When you’re mountain biking, preparation is paramount to having a good time and anticipating the unexpected is more important than most of us realize. As much as it’s a hassle to lug gear around so that we’re always ready for anything, here are the must haves and bare necessities for every day rides and beyond.
Start drinking a bunch of water well in advance of your ride, but to play it safe – always bring water with you. We’ve all been on those rides that start out as a quick jaunt, but turn into all day missions. Better safe than sorry.
Even if you’re well fueled up, it never hurts to stash a bar or a gel in your jersey or shorts for the same reason that you want to bring water…sometimes you’re just out there longer than expected. Bonking sucks, but it’s not hard to avoid.
Multitool w/ Chain Breaker & Spare Link
Not every multi tool has a chain tool, but broken chains are a huge pain in the ass, so you may as well choose a tool with one built in, even if it means pedaling with just one gear – it’s way better than walking for miles in cycling shoes. Oh yeah, make sure you bring a spare quick link and/or pin.
Tubeless Repair Kit / Tire Plugs
Kits like the Dynaplug are a no brainer. They’re versatile, lightweight, compact and quick to repair the majority of trailside flats/pinches/leaks that we encounter as mountain bikers. The best part about this approach is that you can jam a plug in, re-inflate with a CO2 and just get on with your ride.
In the event of a larger gash in your tire that can’t be plugged, you’ll want to have the option to seal that hole in the tire. For really large gashes, keeping a dollar bill or a energy bar wrapper around is handy as you can place it between the tire and tube so that your tube doesn’t blow out the gash.
It’s just idiotic not to carry one…On huge days, bring two.
With most of us running tubeless tires these days, the interface between the tire’s bead and the rim’s drop center continues to get ever so slightly more snug. Don’t be that guy who’s trying to take your tire off by marring your $1000 carbon fiber rim with an allen key on your multi tool. Just bring the lightweight, compact, plastic tire levers.
Pump (or CO2)
It never hurts to carry a mechanical mini pump because you’re always covered. But if you’re lazy and you want to roll the dice, hope that your tire will seal up and won’t flat again, you can opt to carry a couple of compact CO2 cartridges and an inflator.
You just never know when these things will come in handy. We’ve seen drivetrain repairs, broken rim repairs, blown up shoe repairs and beyond…Another no brainer.
First Aid Kit
Gauze, antibiotic ointment, Band Aids, medical tape, butterflies and maybe even a suture kit. Ibuprofen and salt tabs don’t hurt either. Mountain biking is inherently dangerous so just be ready for the worst…especially when you’re venturing onto challenging and/or unknown trails.
What’s in your kit? Did we forget anything?