13 Important Things You Should Carry on Long MTB Rides!

My mountain bike  hydration pack is full on long rides, not just with water. In addition to the usual multi tool, spare tube, first aid kit, jacket and patch kit these items can make a ride ending mishap a minor inconvenience.


Items in my "tool kit" pocket

1. A head lamp (w/fresh batteries), when someone is injured or you have a mechanical darkness can come fast. A head lamp was one thing sorry missed when a friend got severely injured last year. Having a light would of helped us care for him and signal help when they finally arrived around 10 pm (he wrecked around 5 pm).

2. Your cell phone! Just because you friend is carrying his doesn’t mean you don’t need yours. Where our friend wrecked AT&T phones had no reception but Verizon did (my Verizon however was in my car). Having my phone would of gotten help there hours earlier.

3. Food, three tasty, calorie pack Tram Bars and a GU with caffeine to get me home! Spending the night outdoors and/or carrying a friend back is exhausting, some extra food can really help.

4. A shock pump, if your shock or fork runs out of air this can make getting home a lot more fun.

5. A lighter! It was fall when our friend was injured and having a lighter allowed us to start a fire. This kept all of us warm and helped the rescue team find us.

6. Duct tape! If duct tape can’t fix it it ain’t broke! From helping boot a mountain bike tire to taping a broken frame together (to limb it home) duct tape can be a big help. (Notice I wrapped a bunch around my tire pump)

7. Money! Money can buy you a tube, bribe someone for a ride, buy food and a dollar bill can be used to “boot” a small slice in your tire sidewall.

8. A Fedex or Priority Mail envelope. Ever notice how tough these are?! Great for booting a big slice in a sidewall or combining with duct tape to hold something together.

9. A real chain breaker instead of the one on your multi-tool. Much easier to use and a much better success rate.

10. A leather-man tool! From holding loose bolts to sawing your arm off (see the movie 128 hours) nothing beats a leather-man.

11. Chain lube, stream crossings, rain and mud can make your bike unrideable. A small bottle of chain lube can save you.

12. A derailleur hanger for your current bike (that old derailleur hanger won’t help you).

13. A cloth for cleaning your glasses or chain

This is by no means everything you may need. Always bring more water and clothing than you think you will need on long mtb rides.

11 replies
  1. Michael
    Michael says:

    Great list. I always include a few zip ties. On my last ride I ended up using a couple to tie the front of my saddle to the seat rails. A couple of the commonly sized hex screws can also come in handy.

    • Gene
      Gene says:

      Hi Leslie,

      Two great additions, carrying a master link is a necessity but I never thought of signal mirror! Great idea.

  2. Ina McLean
    Ina McLean says:

    I always have a whistle attached to my pack. Mine (I got it at REI) has a temp, compass, a small signaling mirror, and magnifying glass that folds out built into it. If you injure yourself to the point you cannot move, a whistle may save your life.

  3. Craig Harris
    Craig Harris says:

    The film is called “127 hours”

    I always carry cable ties (aka zip ties) and if I’m venturing into the unknown or in bad whether then a spare map & compass (even if using GPS on the bike) … in extreme places a bivi bag wouldn’t go a miss – and it doubles as a pack liner to keep your stuff dry in the rain 🙂

    I don’t see the point in carrying a postal envelope – the duct tape alone should be good enough … I’ve managed to make it back by cable tying a tyre to the rim too !


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