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What I carry on extended mountain biking trips (did I miss anything?)

Friday, October 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

October
15
2010

My off-road biking adventures have been growing in total distance and are also taking me to some fairly isolated locations. When I ran out of water on Wednesday (despite taking 70 ounces with me), it served as a timely reminder that I need to re-evaluate what I take with me when I’m heading off into the forest for a day of exploring.

Right now all my supplies are stored in several areas, both on the bike and on me. First I’ll talk about what I’m currently using, and then I’ll talk about some upgrades I’m going to make now that my trips are getting longer and further away from civilization.

Currently I have a medium-sized under-saddle zipper bag, and in this bag I store a spare tube, a tube patch kit, a couple of tire wedges, a multi-tool, zip ties, a chain breaker, some spare chain and a few anti-bacterial hand wipes. Mounted to my bike frame is a small aluminum air pump. Also mounted to the frame is my GoPro HD video camera (which uses the optional GoPro handlebar mount) and my CatEye Micro Wireless bike computer. In the zipper pocket of my bike shorts I carry my HTC EVO cell phone in a zip-lock baggie (you never know when you might fall in the water) and a spare SD card. The cell phone is critical for several reasons: obviously the ability to call for help is important, but a smart phone also provides GPS, mapping, a compass, a clock, Internet access, a flashlight (surprisingly bright!), a camera and other handy features. In my other pocket I clip my Spyderco Military knife. Mounted to my back is my CamelBak Classic hydration system, which holds 70 ounces of water. There’s also a small zipper pocket on the CamelBak; in this pocket I keep my driver’s licence, a credit card, some cash, a protein bar and my house key. For the sake of completeness (I’m not trying to start any debates here), I’ll mention that I also carry my Glock pistol (I have a concealed weapons permit). I also wear my trusty Omega diver’s watch.

So, as I mentioned, I’ve recently I’ve come to realize that the above list, while not bad, needs some improving – especially when going on lengthy excursions. Two major shortcomings with the above setup are that I can’t carry adequate amounts of water and there’s not enough storage space. Thankfully both of these issues can be corrected with one item: The CamelBak H.A.W.G. The HAWG will give me far more storage space and upgrade my water storage capability to 100 ounces (and a second bladder can be added if 100 ounces doesn’t do the trick!) With the increased storage space I’ll be able to add a few items that really need to be in my pack: more food, a first-aid kit, an analog compass, maps, spare contact lenses (I’ve always worried about losing one!), a spare cell phone battery, a spare GoPro battery and an old spare cell phone just in case something happens to my main cell phone (old deactivated phones can still call 911). I’m also going to start carrying OC (pepper) spray. The other day I emerged from the forest onto a rural street where I was confronted by an unleashed pit bull standing in the middle of the road. I got off my bike and walked up to the dog (trying to ride past him certainly would have caused him to give chase). The dog didn’t attack, but if he had I’d much prefer to use non-lethal force to defend myself; it was then that I realized I didn’t have that option with my current gear.

So, how does this list sound? If you’ve been mountain biking for a while you’ve certainly discovered (hopefully not the hard way!) what essentials to take on your trips. Have I missed anything?

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