backpack at the lake

A biker's backpack

Marco
Marco

Marco is our brains and our legs, pedaling his way through hills and mountains

27 Jul 17

I have been mountainbiking now for some years, starting with a third hand Scott Yecora that I got from a friend. I was biking alone, and never too far from home, so I did not take anything along with me, not even a water bottle (only on the hottest of days, if I was not anticipating to find any fountains along the way).

Up until the day that during a descent I lost control, hit my back on a tree and ended up breathless for 5 minutes. Luckily I had no injuries, but starting from the next time I started having at least a phone with me (in the worst case scenario, I thought, I can send my position and somebody will pick me up…)

I have never needed it so far for any accidents, but the phone has been really useful to call for help after the first flat tires, but when I broke the shifter dropout on my Bianchi in the woods I had to push the bike for 9kms before I got to a proper road to be picked up by the “rescue crew” (wife + car + bike rack).

Since then, also because my bike trips have been getting longer and longer and on harder terrains, I always have my backpack with me: water, tools and spare parts can mean the difference between finishing the trip successfully and having to send for help using whatsapp (and/or get pushing) :)
 

TOOLS AND SPARE PARTS

tools

These might seem like obvious recommendations, but during the years of my first short trips I would not have carried all of this stuff…. I was not going for a trans-africa rally!
but actually...

sooner or later you will get a flat tire (this happens quite frequently, really), your chain will break, your steering bar will need straightening, the notorious shifter dropout will break...

so, nowadays I have with me:

  • multitool
  • tire levers
  • 1 tire repair can
  • 1 spare air tube (of the right size)
  • small tire pump (schrader / presta)
  • shifter dropout
  • 10 ziplocks
  • duct tape
  • a couple of chain links (mind the size!)
  • some pieces of an old tube (if the casing on the side gets cut, these might come in handy to keep the air tube in)
  • a LED flashlight (if the trips gets a lot longer than expected, you can use it to find the chain link that you dropped into the leaves)

some also carry these:

  • tire patches (you can find also self-adhesive ones, I find them easier to use in the woods...)
  • brake pads (maybe the ones you changed, but still had some drag in them)
  • pliers
  • suspension pump
  • shifting system wire
  • disposable gloves to protect your hands from grease and tire spray

I am not carrying these at the moment, since I think that my list of equipment should allow me to complete the trip and come back home. But I am ready to change my mind the first time I’d have to carry the bike for two hours because I had no brakes on a descent...

FIRST AID

first aid

some band-aids, some disinfectant / sanitizer and some wipes or wet wipes (they can come in handy if you had to work with your chain, or if you had to fertilize a pine tree in the field). Bear Grills says that duct tape can also be used instead of the band-aids.
 

FOOD AND DRINK

If your backpack has a water pouch, fill it (according to the trip you have in mind, if there is a possibility to fill it during the trip, and the temperature), otherwise you can carry a big bottle that you can use to fill your water bottle, so you don’t have to stop to drink all the time.
According to the trip length and climb, you can bring with you some energy bar, some salts and fruits. Or, you can stop in some mountain shelter and eat  some cheese, ham and some wild boar polenta, but then getting on the bike will not be the easiest thing. 
 

BIKE WEAR

rainsuit

if the weather forecast isn’t the best, take some rain / wind protection.
someone also brings along a spare shirt (so far I haven’t been refused entry in any café or similar, even If I was the sweatiest man alive).

Remember your PHONE fully charged, so you can share your position … :)

nothing else should be needed. oh, right! The backpack!

THE BACKPACK

You can find an infinite variety of models, types, shapes and colors. To have if fit everything for a day out, in my opinion the best size is around 15-20 liters. A smaller one will probably not fit everything, and a bigger one would tempt you to take with you more than you need, and you will feel those kilos on your shoulders at the end of the day.

For my trips, I have chosen an 18 liters one, with a 3 liters water pouch.

Try to keep it light, the target is to remain under 6-7kg. Mine, with 1,5l of water and ready to start is 5kg

Ok, now this is really everything! (I assume you will remember the bike…)

Good Trips!
 

You can come with your biker's backpack to one of our Mountain Bike Tours:

€ 499

3 Day Glacier Ridge Mountain Bike Trail

A weekend full of breathtaking views on the path of an ancient glacier
Medium challenging