Have you ever broken down in the bush and not had the right mountain bike tools because you didn’t know what to carry when mountain biking? None of the right gear to get you out of trouble? Yep. I’ve been there, done that a few times.
Or maybe you’re a beginner mountain biker just about to go for your first ride and you want to know what to take on a mountain bike ride?
Well, read on! Because you don’t want to end up like that joker in the ‘What to Carry When Mountain Biking’ video below. Those moments can be very frustrating! And 99 percent of the time that frustration, that spoiled ride and the walk home could have been avoided. If only we knew what gear to carry when mountain biking…
Which begs the question I get asked by beginner mountain bikers a lot…
What Should You Carry When Mountain Biking?
What mountain bike tools, gear and parts should you take on your ride so that you’re covered for just about any situation that may arise?
Well, besides this list of food and drink:
- Water or Gu powder mixed in water
- muesli bar
- perhaps a sandwich
Here are THE 16 things you should take on a mountain bike ride (as a minimum):
Usual ride length 2 to 4 hours.
1. bike pump – a good mountain bike pump that fits both valve types like this one, so you’re covered for any situation.
2. a spare tube – I run tubeless tires, but always carry a tube for tubeless punctures that won’t seal, or for a friend in need.
3. tire levers like these. They’re bloody tough! Small and light, too.
4. A quality mountain bike multi tool with chain breaker. I’ve got both this one and this one. Awesome tools. (I take only one of course!) Both have all the popular allen and torx keys, plus flat and phillips screwdrivers. One has a handy knife, too!
5. Glue-less patch kit – for when you run out of tubes and all else fails
6. some spare energy gels – I pack gels with my food for the day, but I also keep one or two spare gels in my Camelbak. Handy when the ride turns extra-long or when someone is low on energy
7. a spare set of brake pads – just in case the ride turns muddy or for the day when you’re caught out with worn pads. So keep a set in your pack, they’re small enough. A super muddy ride can wear a set of pads in minutes!
8. money – 5 or 10 dollars. To get you home, fed or fixed when your luck runs out.
9. mobile phone – A must in case of emergencies. Just don’t go answering personal calls every 5 minutes, or you’ll be out of favour with your riding friends very quickly!
my first aid kit:
10. band aids 11. gauze wrap - comes in handy for all sorts of injuries 12. painkiller tablets
13. three zip ties 14. electrical tape 15. two connecting links 16. spare derailleur hanger
Is Sixteen Too Many ?
It might sound like a lot, but I can fit all 16, plus food and drink, in my 2 litre Hydration Pack.
And those 16 are on my list because
They’ve earned their place. Those 16 items have been my minimum selection of gear I ride with year after year because they’ve helped me out of some pretty sticky situations.
I carry them when mountain biking because of necessity, versatility, or emergency.
Simple Rules to Help You Purchase and Pack the Right Gear
- Follow the Golden Rule of Mountain Bike Tools – Don’t skimp on quality. Quality tools get you home. Crappy tools make for crappy situations. Buy the best hand pump and multi-tool you can afford. Don’t get stuck in the bush because your cheap and nasty tool broke!
- Pack small and light, but don’t use that as a excuse to skimp on quality or forget the necessities
- Pack the famous Four. They’re all small items, so there’s no excuse!
- Some you won’t use often, like the gauze wrap or electrical tape, but when you do, you’ll be so glad they’re packed
- One day you WILL snap a derailleur. When that happens, the only thing that will save you is a spare derailleur hanger.
- Zip Lock bags Rule! Keep your mobile phone, spare tube, first aid kit and energy gels in separate zip lock bags so that the sharp items don’t rub holes in them.
- Learn how to use your tools. If you don’t know how to use them all, commit to learning how, so you become self-sufficient on the trail. Then when something does go very wrong, you’ll be prepared.