The Nordic sport of Biathlon has equipment essentials for two different sports: cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. This interesting combination of sports leads to some specific specialty equipment that anyone interested in the biathlon will need to purchase.
- Cross-country skis. Much of the essential skiing equipment for the biathlon is the same or very similar to that of cross-country skiers, including the skis. The skis are freestyle or free technique skis (per the International Biathlon Union), which are shorter and stiffer than classic cross-country skis, and the binding attaches only at the toe.
- Poles. Ski poles help with forward motion for the biathlete. Biathlon poles are longer and stiffer than classic cross-country poles, and have a disc at the end to prevent it from going too deep into the snow.
- Boots. The essential biathlon boots are lighter and more flexible than downhill skiing boots, yet at the same time more rigid and provide more ankle support.
- Ski suit. This piece of essential biathlon equipment is a one- or two-piece suit made of Lycra or other stretchy fabric that cuts back on wind resistance.
- Rifle. The second sport associated with the biathlon is conducted with a modified .22 caliber rifle. With all necessary accessories except the magazine and ammunition, the rifle must weigh a minimum of 3.5 kilograms. It must also be equiped with a carrying harness, which will position the rifle across the biathlete's back when not in use. Loading and unloading of the rifle must be done by the biathlete: no automatic or semi-automatic rifles are allowed.
- Magazine. The rifle's magazine or clip must hold a maximum of five rounds of ammunition. As part of he essential equipment for the biathlon, a biathlete can store a maximum of four magazines in rifle stock while on course.