The Essential MTB Kit List
The right MTB kit list can be the difference between a successful adventure and a long push home, or worse. So while the current situation means none of us can go for a long mountain bike ride at the moment, it is the perfect time to be checking over your MTB kit. So make sure you have everything you need, ready to hit the trails when we get the green light!
Don’t rely on others
Part of the joy of mountain biking is having the ability to go places others would find difficult to reach. But this does mean you really need to be self-sufficient. In times of need, there may be no one else around to help.
Even if riding in a group, make sure you have the right MTB kit list to look after yourself. Don’t be the person who has to rely on others when things don’t go to plan. If others aren’t as prepared as you, you might just get to be the hero that saved the ride 😉
Our key piece of advice regarding your MTB kit list, is to always buy quality. If you buy right, this kit will last you years. The likelihood is whenever you need any of these items, you will be in the middle of nowhere, the weather will be bad, and it will be getting dark. That’s just how it happens, so you want to make sure the kit you have works.
Bag / hydration
First on your MTB kit list, a good system for carrying your essential kit is a must. It’s a sport that requires a high degree of freedom of movement and balance. A good mountain bike specific bag will really aid both of these factors. It should be slim fitting and sit quite low on your back, to allow freedom of movement of your head when in the riding position. They should have specific compartments for many of the items listed below. This means not only are they safely stored away when riding, but they’re also easy to find when needed.
Many mountain bike bags also incorporate a hydration system, which allows you to drink on the move. Mountain biking can be a muddy sport, so the customary water bottle on the downtube can often not be the most pleasant drinking vessel.
My best piece of advice when looking at an MTB specific bag is to make sure it will be able to carry your essential items, but still as small as possible. Over the years my bags have got smaller and smaller. This means I only take what I actually need. Keeping weight down ensures there’s less movement and less fatigue on the back as you go.
There are literally hundreds of different multi-tools on the market aimed specifically at cyclists. There are certain tools which are a must for everyone, allen keys and a chain tool for instance. But a good way to figure out whether a tool is suitable for you is to look around your bike and make a note of all the different bolt sizes and types. Then look for a tool which has all of those covered. Some tools are designed to attach to the bike, others to go in your bag. Some are more comprehensive, but as a consequence are heavier or bulkier. So long as you have a tool that contains the right attachments, the rest is down to personal preference.
A cheap multi-tool can really be a false economy. They can let you down when you actually need to use it in anger. A good multi-tool will last for years.
A puncture out on the trails is best sorted with a new tube, rather than trying to repair the tube or tyre at the trail side. Make sure the tube is the correct size and valve type for your bike.
Even if you are running tubeless you should always have a spare tube on your MTB kit list. Punctures tend to happen at the worst times, when it’s cold, wet or just when the midges come out. This is not a time to be repairing anything, just put the new tube in and get back on your way.
If you are going on a longer ride, it’s particularly rocky or the hedges are being cut, it’s worth taking a couple of tubes with you.
Mini-pump / CO2 cartridges
You will be very grateful for a good quality mini-pump should you get a puncture. Nothing is more frustrating than using a mini-pump out on the trials and it’s not up to the job. Try and get one with an aluminium barrel, as they tend to inflate to a higher pressure.
CO2 cartridges are great but I will always carry a pump even if I have a CO2 cartridge. Firstly, they are expensive compared to a pump on a per-use basis. And they can also fail. Unlike a pump, they are single-use, so I tend to only use them when I’m in a hurry. But their big advantage is they are much quicker than using a mini-pump.
Along with a puncture, another mechanical that will stop you in your tracks is a snapped chain. By making sure you have a split link on your MTB kit list, you can always repair a snapped chain. It’s an easy repair but will save a long walk home if you do snap a chain. Split links are specific to the number of gears on your bike. So, for example, if you have a 10spd rear cassette, you will need a 10spd split link.
First aid kit
It’s a piece of kit you hope you will never need, but when you do, you will be very glad you have it. Whether it’s a blister, a small cut or something worse, a first aid kit is essential for when things go wrong. All first aid kits are not created equal. Think about the kind of injuries you are most likely to have to deal with: they are likely to be very different from the kind of injuries you might suffer in the home.
Make sure your first aid kit has items in it suitable for the situations you might require it in. For instance, I always make sure I have a couple of large wound dressings, the kind used by the military are great. Antiseptic wipes are useful to clean out muddy wounds too. Over time, you can make your own first aid kit including items which are most useful to you.
Whether it’s to capture those Instagram moments, tracking your ride information or for reaching emergency services in the event of an accident, your mobile phone is a must on any ride. Pop it in a waterproof case and store it somewhere safe. Needless to say, make sure it is fully charged, and input your emergency contact details to it, just in case the worst happens. If you plan to be out all day, take a portable charger to make sure it doesn’t run out of battery just when you need it most.
It’s worth remembering that in remote areas, your phone may indicate that it has no reception. However, if you need to call the emergency services your phone may still work, so always try.
Zip ties / duct tape
Sometimes, you just need to improvise. The above kit will see you right in most situations, but there will always be times when the unforeseen will happen. This is when I turn to the zip ties and duct tape. With a little bit of imagination, from snapped mechs to first aid situations, you will be amazed how these items can help get you home.
The list of items you could take with you is almost endless and will depend on many factors. The length of the ride, where you are going, and the weather forecast, will all have an impact on what you need to take. Experience will help you decide what you really need, but we hope the information above helps.
If you have any questions or fancy joining us on one of our amazing adventures, don’t hesitate to drop us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to share your mountain biking adventures with us by using #foradventurerslikeyou on Facebook and Instagram.