cola.  I tolerate Lemon.
Training/Racing Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25 – I use this for taking many of the swim/bike/run photos you see here showing day to day training.  I almost never stop to take a photo, so everything is taken…well…on the run.  It’s waterproof and can go down fairly deep depth wise.  For all my other photography stuffs, see my photography page.  I recently replaced my older camera of sibling-like model back in December after I think about 5-6 years of use. So the lineup is a trooper!
Training/Racing Video Camera: GoPro Hero4 Silver –  I had been mixing and matching between the Hero4 Black and the Garmin VIRB, but at this point I’ve settled on the Hero4 Silver as the camera I use most often and take with me most often on trips. I like the balance between battery life, the back screen/display, and the ability to go to 2.7K when I want to. Plus, it’s tiny and there’s a ton of mounts that I can easily use with it.
GoPro Gear I Use: 3-Way Grip/Arm/Pole – Flippin’ love this thing. It acts as part-selfie-stick, part tripod/stand.  Super flexible. Virtually all of the shots you see me take lower on the bike are from this. It’s just so versatile though with the way it morphs into different positions/functions.
GoPro Gear I Use: Feiyu Tech G4 Gimbal – I recently started using this about a month ago as it allows me to get beautifully smooth shots (videos) while running and cycling (and any other sport). It now goes on all my trips with me.
GoPro Gear I Use: K-Edge Mounts – I think I’ve bought 6-8 of these mounts by now, which are used on all my bikes for any action camera I use. They’re rock-solid and don’t budge (critical for smooth video on a bike).
All Other Photography Gear: Be sure to check out my full photography page, which lists all the cameras I use when I’m not swim/bike/running.
Weight Scale: Withings WiFi Scale and FitBit Aria Scale – I use both, it just depends which bathroom I’m in.  It’s that simple.  You step on it, it wirelessly uploads via WiFi, and you’re done.  No advanced/complex thinking/setup required.
Race belt: FuelBelt GelReady Race Belt –  For races, to put your number on for the bike and run.  It also holds gels, though, not as well as I’d like.  Better just as a race belt for the number than a storage platform.
Triathlon suit: Desoto and Orca: I have two, a blue one-piece from Orca, and a second red one-piece from DeSoto.  Unfortunately, the exact model names have rubbed well off though.  I like them both.  My only recommendation on tri suits is ensure it has at least one, if not three back/side pockets.  Absolutely critical.
Transition Bag: I’ve simply moved to a generic REI backpack, especially with many triathlons having ‘clean’ transition areas these days anyway (i.e. point to point races).  As long as it has places to clip stuff on the sides, you can carry a lot with a little creativity.

Feiyu Tech G4 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal for GoPro Hero4/3+/3
FitBit Aria WiFi Weight Scale
FuelBelt GelReady Race Belt
GoPro 3-Way Grip/Arm/Tripod
GoPro Hero4 Silver
K-Edge Action Cam Mounts
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS25
PowerBar Energy Blasts
Withings WS-50/Smart Body Analyzer WiFi Weight Scale


As you’ve seen, not a lot of changes years past.  The items that changed in 2015 were (appropriately enough) the GPS devices, and then my shoes.  Plus a bike.  Little items here and there.  I tend to be a person that sticks with what works rather than re-invent the wheel.

Obviously that’s a lot of gear, but that’s primarily because you’re training and racing in three different sports.  Actually, it’s sorta like 4-5 sports, with openwater swimming and pool swimming both having different requirements (i.e. wetsuits), plus you have specific gear you’d use in triathlon that you don’t use in road cycling (i.e. bike rear cage/hydration systems).

It should be noted that none of the stuff seen above is stuff that I’m trying out for reviews.  Every single item above I’ve bought and use in my normal day to day training.  Obviously, you see me use gear outside of that in testing – but this is what’s left after you peel the testing and reviewing away.

As always, if you utilize any of the Amazon or Clever Training links – magic happens and you support the blog (and with Clever Training you get 10% off your order with coupon code DCR10BTF, and free US shipping for orders over $75US).  Your support is always appreciated around these parts.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. – Stay tuned for sometime soon when The Girl will update her list as well. (Update: Posted here!)

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  1. Panos

    Any update about that DCR discount for Europe? Thanks!

    • Let me try and get an update for folks. I know they just told me last night that they were about to place the first product orders, so I think we’re only a few weeks away!

      (Finally, I know!)

  2. Robert

    Like it, the completeness of your given info.

    Keep it up, not only usefull, but also a nice read.


  3. Adam

    Hi Ray,
    impressive list it is!
    One question (I ve been checking on previous lists as well and couldnt find it) about glasses? Which one do You wear? for running and for cycling (if different)?

    • I have a pair of Oakley’s. I actually had a different design that was made this decade, but somehow I lost those on some trip last year and haven’t replaced them. :(

      So the Oakley’s I have now are rather unstylish by today’s standards, they’re seen in this pic from Saturday: link to dcrainmaker.com

      I just don’t actually know what the name is. Though, I’m guessing a reader here on DCR can probably tell us. :)

      I do need to order whatever ones I had previously though. :( Sorry!

    • Patrick Myers

      They look like the old Eye Jackets, but those aren’t made any more.

      link to ebay.com

      Closest today would probably be the Oakley Straight Jacket

      link to oakley.com

    • Dave Lusty

      Eye jackets?

    • H M

      love the toptube full of garmins ;-)

    • Turn The Damn Cranks

      If you lose them again, try Tifosi. Dirt cheap — like $60 for a pair that comes with three lenses. I’ve never had a complaint about them.

  4. Runnermax

    Hello Ray,

    thank you for compiling this list!

    I’m currently looking for an openwater wetsuit! in your summary table you list yours at $450 but on both amazone and Clevertraining (following the links you provided), the wetsuit is at ~$800! Is the pricing highly fluctuating, or the webshops are selling a newer version? The $450 version is more in my budget range than the $800 :-)


    • I noticed the same as well a few minutes ago. It appears that when I bought it 2-3 years ago it was much cheaper then. Now it’s nearly twice as much! :(

      I’d never pay $800 for a wetsuit unless it gave me ‘something special’ on the side every time I wore it, holy balls.

  5. lisa p

    software? apps? smartphone for sport? weights? sleepactivity tracker

    • The only web/desktop software that I consistently use is Training Peaks and Strava.

      For phone apps, there’s many that I casually use for various tasks. I’ll have to think of a way to capture that.

      No weights.

      For sleep, I don’t have a specific one that I would say is my favorite. I have many that I test all the time. Probably the closest to sleep tracking that I’ve used for some time is the Withings Aura. I bought it for a product test, and it’s being used only by virtue of the fact I haven’t completed a review, nor removed it – so it’s just sorta there recording every night.

  6. taniwha

    So I guess you’re not running when it rains? ;) Lucky you.

  7. a_circelli

    So Fenix 3 is the best swim and run watch, for you! ( and also tri watch, I suppose…)

  8. Dirk

    i’ve tryed the asics ds 19 too but found them too overpronating and now i have the nimbuss

  9. Joshua

    I recently switched over to balego socks as well and concur they are just fantastic. I have a F3 from CT and an ambit 3 arriving today so I can see which performs better. Once that test is done only one is the keeper, I pray it’s the F3 as everything about it is awesome except for me running thru a few random fields and buildings here and there. Thanks for this post its one of our favorites every year as readers.

    • Dan

      I had the ambit 2 – great watch but one of the most useful features is the vibration alerts which Suunto just don’t use. I don’t recommend the Ambit’s because of this, full stop.

    • Joshua

      Dan, agreed on vibration alerts but while training for a marathon I need accuracy trumping bells and whistles. A wide range of folks happy and sad with the device, I’m hoping the F3 updates in the relatively near future will make it a slam dunk decision, but for now I have to give the A3 a whirl and see how it’s tracks and accuracy otherwise perform.

    • Josh

      Fwiw, ran with A3 and it was returned the same day. Showed me just how perfect the F3 is and it will remain my go to, quite solid tracks last few runs.

  10. David

    You didn’t mention your preferred triathlon watch. The Fenix 3 is your favorite for swimming and running, but does the 920xt still get the nod for triathlon because of the quick release?

    • MartinR

      I am not sure whether this gear list replaces My Winter 2014-2015 Sports Gadget Recommendations
      Anyway, I am still happy with my FR920XT.

    • Dave Lusty

      I just got a Fenix 3 in addition to the 920XT and it’s definitely nicer all around. I certainly couldn’t say specifically why, it does all the tasks the same for the activities (well, Tri ones at least). The menu is a bit slicker, the case is a bit nicer, the screen seems nicer to me (although harder to read swimming).
      I guess I’d say the 920XT is a utility which does what it does in an unobtrusive way but offers nothing fancy while the Fenix adds polish. I still use the 920XT for various things, usually when my arm is tired from the weight of the Fenix metal band and I can’t be arsed changing it for the elastomer one :)

  11. Long Run Nick

    Hi Ray, once again, thanks. Was An Asics DS Trainer guy from version 1 through 17/18. Switched to Hoka One One Cliftons. With over 82,000 road miles run, I find it the best running shoe I have ever had(and going back to 1976, that is a lot of shoes)! Lightest training shoe(7.5 oz) with the most cushioning. I have gotten over 700 miles on a pair and they don’t feel worn out.
    A comment on HRM. Been using the LifeBEAM HRM hat and love it. Never been a hat guy, but my Dermatologist told me run at night or get a hat, otherwise he won’t see me.
    Tested with my 920/HRM Run-spot on. Your review on their bike helmet was enough for me to try. Hat is light, the actual monitor piece is smaller than a postage stamp and the small USB battery is good for around 16-18 hours.
    A comment on the Garmin Vivoactive. I really like it. I find the GPS is tighter than my 920 and previous 620/610/305. Etc. The smart watch stuff works better than my 920.
    Thanks for letting me share

    • I’ve been playing a little bit on and off with the LifeBEAM Hat. Good to hear it’s working out for you!

      For me, so far so good, but most of my runs with it weren’t with other control devices to validate. But it seemed right.

  12. Patricia Didone

    Hi Ray, thanks for the impressive list. Will we be getting the girl’s list as well?

  13. HRM Seeker

    Ray, Is there any device that monitors a swimmer’s heart rate?

    • Ian

      You can sort of use the Wahoo Tickr X – it will record your HR in it’s own memory while you swim, and then you copy the record to the Wahoo Fitness app afterwards; which you can then export.

      I have only tried it under a wetsuit and it worked perfectly – you can double tap your chest to set a lap marker.

      After the swim you have to match it with your swim metrics from your watch – Training Peaks let’s you do that; well at least it should but when I tried (only twice so far) it crashed! However I just wanted to get a feel for my HR in open water and the Tickr X certainly gave that.

    • Jens

      The Polars do, like the v800, but also older models, and the lower cost a300.

    • Janelle

      It’s strictly an HRM, but my Polar FT7 works just fine in the pool. It doesn’t sync to anything, or, at least, I don’t sync it to anything, I think you can buy a different strap which gives you the option. However, it serves the purpose and doesn’t cost an appendage.

  14. Jon Niehof

    Ray, if you ever wind up someplace with real ice/snow, the Kahtoola nanospikes are absolutely the way to go. I got about eighty miles in with them this winter and they absolutely wipe the floor with the YakTrax (which I have used.) I ran to work after an ice storm where everything was perfect glare ice and it felt like I was running on bare pavement. They actually do work well on bare pavement, too, for mixed days…the YakTrax are always kinda squirmy in those conditions.

  15. Ben Smukler

    This is very helpful. Thank you for your continuing great work on this site!
    I’m currently vacillating between the Fenix 3 and the 920XT, having owned the last several iterations of the Forerunner series for years and having tried out both the Fenix 3 and 920XT. The Fenix definitely has the “cool” and “gee whiz” advantage, whereas the 920XT is hands down more comfortable and really just more practical (unless you need and use the navigation features on the Fenix 3, which I don’t). Decisions!
    It’s great that you have an automatic reason to own both, for research purposes :)

  16. Bernie

    I started using the Wahoo BlueSCv2 as well this year, also mostly due to the handy quick strap. A word of caution – it can unknowingly pop off on mtb rides and you can lose it. Happened to me. It is not a real tight fit on my Cannondale F29 chainstay. Fortunately Wahoo was cool about it and is replacing it for free. I will use the zip ties with it on mtbs from now on – lesson learned. Also, did you know that Scosche makes an identical sensor that uses the same rubber band mount and you can get it on Amazon for less than half the price of the Wahoo (like $27 vs. $60). It is BLE-only though and does not have the handy little blue/red sensor LEDs, so I guess it’s more like a v1. I am using these BLE sensors with a CatEye Strada Smart. It’s a great idea if you want to try going Garmin-free, but it’s got it’s issues. CatEye just recently came out with a Pandrone Smart as well. Same thing, just bigger. Did you ever get a chance to review either of these?

    • No, I haven’t looked at the BLE-only sensor. Honestly, buying single-protocal sensors is something I’m mostly avoiding. So to me it’s a pretty substantial difference between the BlueSCv2 and what is basically the BlueSCv1.

    • Bernie

      A good point. I am BLE-only at this point, so the $27 makes more sense to me. The CatEye smart thing is a good idea on paper, but I have a feeling that I may jump on the Garmin train once the next generation of devices hits the streets. I guess I doubt they will abandon their own ANT+ for BLE, but maybe they’ll embrace both and I can salvage my investment in these sensors.

  17. Hi Ray

    For your new sunglasses, I recommend you to get a pair of photochromic ones. I got a sweet deal on some Uvex a month or so ago, and I just love them. Many times I run or ride at dawn or dusk. Before it was a pain (specially with the bike). Now I don’t even know when the glasses are clear or dark, the light is just perfect no matter the weather.

    It’s a whole new world…

  18. Julien

    Completely agree on your comment on the Edge 510 / 810 / 1000
    I loved my 500 but got lost on the wrong side of the mountain – so got the 810 for the mapping.
    The 1000 is way too big.

    However I broke my 810 – I wont get the 1000 but I want to wait for a newer version of the 800 series – do you think they will come out with a new one or just continue with 1000 ?

    • While normal Garmin release cadences would dictate a new Edge 810 replacement this past winter, they’ve gone all firmware-update happy and added almost all of the Edge 1000 features to the Edge 810 over the last 4-6 months. They typically don’t do that when they’re about to release new products.

  19. Tom

    Ray – What’s your view on socks during races? Do you go for the quick sockless transition, use the balegas just on the run or on both bike/run?

    • It depends on the race length. For Oly and under I usually do socks in T2, whereas for Half and over I’ll do it in T1. I’m not a huge running w/o socks fan.

  20. David Carey

    Ray – thanks for sharing all the detail – very helpful! With your switch to the Fenix 3 for running, do you think you’ll change your recommendations for pure running GPS watch away from the FR620?

    • Robert black

      I’m sure he will unless the fr620 is on deep discount. I got the M400 to tide me over till the next top model comes out. Main thing for me is cellphone compatibility and activity tracking. Plus I only want to wear one device all day long that I can program advanced intervals into. For me this rules out every forerunner model and also the vivoactive, which looks horrible imho

    • It’s really tricky right now to be honest. Many road runners wouldn’t want the bulky Fenix3. On the flip side, the FR620 is in a weird spot right now compared to the Vivoactive. Yet, the Vivoactive lacks some of the structured options of the FR620.

      Sorta an awkward time to buy a high-end running only watch.

    • David Carey

      Thanks for the replies gents. I actually like a slightly bulkier watch – wierd I know – and I’m not sold on the Vivoactive at this point. We’ll see what the fall brings.

  21. Tanasut

    Hey Ray – Thx for the list. Bit out of season, but wondering if you ever use waterproof socks for cycling (esp in the Pacific Northwest). Been looking at Gore Gore-tex socks and Sealskinz. Would love to get some feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Cheers.

  22. Robert black

    Well I’ve got the feeling if the F3 had a quick release mount Ray would use it for everything. Me I’m waiting for news of the next top line forerunner? Oh yeah damn nda’s, just have to keep revisiting this great site.

  23. Tim O'Donnell

    Do you use the Garmin Tempe for air temperature with your Fenix 3? I have found the temperature that the Fenix captures out of the box is not the accurate air temperature. With that said, the Tempe I think is off too if it is in direct sunlight..

    • Generally not. I have a bunch of Tempe’s, and do occasionally use them – but mostly for other tests (like tracking air temp during power meter testing, as the WASP will pick it up). But otherwise I don’t track temp too closely for my own training.

      For me, it roughly falls into one of three camps:

      1) @#$@# it’s cold
      2) All good
      3) @#$#@ it’s too hot

    • Long Run Nick

      I have been using the Tempe with my Vivoactive here in Florida. I am kinda impressed. Last Fri ran at 0 dark 30 and the Tempe measured average 56 degrees, which was like winter down here, and coincided with my outside thermometer that morning. I ran succeeding days with the sun out and the temps getting more Florida like, the average temps have been in the mid to high 70’s for an average. It also shoots up like crazy when running in the sun, go figure, huh?
      I love gadgets and for around $30, it is more numbers to crunch and feeds my craving as a senior citizen metro sexual body metrics data running geek.

    • Tim O'Donnell


      That is what happens with me too. The air temp was 72 for a run I had, but my tempe measured an average temp of 84 and a max temp of 95 with it clipped to my shoe.

      I then put it inside my shoe (my nike’s have a spot for them in the sole) and at first the temp looks reasonable but then was going up and down 20 degrees my whole run. Wish I could find an accurate way to measure the temp as I am a metrics geek much like yourself it sounds.


  24. Chris

    Ray, awesome list! I’m looking at the vivoactive, 920, and fenix 3 as an all-in-one watch (with activity tracker) – each have their strengths and weaknesses (leaning vivoactive because i mainly run and swim – and its so small and light). Question: do you also wear the Fenix 3 all day (judging by the pictures – it seems big and heavy, but it does look nice :))? Do you use the activity monitoring/sleep features of the Fenix 3 as well?

  25. Mike B

    Ray, I would be interested to buy one of your unused Power Meters. Looking for a crank w/BB30, if you have a spare to sell.

  26. José

    What mobile are you using for Europe/US/etc? I used to have a Sony Xperia Go ST27i which was great for being in the water and outdoors, but everything now is so much bigger.

  27. YakTrax are nice, but I prefer MICROspikes: They cost a bit more, but are much more durable, and you can run up and down icy trails :-)

    • Mike

      I’m with Eric 100%. For icy conditions, especially on trails/soft surfaces, the only way to go is Kahtoola MICROspikes. There is a significant group of runners up here in Wisconsin that absolutely swear by them. Best winter running investment I’ve made in years.

    • MattB

      I have these (in the UK), and they are great on icy trails, especially if it’s not complete ice cover, as they work reasonably on grit/tramac also. However they aren’t great in fresh soft snow, as they tend to accumulate MASSIVE compressed snow blocks under your feet (as in 6-8 inches!), which is pretty grim.

  28. Sven

    Ray, what bike case do you use? Have been considering the Scicon Aero TT but still struggling with soft vs hard case as it relates to protection. Any views? Reviews?

  29. Peter Felix

    Out of interest when was that photo of you taken Ray?

    Continue to enjoy your site Ray – recently bought my first turbo trainer based on your review and recommendations.



  30. Do you think you should update the post pic to a current picture of you and the bike? You have different wheels and stuff now. Not to mention you live in a different country now.

    • Actually, I still have the wheels (as noted in the wheels section, albeit I don’t use them as often). But I probably should get around to an updated pic. Maybe when I take updated pics of The Girl this weekend for her section I’ll get her to take some then.

  31. Jeff

    Ray – when do you think Garmin will upgrade the 620? I’m ready to buy a new one but fear the F3 is too bulky; I wish the F3 were thinner because it looks great.

    • Garmin has often been on a 2-year cycle for most products (though every once in a while they wander from that). In theory that’d put it on schedule for this fall.

  32. Will

    Hi Ray – great post – any update on the Edge 1000? In your review there were a number of bugs that seemed like deal breakers – have these been resolved? Can you update the bugs section of the Edge 1000?

  33. Sebastien

    Just curious about the nutrition – any vitamins/minerals? what about recovery drinks/proteins shakes?

    • Nothing there. I like chocolate however.

    • Long Run Nick

      Check out Endurox R4. I have been using it for many years. It works. Hint: instead of using a full cup(included)of Endurox use about 1/3 of the cup for 12 oz of water. Works as well, tastes better, and lasts longer.

  34. Oliver Medina

    Hi, Ray,
    I noticed you use Finis Swimmer’s Snorkel. Have you tried Finis freestyle snorkel? What are your thoughts on Swimmer’s vs Freestyle snorkel??
    Thanks and keep up the good work on the site.

  35. I’m happy to see you’re using the Garmin Vector pedals regularly, as I finally decided to buy them last year after reading your reviews. It was a tough decision as I have a friend who just thought they were horrible, but I’m really happy with them. Always nice to see the expert using the same thing.

  36. EDJ

    Ray, when you know what model Oakley frame you want, the color and lens type/color, let me know, I will use my employee discount and get them for you 50% off. Happy to payback for all the stuff you’ve shared and advised me with through your blog all these years.

  37. B

    Ray I wanna be just like you!

    What underwear do you use? Or do i have to ask The Girl that question?

  38. Pablo

    Hi Ray I’m looking for a recommendation on a bike computer. I currently have a Fenix 2 and a Powertap G3. I use the Fenix for recoding all the data but its not easy to look at it while riding. So I basically need a 2nd screen. What would be the cheapest option to see watts, cadence, speed and HR?


    PS: your short url from twitter to this post is not working

    • Hi Pablo-

      Thanks for the heads up on the shortener, should be good to go again now. Sorry!

      As for chapeast 2nd screen option it’s the Bontrager Node 2 – about $80.


  39. Doug

    Thanks Ray, do you want to list your treadmill from the DCR cave? Like a turbo for feet.

  40. LC

    Do you use sport earbuds or headphones for music? Any good recommendations for ones that don’t fall out of your ears or die from sweat?

  41. badilla

    hi Ray, do you have any information about upcoming Forerunner 225 with HR?

  42. Irene G.

    I wish The Girl could update her list as well ?

  43. Andrew

    Hi Ray,

    After using it for awhile, how does the Fenix3 work for you on “Trail Style” runs/bikes (elevation, gps tracking mostly)?

    I have iPhone 5c with Strava. I understand accurate segments in the forest are always going to be sketchy with tight twisty trails, but after reading reviews and GPS issues – it is really holding me back from purchasing the F3 as my go to device for an all around unit.

    I’m not up for purchasing more than one additional device aside from my iPhone. But I do need (want :-) something that can:
    -Track mountain Bike Rides with decent accuracy (as good as my iphone)
    –+wear when I race XC Mountain Races
    -Track Trail Runs
    -Elevation/Barometer/temperature when cell service is not possible
    -longer backpacking/BWCA Canoe Trip tracking as well.

    Thanks in Advance!!!

  44. Ed Swakon

    Ray do you have a favorite “Sleep Monitor”?

  45. Juro

    I understood your stance is that you will not test devices beyond specification.

  46. BubbleMakerTrailer

    I own Fenix 3 for since end of March now. Very upset against it. Less accuracy that my 610 under wood (1km missed on a 20K race). Multiple resets. Repetive issues to connect BT/Wifi. My retailer says that on the few he sold all owners are complaining about something.
    He would have mine replaced by Garmin. Hopefully I am unlucky and I got one from a faulty batch. But all in all, he also consider removing simply this model and possibly Garmin from his offer. Fenix, Fenix 2 and now Fenix 3 suffered from issues.
    Seriously who is going to accept to purchase a sport watch 400+€ that doesn’t do what it is supposed to do.
    Sure when it works that’s appealing but would you accept to fear a reset or a wrong accuracy every time you go out?

    • It’s not an hardware issue, it’s a software issue that Garmin has said their working on – related to certain conditions (notably trails in the woods).

      In my case, since this post is a ‘Gear I Use’, I don’t tend to do much trail running, so it hasn’t really impacted me.

    • BubbleMakerTrailer

      I just discovered the thread about your review of Fenix 3 on Garmin forum.
      So now I am even more surprised that your are stIll promoting without reserve the Fenix 3, knowing all the issues that customers are complaining from. Fact that your are not a trail runner do not exclude that you may want to raise attention on the known issue. Omitting is not lying sure but …

      FYI I appreciate that you are sharing (and others) that this s not an hardware issue but I would rather prefer Garmin communicating, apologizing and proposing roadmap and compensation by themselves to all spoiled customers.
      Lastly I consider a shame and non acceptable the number of issues that Garmin had the indecency to release (GPS, altimeter a joke, wireless connectivity ). And unless they communicate soon and compensate I am not sure how they can expect so much disappointed folks to remain Garmin current and future customer. In my case I give them weeks, not months, to communicate and do whatever they need to fix the situation. Left twice a message on their support site with my contact number and they redirect me to France support that I need to call? really ?

    • Hmm, I’m not sure how many ways I can make this more clear: This post is titled “Gear I use”, not “Gear I recommend” or “Gear You Should Absolutely Buy”.

      As for calling support, it’s really the fastest way to get resolution. And honestly, it’s the one that causes Garmin the most pain financially.

  47. Jeff Schaffer

    When looking for a hydration vest, I found Ultraspire (I bought the Alpha). Very nice vest – I find it much better than Camelbak. You might want to look at them. A bit pricey and I do not like the stock hose (easy to replace with others – it is a Hydrapak bladder), however it works very well. My wife likes hers too.

  48. Jeff

    Hi Ray,

    What are your thoughts on the Fenix 3 Saphire versus the standard Fenix 3 unit? Is the added cost worth it?



    • I see it mostly as a cosmetic decision around the Sapphire band. While the screen is different for reducing scratches, I just don’t see scratches on the screen itself on my grey unit. I have seen one minor scuff on the bezel, after I whacked the crap out of it on some sharp concrete wall. But I’m not sure that’d be any different with other version.

  49. I think personally my favorite thing to see on there is the Trek Belleville. We spend so much of our time trying to go really fast on our tri/road bikes that we don’t always get to enjoy just the act of riding a bike. That’s just a beautiful bike too. My commuter is a 1977 Raleigh Sprite that I got off Craig’s List a couple years ago. I probably paid a little too much (around $100) but the quality of the bike is way above anything I could buy for $100 at the store. I’d probably have to spend what you did to get something modern and comparable. Its in beautiful shape too…very little wear on it.

    link to lh5.googleusercontent.com

  50. JJ Lee


    Can the Scosche Rhythm+ Optical HR band’s data be synchronized with the Garmin Fenix/Fenix 3? I probably wouldn’t mind using the Scosche Rhythm+ Optical HR band instead of the chest strap HRM for convenience reasons. Are you still using either Garmin or Polar’s chest strap HRM? Something on Sosche’s website does concern me though.

    link to scosche.com

    “California Proposition 65
    WARNING: This product contains chemical(s) known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm.”

    There are carcinogens on this product?

    • Yup, it works just fine with the Fenix3. I use it with that daily. I generally always use the Scosche as long as I’m not testing something else.

      As for Prop 65 warnings, imho they got old years ago – so many products trigger that warning these days, even when there’s zero risk for humans. As for what exactly triggers it in their product, you’d have to ask Scosche.

  51. JJ Lee


    It would have been nice if Scosche actually list the chemical that triggers it. Why are you not concerned when you don’t even know which known carcinogens are used in the product?

    Does the Scosche slides down your arm over time?

    Why have you moved over to the Scosche over the Wahoo TICKR HRM? Does the TICKR HRM slide down the chest as I move?

    • I’m not concerned because Prop 65 has gotten so far from the original goal that it’s no longer useful. An incredible number of products trigger it, even in cases where the item used has no bearing on humans. While well meaning initially, it’s not useful to the consumer anymore.

      As for sliding, no, neither the Scosche or TICKR slide down.

      I prefer the Scosche because it’s optical and because I find it more comfortable.

  52. JJ Lee

    Thanks for the response Ray.

    Why do you prefer optical over the chest strap HRM when you have said in the past it’s more accurate and I think provide more data?

    • I’ve never stated chest strap is more accurate, but rather that some optical sensor companies produce accurate sensors and others not…for in-sport use:

      Accurate sensors: Mio, Valencell (behind Scosche), Epson
      Sorta accurate: Fitbit Charge HR/Surge, Apple, Microsoft Band
      Non-Accurate Sensors: Soleus, Samsung, Basis, many others

      Additionally, optical HR straps don’t support HRV/RR data today. For some users, that might matter. For me personally…shrug.

      Finally, while other straps generate running dynamics type data – I don’t find much true training/racing value there. It’s just data, but not really actionable data yet.

    • JJ Lee

      Thanks for the clarification Ray!

      How did you come to the conclusion that the Apple Watch and Microsoft Band is sorta accurate? I think you’ve only recently got the Apple Watch and I think you said you weren’t going to do a review of the Microsoft Band which I’m assuming that meant that you didn’t bother testing it. I think it was revealed recently that Consumers Report said the Apple Watch is very accurate. I know you’re a very busy person, but what’s going to take for you to reconsider your decision on whether to review the Microsoft Band or not?

      Where can I read more about HRV/RR data? I think you’ve brought up a good point. It’s important to get data that can be of good use rather than getting data for the sake of getting data. I think you may have made a good case for the Scosche rather than getting the Wahoo TICKR. If I don’t need the HRV/RR data and if the optical sensor on the Scosche is highly accurate, then I don’t see any advantage to getting the Wahoo then.

    • I’ve had the Microsoft Band since it came out, you’ll see it occasionally mentioned in some posts late last year. And I’ve been testing the Apple Watch against other heart rate devices concurrently.

      There are certain scenarios where the Apple Watch is accurate, but there are many where it’s not (i.e. cycling, some running intervals). Another reader is also putting together some detailed comparison data as well and has shared that with me. Looking at the Consumer Reports video, they only showed participants walking with the Apple Watch on the treadmill…which, is kinda lame. I don’t know if perhaps in a full write-up somewhere else they actually broke a sweat.

      I don’t yet have any detailed HRV/RR data on the site, it’s been on my to-do list for a while.

  53. Tim J

    I’m curious why you list the Scosche Rhythm+ for cycling but not for running. Does it
    rub uncomfortably when worn on the upper arm for running? What HR strap do you use?

  54. Tim J

    Thanks. This list is a great help.

  55. Brian

    Hi Ray,

    Will your European discount store carry the Scosche RHYTHM+?

    I might hold out on it, if it supports you.

  56. Leigh

    Sorry if I missed this in the comments, but why the Fenix 3 versus the 920xt given the latter’s lighter weight?

  57. Anthony

    Hi Ray – you did not mention any lights (front and rear) for your bike or for when you are running. Do you use any? Middle of winter here – so 6am is like the night.

    Thanks for the rundown. New asics are on order.

  58. Josh

    Ray do you have the ability to post one of your garmin connect running tracks here so those of us questioning just how accurate our F3’s are vs how accurate they should be while road running compare to what you are experiencing? Overall I’m pleased but find it interesting that to a certain waypoint mine measures 1.02 on the way out but consistently 1.00 on the way back in. Also has me on opposite side off the road each way, I’m guessing strength of signal.

    • Virtually all of my recent Strava tracks are Fenix3 (unless specified otherwise). It shows the device name under it.

      Strava Profile: link to strava.com

      On GC…
      Here’s a run this past weekend: link to connect.garmin.com
      Here’s a ride: link to connect.garmin.com (F3) link to connect.garmin.com (Edge 1000)

      Another run last week: link to connect.garmin.com
      And one this week: link to connect.garmin.com

    • Josh

      I cannot thank you enough for sharing that. Your tracks seem to look very similar to the types of tracks that I have where occasionally I walk on water as well as cutting through peoples homes. I just finished a slightly longer than 5 mile run and what was odd today is that my lap pace fluctuated greatly, when I was under a set of trees The lap pace would show one thing, but as soon as I hit a patch of daylight the lap pace dropped precipitously as it obviously acquired a better signal. Are you experiencing the same types of fluctuations ever? First time that happened to me on this device.

    • Just a quick look, but the only time I see the track having an oddity is one run (this week), where it cut the corner of the bridge. What’s odd is I’ve gotta double check that section as I was doing 30″ sprints there any I want to see if I accidentally hit stop/start instead of lap/lap (since the start/end points are very similiar).

      Beyond that though – pretty normal. I don’t see much in terms of pace fluctuations, but it largely depends on what I’m running. For long runs I’ll have instant-pace, whereas for interval runs I use lap pace.

  59. alvin

    Hi rainmaker,
    thank you for your wonderwul review, it was amazing as always. But for the tri suit,Can you please tell me What is the best tri suit model in this year? I’m confused with all those tri suit brands. Could you please tell me which one is the best?(used for sprint distance).

  60. JJ Lee


    I just noticed that you didn’t put the Wahoo RFLKT+ in your list. Is there a reason why you’re not using it? IIRC, you even made a contribution to Wahoo’s Kickstarter page for this product. I don’t really see an advantage to a dedicated cycling GPS in the age of advance smartphones like the iPhone 6 Plus. I know you have the iPhone 6 which have a smaller battery so battery life will be an issue, but for owners of the IP6+, wouldn’t we be better off getting the RFLKT+ instead of the Garmin Edge 1000? IIRC, the RFLKT+ bridges ANT+ sensors to BT so unless I’m mistaken, the IP6+ will then be compatible with all of the essential sensors that you have recommended?

    • I often back projects on Kickstarter merely to be on the backer newsletter. Additionally, I buy pretty much every product out there to have in my inventory for a variety of reasons (answering questions for example). It definitely doesn’t mean I use it (often, or some cases at all).

      I see the RFLKT+ as making for a good Cateye type replacement. But it doesn’t have the native functionality for things like complex intervals, backlight screen, turn by turn navigation, etc…

      Some of those have been filled by 3rd party gaps. But for me personally, I’d rather just have an all in one unit.

  61. Grant

    Hello, I was wondering if you could recommend a watch for me as there is so many out there I can’t seem to pick one. Anyways so I mainly cycle mostly to get from point a to point b but I’m doing that one transit to be healthier. Also do running a mix of inside on a treadmill and outdoors depending on weather. Also I okay soccer and ball hockey so if one would work well with those too that would be bonus. Price $300 or less preferably.

    Thanks in advance


    • Hi Grant-

      Check out my general recommendations list here: link to dcrainmaker.com

      I’ll likely be updating it in the coming weeks, but that provides a good baseline to look at.

    • Grant

      Thank you for the reply.

      Looked at it and most of the cycling ones you mention were just the computers but looking at that page I think Polar M400 may be best but was thinking that or the Suunto 2S. I’m casual I suppose but want to get healthier by running and cycling more and would like something to track it without using all my data or battery life on my phone.

  62. Paul c

    I’m stuck on deciding a new running / multi use watch. I’m between 620 920 fenix 3 and maybe the apple watch. I used to use a garmin 305. And loved the ghost function of running again myself. Due to the gps issues and lack of music I’ve been using my iPhone with Nike run app instead. I don’t want a watch to wear all the time. Just for sport . I also cycle and starting to swim. But wouldn’t use a watch for swimming . Could you confirm which watch would control music on my iPhone and offer the ghost option. And if you have any recommendations as I notice you are using the fenix 3 but trialling the apple watch. Don’t mind paying the price if it’s going to do all that i want and need.

  63. alvin

    Hi Ray. What is the best triathlon suit brand can you suggest for a sprint distance category? Thanks

  64. Jac

    Ray (and forum),
    Recently got into tri’s and looking for recommendations for trunk mounted bike racks for local area races (i.e., close enough to drive with your own bike vs having it shipped). Not looking for anything fancy, just hold the bike securely and don’t scratch up the car. Thanks in advance and love the site!

  65. Ed Swakon

    Ray do you have a favorite “Sleep Monitor”?

    • Not really actually. I’ve been using the Withings Aura for the better part of 8-9 months now after buying it last summer. Initially I was a bit annoyed with lack of data, but it’s really come around these days with lots of interesting firmware updates. Eventually I might write a review.

  66. myriam

    Will the girl’s list also be updated? I really would be interested. Thanks!

  67. Brian

    Ray – Unless I missed it, there is no reference to any activity trackers? I know you’ve tested quite a few, but do you have a specific preference? Or do you just let the Fenix3 take care of that for you?

    • I tend to wander a bit there, mostly using whatever I’m testing. So I’m not super tied to a single unit – and for the most part as long as it has a screen and a mainstream data platform behind it, I’m usually content.

  68. Paul Frylink

    Here you go ray, a new swim cap for your beard :-)
    link to news.com.au

  69. Mike

    First off – thanks again for all you do to help us floundering around out here on product choices. You and your readers have certainly helped me in several decisions that have only further motivated my training.

    What is your preference on bike saddles and why? I just happen to notice the Selle Italia in the headline pic of your review of the Polar M450. Im 50yo and although I have biked my whole life, never took it seriously enough to care what seat I was using. I took a trip to Performance Bike and noticed all kinds of saddle configurations ranging from $30 – several hundred dollars. I would be interested in any input you or your readers have. Whether its ‘Ride whatever is comfortable’ or ‘The seat is the most important part of the bike and….”

    BTW I searched ‘saddle’ on your site and found the stingray article. Ive lived in LA for 27 yrs, surfing, swimming, scuba, tris – and never knew about the stingray shuffle. Im sure someone said something and I just wasnt listening. So thanks for that tip!

  70. Gabe

    what about underwear for running? specially long distances

  71. William

    What are your thoughts on the Withings Aura so far?

    Thinking of getting one, but many reviews online are negative due to buggy software at launch. Thanks.

  72. Steffen

    Hey Ray, nice gearlist you have there. I might have missed one component for triathlonbike which is: what type of TT-bars are you using? Is it the stock-version or some other brand? Thanks.

  73. Max

    I’m quite fair skinned and always need to load up on sunscreen. Having read some of the recent reports on the bad stuff in the average commercial stuff and not finding any decent in-depth reviews or recommendations for cycling/triathlons I was wondering if you had any recommendations.

    • Nope, nothing special from me there. I just pick usually something in the SPF30 range, most often the non-spray, but sometimes spray too (I find I tend to miss some spots). I also usually pick out something that’s sport friendly.

  74. Ray, do you ever, by any chance, ‘create’ (maybe together with The Girl) your own energy bars that you take along when you go for a few hours ride or other outdoor training?
    Greetings from NL!

  75. Wendy

    Boy, I wish I had the gear you have access too – in my dreams.
    My Garmin FR910XT has died after a long health battle. Garmin support is very poor and most disappointing when I still have old units like the etrex and Edge305 operating like a dream.
    However, I could also use the 910XT on the spin bike and having multiple screens like HR and time, calories on the one screen. I am reluctant to buy another high end watch – what alternatives are there for a spin bike. The edge305 works but doesn’t give calories burned – I know its debatable as to value but it’s still a guide.
    Any thoughts?

  76. Anders

    I do some running and gym activities like bodypump and want a watch that can be usueful as a multisport equipment together with my smartphone, I nerver use a computer at home nowdays, do you have a recomendation?

    Thanks for a nice website!


  77. Richard Chazal

    How do you set your computers up for triathlon race days? Do you use a bike computer and a multi-sport watch or ditch the computer? I ordered a Garmin 520 after reading your review and I need a new watch since my 310xt died but I’m not sure what to do on race day. Plus I’m going to finally take the plunge and get a power meter, so I’m not sure what set up to use on race day.

  78. Mark Yeo

    Hi Ray!

    I know that this is a swim/bike/run list, but I wanted to know what watch you wear on a day-to-day basis :)


    • It honestly just depends on what I’m testing. With almost all GPS watches having activity tracker functions these days, I’m usually testing something. When I’m not, it’s often whatever is closest and charged.

      That said, I’ve been wearing the Withings Activite the last few weeks again, and enjoy that I don’t have to think about charging.

  79. Jeff Feinsod

    I’ve been reading your blog a lot lately as I try to figure out the watch to replace my Garmin 310XT (the back of the watch that holds the watch band pin has broken so there’s no way to secure the watch band to the watch itself).

    I noticed you listed Yaktrax for winter ice/snow running. I’d recommend you try Kahtoola Micospikes. They are a far superior product.

  80. Gabe

    Do you use running headlights for running at night?

  81. Georgi

    Hi DC,

    I have been doing a lot of research around GPS watches as I am keen to purchase one for Christmas, but the more I read the more I find out that each has it’s drawbacks and I’m not sure whether they’re worth the price. I really like the Fenix 3, but the main thing I like about it is its Trekking capability which seems to be problematic. I am training to do the Three Peaks Trial in Wales in April 2016 and I thought having a GPS watch could be of great help, but I am now thinking that perhaps I’d be better off getting a lower class watch for running/cycling and maybe making up for the Trekking bit by purchasing an additional handheld device that is used specifically for Trekking. What are your thoughts? As I said the other activities I’d like to track are my weekly running and cycling.

    Many thanks,


  82. martin

    hello, was wondering what brand of bib shorts would be best for cycling and to swim in?

  83. Brian mcnamara

    Thanks for providing so much detailed information. Your review of the Garmin 520 sounded very favorable but I see here that your go-to is the 1000. Is there something(s) that the 1000 has that the 520 doesn’t that is a deal breaker for the 520? Thanks!

  84. Simon Knowles

    Ray, where can you buy Nike Jammers, here in the UK they just are not available it seems.

  85. Mahrooz

    Hey Ray,

    Great website..Just a quick question. Would you recommend the Fenix 3 or wait for the Garmin Vivoactive HR? Thanks for your help !!

  86. Lena

    Hi , friends ! Very interesting topic ! Good brands for swimwear is Tiara Galiano. What think about them ?

  87. David T

    Hi Ray! It’s been a while since you’ve done a new list and there must be all sorts of new toys you’re using. Do you think you’ll be doing a new article soon on the gear you use?

  88. Charlie Smith

    What software/training logs do you use? sync? training app when travelling? Thanks!!!

  89. Jeremy Devaney

    Hi Ray – quick gear question as I don’t see it on your list – do you speedlaces or quick laces or any other “no-tie” shoe lace tech on your running shoes? Why or why not??

    Thank you!!

  90. Stephen O'Driscoll

    Hi Ray

    I usually follow your recommendations for gadgets as you provide so much information. Just asking about the speed/cadence sensor you use. My speed / cadence sensor for my Garmin 810 has packed it in. In your post you recommend the Wahoo Blue Combo sensor. Is there a reason you don’t go the Wahoo magnetless separate speed / cadence sensors which are similar to the Garmin ones? If I went these would my 810 work with them like it does my Schosche Rhythm + heart rate sensor? Would this be the better choice if I wanted to use Zwift as well?

    Looking forward to your reply.


  91. MartinR

    Just saw a video of Connor Jaeger (US Olympic distance swimmer) endorsing the WHOOP tracker. Is it any good? Will we see a review of it from you, Ray?

  92. Jørgen Stutemeyer

    You previously mentioned that you have a lot of HR straps, but you have never done a review of just the straps. Since the transmitter outlive the strap, it would be nice to know if all straps/belts are compatible, which ones are most comfortable, have less spikes etc. etc.

    – Stutemeyer

  93. Ali K

    Is your go-to strap still the Scosche or do you have more recent recommendations? Looking to make a purchase soon for cycling/running, thanks!

  94. Have you ever tried training in a swim spa? I wonder how my garmin 920xt would measure my swim in that.

    • Unfortunately it won’t really capture anything. Basically, without the flip/open turn each length – it doesn’t know how far you’ve gone (it uses that and then does simple math).

  95. Francisco

    Hi Ray,

    on regards to running shoes, you have been using the Asics DS Trainer shoes…

    Don´t you really rotate with other brands/models?
    (or you just do the batman trick and have a closet full with DS Trainer and you rotate within the same model…???


    • I used to actually stock a lot of them. Now I’ve gotten a newer variant, but the same core model.

      Most runners don’t tend to rotate running shoes between models/brands. They find what they like and stick with it.

  96. Are you planning to list your 2017 list?

  97. Michael Schlehuber

    You travel a ton. Have you ever reviewed a bike case or bike travel bags? Would love a respected review on bike cases that survive air travel well.

  98. Jose Marmolejo

    Thank you for all that you do, it helps a lot for a beginner like me!

  99. Simon.noz

    Hi Ray
    Would you still choose the Garmin 735xt over a Fenix 5 for running / swimming?

  100. Simon.noz

    Thanks Ray, keep up the good work.

  101. Mr Nofish

    Hey Ray!

    I was looking for the head units guide and landed here – noticed you’re still listing the Vectors as PM and pedals. Hardly super important, but I happened to be here, so…

    • Mr Nofish

      PS: is something weird on my side or the Gadget Recommendations post is not linked in the Guides drop-down menu?

      BTW this one is, and links back to the 2014 Gadget post.

    • Hmm, I didn’t do one for 2016 (for no particular purpose, just forgot). I’ll try and get one out shortly, since I think I’ve kinda got it figured out what I’m going to use going forward.

      For power meter, I use a boatload at once, but in general I’d say the P1 is my main unit. For head units, it’s a blend of Edge 520/820 with a side of Bolt (if I’m navigating). And for running watch, wobbling between Fenix 5 and FR935. Undecided.

    • Simon.noz

      Not 735xt anymore then for running.

    • Mr Nofish

      I was aware the P1 is your go-to, hence the heads up :) no love for the gadget recommendations? I would say that deserves a spot in the Guides drop-down.

    • I like the FR735XT, though, a friend of mine borrowed mine for like 3 months…so I didn’t see it again until just a few weeks back.

      As for no love for gadget recos, might be a good post next week given some travel I have. :)

      Also, despite all my tech goodness, all my other stuff honestly stays exactly the same year after year.

    • Scott

      You gave up the Fenix 3 for the 5? Is it worth the upgrade?

  102. Wink Saville

    I need to replace my Wahoo TickerX HRM, its crapped out in 2014 you recommended the Scoschse link to dcrainmaker.com and still using it in 2015 but its now 2017. What are recommending/using now?

    — Wink

  103. Dave A

    Hi Ray,

    In the above post you say vector are the power pedals you use.

    Just wondering if you did make the change to PowerTap P1 pedals as your personal preferance power meter like you suggested in you post “PowerTap P1 Power Meter Pedals In-Depth Review”.

    Love the website and you do a cracking (hard) job!


  104. Jamiyl

    Hey Man. Really glad you give such great insights into different products. I was wondering. Im new to the bike computer world and I’m deciding between the forerunner 920xt and the edge 520. What do you recommend?

  105. Jay Mears

    Looking for a relatively inexpensive pair of sunglasses for biking and running. What do you like?

    • Student Of Life

      First of all, congrats on the M. finish!

      While I’m not Ray, I have been cycling and riding Tri’s for almost 20 years – and my recommendation starts and ends with Tifosi. You can get them relatively inexpensively ($30 a pair if you do some searching on Amazon) , they do a great job of preventing fogging, and every piece of them from the lens to the temple is independently replaceable so they last a long time. I have 3 pairs that I cycle through for running and cycling. Now, if you want something more durable but that isn’t going to break the bank (ie: ballistic protection for rocks and gravel) then what I use on my mountain bike is a pair of glasses I got while I was in the Marines. They’re made by ESS, and they’ve protected my eyes from shrapnel in IEDs and firefights – so they’re more than rugged enough to handle the occasional rock or stick that gets kicked up. They typically run about $50-75 per pair and like the Tifosi , come with clear, amber, and smoke lenses in the kit, and every part is replaceable. Wiley-X is another good ballistic optics brand that’s well regarded in the military for it’s durability. They’re a bit more wrap around than the ESS and a tad more expensive ($75-100+) but they also come with extra lenses and will last a lifetime. But, because ESS and Wiley-X are more tailored to the military crowd, their styles are more muted (black, grey, tan) to make them wearable in uniform. So they might not match your style. But those are three options. I’ve also worn Oakley’s and Ray-Ban’s, and my advice regarding those is: they’re not worth the extra money. I don’t see any ability a pair of straight jackets from Oakley give me that my Tifosi’s don’t. Hope that this helps.

  106. rbennu

    They don’t seem to make the Gore Bike Wear Vista Tights, any substitutes?

  107. Jon

    Hi Ray

    I was looking at your gear list for running and you seem to be missing a headlamp or torch for running at night. I’ve been looking at replacing mine recently and stopped by to see if you had any recommendations, specifically as headlamps are getting more powerful at lower costs recently.


    • Hi Jon-

      Unfortunately no specific recommendations. Living in Paris I honestly didn’t have much of a need for one. City of lights and all.

      Now having just moved to Amsterdam, I’l likely get one for the winter months since the parks aren’t quite as well lit.

      But haven’t decided on what yet.


    • Chris


      Regarding running lights, I like either Streamlight or Petzyl, but that’s because that’s what I used in the Marines. Petzyl’s are great because they last forever, provide a good throw of light for running, they’re stable on the head (ish) and even have a red lens covering if you don’t want to harm your night vision. I have one in my SWS bag (S*** Went Sideways). They’re not cheap at $30 but they’ll last forever. When I run at night I use a Streamlight Sidewinder II, but that’s because I had it from my time in. I would never buy one as a civilian, it’s overkill. It’ll throw 55 lumens with a CR123 battery, it’s got IR safe leds in red, green, and blue for tactical situations – and it comes with more adapters, mounts, and remotes than a gopro. But it’s rock solid, bulletproof (nearly literally) and it’ll last forever. But at $65 via Amazon and only coming in Coyote brown – I clip mine to my waist when I run at night. Hope that this helps.

  108. Jimmy Strack

    Hey Ray. I was curious if you have any plan to update this list. I’m looking to add some lights to my bike for the winter and was curious what you use. Probably more of a “be seen” light on the rear and a brighter light on the front to see the roadway. Do you have a favorite, or it it pretty much just the first one that you can find?

    • Andrew

      Agreed – While I suppose it’s possible you’re still using the Fenix 3 for swimming and running, recent (and not so recent recent) blog posts suggest the FR935 might be your go-to lately. This suggests you may not have done a thorough update to the post in over a year?

      I guess this might not have originally been intended to be updated, but given that this post is basically stickied to the front of your blog it would kind of make sense to update.