Tools for the trail: What You Should Have in Your Mountain Bike Trail Pack

Article by Asa Redfield, evo Portland. evo Portland is a BikePortland Business Subscriber. We offer free article postings as part of that program! Sign up to today to take advantage of this great benefit.

Mountain bikers have a tendency to do things their own way, personalizing all aspects of their participation from their cars, to their bikes, to their riding kits. With that said, one thing that all mountain bikers can unanimously agree on is that there are a handful of essentials that you ought to bring along on every ride. Mountain bikes are great machines, but things happen out there on the trail, these items will help you to be prepared no matter what happens. Thus, without further ado we’ve compiled a comprehensive collection of tools for the trail. Run through the list, gear up, and make sure you don’t leave the trailhead without ‘em.

Trail Pack
Whether you prefer a mountain bike backpack or a biking fanny pack or waistpack, you’re going to need a pack of some sorts to haul everything efficiently and effortlessly from Point A to Point B. Do you need a special mountain bike specific pack? Not necessarily, but having something that cinches down securely against your body and also allows your back to breathe is imperative.

A good bike multi-tool is absolutely essential. Whether you need to tighten up your bike’s hardware, fix a broken chain, or perform any number of on-the-go bike maintenance, your multi-tool will likely have you covered. A couple key characteristics to ensure your multi-tool has are: a chain tool, 4 / 5 / 6mm hex keys, T25 Torx, and screw drivers (flat head & Phillips).

Portable Pump
There are a couple important things to consider when choosing a mini/portable bike pump. First, is the valve connection compatible with your tires? Most modern mountain bike tires use Presta valves, but this is something you’ll want to verify before purchasing and pedaling off. Second, is the maximum pressure enough to adequately inflate your tire? Different pumps have different psi capabilities and whether you’re running tubeless or not will dictate your needs.

Spare Bike Tube
This one doesn’t need much explanation other than this; sometimes tubeless tire seals fail and for those of you who are still running with bike tubes, pinch flats are still the most common repair. Pushing your bike out isn’t fun — pack an extra tube.

Tire Levers
Ever tried to fix a flat without tire levers? If you have, you won’t forget to bring tire levers ever again.

Chain Quick Link
Whether you crash, experience a wonky shift, or just haven’t lubed your chain in months, your bike chain can break and it tends to do so at a single point (hence the term “weakest link”). Having a multi-tool with a chain tool and a spare link that you can replace the break with might just save you from a 14-mile hike-a-bike push back to the trailhead.

Stay hydrated. Over 50% of our bodies are water… Need we say more? Fill up a water bottle or bike hydration pack and bring it along!

After water, snacks are both literally and figuratively a lifesaver. Whether it’s a classic PB&J, a snackbar, trail mix, or something else, you’ll never be upset that you brought snacks.

Extra Layer(s)
This one is a bit arbitrary but it never hurts to be prepared, especially when you’re riding somewhere where the weather can be a bit fickle. With modern bike jackets, windbreakers and rain shells being as lightweight and packable as they are nowadays, you’d be wise to stash one of these in your pack too.

About evo
We are evo Portland. We are a bike shop, ski shop, snowboard shop, wake shop, skate shop, surf shop, and clothing retailer all under one roof in Portland, Oregon. In addition to retail, we provide bike repairs, bike rentals, ski/snowboard waxes & tunes, and ski/snowboard rentals. Visit our store in the Central Eastside neighborhood where our knowledgeable staff will happily assist you with all of your outdoor gear and action sports needs.

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4 years ago

That’s a pretty good list!

There are still some bikes out there with 8 mm crank bolts. If your bike has them, check the multi tool, or get at least a short one to carry. Fortunately for me a riding partner had one, that one time. Also, a small assortment of allen screws can come in handy. Your fasteners may be all snug, but sooner or later you’ll encounter a rider who has lost one.