It’s all well and good testing out various fitness gadgets, but sometimes you need to put all of that “training” to the test. I went for a splash at the Birmingham Triathlon and took the Elite Tri Box along to carry the gear.
Elite Tri Box Review – One Bag to Hold It All!
Sometimes the actual process of getting to an event can be as much of a challenge as doing the exercise itself. I’ve been finding that using the SeaSucker Talon has been a great way of transporting my bike without having to do more than take the front wheel off
Previously when going to a triathlon, I’ve just dumped things in various bags and kind of just winged it. This year I’ve upgraded to the Elite Tri Box – to try and make me a little more organised (don’t laugh!) – so this is a slight departure from my usual reviews – as there are not that many technical features to discuss – so this is more heavily my experiences of using the kit
Elite Tri Box – Specification / Manual
Hold the phone, why are you starting off with the specs and manual?? Well, Elite demos the Elite Tri Box’s four different configurations on their site, and manual, which initially seems great…
1: Standard Setup
“Ideal for triathletes that do not take part in numerous events but still prefer to preserve the organisation of their gear.
2: Pro Setup
Ideal for pro triathletes that need to prepare their transition zone as quickly as possible.
3: Lite Setup
Very useful when the transition area is cramped.
4: Lite Pro Setup
Designed for advanced triathletes that cannot find enough room in the transition area.
OK, why do I highlight this initially? As I think Elite has considered the Elite Tri Box the triathlon equivalent of a Rubix Cube as the manual is next to useless – pretty, but useless.
There clearly is a terrific bag here – but I would argue only really one effective configuration – standard. The Ikea inspired flat pack design combined with the less than helpful manual managed to beat me – I’ve ended up with a spare section, and for the life of me, I can’t work out where it should be! It’s likely that the spare piece is related to using one of the non-standard setups, but a clue would have been nice! As a result, I remained using the standard configuration with the below dimensions
Size (In standard setup): 38 x 24 x 42 cm (not in use: 38 x 24 x 14 cm)
In some ways I wish that Elite had just made one configuration option, as it would have reduced the number of buckles and clips which there are holding some of the panels and lids together. Genuinely this is the biggest flaw of the Elite Tri Box – it has tried to be all things to all people, and has added unnecessary complexity to an otherwise very good tri bag
Elite Tri Box – Using the Bag
OK, packing is probably my MOST hated chore. I find it a real stressor. It’s daft; I know that I have everything, but I just keep wanting to make sure… and then I do forget something anyway. Hence hoping that using a triathlon bag would help
One small area that I do like in this regard is the inclusion of the T1 and T2 bags with the Elite Tri Box, as I sort of plan around those, folding bits up as I go
The Elite Tri Box also includes a tiny towel, in order to stand on when you are transitioning into the bike – no one likes gravel in their shoes do they!
The towel is positioned with velcro during your construction of the bag – as the towel, transition bag 1 and 2 all attach together
Then you fold the whole shoe collection up with the ends of bags forming grab handles of a secondary bag configuration. This then, in turn, is slid into the centre of the assembled, and waiting, Elite Tri Box
The Elite Tri Box easily swallowed the entirety of my kit for the day – I know, a real shock!
Ending up in its boxy configuration afterwards (The eagled eyed will see my Casco helmet was subsequently swapped out for my yellow Scott after realising the Casco pads were shot)
While only a small thing, I like the little name tag on the front of the bag meaning that you are less likely to lose your bag if you are racing in a team configuration, or with several friends also toting Elite Tri Boxes
The chest straps are a little thin, but not uncomfortable. Plus remember this is not a pack designed for humping loads for miles, merely to get you into your event. I found the Elite Tri box more comfortable to have it resting a little lower than I would normally wear a pack.
In addition, there is a waist strap which initially seems a bit redundant, but is actually very useful if you opt to ride your bike from parking to transition – parking was a good 10-15mins walk away from registration, so I was more than happy to buckle things down
You can be as clever as you want when heading to an event. Afterwards, by wetsuit went into the waterproof bag, shoes into bags. Then after pulling out all of the velcro attached dividers inside the main compartment everything else was unceremoniously shoved in. Sorted!
Realistically, something like the Elite Tri Box, for most people is only going to be used a handful of times during the year, so it is a nice touch that you can fold down the bag down flat. Or in my case nearly flat, as leaving things like a tool kit etc. inside
Elite Tri Box – Conclusion
With all the moving parts the Elite Tri Box walks a line between complexity and irritation until you have decided exactly which setup is going to be best for you. If you are a triathlete who is expected to encounter different levels of real estate space with your transition zones, then that might just be the feature which swings you towards the Elite bag. For myself, I found that having a dedicated bag with more than enough pockets improved my packing, and when deployed greatly improved my ease of getting through the transition zone. Although I’d still like to know what this leftover piece is for!!!