7 Things You Need To Ride Without A BackPack (MTB Essentials)
Learning to ride a bike for the first time is for most kids their first taste of freedom. The feeling doesn't go away when you pick up a mountain bike as an adult. Mountain biking is a very liberating sport where you can escape the stress of everyday life by pedaling off into nature and leaving the chaos behind! However, your dad won't be there to pick you up if you get a flat tire (or maybe he will- I'm not judging), you're most likely on your own and could be hours away from your car or any access point. If you want to be prepared for accidents and mechanicals you need to bring a few things with you. Over packing for a short ride isn’t a bad thing but after adding everything to your riding pack you might feel overburdened for your quick sunset ride or dawn patrol quickie!
So how can you pack just the right amount of gear without overdoing it? We have you covered!
Let's start off with what I think is the easiest way to carry tools and the best way to ditch a bag all together.
The Specialized Mountain Liner Swat Bib has been our go to bib for most every ride! With a super comfy fit and a nice padding, the main stand out feature of the Specialized Swat Bib is the Swat carry system! Featuring storage on the lower back area that is nice and snug you are able to carry the essentials and ditch the fanny pack or backpack set up! There are a few different versions of the Swat Bib and we love the Mountain Liner Swat Bib to wear underneath baggy mountain bike shorts.
The Stans Dart is an amazon light weight tire plug system that is very easy to use! If you get a puncture on the trail and you are running tubeless this is going to allow you to “plug” the puncture and keep on rolling without having to put a spare tube in! Some people opt for "bacon plugs" like these but from our experience they are more difficult to use and way less effective. The Stans Dart has saved us multiple times! You can also order a refill kit as well!
Sometimes you get a puncture so bad that no tire plug system will be able to fix. That is when having a back up plan is important. The Tubolito S-Tubo MTB Tube allows you to bring a spare tube that is both reusable as well as insanely lightweight! No more excuses on why you do not have a spare tube! The Tubolito tube might seem expansive but if you have tire plugs, a tube is a last resort option that you'll hopefully not have to use often. Since, you won't have to use it often and you can reuse it, you don't need to buy it often. Personally I think it's well worth the investment because of
how lightweight and convenient it is.
Very few mechanicals can be fixed without a multi tool. There are a lot of multi-tools out there but we recommend bringing a tool with at least a chain breaker and all the common bike allen sizes. One mistake people make is buying ordinary, not bike specific multitools and they end up having extra allen keys they don't need and no chain breaker. We really enjoy the Crank Brother F15 multi tool, you can find it here.
Flat tires are no fun and no amount of plugs and tubes will help if you don't have something to inflate them! While some riders prefer a small tire pump, we love C02 for their ease of use and efficiency as well as overall small size. In order to use C02 to inflate your tires, you need to use a C02 cartridge and C02 chuck. The C02 chuck is what connects the C02 cartridge to your valve stem. Genuine Innovations is the brand of C02 chuck and cartridge we use, you can find them here! We recommend the 20g or 25g cartridges (16g is better for road) and to bring 2 on a ride!
Quick links will make your life significantly easier if you break a chain. While you can jimmy rig a chain back together without one, having one will not only help speed up the repair time but will also allow you to reuse your chain down the line! Figure out how many speeds you have and pick the right quick links! You can find sram 12 speed quick links here. Pro tip, you can take the quick links out of their packaging and wrap them with electrical tape. The cardboard packaging won't get soggy in your back pocket and you'll have tape to use in case of a mechanical or accident!
We find ourselves bringing along a windbreaker more nowadays with how small our Specialized windbreaker is! A perfect addition to wear at either the start of dawn patrol rides or the end of sunset rides, its tough to leave behind! You can find our favorite windbreaker by clicking here.
And just like that you are set to ditch the pack and hit the trails knowing you are ready for what the ride throws at you!
Did I forget anything? What do you essentials do you carry on rides?