This question is asked of Tahoe Mountain Guides often.  What do we carry when mountain biking?  We carry a lot of gear to fix a bike, a mountain bike rider and enough water for a small village.  Our experience on the mtb trail and having encountered many different situations on the trail, we always ride prepared.  But the question is what should YOU carry?  Maybe you are a beginner mountain biker and not sure.  Well, keep reading and copy and past to a list to take to your favorite bike shop.

First and foremost, carry food and water:

  1. Carry water and/or powder mixed in with the water
  2. Carry Clif Bar’s, Odwalla Bar’s, or your favorite snack for sustained energy
  3. Don’t forget a banana and a sandwich
  4. Nuts and dried fruit are easy to pack

A typical mountain bike ride can last 2 to 4 hours, so make sure you have these essential tools:

  1. Bike Pump – Make sure to purchase a packable pump for both shraeder and presta valves.  You never know who you might need to help.  If you don’t want a traditional bike pump, CO2 is fast and easy.
  2. Spare Tubes –  No matter if you ride tubeless or not, carry an extra tube.  Plus, we all have a buddy who gets a flat and forgets his tube.  If you want to keep riding, lend your extra tube
  3. Tire Levers – Carry two tire levers.  Be careful when using these; don’t damage your tire or worse, the rim
  4. Multi tool – Make sure it has a chain breaker, allen key, flat and phillips head screwdriver, and a knife.  You don’t need too much, but make sure the multi tool has the right tool for your bike
  5. Patch Kit – When the tubes run out, this is your last resort
  6. Disk Brake Pads – If you are riding in the mud, you will see your brake pads fade away fast.  They are light weight and take up no room in the pack
  7. Money – Throw a $20 bill in your pack.  Just in case you need help, more food or a way to get home, the $20 will come in handy
  8. Cell Phone – This is always a must have in case of an emergency.  Don’t make phone calls or check messages; save that for after the ride.  But, if someone gets hurt, you could be a life saver
  9. First Aid Kit – Band aides, gauze pads and pain killer tablets (Advil)
Mountain Biking Essential Tools

Mountain Biking Essential Tools

And you just never know items:

  1. small roll of electrical tape
  2. a derailleur hanger
  3. a couple zip ties
  4. Sram Powelink
  5. light rain jacket or fleece
  6. waterproof matches

Now I know what you are thinking, “This is a lot to pack for a mountain bike ride!”  Well, not really.  And if you are wearing the right pack, Hydrapack is what TMG recommends, you will see just how much room you have left over.  These items come in handy to get you out of any sticky situation, and believe it or not, most items you will find just sit in your pack and never get used.  But at least you are prepared!

If you are new to some of the items listed and don’t know how to use them, don’t worry, pack it anyway.  Ask your bike shop to show you how to work the tool, your friends, or Tahoe Mountain Guides.

Happy mountain biking!

The TMG Crew