You only need to experience the dread of not having that chain breaker tool once, snapping your chain 10km / 6 miles into your singletrack loop, before you make sure that you double check your mountain bike pack contents, before going out on your ride.
Or that other time when you smash your derailleur into 3 precious pieces, holding them in your hand, willing them to magically form back into that precision engineering, that only an XTR derailleur knows – before fashioning a single speed marvel and limping back to the car park.
Being prepared goes without saying, especially when launching into some unknown loop or point-to-point ride, on your search for singletrack. A careful selection of tools and equipment can make all the difference between a minor setback and a major rescue mission.
Being a big fan of luggage, packs and bags, I am always interested in tweaking the contents to get the right mix of useful gear. Equipment and tools that can get you out of the more common mountain bike mechanical’s on the trail, without being excessive or weighty.
Below is a snapshot of what currently resides in my pack, ideal for most rides. These are my essential items.
This pack has been ideal both from a functional and reliability level. Features a 3L water bladder, various zip compartments and storage to carry all the items featured, plus additional room for a light rain jacket. An overview on mountain bike packs can be found here.
I still run tubes and despite the weight, tubed tyres have provided minimal problems. I carry 1 tube on all rides and 2 tubes on longer, all day rides.
A very basic first aid kit, with Savlon, gauze pads and tape.
All purpose bandage for a variety of injury uses.
Pump with both presta and schraeder valve connections.
Easy and faster to repair a broken/snapped chain than a chain breaker, the SRAM powerlink is a worthy addition to your kit.
These are a pair of Avid brake pads, that while not essential for short rides, they are a useful spare for longer all day rides.
8. Rear Derailleur Hanger
The rear hanger is a just in case spare. To avoid being stranded and having to hike it back, halfway into your 40km epic ride.
9. Adjustable Spanner/Wrench
All purpose spanner
Ideal multi-tool that is compact with the inclusion of a chain breaker.
These Winners bars are surprisingly good and available in Australian supermarkets. Other better tasting bars include Torq or Cliff bars.
For that quick burst of energy, gels provide a welcomed and effective boost. Try a couple of brands to see what works best.
15. Cable Ties & Wire
The perfect complement to many on-trail repair work, cable ties and wire will get you out of a surprising number of situations – almost MacGyver like in their execution.
Other items not pictured but are also packed on most rides includes phone, wallet and keys.
What are your thoughts? Any items that you ride with that have become essential or have gotten you out of trouble? Please share your comments below.