As a trail rider I sometimes find myself out on longer journeys with plenty of distance between me and the nearest local bike shop. Whilst there's plenty of stuff that I can't fix trail side (bent rotors and buckled wheels have cut rides short for me before), I like to think that I'm pretty well set up for most things a trail can throw at me. With that in mind, here are 15 things my trail pack include.
1. A bag. Obviously, ever rider needs a decent trail pack, complete with hydration bladder. The Osprey Raptor is my chosen bag, storing up to 3 litres of water and with a tool wrap to boot. It's a sturdy little thing with a surprising amount of room and it makes it out on almost all my rides. When you're thinking about bags, make sure you go for one with plenty of space and some good straps - chest and waist straps included. Comfort is a huge thing when riding, especially over longer distances, and you'll thank me later if you get the bag right from the beginning.
2. Tools. A bike is no good if you can't ride it. Of course, there are a handful of things that might stop you riding even with tools, but things like bent brake levers, wobbly saddles, spun bars or even broken chains can all be ride enders if you've not go the tools to sort them out. I like to make sure I'm covered for everything so carry a bike specific tool (Topeak Alien 2) and a multi-tool (Leatherman Skeleton).
3. First aid kit. All the usual included in this - plasters, scissors, bandages, antiseptic wipes. I've also topped it up with some good pain killers, instant-break ice packs, antihistamine and my own emergency details. So far, I've been fortunate enough to not have to use it seriously (though the ice packs and pain killers have come in handy), but I know it's there if I need to. Also, whilst I'm on this point, you might want to consider some first aid training. After all, how useful is a kit if you don't know how to use it?
4. Spare tube. Tubeless is great, and it's been holding up well, but there's always the chance that it'll fail. Throwing in a spare tube means I'm always ready to finish the ride. Just make sure you don't accidentally order roadie tubes!
5. Puncture repair kit. I run tubeless but I have had a pinch flat and had to throw a tube in before. Imagine how irritated I'd be if that then got a puncture! It's so light weight it seems silly not to carry it. And if you came across someone in need you could always play good samaritan and get them back to their car. I also carry Skabs patches since they're also super light weight and take up next to no room.
6. Pump. A presta or schrader pump is my preferred weapon, and this little Specialized pump is so tiny it fits in my bag neatly. Tubes are no good unless you can pump them up, and you might want to make some tyre pressure adjustments whilst out on the trail
7. Shock pump. Similarly, a shock pump means I can adjust my forks and shock whenever I need. Rockshox own pump is a good, light option and I'd sooner be prepared should I want to take out or add in a few PSI here or there.
8. Waterproof. Sure, if you ride in California this might be an optional. Here in the UK, it's essential. Especially if you're in Wales or Scotland where the weather can go from sunshine to hail in a matter of minutes.
9. Tissues. Great for cleaning goggles or blowing noses, though these have saved a few of my riding buddies when they've had an urgent call from nature. If you know what I mean.
10. Tyre levers. I actually carry 4 tyre levers at all times. I quite like to use three when removing a tyre, and one for spare - sometimes the plastic is a little brittle and they snap.
11. Power link. When you snap a link you'll wish you had one of these. They're super tiny but super useful for putting a chain back together again. Top tip: keep it in the packaging so it doesn't get lost in the bottom of your bag.
12. Food. Haribos and oranges are my favourite trail snacks. Sugary goodness to prevent booking. Trust me, when you bonk you'll be pleased I told you to put some sugar in. Of course, flapjacks and trail mix are also good shouts.
13. Zip ties. Mug guard come off? No problem - zip tie. Grips lost a bolt? No problem - zip tie. Strap on your bag torn? No problem - zip tie. Shoe falling apart? No problem - zip tie. Helmet strap broken? No problem... You get the idea.
14. Portable battery. This is something I don't always carry, but do more often than not. Nowadays, phone batteries are lacking to say the least. Anker do this smart little portable battery which charges my phone more than once from empty to 100%. If I'm on a particularly long ride I always take this. Having the option to recharge is super useful. Oh, and it's a USB cable you use so you could charge your GoPro too.
15. Spare t-shirt. When you're soaked to the skin or freezing cold, you'll be glad that Gravity Clothing Co. tee is rolled up in the bottom of your pack. It's lovely to put on after a wet day in the saddle, and also makes your bag surprisingly comfortable by adding a little more cushioning against your back. All the best riders have them.
There you have it, my 15 items every biker should put in their pack. Missed something? Leave a comment below!
Author: Lewis Bell