We’ve all been there! We want to try out a new sport but have a small amount of knowledge on where to start. I figured, what better way to kick this off than a comprehensive list of essential items you need to bring with you on the trails while Mountain Biking?!
Before any debates arise on this topic, I’ll get this out there: a helmet should be worn at all times, with no questions asked. My helmet has saved my noggin more than a few times; since I know none of you will question this, let’s clear that up so we can move on to more necessities that may not be as “common sense” of an item.
[Sneak peak: next month I’ll get a little more into helmets and how to go about choosing the perfect one, but for now I want to focus on items most people who are getting into mountain biking may not think of.]
Lets start off with the most essential item to living: water! Water not only covers 70% of our earth but our bodies also consist of 66% of water! Which means you need to bring water with you no matter what skill level you’re at or what temperature it may be for your biking adventure. If you’re biking short distances, the water bottle cage that attaches to your bike frame works great and is very cheap. You may, however, find difficulty with this when you ride for longer distances; one water bottle doesn’t hold nearly enough.
For longer rides, I recommend getting a hydration pack; they will, not only allow you to carry more water, but also give you extra space to carry essential items out on the trails. There are a variety of manufactures that make a lot of different sized packs, but to help narrow your search, here’s a hint: you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything Camelbak or Osprey makes. I find a 30oz(ish) pack works great!
Once you have your hydration pack picked out, it’s time to utilize that extra space. The next item you should get is a mini bike air pump that is capable of pumping out at least 120PSI. It will save your life when you get a flat as long as you have an extra bike tube; this brings me to the next item you should have, a spare bike tube (that fits your bike tire!).
You can also get a patch kit to try to seal any puncture you may have but I recommend at least carrying an extra tube, if not both of these items. A full sized pump will also come in handy before rides to check and maintain tire pressures. If you don’t know how to change a bike tube there are many videos online you can watch to teach you. (I just had a thought for an additional blog…an instructional video!?!).
The last two items you want are, a tire lever (that will help you get the tire off the wheel), and a good multi-tool. There are a million different versions of multi-tools out there, but a good one will have multiple hex wrench sizes, a torx wrench, and a chain tool to fix your chain if it breaks. Some multi-tools even have tire levers so you don’t have to buy them separately. Oh, and speaking of chains that break, you should carry a set of replacement power links that will allow you to put the chain back together, in case this happens out on the trail. (Every chain requires a different type replacement power link!)
As long as you have the above items you should be able to get through any situation that presents itself out on the trails. In case of a real emergency, a phone should be carried with you at all times, too. I like carrying my smartphone with me because I can use the GPS features to find where I am and track my rides using apps such as Strava. Having a good camera on the phone also comes in handy to capture good times with friends and those beautiful sunsets. I’ve actually never been a big photographer until I realized the awesome pictures that I started taking out on the trails. It surprisingly has made me love mountain biking even more! If you have any questions about what kind of gear to buy just hit me up (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’d be happy to help!