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 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 take with you on your mountain bike 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
- banana, sandwich
- zip lock bag of trail mix (nuts, dried fruit and a few soft lollies)
Here are the 16 things you should take on a mountain bike ride: (usual ride length 2 to 4 hours)
1. bike pump – buy a mountain bike pump that fits both shraeder and presta valves. That way you can pump up anybody’s flat tire, not just your own. Click here to see which bike pumps Chris uses and recommends.
2. a spare tube - I run tubeless tires and I haven’t had a flat or had to use a spare tube for a few years now, but there have been plenty of times when I’ve lent my tube to someone else. Sure, everybody should be self sufficient, but if your riding buddy has a flat and forgot his tube, it puts a stop on your fun too.
3. tire levers – I’ve got some hand-me-down steel levers and they’re great, Just be careful you don’t damage your rim or tire
4. quality mountain bike multi tool with chain breaker – you don’t need one with 95 tools on it. But, make sure you get one that has all the allen and torx keys your bike needs, as well as a knife, a bicycle chain tool, and flat and phillips head screwdrivers
5. patch kit – 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 spare gels in my Camelbak. Handy when the ride turns extra-long or when someone is low on energy
7. disc brake pads – just in case the ride turns muddy. Disc brake pad sets are small, so keep them in. If you’ve ever had a super muddy ride you’ll know you can wear through a set of pads in minutes!
8. money – 5 or 10 dollars. You never know when you might need cash to get you home, get you fed or get you fixed.
9. mobile phone – A must in case of emergencies. And very handy when your mate compound fractures his ankle! True story. Just keep the ring volume down and don’t be making and taking calls every five minutes or you’ll lose friends quickly. Do everyone a favour and check your messages at snack time.
my first aid kit:
10. band aids
11. gauze wrap - comes in handy for all sorts of injuries
12. painkiller tablets
13. a few zip ties
14. a roll of electrical tape
15. a couple of SRAM Powerlinks
16. a replaceable derailleur hanger
Is Sixteen Too Many ?
Now 16 might sound like a lot, but I can fit these 16 things, plus food and drink, in my Octane XCT Camelbak. It’s not a very big Camelbak, but it’s surprising what it can carry.
Besides, these sixteen are to important to me. Here are…
Three Big Reasons Why I Carry all of them
Those 16 items have ended up staying in my camelbak year after year because they have earned their place to be there. They’ve helped me and my mates out of some pretty sticky situations. I carry them when mountain biking because of necessity, versatility, or emergency.
Six things that will save you from the trouble I’ve had:
Here are six things you may not have noticed about my sweet sixteen. Six things you should consider to avoid frustration and make sure you get the best out of your mountain biking adventures. After all…
…you don’t want to end up sulking in the bush like that loser in the video below!
1. many of the 16 are small and light
2. many of them are cheap, and some of them are all of the above. Small, light and cheap, like the Famous Four Mountain Biking Essentials. So there’s nothing stopping you from carrying them when you ride. And they could get you out of a heap of trouble, so you might as well put them in.
3. some you won’t use often, if ever, but when you do, they’ll be a godsend. You’ll be so glad you packed them. Like the gauze wrap or the painkillers or even the derailleur hanger…
…the day will come when you get a stick caught in your derailleur. When that happens, hopefully your hanger will snap, instead of your derailleur. And when your hanger snaps, your spare replaceable derailleur hanger will be a godsend.
And the gauze wrap. You might not need it, but it might just be the ticket for your mate who just busted his wrist. So put these things in. You may need them to help your riding buddy out of a tight spot.
4. the Golden Rule of Mountain Bike Trail Tools. Don’t skimp on quality. Buy the best hand pump and the best mountain bike multi tool you can afford. You don’t want unreliable, weak and cheap tools breaking and bending when you’re miles from home. There’s nothing fun about blaming yourself for going cheap when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere.
5. zip lock bags or separate pockets. Keep your mobile phone, spare tube, first aid kit and energy gels all in their own little zip lock bags or Camelbak pockets (or both) to separate them from the sharp items, such as your multi-tool. This will keep them in good condition, ready for when you need to use them.
You don’t want to reach for your spare tube or gels, only to find they’ve been punctured by rubbing up against a sharp object for 50 miles.
6. You might not know how to use some of the items right now, such as the SRAM Powerlinks or the chain breaker tool, but put them in anyway. At least if you’ve got them packed, someone you’re riding with might know how to use them and be able to help you out.
But try not to rely on others. Commit to learning how to use your bicycle chain tool and other tools properly by practicing at home. That way you’ll become more self sufficient out on the trail. So when something does go wrong, you’ll be prepared.
Pack all 16 including a good quality mountain bike multi-tool. You don’t want to end up like the guy in the video below…
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